Jay Cassario

My name is Jay Cassario, a portrait and wedding photographer from Southern New Jersey. I’m one half of the husband and wife team called Cass Imaging, the half that’s not as pleasing to look at. We’re soon to be Twisted Oaks Studios once a merger is complete with another awesome photographer JD Land. I have an obsession with Skittles, Pinetree scented candles, and my 4 month old mini-me named Luke.

Here is a little peak into the gear I own and choose to shoot with. I have a unique opportunity as a writer for both SLR Lounge and Shotkit to get my hands on pretty much any gear I want, to review and write about, so my bag usually has a nice variety to choose from.

Besides shooting both Nikon and Canon gear for the last few years, which is a little unorthodox, the other thing that often stands out about my gear choices is that little red logo you see. The Leica logo. I was asked to review the Leica M9 and a couple lenses last year, a camera I had never held before, let alone shoot.

At the same time, I was reviewing the Nikon D4S, a camera I had planned on purchasing. Long story short, I ended up sending the D4S back without a 2nd thought, and bought the Leica M9 and haven’t looked back. Shooting with the Leica rangefinder not only made photography fun again for me, but it ultimately made me a better photographer. It gave my work a different look and now a year later I have a good relationship with the company that I have come to love.

To give you a little background, my mother was a wedding photographer who shot all Canon 35mm SLRs and then stayed with them through her transition into digital. My first camera was her hand-me down, which was a Rebel XT. Surprisingly though, my first DSLR purchase was the Nikon D90, and then the Nikon D700.

In 2012, my mother passed and I started my portrait and wedding photography business with one camera and a couple lenses with my wife. As my business took off, I wanted the best equipment for the job, and I found that it wasn’t always Nikon that had the answer. I found that having a few different options, while keeping my gear to a minimum seemed to work best. I don’t like switching lenses all the time, so I prefer to have a couple bodies with a prime lens attached, with one or 2 more primes in my bag for when the situation calls for it.

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I love the Nikon Df and the Nikon D750 for their low-light capabilities, the Canon 5D Mark III and Canon 5D Mark II for the awesome Canon colors and skin tones, and the Leica M9 for when I want something a little more unique.

The Leica 50mm f/1.4 Summilux is hands down the best lens I’ve ever shot with, and since the Leica M9 struggles in low light, I recently added the new Sony A7II with the M adaptor.

Bottom line, I’ve yet to find a system that is perfect and fits all my needs. Nikon’s colors aren’t quite there for me, and while I love the look of the images my Canon bodies put out, they struggle in low light and are horrible with dynamic range. Leica is simply a joy to shoot, and with my Leica lenses, the images have more character and unique looking lens flare when I want to add something a little more creative to my shots.

I’m looking forward to see what Canon brings us in 2015 with their 5DS and 5DMarkIV, hopefully they make up some ground in the low-light department.

I also have a love for Medium Format film which I satisfy with the Mamiya RZ67. It’s a big brick of a camera, but still produces amazing film images and polaroids that I absolutely love. Here is a breakdown of what is shown in my gear shot…

Camera bodies:

Nikon Df, Nikon D750, Canon 5DMarkIII, Canon 5DMarkII, Leica M9, Sony A7II

Lenses:

For Nikon I have the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art, Nikon 58mm f/1.4, Nikon 85mm f/1.8.

For Canon I have the Canon 24mm f/1.4, Canon 35mm f/1.4, Canon 45mm f/2.8 Ts-eCanon 50mm f/1.2.

For Leica I have the Leica Voigtlander 35mm f/1.4 Nokton Classic, Leica 50mm f/1.4 Summilux, and Leica 35mm f/2 Summicron (not pictured, used to take photo).

I also have a slew of lighting equipment, which is also both Nikon and Canon, as well as a bunch of Wescott umbrellas, softboxes, and stands. I love to shoot in natural light, but I also know my way around a good off camera light setup. I have managed to build a system that works for me over the past couple years, which is the most important thing. It’s not the name of the manufacturer that’s important, its what fits your style and gets the job done.

Check out a video interview with Jay here.

www.jaycassariophoto.com

Inside Jay’s camera bag:

PHOTOGRAPHY BOOK

13 Comments

  • Dear Mr. Cassario,

    Your perspective is greatly appreciated. My bride and our youngest daughter embarked on an enterprise in 2006. My good fortune – being included – has allowed amateur photography to become an avocation. The study of composition, exposure and lighting interiors with speed lights is pretty fulfilling. What you shared about your df and 750 is applicable in the selection of a ‘processor’ that will accommodate our lenses and Julie and Leigh’s needs on behalf of their clients.

    This is just to say thank you.

    On behalf of Julie,

    John Barnett – strictly amateur photography

  • Hi Jay,

    How do you find editing three different file types? Is there much difference in the colour profiles between the camera brands?

    Cheers,

    Brad.

  • Brad, there is a difference in color profiles but I simply take one photo from each camera and match them up as best I can and get their WB to be as close as possible then sync the rest of them. It’s actually pretty easy and not as bad as everyone would think.

  • Hi Jay,

    Do you shoot weddings with both Canon and Nikon? And if so, how do you decide when to use the different camera types?

    Cheers,

    Brad.

  • Brad,

    I have been shooting weddings with all the systems I own for the past several years, especially Nikon and Canon. They are tools to me, so I use them differently depending on what I’m looking to accomplish or what I want the final image to look like. Nikon is much much better in low light and I prefer Nikon’s image quality overall to Canon. However, Canon colors are slightly more pleasing and I love a few of their lenses. The 50L is an awesome lens, one that is very different than anything Nikon offers. I love the flare that it produces, while Nikon lenses have multilayer lens coating to prevent lens flare. So, with that being said, if it is sunny out I will usually grab my 5D Mark3 and the 50L or 24L. If my client likes the flare look, I will use the 50L alongside of my Leica M9 and 50 Summilux, both setups give a very artistic and creative flare when done right. As soon as the sun goes down or indoors, I always grab my Nikon bodies. I will also use different setups purposely to push my creativity, where I will only bring 2 different camera/lens combos.

    The quick answer to your question…I decide which to use by what the lighting is like and what the client’s taste is or what they request.

    Great question, and one that I get a lot.

    Jay

  • Jay, i enjoyed your kit. i would to know how do you compare the Canon 50L to the Nikon 58 ? since i switched to nikon, i have still to find a 50mm that i like…

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