Thursday, December 1, 2011

Photography Equipment 2011 edition


Everyone has a number of hobbies, I am no exception. I got into photography many years ago, with my first camera being a 35mm point and shoot camera. Eventually as technology started to improve, I upgraded to a point and shoot camera. After many years and a couple of thousand shots, my point and shoot camera died. On that day, I made a fateful decision that will change my life. It was the day I decided to move to digital SLR's. Ever since I got into DSLR photography, I have focused heavily on improving my technique to be at a level where my photography can start being considered "art." As I go around an anime convention or around a city like Las Vegas, I always seem to get the same questions. Why do you carry two Digital SLR's? Why do you have those two specific lenses? Here is my photography equipment and why I have these two specifically.

Camera Bodies:
Canon Rebel XSi/450D: 35,000 shots taken on it
Canon EOS 60D: 10,000 shots taken on it

Camera Lenses: 
Canon EF 50mm f1.2L
Canon EF 24-70mm f2.8L

Canon EOS 60D and 50L
Pictured on my left is my newer camera, the Canon EOS 60D with the Canon 50mm f1.2L lens. I got the Canon 60D earlier in March 2011, after being frustrated continually switching lenses back in Anime Los Angeles and Las Vegas. The reason why I got the 60D is plain simple, it is the best new DSLR I could afford that is a huge improvement in terms of capabilities for my improving photography skill while not breaking the bank. Buying the model up, which is the Canon 7D was nigh near impossible because it was at a far higher premium price. I love this little camera, the battery life is amazing. I could take close to 1,400 shots on a single charge.

The lens attached to my Canon 60D is the Canon EF 50mm f1.2L lens. This lens is one of my favorite lenses of all time because it produces gorgeous images that just pop out. Due to the large aperture, the camera has incredible subject isolation and bokeh. It has a great effect that completely isolates the subject from the background. For portrait photography this lens is perfect. There are several downsides with a lens like this, the depth of field is so small that focusing on a different part can lead to the picture being out of focus. This explain why whenever I take shots of a cosplayer that I take multiple shots of them, refocusing each time I take the shot. The other downside of this lens is that during low lighting, without beam assist from a flash, the lens tends to miss quite often. Aside from that, this lens is amazing.

Canon XSi with 24-70L
The other camera I have attached to me is a Canon Rebel XSi with a 24-70L. The Canon XSi is my first Digital SLR and it is chugging along with over 35,000 shots. People always comment on the battery grip, and I didn't do it for the attention. I bought the Canon XSi battery grip because the camera grip feels like crap without it. The battery grip was bought out of necessity, not out of luxury. As one of the lower-tier camera models, it is pretty no frills. It has no top LCD, it is difficult to adjust exposure and ISO, the autofocus could be much better. At the time, this camera was praised since it was the first Rebel DSLR that didn't skimp on professional-level functionality. It was this critical acclaim that pushed me to buy it. Age aside, this digital SLR is still a winner, the pictures that come out of this thing is amazing.

The lens I have attached to the XSi camera is a Canon 24-70mm f2.8L. The lens is big, heavy and attracts way too much attention when doing street photography and con photography. As much as I would like to complain about it in terms of size, it is an amazing lens. This lens can do one thing that my 50mm lens cannot do, it can zoom. There are many times where I had to use the zoom to capture things that otherwise would not be possible without failing off of a cliff in nature trails or near walls in convention centers. It has a smaller aperture than my prime lens, so the background isolation is not as impressive. With that said, the camera zoom has some amazing bokeh (for a zoom lens) at the 70mm length, which is a vast majority of the photos I take on this lens. The depth of field is larger, which means that focus errors are less likely to occur when using the wrong focus point. The lens has a smaller opening than the 50mm, so why is it so freaking huge? The answer is because a zoom lens have lots of moving parts, and it is much harder to create a zoom that lets in lots of light compared to a lens with one focal length.

As I mentioned earlier, this setup is the closest thing to perfection that I can think for my style of shooting, which is portraits and cosplay photography. I can get two different effects with my lenses which will increase the number of interesting photos I can take. Maybe I could have 1 or 2 different lenses to get even more interesting photography, but i am really happy with my equipment now. My pro photographer friend always says, "The most expensive lens/camera that you own is the one that you don't use." I rather not be a gearhead and buy camera equipment because it is the newest shiny thing. I want to buy something because it adds functionality which can improve my ability as a photographer. Which is why my next upgrade in terms of camera equipment is not lenses nor it is camera bodies, it is camera flashes and software like Photoshop Elements (can't afford the real thing yet). After reading this, I hope you learned just a little bit more about the equipment I use to get my great cosplay photos.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That is some awesome equipment, have you considered buying a 200 f2.0L? Those would give some nice photos.