Looking back through my blogs I was surprised to see that it has been well over a year since I last took stock of what makes up my photography kit for various situations and occasions. In almost every blog I have written, I have been clear about what camera I was using and also what lenses I was using for the images taken for that particular blog. From my EDC (Every Day Carry) set up to what I use when travelling to Japan, to what I use when shooting something a little bit more formal. It is always a changing equation. But that is ok. As the gear I prefer to shoot with is Fujifilm mirrorless cameras and lenses – they are smaller than traditional DSLR products and so much lighter. As a result, my gear kits can and often do overlap without too much extra weight being added to my bag.
When I last wrote about what was in my camera bag, and you can check that one out here, I had a lot more gear than I do now. I still have and love my Fujifilm X-T2. 24 megapixels, X-Trans CMOS III censor and X-Processor Pro, snappy Auto Focus, dual SD card slots and weather resistant. A brilliant, brilliant camera. But the lenses have changed. I have sold many of my bigger Fujifilm lenses to stay with smaller, compact versions of the same focal length. For example, I previously owned the XF23mmF1.4 lens. A gorgeous lens with my favourite focal distance for everyday use. It has a 62mm filter thread and weighs just on 300 grams. Then Fujifilm released the much smaller and lighter XF23mmF2 lens. This lens has a 43mm filter thread and weighs just 180 grams. Plus the XF23mmF2 version has a more retro design and is weather and dust resistant. The same goes for the XF56mmF1.2 which has a 62mm filter thread and weighs 405 grams. Again a smaller, lighter, retro and weather resistant version was released with a 46mm filter thread and weighing only 200 grams. This was the XF50mmF2 lens. And all of a sudden two of the new lenses in my kit weighed less than only one of the older lenses.
These F2 versions are fantastic lenses and produce sharp and clear images. Plus they are fast on the Auto Focus – probably the fastest in the Fujifilm prime lens range. There is a third F2 lens in the XF35mmF2. A super nice focal distance for portraits. This also has an older version in the XF35mmF1.4. You get the picture by now. These three lenses form my entire lens range now. A total weight of 550 grams. That is nothing to carry around for any occasion and gives three pretty standard and required prime focal distances. And just on that, I am a prime shooter. I have used and tried my share of zoom lenses but I always preferred the fixed focal distance that prime lenses provide. And whilst on the topic of Fujifilm providing a cheaper and smaller alternative to their amazing high quality lenses, I would like to put in a small wish list. How about a XF16mmF2 to provide a little wider alternative. And perhaps a XF75mmF2. Again with the same retro design and much smaller size and weight.
Now let me give you an example of how I would put these lenses to use in a more formal capacity. Last weekend, I attended my friends engagement party in Launceston, Tasmania. I had my X-T2 on a wrist strap with the XF23mmF2 lens on 75% of the time. I used this to get group shots and to take in more of the surroundings of the venue. In my back pocket of my jeans I had the XF50mmF2 lens which was perfect for when I wanted to get in a little closer or take some more compressed portraits. In my front pocket I had a spare battery. I did have my camera bag stored away safe at the location, but the only other items I had in it was my Fujifilm X70, spare batteries for both cameras and some cleaning gear. And that was all. And as it turned out, due to the size of those F2 lenses and the fact that they do not require to pull too much power from the camera battery, I didnt.
So my core kit now is the Fujifilm X-T2, the XF23mmF2, XF35mmF2, XF50mmF2 and the Fujifilm X70 – which has an 18mm lens built in. I carry all of these in my ONA Prince Street camera bag. I have talked about ONA bags before and wrote a review on the neat little ONA Bowery here. The Prince Street is a much bigger bag than the Bowery and has an internal padded sleeve for a tablet, an external wide pocket for documents or a field notes book and two very large front pockets. The Prince Street comes in a range of finishes with several leather variations, waxed canvas and also nylon. I opted for the black waxed canvas bag that has brown leather fittings and accents and also has a brown leather carry handle separate to the shoulder strap. The bag is very strong, weather resistant and well crafted. The internal main section is padded with adjustable padded dividers.
Finally I carry a bunch of bits and pieces that I find vital to my photography regardless of what kind of shoot I am doing. I have two extra batteries for the Fujifilm X-T2 and two extra batteries for the Fujifilm X70. That’s a full day of shooting right there. In the X70 I use a 64Gb SD card so I would pretty much never fill that up in a day. In the X-T2, I have two 64Gb SD cards giving me 128Gb of storage. That is a huge amount of storage even with shooting in the larger RAW file format. In my bag I keep two extra 64Gb SD cards just in case. I carry my CURA Cleaning Pouch that holds all of my cleaning goods for keeping my camera, sensor and lens glass clean. You can check these out here. I tend to always carry with me a small notebook and 0.7mm mechanical pencil. I use the Field Notes brand as I like the size and quality. I also pack a small stack of my business cards in case someone enquires about my services or if I bump into another photographer and we want to keep in touch.
All of this gear fits neatly into my ONA Prince Street and it is a manageable amount to carry for any given purpose. I do use a tripod on rare occasions but I tend to keep this in the boot of my car. I see some photographers getting around with huge camera backpacks or shoulder bags and I wonder just how much they hate what they are carrying. How sore they feel at the end of the day. And how much does that detract from their enjoyment of photography. Granted that if Fujifilm did produce those couple of lenses I wished for earlier in this post, I would have more gear to carry. But I doubt I would find myself needing to carry everything just for the sake of it. On some days I just walk out my front door with my Fujifilm X70 in hand and a spare battery in my pocket as I stroll around my local neighbourhood or drop by the local market. No bag and no worries. Happy shooting.