The Best Gear List

bullseyeIt’s difficult to decide what piece of equipment to buy, because there’s usually¬†more than one good choice. I created this post to make your decision painless. Below you’ll find a list of equipment that I’ve determined are the very best choices in their categories. The only decision you have to make is if you should get the low-budget or high-budget option.

 

I will do my best to update this list any time a better option becomes available. Let’s go:

Photography and Video

The Best Hybrid Video and Still Camerasgh3_smallish
Low budget – Panasonic GH4
High budget – Sony a7R II

The Best Prime Lenses for Micro Four Thirds for Stills + Video (for use on a tripod)
Low budget – Canon FD 50mm f/1.4 S.S.C. (adapter required)
High budget – Voigtlander 25mm f/0.95 Nokton

The Best Lenses for Micro Four Thirds (for use on shoulder-mounts for shooting video)
Low budget – Lumix G X Vario PZ 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 with Power O.I.S.
High budget – Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm f/2.8 with Power O.I.S.

The Best Lenses for Nikon Full Frame DLSRs
Low budget – Nikon 50mm f/1.8D
High budget – Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G ED

The Best Lenses for Canon DLSRs
Low budget – Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II
High budget – Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L

The Best Action Cameras
gopro_hero3_black_ed
Low budget – GoPro HERO5 Session
High budget –¬†GoPro HERO5 Black

The Best Compact Cameras
Low budget – Canon G7X
High budget – Sony RX100 V

The Best 3.5mm Mini-Plug Shotgun Mics for Camera
Low budget –¬†Sennheiser MKE 400
High budget –¬†Ambient TinyMic

The Best Variable ND Filter
Low budget – Light Craft Workshop Fader ND
High budget РSingh-Ray Vari-ND (read my hands-on review here)

Sound

The Best Portable Digital RecordersTascam DR-70D camera in out jacks
Low budget РTascam DR-70D (read my hands-on review here)
High budget – Sound Devices 633

The Best Wireless Lavalier Mic Systems for Video
“Low” budget –Sennheiser G3 ew 112-p
High budget – Lectrosonics UCR411

The Best XLR Shotgun Mics for Camera and Boompolerode_ntg2_on_5d
Low budget РRode NTG-2 (but I recommend saving up for a Rode NTG-3)
High budget – Sanken CS-3E

The Best Hyper Mics for Booming Interior Dialog
Low budget – Audix SCX1/HC
High budget – Schoeps Colette MK41

audix_scx1hc_small

The Best Computer Audio Interfaces
Low budget – PreSonus AudioBox USB
High budget – Universal Audio Apollo

The Best Over-the-Ear Headphones
Low budget – Sony MDR7506
High budget – Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro

The Best In-Ear Headphones
Low budget – Thinksound
High budget – Shure SE535

Computers & Mobile

The Best Laptops
macbook_air_small
“Low” budget – 13″ MacBook Pro Retina (2015)
High budget – 15″ MacBook Pro with Touch Bar

The Best Hard Drives
Low budget – G-Technology G-Drive
“High” budget – Glyph GPT50

The Best Tablets
Low budget – iPad Mini 4 32GB Wi-FiiPhone 6
High budget – 9.7″ iPad Pro 128GB

The Best Smartphones
Low budget – iPhone SE 64GB
High budget – iPhone 7 256GB¬†…seriously, pay extra for the 256GB. It’s worth it just to avoid the hassle of running out of space, and needing to delete photos, apps, etc.¬†

Home

The Best Coffee Makers
Low budget – AeroPress
“High” budget – Cuisineart EM-100

Okay, so a coffee maker isn’t a piece of creative production gear, but good coffee is vital to the process. Life is far too short to drink crappy coffee.


 NOTE: Last updated on December 4th, 2016.

The Short List of Interesting Gear from CES 2013

It takes a fair amount of elbow grease to weed through the deluge of new¬†products at CES 2013, in order to find the few things that are¬†actually useful. Here’s¬†my brief list of standout hardware from the bizarre circus in Las Vegas.

Continue reading The Short List of Interesting Gear from CES 2013

Gear of the Year 2012

2012 is done. It’s in the can. It’s a wrap. The martini take is finished. Blah blah blah. Lot’s of new equipment came out this year, as it does every year. Fun fact: the sun rises in the morning, and goes down at night. You’re learning a lot in this post. This is good. Here’s my list of the top gear for 2012.

