Sony a7Rii (Full Frame) it has 5-axis stabilization, 4k internal recording, 42MP, it is like a wish list of all the items we have been asking for. Watch my Sony a7Rii review This is the camera I use the most for video, I sold my a7Sii because I was using this one a lot more because the base ISO for Slog is 800 while the a7Sii is 1600ISO, and better auto focus. This camera has better color than the original a7s. Buy my 6 hour course on the Sony a7Rii
Sony a6500 (Crop) What a powerful little camera, it has 5-axis stabilization, 4k internal recording and a touch screen. The 4k resolution coming off this sensor is up there with cameras many times it’s price. If you are just getting started, this is an amazing camera for the money.
Sony a7S (Full Frame) This is a low light monster! The image coming off this camera is so clean at just about any ISO. I would recommend getting the newer a7sii which I have a course on. My girls use this camera mostly. Watch my Sony a7S review
Sony RX100 Mark V (1″ sensor) I just picked this up and don’t have much to say yet besides the AF is much improved . This is the camera I take with me on my family vacations where I can’t take a larger camera, this one fits in a jacket pocket no problem and can take some very nice 4k video as well as take photos which I have displayed on the walls of my office.
Sony 55mm f/1.8 (Full Frame) the sharpest 50mm lens I have ever tested, also one of the most expensive. This lens is about 300 degrees Kelvin cooler than my old Tamron 24-70mm which really surprised me (the Tamron always seemed a little warm). Sony only has a one year warranty on this very expensive lens, but the build quality quite solid.
Sony 35mm f/2.8 (Full Frame) I really like to use this lens when I want to travel light, or flying it on a pistol grip 3-axis gimbal. So small and only weights 120g. However for a prime it is not that sharp, the Sony 24-70mm f4 actually beats this lens in both sharpness and contrast as well as the Sony 28-135mm (odd that two zooms can beat out a prime). But I still use it a lot when I need to travel really light.
Sony 70-200mm f/4.0 (Full Frame) I like how well the auto focus for video works with this lens when using the Sony a7Rii. Since it is only f4 it weights far less than my old Canon 70-200 f2.8 which is nice, but I do miss f2.8 when shooting in dark gyms. If you are looking for an f2.8 version it is coming soon.
Sony 18-105mm f/4 (Crop) This lens is designed for crop sensor cameras, but I can use it on the a7Rii in crop mode. It has a power zoom that works smoothly and silently. I use it for filming sports because I can use the power zoom to track athletes. Couple of warnings about this lens, it will not work in full frame mode and it is not that sharp compared to the very expensive Sony 28-135mm.
Sony 16-70mm f/4 (crop) This is a nice small 24-70mm equivalent lens for my a6500. This makes for a nice wide landscape lens and it sharper than the Sony 18-105mm when shot from about 16-50mm wide open at f/4, however once you go past 50mm to 70mm wide open the sharpness really starts to fall off, so it might not make the best portrait for interview lens.
Sony 10-18mm f/4 (Crop) While this wide angle zoom lens is designed for crop sensors (or crop APS-C mode on the Sony a7Rii) you can use it in full frame mode at about 15.5mm without any hard vignetting. The reason I purchased this lens over the Sony 16-35mm f/4.0 (which is actually a superior lens to the 10-18mm in sharpness) is because of size and weight so I can fly it on my PilotFly H2 gimbal.
Atomos Shogun 4k recorder. I thought this was too expensive so I picked one up used. I really like all the tools it has from the zoom in vectorscope to the 2:1 zoom feature for focus. It is a better screen than my Ikan monitor listed below that I sold. If you are looking for something that works just as well but much less money look at the new Atomos Assassin. Watch my review of the Shogun
GoPro Hero 4 Black Edition 4k action camera. I have not done a review on it yet. So far it works great, just make sure you use the mirco SD card I recommend below or your GoPro will lock up if it’s not fast enough for 4K filming. When I am heading out the door to shoot something that involves water, I also throw this camera in my bag. I mostly use it for underwater shots.
SanDisk 64GB Extreme PRO SDXC UHS-II This card is faster than it needs to be for recording 4K footage on my Sony a7 cameras, but I like using it because I can offload my footage about 3 times faster than the card listed below. To get the full speed out of the card when transferring files to your computer you will need a new USB3 reader.
