My New and Used Equipment

I’ve had a bunch of people ask me what camera I use and how I can get such clear and sharp photos. I didn’t choose my camera and equipment myself when I started out as I’ve mostly borrowed whatever my family already owned, but in hindsight, analyzing my style and what I like, I think the cameras has suited me very well. Let me show you what equipment I frequently use for my photoshoots and what I’ve recently bought!

My usual tripod and camera set up when I shoot figure photos.
My usual tripod and camera set up when I shoot figure photos.

Equipment I use and have used:

  • Panasonic LUMIX G Camera DMC-GH4EB (Panasonic info page) – My new camera, as in it was released this February (2014) and unused, and “My” since it’s the first camera I actually own.
  • Panasonic LUMIX G Camera GH1 / GH2 and Olympus OM-D EM-5 – I’ve been borrowing my family member’s cameras previously for all my shots. GH1 to start with until my brother bought the GH2. He later sold his GH2 and I’ve been using the GH1 for a long time after that since I do not like the ergonomics on his new/current camera (Olympus OM-D EM-5). Used the EM5 for one photoshoot and one video.
  • Panasonic Lumix G Vario 14-140mm f/3.5-5.6 Zoom Lens – My favorite lens used in the majority of the photos I take.
  • Leica DG Macro-Elmarit 45mm F2.8 ASPH Mega OIS Macro Lens – Used for close up shots and lately for video as well.
  • Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F1.7 ASPH Prime Lens – Rarely used for my figure photography but I do like using it outdoors, run-and-gun, and especially in low light.
  • Manfrotto 7302YB tripod – Me and my brother had been using a really old tripod meant for analog video cameras for a long time, but I tired after a while and bought this tripod with a ball jointed head specifically for photography as a birthday present for him. Obviously, I’m using it the most. Really high quality, light and works well.
  • König KN-STUDIO80 – Energy saving Studio lights with softbox function. I frequently use these for indoors/studio photos.
  • Gray card – A generic gray card to set the white balance. Used mostly in the studio or indoors.
  • Short brush – A pretty cheap but vital part of any photoshoot of mine. A short plastic brush to dust of the figures in all the places, especially where you don’t think there will be any dust. It’s quicker for me to brush the figure off than to Photoshop away any dust.

New era, yet the same

When I got to use the GH2 there were a few features that I liked, like the touchscreen for choosing focus point, and missed these greatly when my brother sold the GH2. Image quality wise there were no major difference between the GH1 and GH2 so I never really bothered to buy my own camera.

But when trying to record video for this blog I quickly found that no camera we owned had satisfactory video recording capabilities/quality. My brother, who is the photo-otaku in the family, had been talking a lot about the new GH4 and the more I looked into it the GH4 suited me very well. Improved sensor, better ergonomic grip and dial/button placements, sharper viewfinders, 4k (4 x FullHD [1080p] resolution) video capability, FullHD [1080p] slow motion video recording were things that attracted me. And as a bonus, specs that makes it look more like a phone, it also includes WiFi and NFC for remote controlling and sharing photos directly to the internet.

Remote controlling the GH4's settings with the tablet through a special LUMIX android app.
Remote controlling the GH4’s settings with the tablet through a special LUMIX android app.

Above is a photo of the remote control in action. While I won’t be using it every time I shoot by myself, I can see it come in handy when being several people during a photoshoot.

While this new GH4 camera won’t necessarily make my photoshoots be much more productive or increase photo quality by a mile since it’s pretty much the same, it’s in the video department that I will now be able to shoot much better looking shots. I’ve always been interested in shooting video for various purposes and if I can make it look good for figures then I can combine two interests perfectly. Of course, there’s no point in shooting an object that doesn’t move, so to start with I’ll have to figure out how to make interesting figure videos.

Racing Miku figma saluting our GH1. Trusted steed used in countless photos and a few trips.
Racing Miku figma saluting our GH1. Trusted steed used in countless photos and a few trips.

Photographers, do you use carefully chosen equipment or just what is available to you?

6 Comments on “My New and Used Equipment

  1. Jealous of your fancy setup *A*

    Sadly I can’t afford too much equipment so I end up using what I have. Usually I default to taking photos outside I sometimes have to be creative by using things like tracing paper or a square of cardboard to diffuse light or get rid of shadows.

  2. Thanks~ ^^ Remember though, fancy equipment doesn’t make a good photographer. I think I still have a lot to learn.

    Outdoor is a good option, but sadly weather and hours of the day here doesn’t permit for many interesting photoshoots outdoors for most of the year, so a good studio setup is something I feel I need.

    That tracing paper usage is a great idea. Never thought of using that before. Thanks for the tip!

  3. Ha! The M5 is perfect thank you very much! I actually picked that one over the offerings from Fuji and Sony because it felt better in my hands than the other two. 😛

    You sure have a lot more stuff to play around with than me, too bad I’m the only one into photography in my family. Interestingly enough we both the 20mm Panasonic pancake lens, marvelous lens isn’t it? Although much like you I don’t really use it for figure photography. I rely on my Olympus 60mm macro for that.

    I should buy more photography toys, it has been a while.

    • There is no perfect tool, but if you like what you have then by all means use it. ^^

      I do really like that Panasonic 20mm lens, yes! I used to use a macro lens too, but it being a prime and pretty zoomed in I wasn’t able to work well with it. I also didn’t like the results as much as this zoom lens I’m using now.

      Use your money wisely then. ^^ Looking for any specific equipment?

        • Zoom isn’t really something necessary for figure photography, but if you want to use the lens for something else that isn’t small and doesn’t move then I can understand why you want one. ^^; And flashes I never use. I have one built in, but I never like the outcome of flashed photos. I should start using it indoors with people though, but I haven’t been to enough conventions lately to really practice with that yet.

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