my photography gear | Washington, DC photographer - Kenneth Jackson

January 19, 2016: my photography gear

Have you ever wondered what equipment I use?  Either way, I'm gonna tell you below.

two Canon 5D Mark III bodies

These cameras are remarkable tools.

They handle low light well thanks to their large sensors.  That's very useful during indoor weddings and receptions (see example shots below).

-  They have quick and accurate autofocus systems.

-  They have two memory card slots each.  In the extremely unlikely event that one of my memory cards becomes corrupted, the other memory card still has all of the photos from a session.

Canon 24mm f/2.8 IS

This lens has the widest focal length of the ones I own.  I use it to capture as much of a scene as possible, such as the interior of a church during a wedding.  It's also a frequent choice during receptions when I want a shot of a bunch of people dancing.  This changes the game in crowded areas.

Canon 35mm f/2 IS

This lens is similar to the 24mm but has a little less distortion on the edges.  It doesn't warp people's facial features too much at close range, either.

Canon 50mm f/1.4

This lens is very versatile.  It's wide enough for small groups and narrow enough for upper-body shots.  It has almost no distortion anywhere in the frame.

Canon 85mm f/1.8

If I could only keep one lens, this is probably the one I'd choose.  It's sharp and contrast-y.  It's light and short.  It's a great value.

Canon 100mm f/2.8 Macro

I use this lens for close-up (macro) shots of rings and other details at proposals, engagements, and weddings.  In a time crunch, I'll leave it on my camera instead of switching to my 85mm (which is a little sharper, I think).

Canon 200mm f/2.8L

This is the latest addition to my lens collection.  It produces serious background compression, which is great for isolating subjects in the foreground.  It's a little too long for full-body shots in tight spaces, but it's excellent for stealth close-ups from across a room.  I use this during most proposals so I can keep my distance from the couple.

two Neewer NW680 external flashes

During wedding receptions, I bust out these bad boys.  I like to shoot at full power so my photos have as little noise as possible.  To keep that going, I carry a ridiculous number of charged AA batteries.

I also carry extra camera batteries and extra memory cards to every shoot.  I've never needed either, but I don't want to be caught without 'em.

As soon as possible, I'm hoping to buy:

-  Canon 14mm f/2.8L II:  This guy is pretty stinkin' wide, even wider than my 24mm.  I rented a 14mm to shoot a proposal in front of the Lincoln Memorial, and it easily fit the entire structure into the frame.

-  Canon 400mm f/5.6L:  My 200mm is pretty long-range, but a 400mm would allow me to get close-ups from a distance during proposals.  I wouldn't mind taking it to the zoo, either.

Welp, that's the lowdown.  Feel free to email any questions to kenneth@jxnphoto.com.


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