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Top 10 Useful Gifts Under $100 for a Beginner Videographer

28 August 2023

Are you searching for the perfect useful gift for a budding videographer in your life? Or perhaps to get yourself a little something? Look no further! Whether they’re just starting their journey into the world of videography or already tinkering with cameras and editing software, finding the right gift that aligns with their passion can be truly rewarding. The best part? You don’t have to break the bank to make their day. In this article, we’ve curated a list of the top 10 useful gifts under $100 that will light up the eyes of any aspiring videographer.

From essential tools that enhance their shooting experience to accessories that add that professional touch, our selection is designed to cater to a beginner’s needs while considering your budget. Whether it’s a versatile tripod to stabilize their shots, an elegant camera mounting system for efficiently moving between setups, or gear to keep your recordings powered and going, we’ve got you covered. Join us as we explore these budget-friendly yet invaluable gifts that will undoubtedly make a significant impact on their videography journey.

So, here are the top 10 useful pieces of videography gear under $100 that I use:

1. Arca Swiss Quick Release Plates & Clamps

CL-50LS Aluminum Alloy Quick Release Clamp with Adjustable Lever Knob-Type 1/4″ & 3/8″ Screw Hole Compatible for Arca Swiss Standard Quick Release Plate Ball Head Tripod

These Quick Release clamps are great and have a safety locking mechanism so that you don’t ever accidentally unlock your camera. Quick and easy to set up and use, they will save you a ton of time on set for less than $30 each. The Andoer brand isn’t available on Amazon in the US, but you can get the Sequpr Pu50 instead, which has the same features. Small Rig also has a version of this clamp, but it doesn’t have the same safety clamping mechanism.

Harwerrel 60mm Quick Release Plate Fits Arca-Swiss Standard for Camera Tripod Ballhead (Pack of 2)

For plates, I really like the 60mm Arca-Swiss plates from Harwerrel. They’re sturdy, easy to mount to your camera and don’t wobble. They also have a 50mm plate version if you like shorter plates and are super affordable at under $15 for a pack of 2.

Having a quick-release system like this is really helpful if you’re on set. You don’t want to be wasting precious time screwing and unscrewing your mounting plates to switch your setup. So, definitely consider investing in it – those precious seconds and minutes really do add up a lot over time!

2. PGYTECH Beetle Camera Clip

PGYTECH Beetle Camera Clip with Plate Camera Quick Release System for Sony, Nikon, Fuji, DSLR Action Camera Backpack Camera Strap Mount

This little camera clip is so useful when you’re out and about shooting. You can attach it to your belt, backpack or wherever else has a strap to have quick access to your camera. The mounting plate is also a Swiss-Arca compatible plate, to it is interchangeable with the clamps above. This makes moving from tripod, to gimbal, to camera clip super fast and easy! By offering a secure grip and a plate camera quick-release mechanism, this accessory streamlines the workflow and empowers videographers to capture spontaneous moments with efficiency and ease.

The locking mechanism is super secure so you don’t have to worry about your gear falling out, and there’s an extra layer of safety with it’s lock switch so that you can’t accidentally disengage it.

Coming in at around $80 CAD or $60 USD, it’s a great deal.

There’s also the Peak Design Capture Camera Clip V3. However, this one is a bit more pricey (about $125 CAD or $75 USD at the time of this post), for pretty much the same functionality.

3. SmallRig Universal Height-Adjustable Baseplate with Rail Support System with Rod Clamp & 8-inch rods

Number 3 on this list is actually 3 different components that form a camera mounting system you can build for under $100.

SMALLRIG Universal 15mm Rail Support System with 15mm Rod Clamp and Quick Release Plate – 2272

This versatile setup offers precise control over camera height and alignment, essential for achieving stable and perfectly framed shots. The adjustable baseplate allows seamless compatibility with various camera models, while the rail support system ensures secure attachment of accessories like matte boxes, follow focus systems, and external monitors. The Rod Clamp further expands creative possibilities, enabling videographers to attach additional gear for a streamlined shooting experience. Whether filming in a studio setup or on location, this SmallRig system provides the stability, flexibility, and accessory support necessary for capturing professional-grade video content.

