I always find it interesting to chat to other photographers or read about what’s in their camera bag. Over the years you undoubtedly learn by your mistakes and pick up great ideas from others. So, I am delighted to share with you details of what is in my camera bag.
Click on the alphabetical links below to see my review on a specific item along with user reviews which I always check out before buying any new item. Or browse the whole camera bag at your leisure.
Lowepro Flipside 400 AW Backpack for DSLR
I have several camera cases and bags as I think we all do! However, this is my travelling backpack. The one thing to check out is the size of carry on bags for flights – they all vary these days, don’t get caught out. This is weatherproof and has a unique security back entry compartment. It holds DSLR with the lens attached, and space for other lenses and accessories along with a tripod carrier. The waist belt is padded for comfort.
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
I thought long and hard before buying the iPhone 7, lets face it, they aren’t cheap. I had an iPhone 5s which was fine, but when I looked at the photographs other were shooting on their mobile devcies and I was carrying around loads of camera gear all the time, I knew it was time for a change. Plus, I wanted to get my shots online much quicker, rather than having to wait to get home, download, edit etc.
Photography is a huge part of my life, so the iPhone 7 plus was purchased. I cannot express how delighted I have been with the camera on this little beauty. Plus, I must add here, the rest of the phone features are great too.
I won’t waffle and re write the features of this amazing piece of kit, click here and take a look at the Apple website for full details.
Apple has introduced a new webpage “How to shoot on iPhone 7”. The sixteen short videos have tips ranging from how to shoot action, a backlit subject, at golden hour, plus more.” Definitely worth a look, even if you don’t own the iPhone 7 yet. But I think you will own one shortly after viewing them!
Camera – Nikon (D7000 / D7100) D7200 Digital SLR (24.2 MP, 18-105 mm VR Lens, Wi-Fi, NFC) 3.2-Inch LCD Screen
My personal model is the D7000, however, this has now been superseded with both the D7100 & D7200. Previously I shot with a D40 & upgraded to the D7000 a few years later. One of the best things about this camera is the 18-105mm lens, which saves you lugging around those additional lenses all the time. Key spec highlights:
– 24.2 megapixel DX-formal DSLR
– No optical low pass filter
– Professional AF performance
– ISO 100-25600
– Built-in Wi-Fi and NFC
Lens – Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR
This is the lens I use on my Nikon camera most often, great not to have to carry multiples ones with you. Key spec highlights:
– Powerful DX format 5.8x zoom lens with 18-105mm focal range (35mm and Nikon FX format equivalent of 27-157.5mm)
– Wide to telephoto zoom range – perfect for everything from portraits to interiors, architecture and landscapes
– Vibration Reduction stabilisation system enables more flexible hand-held shooting and lets you use shutter speeds that are up to three times slower
– SWM (Silent Wave Motor) for fast, whisper-quiet autofocus
– ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass and aspherical lens elements ensure high resolution and contrast while minimising spherical aberration, astigmatism and other forms of distortion
50mm Prime Lens – Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G Lens
My prime lens for portraits or close flower photography with a closest focus of 0.45m (0.15x magnification). It is lightweight and gives you a bright image in the viewfinder, therefore ideal for low light and shallow depth of field. This lens also has Silent Wave Motor for quiet / fast focus and an aspherical lens element for really sharp image quality.
70-300mm Lens with Macro – Sigma f4-5.6 APO DG Macro
I had tired out a Nikon Micro lens to shoot some macro photography as a test. However, at the time I couldn’t justify spending that amount of money on a lens for the time I would use it. I was recommended the Sigma, read the reviews and made the purchase – 2 for the price of one in my book. Really pleased with the results at both 300mm and the macro, great for sport and nature photography. The lens has APO (Apochromatic lenses are telephoto and telezoom lenses which use special optical designs and optical materials (SLD or ELD glass) to improve their performance. Images have greater contrast, sharpness and colour definition than without) and magnification at 1:2 in macro mode at 300mm.
You can get the DG lens for slightly less money, however, having read the review, I chose the APO model.
SP AF150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD Lens – Tamron
Sadly, I don’t own one of these (yet!), however have used one on several occasions. It is on the ‘wish list’. Very affordable vs Nikon lenses and I have achieved excellent results with this lens. Check out my ‘red kite’ bird photographs on my blog. Key spec highlights:
– 150-600mm focal length (225-900mm equivalent on APS-C)
– F5-6.3 maximum aperture
– ‘Vibration Correction’ optical image stabilization
– ‘UltraSonic Drive’ autofocus motor
– Available in different mounts – Canon EF, Nikon F and Sony Alpha
For me, its longer focal length full zoom (600mm) beats its closest competitor, the Tamron.
