Should You Buy a New Video Camera?

"We are what we repeatedly do."

“You are more important than your camera.”

“What’s the best camera for indie filmmakers?” – “What’s the best video editing software?” – “What equipment do I need to enroll in your course?”

As a film education provider, Lights Online Film School receives countless questions about the tools of the trade. So far this year, we’ve profiled 8 popular video cameras and 3 professional video editing programs to prepare students and readers for their independent productions.

Essentially, our posts do the research for you, helping you decide what equipment best suits your specific needs and budget. But as we’ve said time and again here at Lights, tools are a means to an end, not an end in themselves. Tech specs are important, but more important is the person behind the camera.

In other words, you don’t need the latest gadgets in order to enroll in our course and succeed as a filmmaker.

This conviction is at the heart of what we do, so we were thrilled to watch Simon Cade, the mastermind behind DSLRguide, explain his decision to prioritize making films over amassing shiny new gear. “Why I Won’t Buy a New Camera” shook the indie film community this month, and with good reason. It champions a return to roots.

“I’ve got a lot to learn about lighting, a lot to learn about sound,” Simon shares. “But more than that, I need to learn how to tell an interesting story; how to get a good performance out of actors.” He commits to building his craft with his trusty Canon T3i, because “For the price of a Sony a7S, I could make a short film.”

In the words of Aristotle, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.” We become better filmmakers by making film after film; not by buying camera after camera.

Simon’s work is case in point. Check out this frame from one of his 2013 productions:

buynewcamera_S1

Now check out this frame from 2014, shot on the same camera, after 1.5 years of lighting and color grading experience:

buynewcamera_S2

Inspired? Then invest three minutes in Simon’s “Why I Won’t Buy a New Camera”:

If you have a camera available and your budget is tight, we encourage you to think twice before upgrading. How else might you use those funds? What actors, crew members, locations might you be able to afford?

Of course, if you don’t have equipment, our camera guide and editing guide are an efficient starting point! Just remember, you are more important than your tools.

 Michael Koehler, with


Geared up and eager to shoot your film but want a bit of guidance? We invite you to check out our affordable online filmmaking course – more curated than a blog, more interactive than a textbook, and more flexible than a location-specific film school.

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