July 25, 2015

won't upgrade blog
Let me explain why I am not interested in any of the latest cameras.



Everyone says that Hitchcock or Scorsese would be able to make a great film with a cheap camera, and I totally believe they would.  But it doesn’t happen. My theory is that the people who don’t prioritise equipment & technical things end up being successful enough that they shoot on high end gear just because they can. It’s definitely not the equipment itself that makes them great / successful. So that kind of thinking has lead me to hold on to my rusty old T3i and see what happens.



– Using the same camera allows me to focus on the important things. I don’t have to grapple with a complex RAW or LOG workflow, file sizes are nice and small, as is the camera itself. It doesn’t hold me back because I know if it get’s destroyed or lost, it won’t cost too much.

– It also teaches me to push myself – learn better lighting, can’t rely on low light performance. I think this’ll help a lot, because often we see a detailed image as good despite the issues with cinematography.  The best way to judge visuals is to watch it on 360p on YouTube. If it still look’s pretty good, then they’ve done well with lighting, grading, composition, set design etc.

– And finally, using a ‘cheap’ camera reminds me not to put my value in the equipment i’m using. I’m free from deciding which camera to buy next (we’ll never be satisfied with our current camera) and have a strong symbol of prioritising creativity over technicality & equipment.


Kendy Ty is a genius. The amount of atmosphere in these shots – the colour, the locations, the framing. I believe most of this was shot with the T2i.

Kendy Ty Director’s Showreel from Kendy on Vimeo.

This film is extremely powerful. I highly recommend you watch it. I believe it was shot with a Canon 60D.

I thought I’d throw this in there – just a reminder of how easy it is to forget about cameras and cinematography when your watching something decent. All of Julian’s earlier videos were shot with the Canon 7D I believe.



A photo posted by Simon Cade (@cadevisuals) on

Simon Cade

Filmmaker, and host of DSLRguide. Since I was making my first film age 11, I have always been fascinated by the way films are produced, and the effect it can have on the audience.

  • gloubiboulga

    Great post (once again). I agree with you. This gear race is nonsense. T3i is perfectly fine when use properly with an adequate lens.
    More on this topic here http://philipbloom.net/blog/working-with-less-or-get-out-there-and-shoot-part-1/

  • Johan

    Inspirational. It’s a dilemma that we all struggle with. I go from one extreme to the other on a daily basis.. Haha

  • Alexander Gärtner

    True words mate! i shot this short-movie 2 years ago on a Canon EOS 600. Not perfect but it worked for me ;)

  • Jerry Roe

    You hit the nail on the head Simon. The story is key. That’s why you will hear a lot of people say, they liked the book better than the movie. As far as equipment goes, I just got into video a few years ago. I spent over forty years as a still photographer, shooting mostly weddings on a used Mamiya C220 TLR that I bought used for $25. You have your head on straight kid. You already know, what it will take the equipment whores of the World…..a life time to learn. Keep shooting…….advice from an old guy….always, always, always, have your camera with you.

  • Michael Pearce

    Nice blog post dude, it’s all extremely true. I’ve shot pretty much all of my films on a Canon 60D, with the exception of my latest film, which was shot on a C100, but that belonged to the Cinematographer I work with. One of my films which was called Fade (http://www.mpfilmmaker.co.uk/#!fade/c1s85) was shot on my Canon 60D, and it was told it had outstanding Production Values, even though I spent literally no money on it. Keep doing what you do man, best of luck!

  • Gman

    How are you doing? I really respect your passion for staying focused on the story instead of camera. But I must also point out that, there’s a huge difference in youtube short films and full length features for distribution. In my humble opinion, it all depends on what level of film making you are on or want to be on. Because for producers to hire you as a DP on professional gigs, you have to upgrade. I own 5D mrk II, 7D and a 60D but they’ve been sitting on the shelf since the 4K got in the picture. Right now, that’s what the market is calling for. I was forced to buy a Red Scarlet and now I just ordered the 4.6K BM Ursa. Let me explain why. For people like me that do this for a living, we have to go with the technology or we will go out of business but for those that have regular jobs and only mess with movies on their spare times may stay with one camera. For those that feed their family with their camera, you have to get with what the market is demanding. As much as i love what I do, It’s still business. I had to upgrade because I’m shooting full length features for producers all over the world. Most of my clients will not allow me to DP a feature with anything less than 4k these days… even thought I’ve shot my own movie (Jacob’s Eye) with canon 60D (https://youtu.be/PTU5SaCpdyg) and a lot of music videos (https://youtu.be/PySYaZ8y6L8) Now, both look fantastic but it looks very cheap and low budget compared to the feature (Private Targets) I shot with a Red epic (https://youtu.be/alMJI2AFT-I) To the producers, they are thinking licensing and international distribution so it’s a little harder for them to be content with DSLR shooting. Not saying all this to dispute what you believe but only to shed lights in what you may face once you start shooting pro gigs for movie producers. I wish you the best. Thanks for sharing. Blessing!

  • Barry Wilson

    You are absolutely right. If you make something compelling, and are able to get people to watch it and the right one does, you will get to use the best equipment. I see you are someone who follows through. I have depression and no friends so I make videos by myself. Can tell a story and frame it. Don’t have the will to get actors or crew. From my point of view you are an admirable and lucky guy

  • North Beach Phil

    Well said! There are so many web sites where photographers go to review new equipment and then suggest that a button’s position or burst speed will make a great photo. But there is never any talk about good composition or descriptions of seeing an art show that inspired them. All tech and no art. I have the t2i and I think it is a great camera for films-although I have to admit that I did spring for a good lens :-)

  • modemmex

    excellent. I’ve always thought you can make a great story with what you have – it’s not about having the latest and greatest. Keep up with learning and knowledge but also become a master with the camera you own. I work with people who always upgrade and spend a ton of money on cameras – but they never really master them. Everything is a trial and just when they get a handle on it – they get a new camera that is more complex than the previous one.