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Dream DSLR Backpack Gear List

In a previous post I sketched out what a dream ultralight ONE backpack filmmaking kit might look like. By request, here are the links and prices for what I think is a dream essentials backpack DSLR kit to shoot something like an Indie Alaska episode. PLEASE NOTE: some of these I haven’t actually used, but just going off reviews and what I think would work in a ultralight kit. Beneath each item is the more heavier gear we actually use right now.


Canon 60D body – $700


Canon 17-55mm f/2.8 IS – $830


Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 IS – $2500

Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 – $585

Rode VideoMic Pro – $229

Opteka CXS-1 Shoulder Rig – $80 – right now we also use the 4lb counterweight, but in the backpack rig I want to leave this out!


Gitzo GT1542T Carbon Tripod – $680 – and Manfrotto 701HDV Fluid Head – $180.

Right now we use the Manfrotto 055XPROB with this Fluid Head and a Manfrotto 438 Ball Camera Leveler (total $370), or the all-in-one Sachler Ace M ($557). But in the backpack ultralight kit, this is the tripod and fluid head I’d get. We also use the Manfrotto 561BHDV-1 Monopod any time we’re shooting B-roll with the heavy 70-200mm lens, but in the ultralight kit I would just use the carbon tripod.

Westcott Ice Light – $500 and Battery Pack – $130. Plus a travel light stand ($50).

Right now we use two older 500 LED Video Lights with Sony V-mounts, but for a regular non-ultralight kit today I’d get two 900 LED lights and two Sony V-Mount batteries. We use generic travel light stands and a 43inch satin white umbrella with generic Home Depot clasps or an Umbrella AdapterFor a bigger budget I would get two Litepanels 1×1 bicolor lights instead of the budget 900 LED lights.

But of course, with the ultralight backpack rig, the Ice Light would be all you’d use for the interview. If you really wanted a hair light, I guess you could get two Ice Lights? Again, I haven’t used one yet, so it’s all based on reviews from other filmmakers.

Tiffen Variable ND Filter – $140. A must for outdoor shooting. Thankfully all 3 lenses have a 77mm filter diameter, so you don’t need any step-up filters.

Sony ECM-44 Wired Lav Mic – $200. Sennheiser G3 Wireless Lav Mic – $630.

Tascam DR-60D recorder – $360.

Two Manfrotto 394 Quick Release Plates for tripod and shoulder rig – $40 each.

MISC: two extra Canon 60D batteries, 3-4 32GB SD cards, lens microfiber, XLR cable for the wired Lav mic, stereo cable for Tascam to Camera, Sescom audio monitoring cable for the 60D, (you need to install Magic Lantern on the 60D to enable this feature), lens hood for the Canon 17-55mm (it doesn’t come with one, for some reason), three 77MM UV filters for protection, and moleskin to hide the Lav mic under people’s shirts (you can get this at any pharmacy, just cut up into 1 inch squares).

A backpack that would hold all this? I haven’t looked into this yet! That might be the key that makes all this possible. Right now we use a combo of Portabrace bags we already had at the station, plus a Thinktank camera bag I have occasionally, and a big Sachler tripod bag to hold all tripod, monopod, and light stands.

And if we’re talking about a dream ultralight kit, to really make this ultralight kit work, I would trade up the Canon 60D for a Canon C100 – $5,500.

That way, I would eliminate the need for the Tascam 60D recorder (XLR inputs and monitoring is built in), ND filter (built in), and quite possibly the Rode VideoMic, since the C100 has a built-in shotgun mic in its handle. Plus, with the C100’s ability to shoot at high ISOs without noise, I might switch the Canon 17-55mm f/2.8 to a Canon 24-105mm F/4.

In a separate bag with my clothes and stuff, I would have a MacBook Pro Retina (with 16GB Ram, a must) – $2750, and a 2TB Western Digital Passport USB3 drive, and Final Cut Pro X installed. And an Apple Magic Mouse. That’s really all you need to edit.

Anything else? In our current setup, we bring a small Konova slider with us, with an additional quick release plate on it. But it wouldn’t come along in the ultralight kit, and definitely couldn’t be supported by an ultralight carbon fiber tripod.

We also have used a number of other accessories, like a Steadicam, a variety of lights, reflectors, sound recorders, a Zacuto Z-Finder viewfinder, shoulder rigs with rails, a follow focus, an EVF (electronic viewfinder), and a bunch of low-light lenses, but I don’t think they are essential and would leave them out of this ultralight kit.

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