What’s In My Camera Bag?

Neeley and I recently got back from teaching a photography workshop in Paris and London.  And I remembered that I had yet to followup with my previous post about what to shoot with, graphically.

I carry an olive Domke F2 bag.  I’m on my second F2,  though more due to color choices, then condition.  My previous black F2 is approaching 10 years old, and probably has another 5 in it.

The Domke F2 is a medium-sized bag that hold quite a bit of stuff, with minimal padding, and protection.  Though it’s more then enough protection to prevent damage from bumps/bangs of tossing things in the overhead bin, or putting it down by your feet.  They are shooters bags, designed to be carried and used, not for shipping gear.

The newer F2 bags come with an adjustable 4 slot padded insert for lenses, while the older F2 bags had a non-adjustable 4-slot insert.  Both are movable in the bag, and removable if you want.   After spending a couple of weeks fiddling with the insert, I’ve come to the layout that I use now.  A Canon 5D Mark 2 on it’s side, back facing the back of the bag, right hand of the camera facing up (with a hand strap), lens forward.  This allows me to have any normal or wide lens mounted on the camera and easy access in and out of the bag with it (though I have to flip the lens hood around).  I currently have a Canon 24-105 F4L mounted on the camera.

I place a Canon 17-40 F4L lens in one of the padded slots near my body to keep the weight closer to me.  I can replace this wide angle lens with a couple primes, or a 70-200 depending on what I’m planning on taking pictures of.

The additional padded slots carry my Gopro 3+, along with waterproof and skeleton back, and the wifi remote.  I replace the Xshot stick with a Manfroto Pixi tripod depending on what I’m looking to do with the gopro.  I have a medium-sized USB battery pack for my phone or GoPro if I run out of power, with cables.  I also found myself just carrying a spare phone, gopro, and gps battery in a small ziplock.  I have a small cotton rag I use to wipe things down with, dry things off, etc.  This doubles as added padding if needed.

On the front outside pockets, I have a Moleskin notebook and Space Pen for old fashion note taking if needed.  I also stuff in a LensPen, ThinkTank PocketRocket CF/SD card holder with spare cards, and some lip balm.  I stuff a package of business cards and a couple bogo-ties into one of the pockets.  Lastly I turn on my GPS logger, and leave it in a pocket all day.  See my older geotagging post for some more information.

This leaves both end pockets on the Domke empty, allowing me to put water bottles, sunglasses, flash-units, or other temporary items in (subway cards, small gifts, etc).

Weight can be heavy to light depending on the lens loadout that I use for the day, if you want a three lens zoom setup (wide, normal, telephoto) things can get heavy for all day carry on the shoulder.  It’s important that you take the camera out and carry that independently if the bag is heavy, or learn to shoot with less stuff.

This is how I’ve been shooting for about ten years now, slightly different gear in the bag, but this bag, and this layout.  During our Paris and London workshop I also shot with a much lighter Olympus OMD EM1 micro 4/3 camera.  I’m still debating using this bag as my primary if I were to switch to something like that for most of my camera work.

How do you carry your gear?

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