What’s in my bag? ~ Damien Lovegrove

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. The filters are on the lenses before I start and the X-E2 is the backup body.

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.

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 bezel is blacked out because it was reflecting back off the filters.

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.

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.

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.

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.

This is the Retrospective 7 in my interior portrait mode.

The camera sits on this bridge that I made from the inserts. The lens hangs below it with room to spare.

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.

Here’s another shot of my X-Pro1 under carriage.

Please feel free to comment below.

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About Damien

Damien Lovegrove learned his trade as a cameraman and lighting director during 14 years at the BBC, working on programmes such as the Clothes Show, Top of the Pops and Casualty. Fifteen years on, Damien has become one of the foremost trainers of photography and entrepreneurial business strategies in our industry. A published writer and regular columnist, Damien has travelled the globe sharing his knowledge and expertise. “Photography fascinates me” declares Damien. "Much of my photography is inspired by a burning enthusiasm within me” explains Damien. “Picking up a camera gives me such a rush that I’m instantly driven to create pictures.”

24 thoughts on “What’s in my bag? ~ Damien Lovegrove

  1. if i were you Peter Brehaut i would take the 23, sell the 18 and get the 35mm and pay any slight difference, buy a grip as most need it, even the new fuji ones with the cut out if you don’t want the rrs. outstanding camera this and the x100s , can’t comment on the xe2 as haven’t used it but don’t like what Damien describes about the bottom of the screen in use. Not sure about these wraps Damien, if it were a different colour yes, in that bright colour no. It was very interesting reading your Hood mask, your loop for the 55-200 and blackening out the lettering to eliminating ghosting on the filters, i only use the lee seven5 system so never thought it would be necessary to do this. Nice insight, thanks.

  2. Hi Peter,

    The X-T1 to be announced soon (28th Jan) is likely to be the camera to go for if you want fast! With f/2.8 zooms due this year too the time is nearly upon us for wedding photographers across the world to switch from SLRs to Fuji X. I remember the big switch from MF film to 35mm film that happened in 1998 and the switch from 35mm film to APSC digital 1n 2001 when the Fujifilm S1 hit the scene.

    Wait a few weeks then plan your switch :)

    Cheers, Damien.

  3. Hi Grantfraser,

    The wrap will be replaced with black when I’m next at Fuji UK head office. The Hermes Leica wrap is quite good looking. I think a colour wrap suits a silver camera more. I think we will see silver versions of Fuji lenses soon too. The 27mm is the first to be available in silver or black.

    Thanks Damien.

  4. Hi Damien ,

    I’ve read your write ups on using the fuji cameras and lenses, they have been very informative and helpful. Much appreciated. I don’t have a Fuji camera but would like to know if they can be tethered to a laptop to view images when you’re setting lights up ?

    What’s it ten more days before we find out about the new camera ?

    Cheers Roger

  5. Hi Roger,

    Thanks :) Tethering – no, but wifi to ipad works just fine on the X-E2. I use the HDMI out straight to my projector when I’m doing demos.

    The much rumoured X-T1 is to be announced on the 28th Jan. I hope this helps :) Damien.

  6. Can’t wait to hear your thoughts on the upcoming XT-1. Would love to have a backup camera and the fuji prices are just right. Seems it will be a while before a X-pro successor emerges. Hope those Fuji vids are still in the works.

  7. I should have added this in the last message. What would you suggest as a good kit for constant lighting? Speed and minimalism is the theme for me this year. As I reignite the passion and revamp. Has been a while since I’ve had the time to fully engage.

    Thanks

  8. Hi Terrence,

    From what I can gather from speaking to Fuji reps and the like the X-T1 is between the X-Pro1 and the X-E2. It is not a replacement for either. Just another camera that utilises the fabulous X series lenses. Not long to go now to find the full specs but I see that this is as a trigger product that will empower many photographers to realise their potential as happy inspired creative photographers by ditching their bloated, heavy, luddite SLR camera systems. The Fuji x lenses alone are worth the swap but I predict the first half of 2014 will be the tipping point. The exodus from SLR shooting on a daily basis for many professionals.

    The X-Pro1 is still my favourite X camera and at just 2 years old my X-Pro1 is barely run in. This X-T1 will have a faster card write speed. Less lag on the EVF etc but the same 16mp Xtrans sensor as the X-E2.

    System highs:

    Full frame quality in a compact package
    Finest fast prime lenses available for any system
    Constant f/2.8 zooms (due this Spring)
    X-Trans sensor is fab

    X-T1 has a bigger better EVF that is sure to woo photographers who are used to looking through a hole to compose their images.