SanDisk 64GB Extreme Pro SDXC UHS-I for Sony a7S, a7Sii, a7rii XAVC S 4K format video. This card will work on on the Panasonic GH4 (at 4k) also. I have used this brand for about 6 years now and I have only had one card fail on me, and SanDisk replaced it free of charge. Update, you now record on the SDHC cards for the Sony a7 cameras but I have not tested which card works yet.
B&H | Amazon
SanDisk Micro SDXC for GoPro Hero 4 Black this is the card GoPro recommends for shooting 4k footage on the Hero 4 Black edition it also works in my Sony a7rii and a7Sii for 4K recording. If you try a slower card the GoPro will lock up and you will have to pull the battery out to reboot it.
Pelican 0915 SD Case It is made out of plastic but I bet you could drive a car over this case without damage. After your shoot is done, the most important thing is getting your card or cards back safely to your office and backing them up. SD cards are so small and easy to lose that you will want to protect them the best way possible. This case is small enough to fit nicely in to your pant pockets and big enough to not get lost inside your backpack.
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Rode PinMic (lav mic). The microphone that comes with the Sennheiser wireless system above is not my favorite, I’ve run in to issues where it is too bright on a female voice, that is why I got the Rode PinMic. You will need to buy Sennheiser MiCon adapter since it doesn’t come with it. Watch and listen to my review where I compare the Rode PinMic and Rode Lav to the Sennheiser ME2.
Rode SmartLav+ After I ran some tests with this lav mic that you can connect to your iPhone I purchased one. The two reasons why I purchased this mic: first for backup to my Sennheiser wireless system for when batteries run out or I am getting interference, second is when I fly my cameras on a 3-axis gimbal and I can’t balance the camera with a wireless pack in the hot shoe.
Rode VideoMic Pro The reason I upgrade to this mic from the VideoMic because it is much more sensitive so I can turn down the noise preamp on my camera and it is smaller and fits in to my camera bag much easier. It sounds the same as the VideoMic. Watch and listen to my comparison between the Rode VideoMic Pro vs Shure VP83
Micover Slipcover: I got this “deadcat” or “furry” or whatever you want to call it for my Rode Videomic Pro. It is much better than the one Rode makes.
B&H | Amazon
Tiny Windscreens for on camera mics. I use these on most of my cameras to prevent wind noise since it’s pretty windy in Colorado. They work pretty well but they are not perfect if you get a strong gust of wind. But I use them because it helps my scratch audio track a ton compared to not having them. The sticky adhesive will not damage your camera, it comes off easily.
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Zoom H1 mobile recorder sounds great and is so easy to use. I am not a big fan of the mircoSD card you have to fool with, but it is such a handy device. Instead of buying a very expensive wireless microphone system you can wire up your talent with a lav and the H1 in their pocket and sync it later in post. The downside of course is you can’t monitor what is going in to the H1. Listen to how quiet this Zoom H1 is compared to the DSLR Preamp
Rode VC1 10′ extension cable to remote the Rode VideoMic Pro. Don’t make the mistake of buying a cheap cable like I did (it was not pretty). This cable is great for interviews by getting the microphone close to the person being interview and placing the Rode VideoMic Pro just out of frame and then connecting the other end in to the camera.
AKG K 240 Studio Monitor Headphones. I’ve owned these for a very long time and they are the most amazing headphones I have ever tested. There is a reason this model has been selling for decades, they are that good. I use these for mixing audio during my edit sometimes. However they are not good for field use in noisy environments since they are 600 ohms (not efficient) and semi-open design.
C-700RSV LED Bi-Color Edge Light I love this light! If you do a lot of interviews and want to travel and setup quickly or even run it on batteries this one is for you. It is bright and renders colors and skin tone nicely (ever so slight green). The link for this light I provided is to B&H which offers fast shipping and can help quickly if something goes wrong. Watch my review of this LED light here.
C-218AS LED Bi-Color I have no problem traveling with this light because it is so small and I can run it on battery power. It uses the same leds as the one above so it matches perfectly.
