What’s in my camera bag?

I’ve recently sold all my Canon full-frame camera gear and so now I only shoot with one system, Micro Four-Thirds. This is the first time in a long while that this has been the case. When shooting with medium format, I also had 35mm kit. When I switched to digital, I also used a Fuji 617 panoramic camera. For the last few years, I’ve been using both digital full-frame and M43, so it’s quite a change to have just one system now. However, it does consist of both a zoom and prime lens set-up, to suit different shooting situations, so I’m still sort of keeping that multi-combination aspect even now!

Anyway, here is my current kit-list and some info behind each item:

Prime Lens set-up

Prime lens set-up

Prime lens set-up

1. Lowepro Event Messenger 150

I’ve never been one to spend a lot of money on camera bags and every bag I own is a Lowepro. So this Event Messenger was the perfect match when I was looking for a shoulder bag to carry my prime lens kit for carrying around urban environments.

2. Olympus E-P5 (plus VF-4 viewfinder)

This is my back-up body to my main OMD camera. I love the styling of this camera and because it has a separate viewfinder, it fits in my messenger bag, where a camera with built-in viewfinder would be too bulky. This is a great camera for long exposures too, as it doesn’t suffer the noise issues that some OMD models have. A great street photography camera.

3. Olympus 12mm

This 24mm equivalent lens is my most used lens for landscapes. The push-pull focus ring is great for switching to manual focus easily.

4. Olympus 17mm

I always used prime lenses on my Canon 5D and so I continue this trend with the OMD system. This 35mm equivalent lens is a great all-rounder and is equally as useful for landscape, as it is for street and urban photography.

5. Olympus 25mm

I’ve had a ‘nifty fifty’ lens since the days when I had a Pentax P30 35mm film camera, so, I continue this with the Olympus equivalent. A great lens for a compact ‘one camera-one lens’ combo.

6. Olympus 45mm

I think many people got this lens for free as part of the deal when the original E-M5 was released. And what a freebie! Super sharp and a great short telephoto at 90mm equivalent.

7. Sigma 60mm

I got this non-Olympus lens when I decided I needed something more telephoto than the 45mm, but I wanted a lens that wasn’t as bulky, heavy or as expensive as the Olympus 75mm, albeit a fantastic lens that is. I don’t shoot a lot of tele views, so this Sigma, with its brilliant sharpness, compact size and fantastic price, was the ideal mid-telephoto (120mm equivalent) lens for me.

8. Samyang 7.5mm fisheye

I’d always wanted a fisheye lens, but the ones for the EOS system were always too expensive for a lens that would only have limited use. Then this lens was released and so at last, fisheye fun! It’s manual focus, unlike the Olympus model, but at this focal length you have front-to-back sharpness almost wide open, plus it’s a fraction of the price of the Olympus one and still pin-sharp.

Fisheye fun with the Samyang 7.5mm

9. Lee Seven5 filter system

Lee Filters had the foresight to see the future of mirrorless cameras and introduced the Seven5 system alongside their popular 100mm system. A perfect partnership, ensuring all the kit is keep small and compact, without extra bulk.

10. Nutella spread lid

Alongside a lens cloth, I keep a couple of Nutella spread jar lids. Why? Well, I hate the stuff, but the lids are the perfect size to act as protective caps over the Lee Seven5 adaptor rings!

 

Zoom lens set-up

Zoom lens set-up

Zoom lens set-up

1. Lowepro Mini Trekker rucksack

I’ve been using the Mini Trekker bags ever since my medium format days and whilst they no longer make this model, I found this one on eBay, to replace my slightly tired old one and is the prefect size for a Micro Four-Thirds kit.

2. Lowepro Orion waistbag

Another discontinued bag from Lowepro and this one is about 20 years old and still going strong. I use this for carrying my zoom kit around towns and cities and I’m amazed just how much this thing swallows up!

3. Olympus E-M1

My camera of choice these days. And of course, the ultimate camera for landscape photography, as my previous post proclaims. I use this with an RRS L-plate for ease of use on the tripod.

4. Olympus 12-40 Pro zoom

The perfect partner to the E-M1 and one of the best zoom lenses I have ever used. Covering almost four focal lengths of the prime lens set-up, its 24-80mm equivalent focal length covers 90% of the photography I do.

5. Panasonic 35-100mm f2.8

Now, as you will have noticed, the Olympus OMD system is all about minimal weight and size for me. Therefore, despite the second Pro zoom lens released by Olympus being the mighty 40-100mm f2.8 Pro, this lens, was too big for my kit. I still wanted a 70-200mm equivalent focal length range, so the other choice was to go to Panasonic and their slighty older 35-100mm model. It’s compact. It’s f2.8. It’s super sharp. It suits me perfectly!

