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Best Accessories for Better Video With Mirrorless Cameras

Apr 24, 2024Apr 24, 2024

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Whether you're an enthusiastic amateur or seasoned pro, these accessories will help bring flair to your video footage.

Today's best mirrorless cameras, like the Canon EOS R5, Sony A7 R IV and Panasonic Lumix S5, aren't just great at taking still images; they're superb video cameras too. With features including image stabilization, high frame rate footage and resolutions up to a whopping 8K, mirrorless cameras aren't just great for amateurs who want to capture some vacation clips, they're good enough for professional work too.

But having the camera and a lens will only get you so far in creating pro-standard, cinematic footage. There's a whole variety of additional kit you'll need to consider if you want to elevate your video production beyond a base level, from different methods of stabilizing your shots, through to tools that allow for more creativity in your video.

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We've rounded up our top picks of the best gimbals, sliders, shoulder rigs, storage cards and more to help transform the footage you shoot with your new mirrorless camera. I've tested everything on this list to make sure it performs as it should and, crucially, whether it's actually worth your money. If it didn't impress, it didn't make the list.

A slider is a great way of adding slick, professional-looking sideways camera movements that can add some real flair to your footage. And while sliders come in many shapes and sizes, I've found Edelkrone's Slider Plus to be a superb, compact option for use with a mirrorless camera.

While many mirrorless cameras have built-in image stabilization for smoother handheld footage, if you want to ensure you get steady shots over longer periods of time, using a shoulder rig is a smart move. By sitting on -- or up against -- the shoulder and with handles at the front, a shoulder rig provides a solid base for your camera to sit on, letting you capture dynamic, stable footage even with bigger cameras.

Zhiyun's Molus X100 LED light packs a huge amount of power into an extremely small package. It puts out 100 watts of power, which is as much as you'd typically get from dedicated studio monolights. It's small enough to be used handheld, which makes it remarkably convenient for lighting on the move or for lighting in tight spaces.

Leveling base tripods, as the name suggests, have a base that allows you to level your camera to the horizon independently of the tripod legs. It's often crucial in video to avoid wonky-looking footage as you pan the camera from side to side. Often these tripods can be big and bulky, but 3 Legged Thing's Jay is a different beast.

If you want to get even more creative with your lighting, Zhiyun's Fiveray light stick is a great creative toy to play around with. It's best thought of like a Star Wars lightsaber: a long stick that lights up in different colors and is handheld. Though you won't be slicing through droids with it, its bright output and handheld nature means it's easy to get that light in hard-to-reach places, or create other interesting lighting effects by moving it around.

A camera cage is a metal frame that fits around your camera, with mounting points for a variety of accessories. Smallrig's Black Mamba cage is specifically designed for the Canon R5 and allows you to fit top or side handles, or any other items, like LED lights, monitors or microphones. It turns your camera into a fully fledged video rig that makes it great for handheld filming.

If you've ever wanted to use a smoke machine for your videos but didn't want to have to carry one of those big boxes around -- and a power source for it -- then the SmokeGenie is for you. It puts out a huge amount of safe-to-breathe smoke that can fill a small room in seconds.

If you want smooth footage and dynamic camera movements then consider a stabilizing gimbal. The Zhiyun Weebill 2 stabilizes your mirrorless camera on three axes, keeping your shots looking steady, even if you're running with your camera.

Like the Zhiyun Weebill 2, Manfrotto's 300XM gimbal allows for smooth-looking footage thanks to its three-axis stabilization. But Manfrotto's gimbal has a trick up its sleeve; It has a modular design, that lets you detach the handle and use it as a wireless remote to continue controlling the gimbal and camera.

It can be difficult to monitor your footage solely using the small LCD screen on the back of your camera. That's especially the case if you have your camera on a shoulder rig, on a high tripod or in some other awkward position. In these cases, using an external monitor, connected via HDMI, is the best solution, providing a direct feed from your camera so you can see exactly what's going on.

If you've upgraded to a mirrorless camera that shoots 6K or 8K video -- such as the awesome Canon EOS R5 -- then odds are that camera accepts CFExpress cards. These storage cards are much faster than typical SD cards to both save files and to read them. As a result, they're what you'll need to look towards if you're planning on shooting high resolution video.

Any built-in microphone your camera might have isn't designed to capture professional-quality audio that you'd actually want to use in your finished videos. Instead, you'll need a proper microphone setup to make sure your audio sounds as good as your footage.

Matte boxes are essentially hoods that attach to the front of your camera lens and are used to help eliminate any weird light flares or distortions that might be caused by the sun or other light sources around you. They'll often have movable panels (called flags or barn doors) that you can position specifically to control the light, and there are usually slots to drop in cinematic filters.

Autofocus in cameras can be great for locking on to individual subjects, but when you want to achieve cinematic focus changes between different subjects in a scene, then you'll need to take manual control. A follow focus system attaches to a camera rig and allows your lens' focus ring to be turned more smoothly -- and without having to touch the camera, which could cause noticeable shaking in your footage.

I'm a professional photographer and video producer for CNET and I have personally tested every item on this list to confirm that it works as intended and that it's actually a genuinely helpful part of your video setup. No marketing promises have been taken at face value and if it didn't impress, it didn't make this list.

Some items are used as part of my everyday video production setup for CNET, helping me get creative footage for our video reviews. Others I've simply put to use in my studio, or out and about on shoots around my home city of Edinburgh or throughout wider Scotland. As a professional, I know what to look for in a good product and I know what would be more of a hindrance on a real shoot -- I need to trust that any equipment I take on location will always perform at its best and allow me to do the same.


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