Video journalist Christian Parkinson trades his ENG camera for the Sony A7S – take a look in his kit bag

By site editor Dan Chung:

So we all know that the Sony a7S is great little camera that is capable of creating lovely images. But what would it be like to actually replace an entire ENG camera kit with one? News cameraman turned video journalist Christian Parkinson’s latest posting to Africa is giving him the chance to find out.

Christian has a decade and a half of experience shooting news internationally and is author of the Camera Confidential (which is well worth a read). His new mission is to be able to cover hard news and features with a kit that fits into his backpack. He is blogging about his experiences and below is his first short post about what is in the bag:

I recently started work as a “Digital video producer” (essentially a VJ with a remit to do innovative work) based in Johannesburg. I had a tiny budget to purchase kit (£4000) and was keen to keep it as light weight as possible while still being practical enough to shoot features and hard news… not easy for a guy used to working with a Sony PMW 500 and a tonne of spares and lights etc.


My entire shooting kit now fits in a small photographers rucksack. Below is kit list below for those who are interested:

– Sony a7S with Movcam cage and Black Rapid strap
– Sony 18-200mm Power zoom (this is for the APS-C size sensor and works great on the a7S which can switch sensor size automatically)
– Sony XLR-K1M XLR Box and Microphone Kit (this is the XLR adaptor that allows me to attach two “pro” mics directly into the A7S)
– Sony a5100 camera with the 16-50mm kit lens (this is a great little “B” camera)
– Sony UWP-D11 Wireless Package (cheap as chips radio mic kit. . .Seems Ok so far but I haven’t had to test it in a challenging environment)
– A Rode Reporter mic
– A leatherman
– A 5m long XLR cable
– Mic stand
– 2x Sony Battery chargers
– 7x batteries (the same batteries work for both of my cameras)
– Notebook

So I also have a laptop bag with three small LED lights and a couple of stands in it. My edit kit lives in a small wheeled bag.

So far I’ve shot two pieces using this kit. . . I loved it though I found it hard to get my focus and exposure spot on in bright sunlight with moving subjects. I’ll write a full review of the kit once I have had a chance to do more and put it through it paces.

This blog post originally appeared on Christian’s own Imagejunkies website and you can follow his progress there.

Christian at work in Kenya with his old ENG kit. Picture by Ben Gurney
Christian at work in Kenya with his old ENG kit. Picture by Ben Gurney

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