• Image Credit: YouTube

What gear we use to shoot our videos!

"What kind of camera do you use?" It's a question the professional photographers and videographers at Autoblog are asked all the time. And, while it's true that the quality of any given image or video is dependent on a huge number of factors – not the least of which is the skill of the human being behind the lens – equipment is undoubtedly important.

So, for all of you who have asked the question over the years and have wondered what kind of gear is used to capture photos and videos for Autoblog's reviews and event coverage, let's get started. Watch the video up above, and scroll through each slide for more information on each individual piece of equipment, along with commentary from the experts who use it.

Panasonic GH5S

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Olympus 7-14mm f2.8

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Panasonic 12-35mm f2.8

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Panasonic 35-100mm f2.8

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Lumix Leica 100-400mm

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GoPro Hero7 Black Edition

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DJI Mavic Air

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Zoom F1 Field Recorder

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Rode VideoMic Pro

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LowePro ProTactic 450 AW II

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LowePro Whistler 450 II

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Fat Gecko Suction Mount

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Manfrotto BeFree Tripod

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Lexar 2000x 64GB SD Cards

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3rd party batteries (Wasabi)

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Panasonic GH5S

When we first revamped our video kit nearly five years ago we bought into the mirrorless ecosystem, starting with the GH4, then the GH5 and now finally the GH5S. I would be lying if I said I didn’t miss the shallow depth of field a full frame sensor can give you, but the ability to shoot 240 frames per second at 1080p and 60fps at 4k is fantastic, not to mention the higher bit rate which allows us to shoot super flat and grade in post. – Christopher McGraw, Autoblog Senior Producer

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Olympus 7-14mm f2.8

This lens is equivalent to a full-frame 14-28mm. Super wide, great for interiors and landscapes. It’s fairly big and heavy for a micro 4/3rds lens, but the picture quality is incredible. –Christopher McGraw, Autoblog Senior Producer

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Panasonic 12-35mm

Our go to micro 4/3rds lens. Since the sensor on a micro 4/3rds camera is smaller, you have to multiply the focal length 2x to compare these lenses to a full-frame lens. This lens is equivalent to a Nikon or Canon 24-70mm. Not super wide or telephoto, but a great all around lens that lives on my camera more than any other. – Christopher McGraw, Autoblog Senior Producer

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Panasonic 35-100mm

A 70-200mm full frame equivalent, this telephoto lens is small, light and easy to use. At f2.8 you don’t have to worry too much in low light situations, and it has built in image stabilization which, when combined with the GH5’s internal stabilization, means you can handhold the camera with this lens and get the shots you wouldn’t be able to get with a 12-35mm. – Christopher McGraw, Autoblog Senior Producer

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Panasonic 100-400mm

This lens is the longest lens on this list, with a full-frame equivalent of 200-800mm. It is also the lens I use the least, but when I need it, the shots I can get are incredible. This lens is so heavy that instead of attaching the camera to the tripod when using it, you attach the lens to the tripod and let the camera hang off. At nearly $1,800 it isn’t cheap, but it has produced some of the best shots I’ve gotten in my career. – Christopher McGraw, Autoblog Senior Producer

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Canon 5D Mark IV

While our Director of Photography Drew Phillips may be a Nikon user, I myself was brought up on Canon, and my current go to for car photography is the flagship 5D Mark IV. The specs for this camera are impressive, with a 30.4 megapixel sensor and the ability to shoot 4k video all for less than $3,000 currently. As you’ll read below we use micro 4/3rds mirrorless cameras for video here at Autoblog, but to me there is nothing like the photos that come out of a full-frame DSLR. Plus, when the weather stops cooperating, I don’t have to worry about this weather-sealed camera doing its job. – Christopher McGraw, Autoblog Senior Producer

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Canon 16-35mm

The 24-70mm might be my go to lens, but the Canon 16-35mm is definitely my favorite. It is super wide, which allows me to get more of my surroundings in the shot, which can be helpful in some of the locations we shoot at that are more beautiful than the vehicles we are driving. It is also great for interiors, where the shot might be too tight for a normal lens. At 2.8 you don’t get image stabilization, but it is so wide that I never notice it’s gone. – Christopher McGraw, Autoblog Senior Producer