Camera – Fuji FinePix X100T 16.3MP
My weapon of choice for street photography. The silent shutter is fantastic for not getting noticed and another great feature is the iPhone Fuji app which also has a remote shutter release to go even more unnoticed! Key spec highlights:
– 16.3 megapixel CMOS II sensor
– Advanced Hybrid Viewfinder
– 23mm f/2.0 Fujinon Lens
– Built-in Wi-Fi
– Fastest shutter at 1/32000 seconds
Comes in black or silver, whichever takes your fancy. I went with the silver.
Camera – GoPro HERO
An action camera, with loads of accessories (mounts / drones / apps etc) available depending on you chosen sport. I use my GoPro for underwater photography & videos when scuba diving. Had some great results pulling off still shots from video too. I have the Hero3, however, the 4 is available now in 2 specs:
– The GoPro Hero4 Silver Edition Camcorder, HD 1080p, 12MP, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Waterproof, Touch Screen
– GoPro Hero4: Black Edition Camcorder, 4K Ultra HD, 12MP, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
Flash Unit – Nikon SB-700 Speedlight
I won’t bombard you with the full spec here as you can read all about them any various websites. Key spec highlights:
– Versatile intelligent TTL Speedlight with multi-step power-zoom
– Centre-weighted, Even and Standard illumination patterns with a high-speed recycling time
– A:B mode for quick wireless control
Tripod – Manfrotto 190XPRO Aluminium 3 Section with Horizontal Column
This 3 section aluminium tripod has great enhanced features for straight shooting or getting those dynamic shots. It boasts a 90 degrees centre column mechanism that easily extends for vertical or horizontal shooting. Intuitive and ergonomic angle selectors allow each leg to independently adjust to any of the pre-set angles. This allows amazing positioning freedom – check out some of the online images to see the fantastic positions this tripod can achieve. It weighs in at 2kg and can take a payload of 7kg. Leg angles 25°,46°,66°,88° with a max height of 160cm or 135cm with the centre column down. This great italian design hits the spot for me.
Tripod Head – Manfrotto 3-Way with Compact Foldable Handles
You have independent control on all 3 axes with this tripod which gives you fantastic framing precision, along with a 3 leveling bubbles. The head is lightweight compared to other similar heads (570g) thanks to its Adapto body and can take up to a 4kg payload. Its unique folding handle mechanism is great for ease of storage and carrying.
I used this head recently when shooting red kites in flight with a Tamron SP AF150-600mm lens. I really should have been using a gimbal head, but don’t own one (yet!). I was thrilled with the results which you can check out on my blog.
Travel Tripod 1 – Manfrotto Befree Aluminium with Ball Head
The Befree has a great quick folding system which makes it very easy to use. It has a durable body and ball head which gives fantastic stability. And, most importantly, lightweight for us travellers and can fit easily into backpacks and luggage. It can take up to 4kg of camera and has two inclinations with the patented leg angle selectors for getting the angle you want. A quality tripod.
Travel Tripod 2 – Joby GorillaPod Focus for Professional SLRs and Camcorders with Ballhead X
A great lightweight travel tripod at only 762g, that holds cameras up to 5kg in weight. The ballhead X has a 360 degree panning and 90 degree tilt. Fits easily into backpacks and luggage. Its wrappable legs allow you to secure your camera in the most obscure places you would never dream of with a normal tripod to get that different angle.
Or you can get the Joby GorillaPod SLR-Zoom which supports cameras up to 3kg.
Portable External Hard Drive – WD Blue My Passport Ultra
We have all been guilty of not backing up our laptops and computers, but what would you do if you lost all of that info – unimagimniable :-(. I have two passport drives which I use to back up my MacBook Pro. I use two in case one failed and remember, you shouldn’t keep them in the same location in case of flood / fire for example – keep one at your friends place. I add a reminder to my iPhone to make sure I back up every week.
They vary in size (500GB to 4TB) come in many colours to suit your mood. Don’t get caught out without one (well, two actually!)
Portable Power Pack – RAVPower 16750mAh with 4.5A output
A must for when out and about or travelling, I use mine to recharge my iPhone, iPad and GoPro. Also useful when on planes trains and automobiles to ensure you don’t run out of juice watching your favourite movie. Also handy when staying in hotels – there often isn’t a power socket near the bed to recharge your gear!
