ESSENTIAL GEAR is a regular feature produced in collaboration with StudioDaily’s exclusive retail partner, Adorama. 

Pro gear doesn’t have to be expensive to help you up your game as a shooter. For many working DPs, portability and flexibility win the day. Here are a few of our favorite lightweight (and low cost) products that can make you faster, more confident, and more creative during a shoot.

Panasonic AG-CX350

Panasonic’s just-announced AG-CX350 is aiming to take pole position as the do-it-all 4K camera to beat at an attractive sub-$4,000 price point. It’s flexible in the field, with an integrated 20x zoom lens boasting a 35mm-equivalent range starting from an uncommonly wide 24.5mm. Three-step ND filtering is built in, as are two XLR audio inputs. It’s equally accommodating when it comes to workflow, offering 10-bit 4:2:2 capture to dual SD memory cards — and 4K frame rates go up to 60fps, even in 4K, thanks to a special 4:2:0 HEVC UHD recording option. (HD recording tops out at 120fps.) And if what you really need is a stream machine, IP video support is built in via NDI, which is unlockable for a $299 upcharge. Panasonic’s CX ROP iOS and Android app enables remote control via Gigabit Ethernet or Wi-Fi via an optional wireless module. It’s up for pre-order now, with shipments expected in late February.

Learn more about the Panasonic AG-CX350 camcorder at Adorama | SHOP NOW

Sigma High-Speed T2 Zoom Lenses

Sigma’s high-speed T2 cine zooms, reviewed here, are a godsend for DPs seeking cine-style lenses for Super 35 shooting on a budget. At T2 wide open, these lenses are quite fast, but they perform even better (with higher contrast) stopped down one stop to T2.8. Chromatic aberration and flaring are minimal in both lenses, which is critical considering the sharpness required for 4K production. Of the pair, the 18-35 is the high-performance choice, since the 50-100 lens exhibits focus breathing that may turn some DPs off. Still, both lenses are a bargain and, as a set, they cover a nice range from 18mm-100mm.

Learn more about the Sigma High-Speed T2 Zoom Lenses at Adorama | SHOP NOW

Atomos Ninja V

Need to extend your options with a DSLR or similar small, handheld camera? The Atomos Ninja V can record clean 10-bit HDMI 2.0 output as an edit-ready ProRes or DNx file at up to 4K and 60p. On top of that, it does double-duty as a lightweight (12.7 oz) 1,000-nit on-camera HD monitor supporting 3D LUTs, various camera log formats, and HDR monitoring and recording. Record up to 150 minutes of 4K video on a 1 TB AtomX SSDmini drive. And if you shoot with Nikon Z series mirrorless cameras, the Ninja V is an even more perfect match — at CES, Atomos announced that it will support ProRes Raw recording from Nikon Zs later in 2019. It’s a great, affordable piece of kit.

Learn more about the Atomos Ninja V camcorder at Adorama | SHOP NOW