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Canon 24-70mm

All the same sentiments that we wrote about the Nikon 24-70mm are applicable here. This is the most-used lens in my bag when it comes to all-around car photography. With a limit of f2.8 it is good in low light, not to mention super sharp and very quick when it comes to autofocusing. If I had to use one lens and one lens only, this would be it. – Christopher McGraw, Autoblog Senior Producer

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Canon 100-400mm

A lot of times when I am shooting I am far from the action (Pike’s Peak comes to mind). The Canon 100-400mm brings you close enough that you can see the morning dew on a car from the other side of the track. Sure, with these three lenses in my kit I am missing the 70mm-100mm focal range, but the 200-400mm I gain is worth it. – Christopher McGraw, Autoblog Senior Producer

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Nikon D850

The last time we wrote a camera guide, the D4 was Nikon’s flagship. Since then they released the D5, which has a jaw dropping price tag of over $6,000. The D850, while not better in every aspect, brings you a lot for the money, specifically a 45.7 megapixel sensor, better color depth, higher dynamic range and better ISO performance, all at less than half the price. – Drew Phillips, Autoblog Director of Photography

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Nikon D4

Technology seems to be heading towards lighter and smaller mirrorless cameras, but currently for me there's nothing as good as a robust DSLR. The Nikon D4 may not quite be the best at any one thing, but it's darn good at just about everything.

That's exactly why I've stuck with Nikon's flagship cameras for the last decade or so. The D4 can handle action easily, with a fantastic autofocus system and the ability to shoot 11 frames per second, but it can capture landscapes just as well. The sensor is only 16 megapixels, but to me that's never been that important. The quality of those pixels is fantastic, and the full-frame sensor has one of the lowest pixel density ratios of any camera.

That makes for excellent quality even in low-light situations. It's solid and weatherproof, too. I've had it out in rain, snow, cold and heat. Essentially, the D4 can do anything I ask of it in just about any situation, whether shooting at a racetrack, covering an auto show, or photographing a car for a road test. – Drew Phillips, Autoblog Director of Photography

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Nikon 14-24mm

I almost didn't buy this lens, as I only use it occasionally and it costs quite a bit. The lens is too wide and distorts the subject too much to photograph the exterior of cars, but I generally use it to capture cramped interiors. It might come out of the bag for a minute or two during a photoshoot, but it's nice to have the option when I need it. – Drew Phillips, Autoblog Director of Photography

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Nikon 24-70mm

This is my main wide-angle lens that I use for just about anything. I'll shoot interior, engine and detail shots with it on photoshoots, and it's my main (and sometimes only) lens for auto shows. It will focus insanely fast, and is tack sharp.  Drew Phillips, Autoblog Director of Photography

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Nikon 70-200mm

When my subject isn't close enough for the 24-70mm or I want a different perspective, I'll switch it out for the 70-200mm. Just like the 24-70, it boasts lightning quick focus and is extremely sharp. It also has Nikon's second-generation VR (vibration reduction) system that, when combined with a wide-open aperture, makes it possible to shoot in extremely low light. I'll use the 70-200 as my main lens for exterior shots during photoshoots, and will occasionally use it for interesting detail shots as well. When I'm fortunate enough to shoot motorsports (which is not enough), the 70-200 is generally attached to my camera, sometimes with Nikon's 1.4X teleconverter. – Drew Phillips, Autoblog Director of Photography

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Nikon 200-500mm

Much like the Lumix and Canon 100-400mm lenses, sometimes you need glass that will stretch a bit further than a 70-200mm. While it tends to be expensive to reach into this focal length, the shots you can get (like these from Pike’s Peak) tend to be breathtaking, not to mention worth the cash. – Drew Phillips, Autoblog Director of Photography

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GoPro Hero7

There’s not much I can say about the GoPro that hasn’t already been said. I have suction mounted and clamped this thing to every part of a car and truck and even when they have fallen off, the camera is no worse for wear. The Hero7’s stabilization is insane. No more need for a Karma to get smooth shots, just handhold the Hero7 and the camera does the rest of the work for you. – Christopher McGraw, Autoblog Senior Producer

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DJI Mavic Air

This compact drone brings a pro-level video solution to the everyday consumer without taking up much space during travel. This is the first DJI Mavic to be paired with a 4K Hasselblad Camera featuring Natural Color Solution Technology on a stunning 1-inch, 20-megapixel sensor. If you’re not a camera nerd like me, let me spell it out for you: Fantastic aerial photos and videos of your car or whatever else you’re shooting.

