Today's best mirrorless cameras, like the Canon EOS R5, Sony A7 R IV and Panasonic Lumix S5, aren't just great at taking still images; they're superb video cameras too. With features including image stabilization, high frame rate footage and resolutions up to a whopping 8K, mirrorless cameras aren't just great for amateurs who want to capture some vacation clips, they're good enough for professional work too.
But having the camera and a lens will only get you so far in creating pro-standard, cinematic footage. There's a whole variety of additional kit you'll need to consider if you want to elevate your video production beyond a base level, from different methods of stabilizing your shots, through to tools that allow for more creativity in your video.
Read more: Best camera to buy in 2023
We've rounded up our top picks of the best gimbals, sliders, shoulder rigs, storage cards and more to help transform the footage you shoot with your new mirrorless camera. I've tested everything on this list to make sure it performs as it should and, crucially, whether it's actually worth your money. If it didn't impress, it didn't make the list.
A slider is a great way of adding slick, professional-looking sideways camera movements that can add some real flair to your footage. And while sliders come in many shapes and sizes, I've found Edelkrone's Slider Plus to be a superb, compact option for use with a mirrorless camera.
It's small enough to fit into a kit bag, but thanks to its unique mounting system, it essentially allows the camera to travel double its length, making it great for anyone who wants to create great-looking travel videos without having to haul loads of gear on location.
You can get motorized add-ons too that turn it into a smartphone-programmable slider so you can control it remotely and create repeatable moves. Pictured above is the slider with the Motor Module, which lets me control the slider with my phone which is great for getting smooth and steady footage at slower speeds.
While many mirrorless cameras have built-in image stabilization for smoother hand-held footage, if you want to ensure you get steady shots over longer periods of time, using a shoulder rig is a smart move. By sitting on -- or up against -- the shoulder and with handles at the front, a shoulder rig provides a solid base for your camera to sit on, letting you capture dynamic, stable footage even with bigger cameras.
PolarPro's Pivot shoulder rig is a great solution video shooters on the move as the whole rig conveniently folds down small enough to store in a backpack, yet folds out in just a few clicks when you need it. Its carbon fiber rods make it sturdy, while its handles and shoulder pads can be adjusted to give you the most comfortable experience.
If you want smooth footage and dynamic camera movements then consider a stabilizing gimbal. The Zhiyun Weebill 2 stabilizes your mirrorless camera on three axes, keeping your shots looking steady, even if you're running with your camera.
While the base model comes with all you need for steady footage, the Pro package takes things further, bundling advanced gear including a follow focus system and a wireless video transmitter that lets you see the video footage on the gimbal's fold-out LCD display, on compatible external monitors or even on your phone.
The Pro Plus package we tested can be found in photo specialty stores. It includes Zhiyun's MasterEye monitor that connects to the wireless video transmitter and has its own controls for remotely controlling the gimbal, the focus system and basic camera settings.
Like the Zhiyun Weebill 2, Manfrotto's 300XM gimbal allows for smooth-looking footage thanks to its three-axis stabilization. But Manfrotto's gimbal has a trick up its sleeve; It has a modular design, that lets you detach the handle and use it as a wireless remote to continue controlling the gimbal and camera.
Manfrotto also launched the Fast GimBoom, a carbon fiber extending pole, with screw mounts on the top and bottom allowing you to attach the 300XM gimbal to the top and the remote control gimbal handle to the bottom. The result? Your camera is now on top of a 45-inch pole allowing you to get dynamic footage that looks like it was shot using a crane or jib, with much less hassle.
The twist mechanism of the GimBoom makes it quick to work with, while the optional tripod legs allow it to stand up on its own to operate as a regular tripod.
Leveling base tripods, as the name suggests, have a base that allows you to level your camera to the horizon independently of the tripod legs. It's often crucial in video to avoid wonky-looking footage as you pan the camera from side to side. Often these tripods can be big and bulky, but 3 Legged Thing's Jay is a different beast.
It's built with portability in mind, with four-section carbon fiber legs that fold down small, but still provide a sturdy base for cameras when fully extended. The video head has a panning arm for smooth… well, panning. Meanwhile the tilt function is slick, with additional friction easily dialed in for greater control.
But it has some other tricks up its sleeve: You can detach the legs, attach the head to one and turn it into a monopod, or you can attach small feet to the head and turn it into a tabletop video tripod. It might not come cheap, but this tripod is solidly built and its transforming nature makes it useful in a wide variety of scenarios.
If you've upgraded to a mirrorless camera that shoots 6K or 8K video -- such as the awesome Canon EOS R5 -- then odds are that camera accepts CFExpress cards. These storage cards are much faster than typical SD cards to both save files and to read them. As a result, they're what you'll need to look towards if you're planning on shooting high resolution video.
Even 4K footage can be challenging to slower SD cards, especially if you're shooting at high frame rates or in Log formats, which generate more data per minute of footage. At CNET we've used ProGrade's Cobalt CFExpress cards for shooting a variety of high definition videos and they've performed well, with higher capacities available to eliminate the need for swapping out cards halfway through a shoot.
CFExpress cards are certainly more expensive than SD cards, but if you want to make the most of capturing at those maximum resolutions then it's worth investing in good storage that can handle the huge files.
Any built-in microphone your camera might have isn't designed to capture professional-quality audio that you'd actually want to use in your finished videos. Instead, you'll need a proper microphone setup to make sure your audio sounds as good as your footage.
DJI is better known for its drones, but its Mic setup is a superb wireless audio recording solution in a neat package. The kit comes with a receiver that sits on your camera and two separate wireless mics -- one for you, one for your friend, perhaps. The connection is strong and stable and the audio quality is superb, even in high wind thanks to the supplied wind shields.
The mics are stored conveniently in a case that charges them, providing up to 15 hours of total recording time. The output can plug directly into your camera's mic socket or you can even use it with your iPhone or Android phone using a 3.5mm adapter.
Matte boxes are essentially hoods that attach to the front of your camera lens and are used to help eliminate any weird light flares or distortions that might be caused by the sun or other light sources around you. They'll often have movable panels (called flags or barn doors) that you can position specifically to control the light, and there are usually slots to drop in cinematic filters.
PolarPro's Recon matte box ticks both of those boxes, with a large carbon fiber panel mounted on the top that's great for blocking flares from bright sunlight. The base kit comes with the hood, the flag and a variable neutral density filter. This filter reduces light coming in through the lens and gets even darker as you twist it. It allows you to maintain the correct shutter speed for your footage, even when the light starts to change.
Upgrade to the Director's kit and you can take the creativity further. This set also includes a mist filter that adds a cinematic haze to your footage and a "bluemorphic" filter that turns hard light sources (car headlights, for example) into wide blue light streaks, similar to the anamorphic lens flares that are a staple of J.J. Abrams' Star Wars and Star Trek movies.
How we test
I'm a professional photographer and video producer for CNET and I have personally tested every item on this list to confirm that it works as intended and that it's actually a genuinely helpful part of your video setup. No marketing promises have been taken at face value and if it didn't impress, it didn't make this list.
Some items are used as part of my everyday video production setup for CNET, helping me get creative footage for our video reviews. Others I've simply put to use in my studio, or out and about on shoots around my home city of Edinburgh or throughout wider Scotland. As a professional, I know what to look for in a good product and I know what would be more of a hindrance on a real shoot -- I need to trust that any equipment I take on location will always perform at its best and allow me to do the same.