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What’s in my camera bag?

I often get asked what equipment I use. This last season I’ve been working backwards – trying to simplify what I use down to the smallest possible system.

I should probably point out that I’m primarily a wedding photographer – with an alternative documentary style you can check out my work here.

So what’s in my camera bag at the moment? I’ll give you a picture and then I’ll break it down.

The Overall Philosophy

I want to travel light. I use one lens most of the day (usually a wide angle) and I usually have a ‘normal’ lens on my hip (I think of this more as my telephoto… but I’ve realised recently, it’s not…. I just see wide angle as my normal)

I don’t want to be changing lenses. I want to be thinking about what’s going on outside the camera, not trying to decide what lens to use. So I threw out most of the choices. Decision made before I leave the house.

 

 

Fuji XT3

I’ve been totally immersed in the Fuji System for the last 8 years or so – starting off with a couple of Xpro2 cameras (I did get an Xpro1 when they first came out, but I didn’t fall in love with it). I love them because they are small, light, simple, robust and very intuitive to use (especially if you’ve used film cameras in the past).

I currently carry two Fuji XT3’s. I’d love an Xpro3, but I might feel nervous leaping on a bouncy castle with one! And the XT3 has the same sensor and a flippy screen and costs peanuts at the moment (The XT4 that succeeded it is a really good camera for videographers, but there’s no real benefits for photographers… here’s hoping the XT5 is a game changer.)

Update 2023: I did purchase Xpro3’s and loved them – even using them on the bouncy castle. I’m currently using two Fujifilm XT5’s

Buy the Fujifilm XT5 From Amazon (As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases)

Fuji 18mm 1.4 Lens

The wide angle lens is absolutely key to the look of my documentary wedding photography – it means I can get right in the thick of it, or stand back for a wider composition, and every little millimeter I move myself changes the picture. If you’re looking to capture intimacy and energy in your photography you have to just get in there with a wide angle and photograph.

 

This is the equivalent of a 28mm on full frame. I used to carry a 16mm and a 23mm and never knowing which one I wanted to use. I was wasting time deciding because I love them both for different reasons. In the end decided I was just going to get something in the middle. This may be the best lens Fuji have every made – it’s fast, quick to focus and makes lovely images.

Buy the Fujifilm 18mm 1.4 WR at Amazon (As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases)

 

Fuji 33mm 1.4 Lens

This gets me a bit closer than the wide angle. It’s a ‘normal’ lens – equivalent to 50mm on a Full Frame camera. I use it for some of the images. It’s the first lens in this range from Fuji that I’ve been happy to use on the dancefloor (beforehand I needed to use manual focus lenses for dancefloor action – which is exactly what your head needs 12 hours into a wedding day!). It’s close, but it doesn’t feel like I’m spying on people through a telescope.

Buy the Fujifilm 33mm f1.4 WR from Amazon (As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases)

 

Fuji 56mm f/1.2 Lens

Now it’s starting to feel like I’m spying on people through a telescope. I try to leave this lens in the bag… it’s there for when I have to stand farther away.

It does produce very pretty images though… and is a nice portrait lens.

Buy the Fuji 56mm 1.2 WR from Amazon (As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases)

 

Godox tt350 Flash

I used to carry two flashes everywhere – what if one fails? But then I realised I only used the flash about once a year and if it failed I’d just make something else work for me. I do have some other flashes in the boot of the car – mainly for dance floors later on (we’ll get to that). This is a very small and light flash and it does the job well. (Update – I also purchased the V350, but I have no idea where the charger has got to. For my minimal use the tt350 still does me well)

Buy the Godox TT350 From Amazon

 

(Longer Lenses)

If I need something a bit longer I will rent it. After 10 years I’ve realised that I only seem to need a longer telephoto about once every 3 years, so I don’t even have one in the boot of the car nowadays. (Update 2023: I’m really tempted by the Viltrox 75mm 1.2 – watch this space)

 

 

The Other Things

Also in the bag are spare batteries and memory cards and usually a bottle of water.

 

 

Ona Bowery Camera Bag

If you’re a photographer you know the pain of trying to find the right camera bag. It’s a never ending quest to find something you’re happy to have on you all day, but that also holds your gear. I like simple small camera bags. I also like the ThinkTank retrospective range and have a Retrospective 30 from when I used to carry round 5 times as much gear (in the belief it would stop me missing shots. The Ona Bowery was a bit of a treat for myself and I love it’s accessibility and ease of use (I was using something cheap off amazon before and it was a pain to get into every time I needed something! The Bowery is nicely made and will hopefully last me years.

Update 2023: After simplifying I went through a process of playing with film cameras – instant film, medium format, 35mm. So I’ll usually chuck something in my bag to play with. I’ve been using the Think Tank more recently as any bag I use I seem to dump somewhere and just carry a camera or two and a spare battery in my back pocket.

Update late 2023: My Think Tank is a decade old and not really holding any structure anymore. I have since upgraded to an Ona Brixton, which is a very nice bag. 

 

In the boot of the car

In the boot of the car are a couple of flash guns for using off camera if needed. There’s also my Mitakon 35mm f0.95 which I will bring if you ask me to photograph a wedding underground or in a dark anglo saxon chapel on a gloomy day – as despite being manual focus and a bit soft around the edges (I actually really love the character of this lens!) it can see in the dark. There’s also usually a flash stand or two… which I’m currently considering swapping out for gorilla pods as they’re less intrusive.