In The Bag

Gear, everyone always asks what your shooting with. It only matters when it’s relevant to what you intend to do with your images. It is important to know how to use your equipment, and shoot regularly. As Dorothea Lange said “A Camera is a tool for learning how to see without a camera”. All of our resources need to work together to make a photograph that holds interest. Arnold Newman summed it up as “Visual ideas combined with technology combined with personal interpretation equals photography. Each must hold it’s own; if it doesn’t, the thing collapses.”

So with that in mind…For the last year or so I’ve been using Fujifilm gear exclusively. Over the years I’ve used Mamiya ( 6 x 7 format – a ‘7’ and a ‘proSD’ ) Contax GII , Ricoh GR, and Nikon (FA, F90x, D70, D200, D700, D800, V1, AW110). And a truck load of lenses for them all. Sounds expensive! It’s certainly not a cheap affliction but as I change cameras and systems I trade in or sell gear which reduces the cost impact.

And of course a bunch of accessories, filters, flashes, tripods (why do I have four!), cleaning gear, too many bags. the list is endless!

cost

I changed to the Fuji mirror-less system largely because of the weight but also the ergonomics of the system – all the ‘real’ photography controls are on dials on the top of the camera where they are easily accessed while still shooting instead of buried in a menu. And, critically, the Fuji lenses are all exceptional quality.

When I’m out shooting I don’t take everything with me, I select what gear to take and what bag to put it in depending on when and where I’m going and what I expect to shoot. Sometimes I’ll take just a body and one lens.  The bag I use the most is the Flipside 400AW. Its a backpack style. It opens from the back so when you place it on the ground the harness is facing up and doesn’t get dirty or sandy. A good tip for sandy locations is to place your lenses and bodies in plastic zip lock bags. Nothing worse than a bag full of sand that gets into your lenses and cameras! The bags are also handy for when its raining.

There is also a lot of non camera gear that goes with me depending on where I’m going and when; cleaning rags, some tools such a jeweller’s screw driver set, allen keys, lens pens, sometimes a GPS data logger, food and water, hat and rain gear.

Cameras and Lenses

Fujifilm

Bodies – X – T1 and XE1 (converted in Infrared – 680 nanometres, with 720, 800 and 900 nanometre filters)

The X-E1 was converted by Camera Clinic in Melbourne, a painless process.

Lenses

  •  XF10-24mmF4 R OIS,
  • XF14mmF2.8 R,
  • XF23mmF1.4 R,
  • XF60mm F2.4 R Macro,
  • XF18-55mmF2.8-4 R LM OIS,
  • XF50-140mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR and
  • XF55-200mmF3.5-4.8 R LM OIS.

Accessories – Macro Extension Tubes – 11mm and 16mm, EF-X8 Flash

Nikon

Body – D800

Point and Shoot – COOLPIX AW110 (all weather; waterproof to 18m)

Lenses

  • AF-S NIKKOR 16-35mmf/4G ED VR,
  • AF-S NIKKOR 24-120mm f/4G ED VR,
  • AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II and
  • AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED

Accessories – SB800 and SB910 flashes, GP-1 GPS Unit

Bags

Domke F-5XB Medium Shoulder & Belt Bag, F-6 Little bit smaller bag

Lowepro Flipside 400 AW, Versapack 200AW, Commercial AW

Gura Gear Kiboko 22L+

Sometimes I just use a conventional hiking backback when I need to take non photo gear. I wrap cameras and lenses in cloths.

Tripods

Gitzo GT2531 EX – carbon fibre – I use an Acratec GP Ballhead and levelling base and the Acratech L bracket, nodal rail and quick release plates with this. The plates are Arcaswiss compaitable and made for the specific camera body so they don’t twist.

 Sirui T-1204X  – I use the Sirui K-10x ballhead with this, its a great smaller tripod for travel with the Fuji system- folded up it’s only 40cm long

Shops

I don’t have any affiliation with any products or shops. I generally buy online now and ensure that any gear that may be subject to a warranty claim is not a grey import (more correctly called parallel import). Parallel imports are goods shipped in from abroad without the permission of the local trademark or intellectual property owner. Essentially, they’re legitimate products that dodge standard distribution channels and, as a result, can be a lower price than local recommended retail price (RRP). This can raise warranty issues when you need to make a claim. Or even a general out of warranty repair if you want the manufacturer to do the repair. Some grey market importers guarantee the product and for warranty claims ship them back to the point of origin (offshore). I’d rather have Fuji Australia or Nikon Australia look after any warranty claim as both their repair centres are local. Also a number of the shops listed below now match the grey importers’ price.

Choice has an article on the issue.

If the item is unlikely to need warranty repairs (or any sort of repair in its life) I don’t worry about it and just buy on price alone from ebay or where ever. Be aware that some items sold under a quality brand name may not be genuine. And cheap filters, for example, never are cheap in the end. It’s not just the glass in them that is important but the thread that screws onto the lens – metal is best if you don’t want to cross thread it.

Your budget or philosophy  may dictate a different approach to mine though.

The main places I look for gear are the following (all Australian based) but I also don’t hesitate to buy from well known stores overseas – like B & H if the item is not available in Australia (or I can’t find it here). In no particular order:

Digital Camera Warehouse

ECS Cameras

Mainline Photographic

Photo and Video Accessories

Paxtons

Ted’s

Vanbar Imaging

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