C-1500RSV Bi-Color Edge Light. This light is very large and heavy, it’s not something I will bring on a shoot, it pretty much stays in my studio or office. But it is a nice large source of soft light, and it is really bright too! It didn’t come with a carrying case.
iLED 150-56 daylight I can put this in a large softbox or I can use this as a hard light. It shifts ever so slightly to magenta but of all my lights it matches daylight the best. Watch my review of this LED light here.
iLED | Amazon
Philips Hue Starter Kit if you are tired of using gels to get the color you want from your lights you might want to try these. I use these a lot but I will warn you that you will need to slow your shutter down to about 1/40th of a second because they can cause flicker/banding when using some of the yellow colors.
Aputure AL-M9 This is a tiny LED light with a rechargeable battery. It is so easy to pack each time you take your camera bag. This is perfect light to use when you need just a little bit more light.
Benro Tripod I love this tripod, I use it most of the time. While it’s not a proper “video tripod” with spreader legs I love it because it’s small and lightweight. The leveling ball head makes setup fast on uneven terrain. I am really not that happy with the Benro S4 fluid head that is included with this kit so I don’t use it, I prefer the Manfrotto MVH5600AH Fluid head.
Manfrotto 055XPro3 (I have the discontinued ProB, but the Pro3 is very similar) I am tall about 6′-2″ and I like to have the camera at eye level when I am filming myself and this Manfrotto model lets me do just that at a good price. It can also handle the weight of a slider too and allows me to get smooth shots at high or different angles. It’s not made out of carbon fiber so it is not super lightweight (and super expensive).
My Manfrotto 561BHDV mono pod has been replaced with the Manfrotto MVM500A which is very similar. This is an amazing tool if you need to be fast on your feet (event coverage or run and gun). It’s lightweight, easy to adjust and creates shots that you just can’t get on my tripod if you are moving fast. I use this twice as much as my tripod. If I was buying one today I would actually buy the Benro version. Watch me use the monopod
My Manfrotto 701HDV has been replace with the Manfrotto MVH500AH (very similar to mine). It is great for wide shots and quick or whip pans and tilts. It travels really well since it is so light. Watch me compare the Fancier to the Manfrotto 701, 501 and 502.
Camera Phone Tripod Mount after going through some cheap ones that would break, I found this one that works much better. Mounts to light stand or quick release plate.
Mini Tripod I love this little thing (I own two)! I use it to mount my Rode VideoMic Pro on it for my desk and I travel with it when I can’t carry a large tripod. It is really well built and will hold a Canon 5D with a 24-70mm lens no problem. Watch as I use it as a slider on a smooth surface
SnapPod I use this tiny tripod a lot with my Rode VideoMic Pro. It fits in your pocket easily, and if you really need to you can actually use it with the RX100V.
Manfrotto Mini-Ball Head I like this really small ball head on my slider when I don’t need to pan/tilt while sliding. It makes for really fast set up because you can level out your shot quickly. This ball is very short which means the center of gravity is lower which means less shake in your slider shots.
Heavy Duty Camera Shoe Mount sometimes you will need to mount a device on top of your camera’s hot shoe like an LED light or a field monitor. I’ve used ones that are not as heavy duty as this one and those will make your device sag, but not this one, it works really well.
edelkrone SliderONE: This is a very small slider which actually fits in my camera. I noticed over the years I would not take my larger 3 foot slider because I hated to carry it, but I take this one almost everywhere. If you use a foreground object it is easy to get the parallax you need to make this an effective slider. Warning it is expensive, this knock off is much cheaper and seems identical. Watch my review
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Zhiyun Crane Over the past few years I think I have tried just about all the single grip gimbals and this one by far is the best I have tested. I do not own it yet, but I will soon because love not having to play with the PID settings and comes in at a good price. I use this with my a6500 and a7Rii with the 10-18mm and 55mm lenses from Sony on auto focus. Watch my review.
Tiffen 82mm Variable ND Filter I tested the Tiffen against 5 other well known filters brands and the Tiffen was the sharpest of the bunch. Good solid filter for the money that won’t dull your very expensive sharp lens you purchased. The more common size is the 77mm Variable ND Filter from Tiffen I purchased the larger version for my Tamron lens.
B+W Circular Polarizer Circular polarizer for the most part will cut the glare out of your shot and add some saturation and contrast back into the image. They are only intended for outdoor use (unless you have some glass you have to shoot through inside). They can help get more dynamic range into your camera. Watch my review
Custom Windows PC build, watch the build and see the parts list 8-core, DDR4 editing machine I call “The Beast”. You can save a lot of money building the exact computer you would like to own (I’m a Windows user). Kingston USB 3.0 Memory Card Reader FCR-HS3 I use this fast card reader instead of connecting the camera via USB cable to transfer files.