    Just my thoughts.

    See you soon I hope on my USA tour. (Dates not yet confirmed)

    Kind regards,

    Damien.

  9. Hi Terrence,

    My interior portraits kit is ideal. I love the feel of the X-Pro1 with grip. I love the LCD too. I use a monopod all the time when the light level drops. I suggest replace my 60mm with the 56mm f/1.2 and you will be good to go. That lens could just be the best lens ever made. Who knows. Rumour has it that it is optically superior to the 85mm f/1.2 from Canon and the 85mm f/1.4 from Nikon. We will be able to see for ourselves soon.

    Get shooting and stay inspired.

    Damien.

  10. My apologies again. I was asking about suggestions on constant lighting kit to start. Considering unloading my old Profoto compact 3 head system. I currently have the XE-2 with the 35mm, 60mm and 18-55mm zoom for my shooting kit. The sample images from the 56mm do look superb. The tools are great, but just tools. I aspire to have the technique and the vision to fully understand lighting and composition more. That is why I study the Masters like yourself. :)

    Cheers

  11. Damien – Sorry for the silly question: What did you use to black out the lettering on the front of your lenses. I’ve been using gaffers tape, but it looks pretty shoddy.

  12. Will you be adding the XT1 to your arsenal? It looks as impressive as the 56mm. Looks like it would be a good main body and XE2 for backup.

  13. Very tempting to go and have a play with one of these or the new XT-1!

    I read the autofocus is a bit slow, is that the case or is that just an urban myth?

    Thanks

  14. Hi Damien, Great work and blog. Its the first time I have come across your work and as a recent convert to the X-series I am sure I’ll be back. But I have to echo Pete’s question above. How did you black out the lettering on the lenses? It looks to be something simple like a sharpie marker maybe? But I’d be interested because gaffers tape does look kind of shoddy. Thanks!

  15. Hi Terrence, As you now know I have the X-T1 and combined with the 56mm it is formidable :) I hope to see you again soon Stateside.

    Cheers,

    Damien.

  16. Hi Gary,

    Sorry for my delay in replying. The X-T1 focus speed is fine for me but I don’t often photograph moving subjects. Using the X-T1 is so much quicker than using an SLR anyway so the fraction of a second difference in focus speed is almost irrelevant. With an SLR you have to take a test shot for exposure – Look at it – Make adjustment – Shoot another test – Look at it – Shoot a frame – look at it and zoom in to check if it is in focus. With the X-T1 you can see the exposure in real time before you take a picture so that cuts out any test and measure process and it is always in focus because there is no prism and AF micro adjust stuff. It just focusses on the the picture and not via a prism etc.

    Cheers, Damien.

  17. Hi Matt,

    I used a permanent marker pen to black out the letters :) Thanks for the compliments and I hope to see you back here soon.

    Regards,

    Damien.

  18. Hi Damien ;-)
    Nice and detailed article, as usual…

    I would like to ask you if you have completely moved from Canon to mirrorless system. It’s just curiosity.

    I know you are a professional photographer and I saw many video in which you are using a Canon 5D Mark II-III.
    So, have you definetively sold your Canon gear to move to Fuji? Or you have both systems? Fuji for travelling and Canon for the rest?

    Cheers,
    Nicolò

  19. Hi Nicolò,

    Yes I’ve been Fuji for just over 2 years now. My Canon kit sold on Ebay. I just have one last 5Dmk2 body left that was not sold but is still boxed ready for sale if you want it. The first video production shot entirely with Fuji was ‘Hollywood Portraits’ and I’ve just finished my latest production using Flash and Natural light for portraits on location using the Fuji X-T1 throughout. All my corporate work is shot with the Fuji as well as my portraits and weddings. I don’t have any use for bloaty SLRs and big heavy lenses. I shoot a different kind of image with the Fuji, a more intimate image that can’t be shot with a big camera in front of my face.

    Kind regards,

    Damien.

    Kind regards,

    Damien.

  20. Hi Damien,

    If a professional photographer like you sold all his “old” DSLR gear it means that the Fujifilm mirrorless system works really well for your needs…
    I am interested in Fujifilm system and probably I will know more about it for the future.
    For now Canon gives me all everything I need, except weight ;-)

    PS: if I could I will buy your 5D Mark II just to say ” a piece of equipment of Damien Lovegrove…” ;-D

    Cheers,
    Nicolò.

  21. Hi Damian

    I was wondering if you’d be interested in submitting your kit (and your work) to appear on Shotkit?
    We’d love to have you on board :-)

    Mark

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