December 6th, 2013: Professionally Equipped v2.0

Added on by Ken Maldonado.

A question I'm often asked is what equipment do I use. I made a post similar to this over a year ago and a few things have changed since, so here's an updated version of the equipment I regularly use while on the job.



Leica M. This is my go to camera for the majority of my work. I've been using Leica rangefinders since college and it's the camera I'm most proficient with. It features fully tactile manual controls which I find fast, responsive and reliable. It's also lightweight, compact, and fits comfortably in my hands for all day use when on assignment or when photographing weddings.




Canon 5D Mark II. I use this camera for a handful of tasks where it excels such as headshots, product shots and covering sports. Its versatility has made it a favorite among photographers of various disciplines because it can handle anything you need it to. If there was anything which deserved to be called a "workhorse" or a "modern classic" this is it.




Yongnuo YN-560II, Microsync, Lumedyne and Sekonic. My lighting kit consists of a three light setup made up of lightweight and portable shoe mount strobes that can be fired wirelessly. I also use an external high voltage battery to shorten the recycle time to about 1.5 seconds. To determine my exposure I use a light meter, though some might rely on simply checking the camera's LCD, using a light meter allows me to set specific light ratios and work faster by removing the guesswork. I really only use lighting for portraits, products shots, or when I'm photographing the occasional wedding.




Tascam DR-40 and Audio-Technica AT8010. As a photographer I'm often one of the first journalists on scene at breaking news stories and conducting interviews and recording statements provides additional information when writing my captions. It also helps when covering features solo as it allows me to interview subjects which often makes them more comfortable with my presence and my camera. I regularly use it at press conferences where I can plug it into a mult-box or place it on a podium to send audio back to the newsroom for reporters and editors.




Lenovo X230. I do the majority of my work in the field where I need to transmit my photos to editors soon after capture so having a small, lightweight and easy to carry laptop is essential. The X230 has a 12.5" screen and weighs about 3.5lbs. It also features two internal SSD's for quick performance. The battery life provides about four hours of real world usage with a 2.9Ghz CPU, and when it does die I can switch it out for a fresh battery allowing me to work all day. I use Lightroom 5 to edit and caption my photos then transmit them via FTP or DropBox. When I need to edit audio I use Hindenburg Journalist.




Samsung Galaxy Note 2. A cell phone is  a necessity in my profession. It maintains my contact list of editors I can reach out to when photographing on spec and I'd be completely lost without its calendar that manages my schedule of assignments. My phone also allows me to transmit images quickly from anywhere by tethering it to my laptop and utilizing its 3G/4G connection. Like my laptop I can also keep fresh batteries on hand and switch them out as needed so that I'm never out of reach or disconnected due to a flat battery.