February 26th, 2012: Professionally Equipped

Added on by Ken Maldonado.

A question I'm often asked is "What equipment do you use?" These are some of the basic items I use when working.


The Leica M9. This is my favorite camera and the one I most often use on assignment. It's an 18 megapixel full frame digital rangefinder camera that is compact, lightweight and offers a tremendous amount of detail and quality. It is fully manual in its operation. Adjusting exposure and focus both require attention to detail. The modern variant of the Leica M is unchanged since its introduction in the 1950's. Since then it has been highly utilized by great photographers such as Henri Cartier-Bresson, Garry Winogrand, Nan Goldin, Kevin Carter and many more. The Leica was introduced to me long ago by my photography professor Jules Allen who used a Leica M4 for his own work and prompted me to begin my career with a Leica M7.


The Canon 5D Mark II is another camera I use often. A 21 megapixel full frame digital SLR camera that is a staple among many professional photographers due to its amazing image quality and low light performance. It is highly versatile easily adapting to many disciplines of photography such as journalism, portraits, events, real estate and product shots. The camera offers fully automatic as well as manual controls. A Canon Elan 7n was my first "real" camera and the control layout between the two is essentially identical.


Another important item other than a camera is lighting. When lighting is required I use a trio of the same exact setup. A Vivitar 285HV flash paired with a Lumedyne Tinycycler battery that offers an incredibly fast 1.3 second recycle time between full power flashes. Each is also fitted with a Microsync wireless radio trigger.


While there is a perfectly good iMac in my office the majority of my work is done entirely from the field. To file my images on location I use a Windows 7 based laptop, the Asus UL20A. I prefer PC laptops because I can bring along extra batteries and not worry about power. I edit and caption my photos using Adobe Lightroom 3 and tethered to a Samsung Galaxy S II phone I can upload my images via FTP moments after an assignment as long as the phone receives a clear signal.