256GB USB Flash Drive I’m all about traveling light. I use these very large USB drives for backups when I’m on the road with my laptop. After a shoot I dump my camera SD cards to my laptop and then I back up to two of these drives so I have at least three copies. These drives are pretty fast, the ones I own have read speeds of 175MB/s and write speeds of 145MB/s.
LG 34UC97-S 34″ UltraWide I love this monitor! It is so wide and great for video editing because the timeline is stretched across the whole 34″ screen. It takes a couple of weeks for your brain to get used to the curve screen. I have tried both the curved version and the flat version, I like the curved version. If you don’t like a curved monitor try the flat version LG 34UM95-P 34″ monitor which is much less expensive. Watch my monitor shootout
Atdec Visidec VFS-DV Freestanding Vertical Mount for Dual Monitors. I use this for my LG 34″ monitor (bottom) and a grading monitor (top). It supports up to 27 pounds per monitor. I am pretty tall so I have my LG monitor 7″ above the desk and that still leaves room for another monitor 14.5″ tall on top of that. It is really well built and easy to assemble. Your monitors will require the standard VESA mount (most have this).
AA Battery Charger I use this to charge my AA batteries that power my wireless microphone units and my camera flashes. It gives you a ton of information on each individual battery. It charges 4 batteries at a time.
Sony a7S battery Unlike the Panasonic GH4 battery this battery won’t last forever, you will need a few extra spares. Luckily the a7S comes with 2 batteries, but you will need more, perhaps three more. In -2°F it only lasted 37 minutes, however in normal temperatures it will last about 1:30. The good thing is these batteries are very small so they are easy to carry.
Replacement lens caps Don’t worry it happens to the best of us, these are the easiest thing to misplace. Time to buy a replacement.
Yongnuo YN560-III, I own three of these “speedlite” flashes for when I do real estate photography and sometimes portraits. I am no expert on flashes, but I can tell you they do the job and they are built to last. When I changed from Canon 5D3 to Panasonic GH4 for my photography, I had to modify my Yongnou RF-603C units.
Vello RC-S211 while I own the Sony time lapse app I like using this for daylight time lapses that require more than 990 shots (that’s the number the Sony App is limited to). Also there have been times when the Sony app would just stop in the middle of the time lapse, so when I have to get it the first time, I use this remote timer.
B&H | Amazon
DIY Dolly. My brother-in-law who owns a machine shop built this one in a few hours with some wheels I had from an old inline skate. Great for product shots. You can spin around the product up close to create some very interesting looks for the product. With these type of wheels you really need a super smooth surface like glass, Formica counter-top, or smooth hardware floors. Watch the dolly in action
Case Logic bag. After asking my followers on Google+, Twitter, and Facebook, I tried 3 small camera bags they suggested and ended up buying the Case Logic bag because it is light weight and I really liked the features it had like the yellow interior. After several months of using it I ripped out the suspension system. I have had this bag for years and I still love using it! Watch me review the bag
X-Rite Passport Video This is the chart I use the most, it is designed for video. I use this chart for videos to make sure I have the color accurate under mixed lighting. Nice and small, I carry it everywhere in my camera case. This chart can save you a ton of time in post, it will pay for itself quickly.
18% Gray Card Since you can not correct white balance in post with camera video footage like you easily can with a RAW image you need to make sure you have the white balance set correctly, before you hit record. This 18% gray card that can fold up and fit in your pocket is a great tool to make sure you get the prefect white balance each time. Watch me use 18% card
Large Oval 5-1 Reflector. Small reflectors are great when you are doing photography, but when you are doing video and you need your talent to move a little then this reflector works well not only as a large fill light (using reflected light) but as a diffusion screen for when you need to soften harsh light. It has a gold, white and silver side, and the black side can be used for a flag. Watch me use the reflector
5-1 Reflector I use this a lot, and I am glad I went with this larger forty inch size. This reflector can change a terrible lighting situation in to one that makes you say wow that is amazing lighting. For the money this is your most powerful and inexpensive lighting tool you can own, every amateur can afford this one.
