People ask me often what equipment I use when on a cosplay photoshoot or running around a con, enough to warrant this page. For the curious or confused, I present The Rig ™, a comprehensive listing of all gear I keep hung around my neck for three or four days straight and conventions.
CANON 70D BODY – The heart of The Rig ™ is the Canon 70D dSLR mid-range professional camera. This little baby shoots in glorious HD and can also film in 1080HD video. It has a 19-Point Cross type Auto-Focus system and features not one but two Digic 5+ Sensors for crazy accuracy in color and clarity. The new flip touch screen LCD panel on the back helps with framing up shots quickly and accurately. I use to shoot with the venerable Canon 30D and did for 8 years. This is a huge jump in technology from my previous camera and hopefully it will keep me going for another 8 years to come. For a full blown review on this bad guy of filming go check out the review over at DPReview: http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/canon-eos-70d
TAMRON 24-70 2.8 VC LENS – My workhorse lens. On my old Canon 30D system I shot with a Canon 24-70 2.8L lens for nearly six years straight. It is an incredible lens but it comes at an incredible cost of over $2000 and that was a cost I was not willing to incur on this go around. This 3rd party lens is almost as effective as it’s Canon counterpart but at a more reasonable price tag of $1039 (at the time of purchase). It has a similar weight to it as the Canon and the build quality feels just as solid. It also has something that the Canon brand lens in this category is sorely lacking; Vibration Control (Image Stabilizing). It is unforgivable that the new Mark II version of the Canon 24-70 2.8L is still devoid of any kind of image stabilization with that kind of price tag. Even though the Tamron is much cheaper the quality of the photos does not suffer. Images and sharp and full of color. All but the most snobbish of Canon loyalists will not notice a difference at all in my opinion.
CANON 50mm 1.8 PRIME LENS – At just a measly $89 how can you not have this peppy little prime lens in your bag of tricks? With it’s crazy aperture of 1.8 you can get some amazing bokeh backgrounds with this affordable portrait lens. It’s a prime, which means it doesn’t zoom, but a photographer should never been afraid to become their own zoom mechanism and just walk to and from your subject, space permitting. This lens can also shoot in very poor lighting. Match it with the Canon 70D’s ability to shoot at high ISO’s without to much harsh noise and you have yourself a match made in camera heaven. You do have to watch that Depth of Field closely as you can get in trouble without properly focusing in on your subject. A 1.8 aperture is unforgiving when it comes putting things into focus.
CANON 75-300mm 4-5.6 LENS – Go long! Go real long! My 3rd lens that doesn’t see much action is the Canon 75-300. This long range zoom lens is good for outdoor shooting when your subject is far off or you want to be an inconspicuous photojournalist or you just wanna perv out and shoot people without them knowing it. This lens is better suited for Renn-fair like settings where you just want to capture all the neat costumes without having to stop every single person. It has a few other uses but is not a choice for work on the con floor. The extreme zoom level doesn’t allow for much maneuvering in tight spaces.
YONGSOU SPEEDLITE 568EX II FLASH – I can already feel the Canon Elitists sneering in rage at my choice of flash gun but when I can get 4 of these flashes for the cost of ONE Canon 580EX II you can bet your sweet buns I am going to take it. I used to shoot with the Canon 580EX II Speedlite flash and it was awesome. When I was shopping for new gear I nearly passed out when I saw the price tag on a new one of those flashes; $699.99. I was like WTH is it made of? So after the sticker shock wore off I went hunting for a 3rd Party alternative and the Yongsou is what the photography public agrees upon as being an excellent alternative to the Canon brand flash. It is 99% identical in appearance as the Canon version and has a light accuracy close to the Canon. All my light bounce accessories work just fine on this thing. I plan on grabbing another 3 of these with slave RF receives so I can do off camera studio lighting setups in the near future.
GARY FONG LIGHTSPHERE PRO KIT – I rolled with a Lumiquest 80/20 bounce for many years and towards the end of my first stint as a cosplay photographer, more and more photogs started showing up with these Lightspheres on their flashes. I decided to give it a go this time around with the new system and grabbed a full Gary Fong kit. I am not disappointed. This thing spreads light smoothly like a delicious spread of peanut butter on a warm toast. The light is very very nice with this thing attached to my flash.
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Parent page: THE RIG