Camera Strap – Black Rapid RS-7
One of those purchases when you think, why didn’t I get one of these ages ago! When on long photo walks, I can struggle with back ache. No longer with the Black Rapid – it is so comfortable. The strap is worn diagonally across your torso from shoulder to hip (or wherever is best for you). It adjusts to fit your personal requirements and the weight of the camera is distributed evenly, hence no more back ache. I use mine all the time. It is great to have your camera sitting there comfortably ready to shoot, and the strap does not impede getting your camera quickly to eye.
Nikon Remote Cable Release
Plugs into the accessory terminal of certain Nikon digital SLR cameras. The cord allows the shutter to be released without making direct contact with the camera body. Hence, extreemly useful in preventing camera shake during shutter release and a must for long exposure photography. It can also lock the shutter in ‘bulb’ mode.
ND Graduate Filters – Cokin
The Cokin kit is provided with three Neutral Density (ND) Graduated filters (ND2, ND4, ND8). The P-Series filter holder, which is also included, supports lenses with a filter diameter up to 82mm. The filters are 84mm wide and suitable for APS-C and full-frame DSLRs with focal lengths of 28mm upwards.
Gradual ND filters are ideal for landscape photography as it allows you to even out the exposure within the scene. E.g – a bright sky and darker land and this does not affect the overall colour balance. Also great for blurring the clouds or water movement on long exposure shots. Point to note, you must purchase the P-series filter holder which attaches it to the lens via a separately adapter ring.
Click here to get the adaptor ring – don’t forget to check out the size of your lens first.
Laptop – Apple 15.4-Inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display Laptop (Intel Core i7 2.5 GHz Processor,16GB RAM,512 GB Hard Drive,Wi-Fi,Bluetooth,OS X Yosemite)
My MacBook Pro is as well travelled as I am. It goes everywhere abroad with me so I can download my images each day and work on them in-between shooting. There are various specs depending on your needs which I would suggest you research before you purchase, as it is a big investment, however, worthwhile for quality post processing and many other uses.
Post Processing Software – Adobe Creative Cloud Photography Plan: Photoshop CC Plus Lightroom
In Lightroom you can organise, edit and share photos from anywhere, computer, iPad, iPhone and Android devices. For me, Lightroom has the best cataloging system so I have details of all my images in one place and can locate them easily by various methods, e.g. search by keyword etc.
Photoshop has a complete set of tools for transforming your photographs. Combine and retouch photos and create stunning visual effects. It also contains:
– Photoshop Mix – cut out and combine images on the go
– Adobe Voice – turn your story into a stunning animated video in minutes
– Adobe Slate – turn any document into a beautiful visual story in minutes
– Training – fast and easy in-app tips to get you started and online tutorials and videos to help you master new tools and techniques
– Access to new features and updates as soon as they’re available
HDR Software – Photomatix Pro 5
High dynamic range imaging (HDRI or HDR) is a technique used to reproduce a greater dynamic range of light that isn’t possible using standard photographic techniques. HDR images can represent a more accurate range of intensity levels found in scenes – more in line with what the human eye can see. In basic terms, HDR is taking a number of shots, in, over & under exposed and merging them into one.
Although there is now a HDR merge function in Lightroom, for me, it is more than worth getting the Photomatix software as you will achieve much greater results.
Photomatix has one click presets and lets you choose styles from natural to painterly to surreal. It also has automatic alignment of hand-held photos and other processing tools. Albeit I transfer my merged images back into Lightroom to post process further. There is also a plugin for Adobe Lightroom included.
Apple iPad Air Wi-Fi 16GB 16 GB 1024 MB 9.7 inch Retina display
I am hoping that an Apple iPad doesn’t need any explanation for ease! In short, for those that don’t, basically an iPad is a laptop without a keyboard. Albeit, you can also get those these days. Great for editing photos on the hoof, with the many great apps that are available – a blog for another day. And the usual surfing the net et al. They are also being used more and more for taking photographs and shooting video – then a quick upload to social media. Another thing I use my iPad for is downloading my GoPro memory card to straight after a shoot so I can check out the results.
I have a couple of dry bags that I put in my camera bag when there is any chance of water being around! I have one for my iPhone and one that I can pop the Nikon in which will then still fit in the camera bag. Useful for lots of other things too.
So there you have it, a full description of my camera bag. I hope you have found this useful and given you some ideas.