27lbs. Sandbags For a long time I made many crude attempts to counter balance or weigh things down so they don’t fall over, so I finally picked up three of these and I now find I am using them all the time! Pick up a couple, they are well made and should last a life time. Watch my review
C-Stand from Impact. Pound for pound a great value. Use this stand for 100 uses. It is a professional stand, but not at a professional price. This thing is a tank and will last you a life time. Watch me use the C-Stand
Reflector and Boom Stand The coolest thing about this stand is the boom arm can actually retract inside the straight part of the stand! Nice idea and it works well for holding reflectors. Watch me use this boom stand
Impact Light Stands very rugged and very affordable. They are air cushioned so it won’t hurt your fingers on the way down. They are also very light and easy to travel with in the car. Watch me use this light stand
Light Stand Bag (discontinued) This Impact light stand bag looks to be a good alternative to what I own. When I didn’t have this bag it would take several trips to the car to carry all my light stands, but with this bag I can do it in one trip. Also it looks a lot more professional rather than carrying light stands by the arm full. Watch my review of the bag.
Microphone stand If you do as many video interviews as I do that are the sit down type and you don’t want to mess around with running a lav up the shirt of a person you just met, get a microphone stand and mount your Rode VideoMic or whatever mic you have on a stand and put it down low just out of the frame and you will have some great audio. I got an adapter that allows the mic stand to connect with the Robe VideoMic Pro. For the mic stand, use this 5/8 inch to 3/8 inch adapter.
Black Rapid RS-7 Camera Strap I really love this strap compared to the stock strap that comes with your camera. It places the camera in a much better spot on your body to travel with, plus it somewhat hides your camera from view compared to a normal strap (prevent theft).
Friction or “Magic” Arm These are extremely useful, not only for mounting LED lights or external small monitors on them. They are not that expensive and everyone should have at least one of these in their kit. The one I use is 8.3″. It mounts on 1/4″-20 female receptor. Single knob locks all of the arm at once. Watch my review
B&H | Amazon
Super Clamp you just don’t know how much you will use this until you get one. There are so many uses, like adding mounting a microphone to a light stand. Everyone should have at least one of these.
Benro QR6 Slide-In Video Quick Release Plate I got so tried of the Manfrotto plates coming unglued and the rubber coming off, I’ve had these Benro plates for a couple years now and the rubber is not pealing off.
Green Screen if you ever wanted to do compositing with your videos you will need either a blue or green chroma screen, I like to use green myself. It takes a bit of practice but using a green screen can be a lot of fun and give you some professional looking results. Watch me use a green screen
Step up rings Don’t buy multiple ND or polarizer filters for all your lenses, just buy one for your largest lens and then use step up rings on your smaller lenses.
The Leatherman is always in my camera bag (unless I’m on a plane). You never know when you might need to tighten up a sagging tripod leg or cut some duck tape to mount a lav under a shirt.
B&H | Amazon
Movo Sensor Loupe, every since I got mirrorless cameras I’m cleaning my sensors a lot more. This loupe helps a ton to figure out of the sensor is clean or where it needs additional cleaning.
B&H | Amazon
Rocket Air Blower this is one of the most popular tools for getting dust off you lenses before you start cleaning them with a cloth.
Zeiss Liquid Lens Cleaner I have been using this cleaner for years and it has never damaged my lenses and does a great job cleaning my lenses.
Zeiss Moist Cleaning Wipes (20-Pack) I always carry a few of these in my camera bag, they are much smaller than carrying the spray bottle shown above so it saves space in my bag and they work really well.
B&H | Amazon
Full Blue CTB Color Conversion Gel Filter some of the tungsten lights I own sometimes need to be cooled down in color temperature so I can match light, I have big sheets of this gel to make that happen.
Software I Use
- Black Magic Resolve (free), I don’t use Premiere Pro CC or Sony Vegas anymore, why I switched.
- Lightroom CC and Photoshop CC
Gear I Have Sold
Sony a7Sii (Full Frame) I use this camera in full frame mode for video mostly. I will have a review on this camera after I finish the course. I sold this camera recently. Buy my 6 hour course on the Sony a7Sii
Panasonic GH4 (M43) I bought the GH4 because Panasonic started providing many features I was asking Canon for but never got, like no aliasing or moire, zebras, and focus peaking. Watch my review of the GH4 This camera is the complete package for video. *Buy my 5 hour training course on the GH4.
