There are lots of posts you’ll see regarding the contents of the professional’s camera bag. Most will start by listing their camera bodies and lenses, tripods and ball-heads, and the bag that carries it all; and I’ll share that too. But what I thought I’d share first are the little things that I’ve found that are immensely helpful, but don’t attach to a camera or tripod.
One of my absolute favorite pieces of gear, is my Hoodman Loupe. This is similar to the old school loupes we used to use on the slide sorter table. With this loupe however, you hold it up to the screen on the back or your camera, to help you compose, then review your images. Watch anyone on a sunny day try to shade the display on their DSLR, and you’ll know what I mean. In addition, I use it to compose in the following way. First, I’ll rough in the image using the viewfinder on the camera. But I’ve found it’s not always easy to see things that might be distracting in the image, until after I’ve tripped the shutter. So, after I’ve roughed it in, I’ll use the loupe in Live View, and really run my eye around the composition to look for elements that don’t belong, mergers, etc. Now with my composition locked in, I can shoot away.
Okay, technically, this does attach to the camera AND the tripod, but, here’s another indispensable, time-saving item. It’s called an L-Bracket, and it affixes to the bottom of your camera, just like the mounting plate for your tripod. The beauty of this item though, is the ability to switch your camera from a landscape orientation, to portrait, by simply releasing your mounting plate, turning the camera on its end, and closing the mounting plate again. This means not having to flop your ball-head over to the side and having to realign to get level, then do the process all over again if you want to switch back. These can be a little eon the expensive side, but you’ll only have to use this once to see its value. I rely on Really Right Stuff for mine.
Another inexpensive, yet really handy thing, is a chamois. They’re super absorbent. So if you get caught in a shower, or are photographing near a waterfall, or the ocean, you can quickly dry off your gear with one. Along the lines of cleaning, I use Lens Cleanse, natural lens cleaning kits. They come with a wet towel and a dry one, and are perfect for cleaning dirty lens elements. A microfiber cleaning cloth is also handy. I also keep a Giottos rocket bulb-blower in my bag to blow dust off lens and camera sensor. I know there’s a lot of sensor cleaning systems out there, but I don’t clean my camera’s sensor myself. That’s a very fine optical instrument inside that camera; and a job best left to the pros in my opinion.
Lastly, I keep a “Contact Sheet” made by Mindshift Gear. This is a lightweight tarp, for the lack of a better term, that can be thrown down on a sandy beach, or dusty forest floor, to set your bag down on so that sand or dirt aren’t transferred to your bag. You can also lay on it you’re doing shots that require you to “get low” with your subject.
Here’s the all of my camera, lens and mounting gear, which varies as to what I’ll take, based on the shoot.
· Nikon D810 Camera body
· Nikon MB-D12 Battery Pack for the D810, w/Really Right Stuff “L” Bracket
· Nikon 14-24mm, f/2.8 lens
· Nikon 27-70mm, f/2.8 lens
· Nikon 70-200mm, f/2.8 lens
· Nikon 200-500mm, F/5.6 lens
· Nikon 50mm, f/1.4
· Nikon 85mm, f/1.8
· Nikon 105mm, f/2.8 Macro lens
· Nikon TC-14E Teleconverter
· Nikon TC-17E Teleconverter
· Nikon SB-700 Speedlight
· Nikon SB-910 Speedlight
· Really Right Stuff TVC-33 Tripod
· Really Right Stuff BH-55 Ball-head
· Mindshift Gear Rotation 180 Backpack
· Mindshift Gear Firstlight 40L Backpack
Filters including 105 CPL, Graduated ND’s & Little and Big Stoppers, plus Lee Filter holders
Hope you’ve enjoyed this article. Thanks for reading!