Inside My Camera Bag

By StealthNo Comments

Photography is my #1 favorite thing to do when I’m not working or learning new things. The past few years have been full of random expeditions, adventures, and exploring the world around me. Since getting my first DSLR camera in 2007, I have made many observations. The observation I feel that is most notable is many photographers carry either too much or too little gear with them for whatever occasion. I think I have gotten what I need when I’m out down to the right amount of gear without giving me too much or too little when I’m away from home base.

Even though I always have my bag packed and ready for action, there will always be extra gear hanging around for those unique times where something special would be needed. I always bring the right tool for the job to get the photos just right. With that said, let me share with you what I consider the right amount of gear.

The Bag

Can’t carry things without a bag, or in this case, a backpack. My primary bag is the Lowepro Fastpack 250AW camera backpack. This backpack is generally the one packed and ready to go, has lots of room for the camera and accessories, and then some extra. It also has storage for a laptop, a feature which I have only used once so far on a cruise. The bag is a little bit larger than a normal backpack, but it needs to be with the way it is designed. My camera is accessible from the left side, so I don’t need to remove the backpack to pull the camera out. It also has an “all weather” cover built in, so I don’t need to worry about surprise rain when I am out.

My backup bag is the Lowepro Rezo 170 AW. A much smaller bag, it only has room for the camera and a few select items. I use this bag when I don’t plan to have the camera in it, or if I’m going to a place where managing a backpack might be bothersome to other people or myself. A backpack can only be so great before it becomes a hassle! This bag also features an “all weather” cover.

The Camera (and Lens)

The camera is a requirement to do photography (still trying to figure out how this plays such a large part). My camera is a Canon 5D Mark III camera, and the lens I primarily use with it is the kit lens (24-105 F/4L IS USM). At this time I don’t own any other lenses, so the lens is always attached to the camera body. The lens also has a lens hood, usually stored separately.

SpiderPro Holster

One of the best things in my backpack (doesn’t fit in the Rezo bag) is the SpiderPro holster. The holstering system allows the camera to hang securely and safely from my hip. The holster makes a long day of shooting very comfortable while providing quick access to my camera. I discovered the SiderPro holster earlier this year, and am sad I didn’t find it before!

Gotcha Wrist Strap

Combined with the SpiderPro holster, I don’t need to use a neckstrap with the camera. This means less strain on my neck and shoulders, and the freedom to reach and contort in order to get that perfect shot. The Gotcha Wrist Strap has a quick release click between my wrist and the camera so I can keep the strap on and quickly free up my hand when needed. The wrist strap is held on with a hook-and-loop style system and can take a load of up to 10 pounds when needed (like when the camera slips out of your hand, but that has yet to happen). I have been a fan of the Gotcha system since 2007 when I got my first DSLR.

The Flash

To fill in those darker areas, I have the Canon 430EX II flash. It gets the job done quite well. Since this item adds a lot of weight to the bag, it is often pulled out and left behind when I do not anticipate the need to use a flash.

A Filter… or Two

I always have a UV filter attached to my lens to protect the front from accidental scratches and flying objects. In addition to that filter, I have a Hoya Circular Polarizer which I use for most of my outdoor daytime shots.

A LensPen

The lens pen has a soft brush and a smudge remover that will help keep your lenses crystal clear even after a good fondling. It also helps in those events where dust or fibers accidentally make their way into the SLR body.

A Normal Pen

Because you just never know.

A Spare Battery

Clearly a must. On average the 5D3 gets around 500 shots to a charge even though Canon claims up to 900 shots… I also blame this on the excellent live preview shooting mode that I tend to use a lot.

Memory

The heart of it all. The 5D3 takes both SD and CF memory cards, and I use both. I have the camera set up to send raw files to the SD card, and JPG processed images to the CF card (perhaps more on this later). Since JPG files are 1/3 to 1/2 the size of raw files, my memory collection consists of one 8GB and two 16GB SD cards, and one 4GB and two 8GB CF cards.

A Spork

I don’t know how a plastic spork made it into my bag, but it has been there from just about day one of my DSLR experience. It has turned into a “why is this here” to more of a tradition. Who knows, I might actually need to use it one day.

So there we have it, a tour of my camera bag(s). Everything listed on this page fits in both bags fairly nicely, except the SpiderPro holster. The SpiderPro holster doesn’t fit in the Rezo bag, but when I am using the Rezo bag the holster is usually worn.

Photography

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