“What’s the best camera to get?” “That’s a great photo, what camera did you use to take that?” These are just a couple of the questions I regularly receive when people see my photos, so, for those interested, here is my own What’s in my camera bag? 2019 edition.
Before I start, it is worth noting that I firmly believe it’s the photographer that has the vision, chooses the subject and creates the image. There are many photographers that successfully shoot with a single body and lens, a compact camera or even just their camera phone and still produce quite stunning work so don’t get fixated on the photography gear, always fixate on the craft and seeking to create your own artistic style.
“The single most important component of a camera is the twelve inches behind it.” - Ansel Adams.
That being said, if you are shooting with intent and have particular style of image you want to capture, then the right equipment can remove all of the friction in the process and allow the photographer to focus on the creative instead of working overly hard to get the shot and maybe even taking some of the fun out of the process.
Lastly, this is not going to be an overly technical post. It won’t be about the features and specifications, just what gear I am currently using and why.
Those that have followed me for some time know I am a Fujifilm shooter and this XT2 is my primary camera. Unless I am travelling super light (more on that below) I take this amazing camera. It may no longer be the latest model but it is still super-fast, very capable and not going anywhere yet!
When I moved over from Nikon to Fujifilm in 2016, this is the camera I brought and I instantly fell in love with it. I loved and still love the tactile dials and buttons, it literally changed my photographic life. Yes, this camera is a little long in the tooth and at time of writing, I am waiting for the X-T30 to be delivered after I pre-ordered it but this little gem is going no-where and is what I carry with me when I am travelling super light or need a second camera in my bag.
Fujifilm XF 18-55mm f2.8-4 R LM OIS
This was the first Fujifilm lens I brought as it came with the X-T10 and is regarded as it’s kit lens. This may be true but normally kit lenses are considered entry level and not able to match the quality of more expensive lenses. The XF18-55mm breaks that mould as it has excellent image quality and a fantastic standard zoom. This lens ca be found on my camera more often than any other.
Fujifilm XF 55-200mm lens f/3.5-4.8 lens OIS
For the weight and size, this is a fantastically compact zoom lens with great image quality to go with it. When I first purchased this lens, I was concerned as I had previously brought similar lenses for similar money when I shot Nikon and image quality was quite poor. This lens is different, it’s IQ is great and the optical image stabilisation is a godsend, especially at those longer focal lengths.
Fujifilm XF 35mm F2 R WR
This 35mm F2 is one of Fujifilm’s “f2” range and it truly is a great lens. It may not be as fast as the f1.4 35mm Fujifilm also make but this compact little lens packs a punch and coupled with my X-T10 means I have a very lightweight system to wander around with and when used with my XT2 I have a full weather resistant system. I plan to add the 16mm f2.8 which Fujifilm has just announced later in the year.
Fujifilm XF 10-24mm lens F4 OIS
A great and versatile wide-angle lens. Great for architecture and cityscapes, this lens will often come on a shoot with me. Not the fastest lens at f4 but the OIS certainly helps when shooting handheld in low light situations.
I don’t own any big, bulky tripods. This is as heavy as it gets for me which is all I need to capture my long exposure and low light photography. This will be in my bag if I know my photo shoot will include some extensive tripod use. The ball-head is strong enough to hold the weight of my heaviest combination which is the XT2 and 55-200mm lens.
Manfrotto Compact Light
I brought this tripod just before I took my first trip to Venice. I knew that tripods would be difficult in such a crowded place so a lightweight tripod seemed an ideal compromise between weight and frequency of use. Since then I now carry it as a part of my lightweight kit (see the differing kits below).
This little table top tripod is excellent. It is super strong and super light and perfect to carry around for those just in case moments you need a little stability while out shooting.
Formatt-Hitech 85mm Filters
A great set for landscape and long exposure photography. The 85mm filters are perfect for the Fuji mirrorless system and more than big enough for all of the lenses with one small exception. The 10-24mm, which at its widest has a little vignetting at 10mm when the filters are attached. Currently, I have a 10 stop ND filter and a set of three ND graduated filters for those landscape photos where the dynamic range is too high.
Manfrotto Pro Light Backpack
Having a mirrorless system means the size and weight of my kit is kept a little lower and that means I don’t need a huge bag to carry it all. I chose this bag as it both carries all of the kit I would take on a shoot with its multiple configuration options and it also allows me to carry my biggest tripod centrally to keep the bag balanced and takes the pressure off my back.
Manfrotto Street Backpack
I use this bag when I need to travel light or I need to carry other bits as well as some camera equipment. This easily fits a camera and a couple of lenses leaving enough room in the top compartment for clothes and laptop etc.
Camera Bag Insert
I use one of these camera bag inserts to combine a little camera gear with my standard backpack. I like to always have a camera with me just in case an opportunity presents itself so this insert fits a camera and a lens which is perfect when I need to travel ultra-light.
3 Legged Thing L-Bracket
Perfect to quickly switching between landscape and portrait while using the tripod.
3 Legged Thing Toolz
Quite a critical tool as the 3 Legged Thing L-Bracket covers the battery compartment on my XT2 so when the battery needs changing, out comes this tool to quickly remove the L-bracket.
Ultimate Lens Hood
Perfect to help cut out those reflections when shooting through glass. I used the ULH when I was on this sunrise shoot in London.
Remote cable Shutter Release
Critical to ensure no camera shake happens when pressing the shutter or keeping the shutter open during long exposure shoots.
Peak Design Slide
This is a great camera strap, it’s comfortable and the quick release anchors mean it can be removed with minimal fuss.
Sandisk Memory Cards
I use Sandisks memory cards because so far, during all of the years I have been photographing, I have not had one failure. I do retire cards when they start showing any sign of wear which I am sure helps avoid failures.
Fujifilm NP-W126s Battery
On a long shoot, I will go through many batteries. One downside of mirrorless is still the battery life. It is improving but still nowhere near what it was when I shot with a DSLR.
The charger comes with me on longer photography trips when I know my batteries might not last the entire time.
Puridea S2 10,000mAh
This neat little battery pack can charge my phone 4 times or using my other USB charger, can charge 6 or 7 camera batteries. An incredibly useful gadget.
So, how do I pack all of this gear in my bag?
Although I have a healthy collection of camera gear, I certainly wouldn’t bring it all with me to each shoot. Below are 3 of the most common ways I pack my bag, depending on the type of photography I intend to do.
Much more suitable for a long day walking around the city or while traveling where there will be a mix of intimate and sweeping landscapes to photograph. The shoulder strap for walking about and the very lightweight Manfrotto tripod to take photos in low light. Depending where I go and what I intend to shoot will depend on the combination of lenses I take.
Ultra Light-weight Walkabout/Street
I tend to have this kit with me when my primary focus for the day isn’t photography but I may sneak in an hour or two. I use a standard backpack with the camera insert which will fit the camera and lens ensuring it is protected while I go about my day.
So, there you have it, all of the gear I take with me as of March 2019. I mentioned previously, I will be making some changes very soon. I have already ordered the brand-new Fujifilm X-T30 to replace my X-T10 as my secondary/walk about camera and I am both excited to get this small but incredibly capable camera but sad that my favourite camera will be retired to the side-lines. I am also planning to buy the new Fujifilm 16mm f2.8 which is a member of the same family as my existing 35mm f2. Lastly, I plan to add the DJI OSMO Pocket. It looks like a fantastic little video camera and will compliment my kit nicely.
As my equipment evolves, I will try to refresh this post each year.
Until next time.
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