I often get asked about the camera bag I use and what kit is in it so here is a breakdown of ‘how I roll’.
This is my interior portrait kit. It is a selection of the items in my complete kit detailed below because I like to travel light. The filters are normally on the lenses before I set out from the studio . The camera’s clocks are synchronised and each camera has a formatted card and a fresh battery. The batteries and card shown are the spares. This kit travels in style in my Think Tank Retrospective 7 camera bag as shown below.
The complete kit that I select from is in the picture below. Click on the picture after the jump for the detailed descriptions…
The picture above shows:
Fuji 60mm f/2.4 macro lens with a home made hood mask (see below)
Fuji 35mm f/1.4 shown here on the X-Pro1 body
Fuji 23mm f/1.4
Fuji X-Pro1 with an official Fujifilm UK leather wrap and an RRS L bracket and grip
Fuji X-E2 with a standard Kirk base plate
Tiffen Black Pro Mist 1/4 filters
2.5 Dioptre glasses on a string
A Selvyt polishing cloth
batteries and a Sandisc 16Gb SD card (95mb/s)
A multi tool
Here is a graphic showing my extended kit. (Click on the picture to see a larger version). I never take all this out on a shoot, I cherry pick the bits I need.
In the full size version of the graphic above you will see that I have based my kit around the Fujifilm X-Pro1 camera body with a Fujifilm E-X2 camera body as a spare/ second body for hot swap shooting.
The three lenses I use for interior portraits. As you can see the lettering on the bezels of the 35mm and 23mm is blacked out because it was reflecting back off the filters. The 60mm lens hood has a mask attached to help eliminate flare. I shoot into the light nearly all the time so this is needed in most cases. If I want flare I remove it. The mask it attached with electrician’s insulation tape. In the top picture you can see I have a step up filter ring and a spacer between it and the lens barrel. This enables me to use the same filters that I use on the 35mm lens. The lens hood just fits through too so it’s a perfect combination. The spacer is just a cheap UV filter with the glass removed.
Not shown in the photographs is my Gitzo Monopod with an RRS lever lock ball head. The monopod rig is not cheap but it will out last me. I use the monopod for nearly every shot when I’m working inside. It slows me down suitably to help me consider the finer points of framing and picture design.
My X-Pro1 has been pimped by the good guys at Fujifilm UK. I am part of an experiment but I can’t tell you more than this apparently. It will get reverted to a black skin eventually unless there is another colour that catches my fancy. You can clearly see the construction of the RRS (Really Right Stuff) L bracket and grip. This transforms the handling of the camera. The iShoot brackets are not quite a secure fit in the RRS lever lock ball heads so I prefer to have the real thing.
I often use both cameras on a shoot. The X-Pro1 is easier to use as it has the better LCD and has better handling. Having said that the X-E2 is supposed to have superior focussing speed although for my work I can’t say I’ve noticed it. The X-Pro1 is a far better camera now than it was when I bought it. The latest firmware upgrade has transformed the camera. I love the way Fujifilm are delivering new features, menus and algorithms to existing and obsolete cameras to keep them up with the latest generation. I use the X-E2 less than the X-Pro1 because LCD is not as high resolution and the bottom of the LCD frame is covered with vital data. So it’s impossible to tell if I have someones feet in the shot or not.
Other items of note in my kit:
The Hoodloupe: I use this in conjunction with the 55-200mm lens when working outside. It reminds me of using a medium format finder because the lens is super quality and large. I attach the Hooodloupe to the camera by means of a home made bracket. More shots and details of my bracket are here.
The Lee Big Stopper and ND filters come into their own when I travel. I use the ND grads to keep my contrast zones under control and the big stopper for long exposure effects.
Multi tool: I had a posh one but lost it. I bought a cheapie and expected to loose it too but 5 years on I still have it. Never the other way round ;)
Lens cloth – selvyt: We used them at the BBC and I still use them today. They are the best value lens and kit cloth you can get and they are as good as new when washed.
Glasses on a string: I’m getting old but can still just about read my iPhone without glasses but when I add a pair of 2.5 dioptre beauties to the end of my nose the LCD on the X-Pro1 becomes a cinema display. Well nearly ;) Wearing the glasses while shooting means I don’t have to hold my camera at ams length to compose my shot. Steadier pictures and better interaction with my model or client too.
Think Tank Retrospective 30 and Retrospective 7 camera bags. I use the 7 most of the time. When I’m on a big job that involves interiors and exteriors plus flash work I take the 30 because I can add a couple more lenses and a Speedlight or triggers.
This is the Retrospective 7 in my interior portrait mode.
The camera sits on this bridge (left picture) that I made from the inserts. The lens hangs below it with room to spare. The empty compartment on the left houses my X-E2 body. The pocket in the front has my glasses, wallet ,iPhone, keys and multi tool. The zip compartment in the rear exterior (picture on the right) houses my iPad. Loaded up the bag is less than half the weight of a similar 35mm SLR kit.
Here’s another shot of my X-Pro1 under carriage.
Please feel free to comment below.