Panasonic 12-35mm lens (M43) 24-70mm full frame equivalent. Since you will get less shallow DOF when using a M43 sensor compared to full frame you’ll be shooting wide open at f2.8 a lot, so having a nice sharp lens wide open is a must. This lens while pricey keeps images sharp and has image stabilization.
Panasonic 35-100mm lens (M43) 70-200mm full frame equivalent. Just like the 12-35mm above try not to shoot above f11 if you want to keep a super sharp image. While I love my Canon 70-200mm lens (listed below) I don’t use it that often because it is so darn heavy, but this lens is so light I can carry it all day while walking around on vacation and get some awesome shots.
Panasonic 42.5mm (M43) – 85mm full frame equivalent. I’ve used this lens for over a month and while I don’t own it just yet I would like to have one. It is really expensive and I am waiting for it to go on sale at some point. It is very heavy and the build quality is excellent.
Metabones Canon EF Lens to M43 If making the transition from Canon to the Panasonic GH4 you might consider the SpeedBooster so you can reuse your existing Canon glass. This gives you more light and lowers the camera’s crop factor from 2x to about 1.4x which is closer to Super35. Warning this will not work with every Canon lens out there and it is about the price of a good lens.
Canon 5D Mark III I sold this camera when I picked up the original Sony a7S, I think if you shoot more video than pictures the a7S is for you, but if you mostly do photography than this camera is for you.
Canon 50mm f/1.8 II (Full frame or crop) Of all my lens this one probably spends the most time attached to my crop sensor camera body. If you take care of this lens (because it is made out of plastic) it will treat you well. Some people call this lens “fantastic plastic” because the case is made out of plastic, it is also called the “nifty fifty”. Comparison of the 50mm 1.4 vs 50mm 1.8
Canon 50mm 1.4 (Full frame or crop) I sold this lens. If you need something more durable or a better focus ring that you can actually wrap your fingers around, then get the 50mm 1.4, my friend has this one and he loves it and I have used it many times in many of my reviews.
Tamron 24-70mm 2.8 (Canon Full frame or crop) I sold this lens, I got tried of slow or inaccurate auto focus on the Sony a7S as well as dealing with reflection issues when using Commlite adapter. Watch me compare this Tamron to the Canon and Sigma 24-70mm 2.8Video on getting it fixed under Tamron’s 6 year warranty
Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM (Canon Full frame or crop) I still use this lens with my Sony a7S (it is my only Canon lens I have left). After borrowing this lens many times, I finally picked one up for myself because it is so good! While this lens is not cheap (most expensive one I own) it is truly a joy to shoot with.
Tokina 16-28mm (Canon full frame or crop) I sold this lens, I got tried of slow or inaccurate auto focus on the Sony a7S as well as dealing with reflection issues when using Commlite adapter. Watch me compare the Tokina 16-28 to the Canon 16-35
Tokina 11-16mm 2.8 zoom (Canon crop sensor only) Sold this lens. When I first got this lens I thought it would stay in my camera bag and not get much use because it is more of a specialty lens because it is so wide! But I was wrong I have been using it a lot more than I thought. This lens is very sharp, even in the corners where wide angles are the weakest. Watch my Review
Canon 24-105mm f/4.0 (Canon Full frame or crop) While I don’t own this lens I have used it for several months, the reason I don’t own it is because my Tamron 24-70mm offers a similar zoom range as well as image stabilization, however if it has f/2.8 instead of f/4.0 it might have made my camera bag.
Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 (Canon Full frame or crop) I sold this lens. This lens is a great beat around travel lens for my T3i since it has wide range for the zoom. It has Image Stabilization (called IS for short) which can really help your videos when you are shoot handheld because the IS helps reduce the shake. Watch me use it
Dual Canon Battery Charger (Canon 5D, 70D, 7D and many more)
Remote Timer/intervalometer for the Canon 5D line of cameras, this will not work with the Canon Rebel line. This unit is so inexpensive compared to the Canon model and works just as good. I use it mostly for time lapses, however now that I have Magic Lantern instead I don’t really need it anymore. This Vello model will work with the Canon Rebel cameras.