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DigitalRev’s Cheap Camera Challenge With Photographer Lara Jade

By Hanssie on December 30th 2014

A photo shoot with a beautiful professional model dressed in thousands of dollars of couture with the interesting backdrop of the busy streets of Hong Kong and a world renown fashion photographer should mean you have just set the stage for some magic to be captured. Right?

What if the tool to capture this perfect scene was not only a cheap camera, but a kid’s cheap camera – the An Pan Man camera (Bread Superman camera) from Japan which boasts a whopping 0.3 megapixels. Not only that, the An Pan Man compliments the model before he actually takes the picture, allowing a lovely delay before the shutter clicks.

Can a professional photographer with years of experience  using only the best cameras on the market create anything with this camera?



Well it’s not about the camera, right?

The professional photographer taking up this DigitalRev challenge is Lara Jade. Lara is a fashion photographer who travels the world to capture images for an impressive list of publications. Lara was on a layover in Hong Kong for 6 hours and she was tasked to capture 6 different images from three different looks in that timeframe.

Can she do it? Well, I won’t give too much away, but watching here is both impressive and inspiring. The limitations of the camera were many – the little beast ate up numerous AA batteries, it had a tiny viewfinder that was hard to see, and of course, the miniscule amount of megapixels. The 21 minute video shows Lara at work and it truly is fascinating to watch her thought processes throughout the shoot. Unfamiliar with the area, she scans and spots the locations quickly and decisively, takes command of the situation and creates the vision she sees, even with the challenges she has to work with. She brings a level of confidence and creativity that shows her true talent. Lara even uses various props like a glass from a hotel to create interesting visual effects like the one below:


See the other 5 images and the process she goes through to create them in the video below.

Watch Lara Jade in Digital Rev’s Cheap Camera Challenge

It’s true you don’t need the fanciest equipment to make remarkable images. Pye has demonstrated this with articles such as our popular iPhone photo shoot (which you can see below). In our newest workshop DVD, Photography 101, we show you how to create amazing images with basic gear, not quite as basic as Lara’s An Pan Man camera, but you get the idea. Check it out here.

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Hanssie is a Southern California-based writer and sometimes portrait and wedding photographer. In her free time, she homeschools, works out, rescues dogs and works in marketing for SLR Lounge. She also blogs about her adventures and about fitness when she’s not sick of writing so much. Check out her work and her blog at Follow her on Instagram

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Zhana Clarke

    LOVE this.

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  2. Jordan Buckway

    Awesome video. Digital Rev always has solid videos. It’s cool watching a pro adapt and still come out with awesome images.

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  3. Dean Reid

    The concepts and looks were nice; however, the quality was pretty much what I had expected based on a very low quality camera. So, on that note… gear does matter.

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  4. Edwin Tai

    I am wondering what I can get from this FANCY camera as my skill is far from Lara Jade, That is world class photographer.

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  5. Rafael Steffen

    Thanks for sharing these amazing images

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  6. Jack Parkinsom

    Love these videos. Really opens your eyes to what you can do with any equipment. Though this camera was real bad…

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    • Hanssie

      What??? The An Pan Man camera is super awesome…it’s almost like my first Canon Rebel ;)

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  7. John Cavan

    I love the DigitalRev camera challenges, they’re a great exercise in creativity and actually give you a golden opportunity to get inside the thought processes many of these photographers go through.

    As an aside to this… you guys really need a comment flag system and, might I suggest, a starting filter around first and last name being the same? The comment spam has been especially busy recently.

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    • Hanssie

      Ugh. I agree. We’ve been trying to catch them quickly, but they have a lot of time on their hands it seems.

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  8. Austin Swenson

    I think this is a good way to show that you have to at least consider gear a little when it comes to a shoot, but there are a great deal many other things that go into a successful shoot than what body or lens you have. I think most of what I saw Lara trying to do wasn’t so much related to operating the equipment (even though the battery dies twice in just a few hours haha) but more about how the light was working, what backgrounds complimented the model, contrast in the scene, etc.

    So yeah, gear goes to a certain extent, but it’s just a fraction of the total equation.

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  9. David Hall

    Awesome Challenge. Enjoyed the video.

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