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Favourite/Least Favourite Item of Gear

Oliver Daniel

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Just for a bit of fun and knowledge, I thought it would be cool to share with everyone your favourite and least favourite item of gear, but with a tiny set of guidelines. 


  • You must own or rent this gear regularly, and yes, that's including the least favourite item!
  • The reasons for your choices have to reflect the effect it has on your work.

There are also headings for one for the future, which is something you are planning on purchasing and why (as above) and your wish. This wish has to sit in a current product line and be your realistic version of an improved product. 


So it goes like this: 



Favourite Item: SLR Magic F1.6 12mm Hyperprime


This lens is in my kit everyday. Bought for £350 on eBay, it is frequently used as my wide angle choice on my workhorse GH3. As I make many music videos with rock bands, the F1.6 is excellent for low light when shooting in dark, derelict areas - even though the generator is powering a few lights. The lens is capable of helping create some unique looks with camera angles, as it has a macro ability...making objects close to the lens in focus on wide angles - with a 3D weird distorted, slight fisheye effect. It also produces crazy lens flares - sometimes i shoot a Dedolight into it from the side to get some beautiful characteristic features. So for my 'heavy on visuals' approach to music videos, it's almost perfect. Try a 'riff shot' with this lens (down the fret of a guitar), looks incredible! 



Least Favourite: BeSteady One 3-Axis Gyro Stabiliser


A lot of my work depends on constant dynamic movement, so a gyro stabiliser is a no-brainer to me. I picked this up on Kickstarter, wary that there might be issues - but had no idea it would be so much. When it works, it's great! But it's very temperamental, screws come loose, the board vibrates, the software adjustments are unresponsive and acts like a choking crab with the slightest little nudge. It's my least favourite as I cannot rely on it to do the job. I've been constantly in touch with BeSteady who are going to "re-do" my unit - and hopefully I'll be onto Movi-like movements like some other BeSteady owners are achieving. 



One for the future: Panasonic GH4


Nope, as a GH3 user I haven't got one yet! But I will. I'm driving my videos constantly to raise the 'cinematic' levels, and those who say you can't do it on a GH4 are talking garbage. I can punch in on angles and re-frame in 4k (great for music videos), I can get slo-mo at 96fps (again, awesome for use in music vids), it takes great stills for on-set band photography and has all the improvements that makes things easier, better and faster than my GH3.(peaking,master pedestal etc) I'm colour grading mad too, as I find it SO important for the overall feel and atmosphere. I don't understand people who don't bother. So the upcoming Atomos Shogun MIGHT give me an absolute mini-powerhouse to finally have regular 10bit colour at 4k. Post will be heaven. Perfect tool. 


Wish: Digital Bolex 'Pro'


Well, everyone wants the 'perfect' camera. I haven't used a Digital Bolex, but I've seen enough to confirm this is a very special tool. There is something so beautiful about the technology in this camera, and something so tangible, almost emotional about filming with it - from the 16mm imaqe to the vintage lenses. If I had the money I'd buy the current Bolex and film all my shorts with it, and some music videos - but I'd love to see a more souped up version with better low light, better slo-mo options and ProRes recording options. And thats it. It would be an ideal film camera for me as I would truly treasure it and put it to massive creative use. I thought BlackMagic would improve their current cameras, but they brought out the tank. (The URSA). For affordable, true cinema quality capabilities - the Bolex is the one for me. They listen. 


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Favourite Item: BMPCC
The image quality is fantastic. The footage is very forgiving but time consuming to work with. I shoot mainly small products and this camera hasn't let me down yet. It's weight, size and mount makes it incredibly adaptable.


Least Favourite: Wondlan Wireless Follow Focus
Loud and limited. I hate it. But it does the absolute minimum and there is no alternative for the price. Not much more to say, if I could justify spending the money, I could be more creative.


One for the Future: Gimbal & Vest
Currently limited by a slider. I'm interested in the Varavon Birdy but will need upgrade to a 60 fps camera.


Wish: Red Epic Mysterium
Three, four words? HDR slow-mo RAW.
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Favorite: Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera. (The first affordable camera to obsolete film for moving images. Quirks are nothing if your reference is a 16mm Bolex.)


Least favorite: Glidecam HD1000. (A good steadycam, but still a pain to set up and use.)


One for the future: Windows-based computer with gaming components for optimized Resolve performance. (Objectively, a more rational choice than a Mac, with much more bang for the buck. Still hesitating to make that jump.)


Wish: at least 10bit video, log profiles and high quality internal codecs in all consumer-level DSLR and mirrorless cameras. (I will never go back to 8bit in my life.)

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edit: odd, cantsin and I have similar tastes, maybe?


Favorite:  My Panasonic GH2 (currently on Driftwood X).  Workhorse, lightweight.  I've been tempted by the G6, but still waiting for a good deal to come around on this.  I'm ambivalent on the GH4 as I don't have the machine to reasonably handle 4k footage.

Least Favorite:  previously was a nano-fly-steady-cam thing.  $100 and took too long to setup, especially for the kind of shooting I was using it for (jump out of the car, set a scene..go).  Sold it.  Currently:  My current video editing laptop is suffering massive overheating issues while trying to edit.  Well, 3 years on a $350 laptop ain't so bad.

One for the Future:  New Video Editing rig, probably a gaming laptop of some sort (Asus ROG GS750 or similar).  

Wish:  I wish Cosina-Voigtlander would figure out a way to give us a ~12mm f/0.95.  For an "existing" wish?  Hrm.. BMPCC + full set of Optar Illumina s16 T1.3 lenses.  Or filmmaking talent.  Probably the latter.

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Favourite    FD 85 1.2L


Least favourite   Cheap m43 to Sony E mount adapter that turned up to day.    Cheaply made and does not work with the focal reducer I got it to try out on (it would work if it was made properly).   My already seriously low expectations were not even close to being met.    It does work with my native m43 lenses but as I knew without any control.    This was only a few dollars but still!


For the future the next gen Sony A7 and GX8 (or 9) and LX8


Wished for.    Too much to list so I will just look forward to advances over the next few years.

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