Equipment for Cosplay Photography – Cameras, Lenses, Accessories

INTRODUCTION

NO REGRETS

Welcome to a guide and recommendations on the equipment for cosplay photography. Whether you are a casual cosplay photographer or an expert ninja photographer, I am sure all of us need some gear in the world of photography.

But looking back at my beginner days, I have surely made quite a lot of regrettable purchases… So here it is, I have compiled a list of equipment recommendations for your considerations, so you don’t have to make regrettable choices – Read on!

 

 

 

SECTION A

CASUAL COSPLAY PHOTOGRAPHERS

Just doing cosplay photography for fun? Don’t want to break the piggy bank and spend too much money? Here are a few affordable gears you can check out.

 

RECOMMENDED KIT

 

NOTES & SUGGESTIONS

If casual photography is your thing, just keep things simple and enjoy the process. Most smartphone cameras these days are good enough, but that tiny built-in LED does a horrible job of lighting things up. Do consider to “top it up” with affordable lighting options – Either the Godox LED64, any generic LED ring light, or even a cheap reflector can help to improve things.

If you want better photo quality, a better camera is the only option. Yep, for those who are uninitiated in the world of photography, it is not the number of pixels that determines the picture quality, but the image sensor itself. I have suggested compact cameras less than the $500 range (if you don’t mind pre-owned), but feel free to look for other options with 1″ sensors if you want.

 

 

SECTION B

BEGINNER PHOTOGRAPHERS

Just started with photography? Not quite sure what to get, or if cosplay photography is your “thing”? Here are a few gear recommendations.

 

RECOMMENDED KIT

 

NOTES & SUGGESTIONS

A BETTER CAMERA FROM THE START

As you can see, I have suggested affordable entry-level and mid-lower range mirrorless cameras above. Here’s the thing, you decide your own comfortable starting point and budget. But personally, I started with a humble entry-level Nikon. It took me less than one year to hit the wall – Hey, I can’t do high-speed sync with it. I can’t do burst shots fast enough for action shots. The ISO performance and image quality are lacking, etc…

So yep. If you are serious about photography, consider the long term and start with a mid-range camera instead. I ended up wasting money upgrading the camera in a short span, and trying to get rid of an entry-level camera was quite a challenge. But if you are all right with staying with an entry-level for a few years, then go ahead.

 

CHOICE OF LENSES

Good glass will last longer than the camera body. That is true, but the problem is, do you have deep pockets and money to burn for expensive lenses? So yes, I recommended getting the “default” kit lens from the start… Those are usable, but not fantastic by any means. Good enough for most beginners, and for figuring out how photography works.

For you guys with money to spend (envy), go ahead and skip the kit lens. Get yourself a better zoom lens right from the start, this will serve you well for the years to come.

 

 

LIGHTS

Flash, LED, reflector, or all of them? Here’s the thing, lighting in photography is complex, and every photographer has their own lighting preferences. It is kind of difficult for beginners to really grasp what they want from the start. So here’s a quick tip – Don’t splurge a thousand bucks on lighting and regret later.

Start small and simple instead. A single Godox flash or LED panel is a good start, plus a reflector to boost the lighting a bit. Either option can be “expanded” in the future by buying more lights, or should you decide to just use natural light – Just sell the flash/LED and stick with using the reflector.

 

SECTION C

ADVANCED PHOTOGRAPHERS

Well met, fellow cosplay photographer. Here is a quick sharing of my “ideal target equipment”.

 

RECOMMENDED KIT

 

NOTES & SUGGESTIONS

DSLR VS MIRRORLESS

Yes, I have suggested mirrorless cameras only… I suppose that we can safely say DSLR is in the “sunset” phase of the product lifespan. Not that they are bad, you still can get very good deals if you are lucky. So here goes, if you are interested – Nikon D850 | Canon 5D Mark IV 

 

CHOICE OF LENSES

I am quite a nut for the Sigma Art series. For you guys who are still thinking “third-party lenses are bad”, go check out all the reviews on the Internet and YouTube. The Sigma Art series is easily one of the best alternatives – They cost only a fraction of the “original”, and they sometimes even outperform the “original” counterpart. Who can hate that!?

 

 

LIGHTS

Over here, I have to give some credits to the Godox AD200. It is a flexible gadget with an exchangeable head – You can configure it to be a flash, LED, or strobe. It simply just makes more sense to shell out a bit more money to get one of these lights, they are not excessively heavy either, just a perfect alternative for the “traditional” flash.

Also, if you are looking for a good LED panel without breaking the piggy bank, check out the YongNuo Air II. This one is interestingly RGB and Bluetooth enabled – It can be controlled via a smartphone app.

 

SECTION D

EXPERT PHOTOGRAPHERS

Ah, a master ninja cosplay photographer. Only the best can bring out the maximum potential of master-class equipment… Just kidding, kind of. Here is actually a list of my “dream equipment”, but be warned of the crazy price tags.

 

RECOMMENDED KIT

 

NOTES & SUGGESTIONS

Yep, these are what I will probably buy if I have all the money in the world to splurge. Don’t think they need a lot of introduction. These are simply the top of the cream product lines, extremely good workhorses… The only problem is with the price tag.

 

 

SECTION E

AFFORDABLE EXTRAS

Want to spice up your cosplay photography? Here are a few more ideas and affordable extras.

 

CHEAP PROPS

Yep, props are not only meant for cosplayers. Regardless of your current skills level, photographers can also use a couple of small props to spice up the photos.

 

WATER

One bright backlight behind the cosplayer creates a lot of drama, but that is not enough. Spray some water behind using a Supersoaker Scatterblast, or a pressure watering can for that epic shot.

 

BACKDROPS

Have a busy background that you don’t like? Or want to convert a room into a studio? Get a cheap backdrop… The only problem is where and how you hang it up though – If all else fails, get a backdrop stand kit.

 

 

CLOSING

WHAT’S NEXT?

We have come to the end of this guide, and I hope that this has given you an idea of what to get for cosplay photography. As a final piece of sharing – Cosplay photography is not all about the equipment, but more about creativity.

Use a flashlight with color gels to add colors to the background. Top it up with a cape flip, spray some water with a bottle, and that is an epic photo without requiring all those “expensive explosive equipment”. Good luck, and happy shooting!

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