If you're unfamiliar with Hasselblad, just know that it has a long history with camera creation and most notably captured the first moon landing. So, yeah, this drone will do the job. –Alexander Malburg, Autoblog Associate Producer

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Zoom F1 Field Recorder

When I shoot reviews, a lot of the time I am filming myself on camera or running around while one of the editors is driving an off-road course or race track. That I means I don’t have time to worry about a wireless lav setup and a big, clunky recorder. The Zoom F1 looks like a wireless lav pack, but records straight onto a microSD card. It has made my life 10x easier when it comes to recording audio. – Christopher McGraw, Autoblog Senior Producer

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RODE VideoMic Pro

While the Zoom F1 is great and hasn’t failed me yet, I’m always prepared for the worst, which means the Rode VideoMic Pro lives on my camera at all times. Sure the audio isn’t the best, but it is still good, and good is better than nothing. –Christopher McGraw, Autoblog Senior Producer

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LowePro Protactic 450 AW II

This was my first proper camera backpack, and since I bought it it has traveled everywhere with me. I’ve packed it full of gear and carried it onto planes, trains, and even a boat or two, hiked through Patagonia and the Rockies, and it still looks brand new. By far my favorite bag. It is fully customizable inside, yet lacks anything I don’t need. – Christopher McGraw, Autoblog Senior Producer

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LowePro Whistler 450 II

While the Protactic 450 AW II is my favorite bag, sometimes I need something bigger. That’s where the Whistler comes in. It has huge pockets on the front and top, and the camera compartment is removable, which can be nice if I have to pack my gear in a duffel. I’m not a huge fan of the neon orange straps that scream “CHECK OUT THIS BAG” but they are nice to attach a small tripod to. – Christopher McGraw, Autoblog Senior Producer

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FatGecko Suction Mount

I have insurance on my camera gear, but it always helps when you don't have to use it. I’m a nervous wreck watching my cameras hanging off the side of a BMW M2 lapping on a track, but I’m a little less of a mess when these suction mounts are involved.

Fat Gecko offers one, two, and three-suction cup models, which offer stabilization up to a weight of 12 pounds. You may think that is overkill, but when pulling more than a G going around a corner, that camera can weigh more than you think. The single suction cup works great for a GoPro, while the two- and three-cup versions are preferred when attaching a mirrorless camera or DSLR. –Christopher McGraw, Autoblog Senior Producer

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Manfrotto BeFree Tripod

Back in 2015 I travelled to Havana, Cuba to shoot videos of all the old cars there. Being young and naive, I brought along the best tripods we owned, carbon fiber legged behemoths made by Benro. These tripods were and still are great, but while the carbon fiber legs are light as a feather, each of the heads weighs nearly 10 pounds and were overkill for the GH4 I was screwing on top. This tripod from Manfrotto is both light and capable, something my back thanks me with after carrying it around all day. – Christopher McGraw, Autoblog Senior Producer

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Lexar 2000x 64GB SD Card

You can have the best cameras in the world but if you are recording to cheap memory cards, the chances that something will go wrong are too high. Since we shoot at 4k almost all of the time, fast cards are a necessity, and these Lexar 2000x units do the trick. – Christopher McGraw, Autoblog Senior Producer

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  • Image Credit: Autoblog

Wasabi Batteries

Of things I want to spend my money on, lenses are near the top of the list and batteries fall to the bottom. Rather than spending a ton of money on batteries from original equipment manufacturers, I find that these third-party units from Wasabi work just as well and come with a charger for much less money. – Christopher McGraw, Autoblog Senior Producer

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