If you’re in Canada, you can also check out the NICEYRIG 15mm Rail Riser Rig System, Quick Release Base Kit, which is similar and a little cheaper.

SmallRig Super Lightweight 15mm Railblock, 15mm Rod Clamp with 1/4″-20 Thread

This railblock clamp offers you several mounting options with the standard 1/4″-20 thread holes. It comes in a 2-pack and you can mount a variety of accessories, batteries, etc on it.

SMALLRIG 15mm Camera Rods (8 Inch)

Lastly, for this mounting system, you’ll need some rods. The 8-inch rods are long enough for mounting 2 of the railblocks easily. But depending on your setup and what you’re planning on mounting, you may want something longer or shorter. You could also get the Carbon Fiber Rods instead if you want something more fancy!

4. NEEWER 77-inch camera tripod

NEEWER 72″ Fluid Head Video Tripod Monopod, Aluminum Alloy QR Plate Compatible with DJI RS Gimbal Manfrotto, 360° Pan & +90°/-70° Tilt for DSLR Camera Camcorder, Max Load 17.6lb/8kg, TP72A

Every beginner videographer needs a good tripod. With its impressive height for a budget option, this tripod provides a vantage point for capturing dynamic shots from various angles. Its sturdy build ensures steady support for cameras of different sizes, while the adjustable pan and tilt head enables smooth panning and tilting movements.

One really handy feature of this budget tripod is that one of the legs can be detached and used as a monopod – super useful!

This tripod comes in both a ball head version for around $80 and a Fluid Head video version for around $130.

If you got the first 4 items on this list, you would have a really great quick-release, interchangeable setup for your camera to go from tripod, to gimbal, to run-and-gun shooting really quickly!

5. Colour Checker Card

A Colour Checker Card is an indispensable tool that every videographer should have in their kit. It ensures accurate colour reproduction and consistency across various shots and scenes. By using a Color Checker Card, videographers can calibrate their cameras and maintain colour accuracy from scene to scene, even under different lighting conditions. This tool streamlines the post-production process, as it provides a reliable reference point for colour correction and grading. Whether you’re shooting a commercial, a short film, or capturing life’s moments, a Color Checker Card guarantees that your video’s colours are true to life, enhancing the overall visual quality and professionalism of your work.

Calibrite ColorChecker Passport Video is available for about $120 USD and the Datacolor SpyderCHECKR 24 is about $49 USD. Either could be used for a beginner.

It’s definitely worth the investment if you’re looking at doing video work professionally!

6. Small Rig Super Clamp & Magic Arm

SmallRig Clamp w/ 1/4″ and 3/8″ Thread and 9.8 Inches Adjustable Friction Power Articulating Magic Arm with 1/4″ Thread Screw for LCD Monitor/LED Lights – KBUM2732B

We really love these clamps and magic arms! They’re so versatile and useful for mounting gear to your rig or to light stands or anything else, really.

It comes with a super clamp with 1/4″ and 3/8″ threads and an articulating arm with 1/4” screws on both ends. It is made of lightweight aluminum alloy and can be mounted virtually anywhere, such as cameras, lights, umbrellas, hooks, shelves, plate glass, cross bars, and even other Super Clamps. The Super Clamp opens to a maximum of 54mm and a minimum of 15mm. The Ball Head Articulating design adjusts to any angle based on your needs and the 1/4″ thread on both ends makes it easy to install any on-camera flashlights, microphone, LCD monitor, DV Monitor, or microphone.

Both the Super Clamp and the Articulating Magic Arm features a rubber cushion which could prevent the scratches of monitor and help to lock your accessories tighter without worrying about damaging your gear.

Available in a 9.5-inch version and a 5.8-inch version coming in at under $30 each.

