What's in my Camera Bag(s)?

May 06, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

Camera Photographic SetCamera Photographic SetNikon D750, D700. Fuji X100, Sigma DP2. Nikkor 20mm f1.8, 50mm f1.8, 85mm f1.8, 10mm f2.8 FE, 24-70mm f2.8, Samyang 14mm f2.8, 85mm f1.4, Sigma 150mm f2.8, 150-500mm f5-6.3. Crumpler 7 Million Dollar Bag, Kata 3N1-30 Bag, Ona Leather Prince Street Bag. Joby Gorillapod SLR-Zoom. Hoya Cir-PL 77mm, ND x64 77mm. Taken using Sony RX100. SOOC.
 

Over the years, I had acquired many photographic equipment and accessories. So much so, sometimes I think I'm beginning to be more of a camera collector. In fact, what you see here is what I have generally decided to settle in to. From trying out pocket digicams like the Sony RX100 (that took the photo above) to bridge cameras like the Fuji HS10, I've realised that what is important to is to know what type of subjects you like to take, then pick the system that fulfils the purpose. Obvious, but the naive gearhead in me tends to be attracted to all sorts of gimmicks and gloss. Not that I've completely healed from gear addiction, but I am heading in the right direction, I think.
 

I love to capture people and places. Not really into birds, or racing bikes, or tiny insects. That's why my purchase of the Sigma 150-500mm f5-6.3 telezoom and 150mm f2.8 macro were rarely used for taking pictures of wild animals or bugs. It's not as if I visit the zoo every month or hangout at sports events regularly. I wouldn't say those two lenses bred cobwebs in the closet, as they managed to let me capture nice portraits and candids, but lugging around heavy and obtrusive lenses is not my cup of tea. But if I wanted to use them, it feels way better balanced on the Nikon D700 with battery grip than the D750. Which is why I'm still keeping the D700. Same goes for the Nikkor 24-70mm f2.8. Incredible lens, giving such flexibility and image quality, no wonder it's classed as a pro lens. But again, a beast to lug around, and if you've ever had that large glass pointing at your face, then you'll know what being intimidated feels like. (As the photographer, you hardly realise this, as you are always behind the lens.)
 

Wanting to try out that super wide-angle look (notice the attraction to effect rather than story), I experimented with the Nikkor 10mm f2.8 fisheye, and later the Samyang 14mm f2.8 manual focus ultra-wide (because I couldn't afford the autofocusing Nikkor 14mm f2.8 or the badass 14-24mm f2.8.) Actually, the fisheye produces that unique distorted look, which I do like, and at the same time, it can be undistorted with the Fisheye-Hemi plugin by Image Trends, so it is like a multi-purpose lens. Only thing, you wouldn't want an entire album of fisheye looking pictures.
 

With static subjects, manual focus lenses are fine. However, for people, like in weddings or gatherings, using the Samyang 14mm f2.8 and 85mm f1.4 became tiresome. But these prime lenses, together with the fixed 23mm f2.0 that comes with the Fuji X100, or the 24mm f2.8 on the Sigma DP2, taught me how liberating and purposeful it was to shoot with what initially seemed inflexible tools. As they say, limitation is the springboard of creativity. Which was why when I upgraded to the D750, it became imperative that not only was fast autofocusing a must, compact and lightweight was a major criteria. Hence, the reason for getting what I called the f1.8 series lenses - Nikkor 20mm, 50mm and 85mm all f1.8. Compact, lightweight, fast autofosing, and as a bonus, inexpensive, with excellent image quality thrown in.
 

The hardest buying decisions has got to be camera bags. I bought the Crumpler 7 Million Dollar shoulder bag first, and later the Kata 3N1-30 sling backpack. The painful lesson here is that the larger the bag, the more you want to stuff it with, and the heavier you need to lug around with. Though both are really good and useful bags, having endured the back aches obtained from hauling tons of gear, I forced myself to get a smaller bag, yet not looking like a camera bag. An ardous search on the Internet finally led me to the Ona Leather Prince Street bag, which although costly, topped the list and even looked good. It holds my D750 and the f1.8s snugly and has space for other goodies like filters, spare batteries and memory cards too.
 

So there you have it. A brisk run through of my current camera setup, which I'm sure will grow quietly in the future...
 


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