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Outback Photo Video for Photographers

Essential HDSLR Gear

by Bettina + Uwe Steinmueller


A HDSLR photographer wants to be able to shoot video and stills with as much common equipment as possible. Unfortunately every task requires some tools to get the work better done. We plan to cover here gear that we think is needed for the HDSLR Photographer.

Tripods, Heads, Plates and Leveling Bases

For the outdoor photographer good tripods that work for photography also can be used for video. This is not true for heads. Because you need to be able to perform "smooth" pans for video you need a good video head. These are not cheap and also not light. Right now we are still searching but will post findings here once we found what we are looking for.

Tripods/Video Heads

Leveling Base

Some video heads include a leveling base. It is needed because the video heads are designed to only move into two directions (pan & tilt). If your head does not include a leveling base you can use this one made by Acratech:

Acratech Leveling Base

More in this section to follow.

Dollies and Gliders

<more in the future>


<more in the future>


If you use the camera LCD for judging your framing and exposure you need a viewfinder that shields from external light and may also magnify the LCD.





We dedicated a whole review on the HoodLoupe here. We find it for still photography (e.g. Live View) essential and also very helpful for video.



The Z-Finder shows a large 3x magnified image. The Z-Finder is quite a bit more expensive than the HoodLoupe. We find it most needed if you plan to shoot with cameras that have no EVF (e.g. Canon and Nikon DSLRs) and want to shoot handheld.


For following purposes:

  • Follow Focus
  • Shoulder Mounts
  • Mounting of audio gear
  • Matte Boxes

Here is a tool we use for handheld shots:


5D Mark II, Camhandle and Z-Finder

Check for more info here.


Key filters are ND (Neutral Density) because they allow you to shoot at lower shutter speeds in bright sunlight (most often 1/2x frame rate). Useful are Variable NDs because you you can change the ND strength easily and control the exposure by the Vari ND only (requires manual video control like with the GH1, 5D Mark II or 7D)

Sing-Ray Vari ND (without Polarizer)

  • Combines Vari ND with a Polarizer
  • We use it mainly for our Panasonic GH1
  • We have an adapter for the Lee filter holder

Fader ND

Variable ND (available only at eBay).

  • Vignettes at wide angle
  • We have an adapter for the Lee filter holder

Graduated ND

  • We use a 0.6 4x6" filter to darken skies (requires a Lee or equivalent filter holder, watch for stray light on the filter, we shade is sometimes)


If you think the picture part of video is challenging then have a look at sound. Sound is an integral part of any movie and is often as important as the pictures. The HDSLRs are not really good in capturing audio. Here you need:

External Mics

<more in the future>

External portable Audio Recorders

<more in the future>










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