6. Lee Filters

I still use the Seven5 filter system with the two zooms. My filter kit consists of 0.3/0.6/0.9 grads, both hard and soft variety, polariser, 0.9 ND standard, Little Stopper and Big Stopper.

7. DIY Nodal Slider

I’ve always shot panoramics and whilst the prime lenses on a mirrorless camera, makes a nodal slider unnecessary, I still have a small one for shooting panoramics with the 12-40 Pro zoom.

The nodal slider is essential for panoramics

The nodal slider is essential for panoramics

8. Canon Legria Mini X

This is my vlogging camera that I use for all my YouTube and e6 videos. It has a fisheye lens, great audio and a built-in screen and is the perfect camera for filming yourself with!

9. DIY Selfie Stick and Gorrillapod

My selfie stick of choice for use with the Canon Legria is made from a tripod centre column. Much stronger than those cheap telescopic models for phones. The Gorrillapod is my mini tripod for B-camera shots when out shooting a vlog.

10. Audio Technica lavalier microphone

Despite the great audio from the built-in mics on the Canon Legria, I prefer the superior audio that I can get by plugging in a separate lav mic. This is especially so when shooting in windy conditions (it always seems to be windy when I’m out shooting video!) and good audio is as important, if not more, than good video quality.

 

Tripods

I use three tripods with my mirrorless cameras and each has its own particular use.

Tripods

Tripods

1. Manfrotto 055

I’ve always used Manfrotto tripods and find them amazing value for money. This current 055 model is I think my second one in 20 years (before that, was the bag-pipe like Benro1). They seem to just last and last. I use this in combination with the landscapers’ head of choice, the 410 Junior Geared Head. I also have a Sunwayfoto DYH-66i Leveller between the legs and the head, to level the head when shooting panoramics.

2. Manfrotto 190

When I need something lighter and more compact than the bigger 055, then I grab the 190 instead. Another great tripod and I often use this in urban environments or if walking longer distances into the landscape or up hills. This is combined with an Arca Swiss Z1 ball and socket head, which was the prefect head when I also had my Canon 5DMKIII, but may be a bit overkill now. This tripod has the Manfroto 556B centre column-replaced leveler.

3. MeFoto C1350

My first non-Manfrotto tripod since the Benbo and my first carbon fibre tripod. I’ve never seen the benefit of a carbon tripod for landscape photography, as you need weight to avoid it being blown in the wind. However, as a city tripod, this is ideal. Light, compact and perfect for mirrorless cameras. Now I can carry a tripod, without even feeling like I’m carrying a tripod!

 

Additional lenses

Additional lenses

Additional lenses

1. Olympus 9-18mm

I’m still waiting for Olympus to either produce a better quality version of this lens or a fixed ultra wide prime lens. The new 7-14mm zoom from Olympus fails for me, as it doesn’t allow the use of filters, well not easily anyway and definately not the Seven5 system. I think they would have been better making it an 8-14mm lens instead, especially if it meant they could design it without the bulbous front element. Until then, this is my ultra wide angle choice, or I use the 12mm and stitch three images together giving me a 30+mp file too.

2. Olympus 14-42 EZ

I bought this tiny zoom lens second hand to use for video blogging when out with my prime lens set-up.

3 & 4. Olympus 14mm & 20mm

These were my first lenses for Micro Four Thirds and they are both great pancake lenses. I still use them for a compact one camera ‘out and about’ kit and the 20mm is lovely and sharp and such a useful focal length (40mm) for street photography.

 

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4 thoughts on “What’s in my camera bag?

  1. Hi Craig,
    Great reading, and I already was an avid follower of your Youtube videos. One question remained after reading this article: what determines whether you take your prime lens or zoom lens kit? Is your city shooting always done using the prime kit for example?

    • Hi Arjan
      Many factors. I do prefer using primes where possible, but zooms can be more convenient at times. If I’m shooting videos, which aren’t exploring the benefits of prime lenses, then the zooms are easier when doing that. Shooting with just one prime focal length can be very enjoyable in the city too, but in the landscape, where I have more time, then again shooting with primes is my preffered workflow. If I’m shooting in low light or want a lighter kit, then again, primes win each time. The zooms to provide a weathersealed kit, which can be useful too.
      Hope that helps. Thanks for reading.

  2. Great post. Have you taken a look at the new Panasonic 8-18mm lens? Takes filter thread and like you I want something that will marry my m43 setup and my Lee Filters Seven5 system…

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