1) The Sony RX1

First things first: this camera is absurdly expensive. It’s a little tiny camera that costs $2800 US dollars. Insane. That said, this camera is just plain old awesome. Continue reading Gear of the Year 2012

Google Squint: The New iOS Gmail App

After hearing near universal praise for Version 2.0 of Google’s Gmail app for iOS, I gave it a try on my iPhone 4. The app proved to be modern and sleek, however, in my opinion, it has a very basic, and very damning flaw. Simply put, the text is far too small and thin. I end up squinting a lot when I try to read emails, and my vision is pretty darn good. Here’s a¬†juxtaposition¬†of the same email, the old iPhone mail app is on the left, the new Gmail app is on the right:

Like the new Google Search app for iPad and iPhone, the new Gmail app seems like an attempt on Google’s part to Android-ize your Apple gadgets. However, by supplying an email app that favors visual flair over readability, you have to question the decision makers at the helm.

A Visual History of Pinch to Zoom

I was curious about the origin of the Pinch-to-Zoom touchscreen gesture, however, I was unable to find a resource that displayed all of the examples of this popular command. I decided to do some research, and share my findings here. What follows likely isn’t the whole story, however, the process of creating this post really helped me better understand the subject.

Continue reading A Visual History of Pinch to Zoom

US Patent Law, The Decisive Winner of Apple v. Samsung

This post is here to direct you to an article that I just wrote about US patent law and the Apple v. Samsung case. You can read it right now at The Verge by clicking this link:

http://www.theverge.com/2012/8/27/3271027/us-patent-law-the-decisive-winner-of-apple-v-samsung

 

Photo credit: smlp.co.uk / Foter / CC BY

Droid Sheds First Tear for Nonexistent iPhone 5

The fervor surrounding the rumored teardrop-shaped iPhone 5 was freakishly high in late September 2011. And when a familiar-looking, boxy iPhone was revealed on October 4th, it sincerely disappointed the masses. However, just because Apple didn’t release a slope-shaped smartphone, overeager companies still manufactured cases for it. Motorola went as far as releasing the new Droid Razr, a teardrop-shaped smartphone designed to compete with a nonexistent rival. Continue reading Droid Sheds First Tear for Nonexistent iPhone 5

Top Crap for 2011

The Best of 2011In past years I’ve given this post impressive sounding titles like “The Top Ten Trends and Innovations of Two Thousand and blah blah,” and stuff like that. Sounds really zippy, doesn’t it? This year, instead of nominating myself as the official trend-spotter of the universe, I figured it’s best to call it what it is: crap. Interesting crap, stupid crap, inspiring crap and¬†embarrassingly¬†terrible crap. It’s kind of a¬†pessimistic angle, but hey, you’re still reading. That’s the only thing I give a crap about.

10) The crapping out of the cable cutting revolution

In 2010 there was a big scare amongst cable providers that great multitudes of people would cancel their cable TV service in favor of streaming content from the Internet. We were mired in the depths of a recession, people were losing jobs left and right, and nifty little set-top boxes like the Apple TV 2 and the Roku were coming out to help us get by without the Real Housewives and House Hunters. Sadly, most people didn’t cut the cord. The magnetic pull of ESPN, Snooki, J Wow and The Situation was just too strong. Continue reading Top Crap for 2011

Mourning the Loss of Steve Jobs

“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after awhile.”

“No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because death is very likely the single best invention of life. It is life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday, not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true. Continue reading Mourning the Loss of Steve Jobs

The iLife: It Feels Like Someone Else’s Life, But it’s My Life

Apple iPad 2, iPhone 4, MacBook Pro, Apple TV, AirPort ExtremeAfter going back and forth for several months between lusting after an iPad 2 and being indifferent about it, I finally grew tired of the seesaw of desires and surrendered my credit card. What’s unsettling is not only am I the owner of a shiny new iPad 2, but now I’m one of those weirdos who has the entire range of the Apple-branded revolution gadgets in my home. While these products are fun and exciting to play with, I can’t help but feel a bit like a conformist. I’ve become that latte-sipping, croissant-munching stereotype that people love to hate. Continue reading The iLife: It Feels Like Someone Else’s Life, But it’s My Life