7. High-Speed SD Memory Cards

With today’s amazing hybrid digital cameras that can shoot 4K 120fps slow motion, you need memory cards that are fast enough to handle that amount of data! However, fast memory cards can be really expensive.

We’ve found some reasonable budget options that are decent quality, fast enough for doing 4K 120p, yet won’t break your wallet.

Lexar Professional V60 256 GB – coming in under $80 USD or $100 CAD, this is a steal of a deal for a V60 card! Especially from a good name brand like Lexar. We’ve been using these cards with no problems. The V60 is fast enough to comfortably do 4K 60p video. However, you’ll need to get the V90 cards to do 120p. You can get a Lexar Professional V90 64GB card for under $64 USD.

If you want an even better deal, check out the SABRENT V90 64GB for under $40 USD or the 128 GB version for under $90 USD.

NOTE: The Lexar V90s are slightly faster than the Sabrent, (300 MB/s read & 260MB/s write vs 280MB/s read & 250 MB/s write). However, this has not seemed to affect performance much for us. So, the Sabrent, at almost half the price, is fine if you want to save some money or buy 2!

8. Extra Batteries & Charger

There’s no point in having a great camera if you don’t have the juice to run it. Extra batteries are a must for the aspiring videographer. However, brand-name batteries are often expensive. So, here are a few budget alternatives that perform well and won’t make you take out a second mortgage.

The brand, Joiry, makes batteries for a variety of camera brands and models. They sell 2-packs with a charger, which is actually really nice. They’re available in Canada on Amazon, but not in the US.

Joiry doesn’t seem to be available on Amazon in the US, but there are similar ones like the Powerextra Replace for Sony NP-FZ100 Battery and LCD Triple Charger which is a really nice option as well!

9. In-Ear Monitoring Earphones

YINYOO KZ ZSN Pro in Ear Buds Earphones Hybrid Dynamic Driver Balanced Armature Earbuds Headphones Dual Driver 1DD 1BA D

A pair of In-Ear Monitoring Earphones is an essential asset for videographers, providing precise and isolated sound to monitor your audio quality in real-time. Whether you’re recording interviews, dialogues, or ambient sounds, a good pair of earphones offer a clear understanding of audio nuances, ensuring optimal recording conditions.

We prefer IEMs for their discreet design, which is perfect for maintaining a professional appearance, and their noise isolation capabilities help videographers focus on capturing impeccable audio. Also, these budget ones from YINYOO have a great cable that doesn’t get all tangled up easily. Despite their budget price, they give you high-quality performance for under $30 USD.

One of the worst things that can happen is that you get back from a shoot to check the footage on your computer, only to find out that the audio was terrible or noisy. Don’t do that to yourself. Get a good pair of monitoring earphones – you’ll thank us later!

10. Samsung T7 Portable SSD

Fast reliable storage is essential for videographers and video editors. However, internal drives can be very expensive (especially on laptops). So, having a good external drive for storage and to work off of is super handy.

The light, pocket-sized Portable SSD T7 delivers fast speeds with easy and reliable data storage for your video files. The drive works via USB-C/Thunderbolt and delivers blazing fast sequential read/write speeds of up to 1,050/1,000 MB/s, respectively. Unlike HDDs, the Portable SSD T7 has no moving parts so it’s more resistant to shock and minor drops; making it perfect for on-site storage while your out shooting. Plus, its solid aluminum unibody construction adds further protection, keeping your data safe from falls of up to 6 ft and is backed by a 3-year limited warranty.

We love how sleek and compact this SSD is also. Roughly the size of a credit card and only weighing 2 oz, the T7 fits comfortably in the palm of your hand and is light enough to take your files on the go. There are 3 colours to choose from: classic gray, striking blue and red, and it comes in three capacities:

We hope that you’ve found this list helpful and that it’s given you some good gift ideas for that special videographer in your life!

If you’re looking for a beginner’s guide to buying your first camera, check out this article.

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