Every photographer has this post. Its probably unnecessary, I mean who really cares what we shoot with, as long as we get the job done! Right?
The truth is, some of you care, some don't. But for me there is another consideration. For so long, "Professional" photographers have been lugging around a big backpack (or two) filled with their gear for the day (your wedding for example). That is not fun, believe you me! I hated having 2 big DSLR's, pro lenses (they weigh heaps more than the cheap kit lenses you get at the big megastores like Harvey Norman, but there is a vast difference in image quality too), and a bag full of spare batteries, flashes, more lenses, another spare camera maybe... all in all, probably 15 Kg wouldn't be an unreasonable amount.
But I've changed to the Fujifilm X System. These are compact size, but are every bit professional gear. However, most clients are expecting to see me bring out a huge DSLR, and so the sight of these compact cameras may be a little disconcerting ("hang on a minute! You're supposed to be a professional, but they look like "toy" cameras!"... I've heard the "toy camera" remark quite a bit, often from new photographers, who love everyone seeing their big DSLR and brand name strap!)
So lets get it out there! Here's my basic "go to" kit. This is what goes everywhere with me. For big jobs, it may find its way into a slightly larger bag, so I can carry an extra flash or two, but in general, here it is.
So, what have we got here:
- Fujifilm X-Pro 1: my workhorse camera, interchangeable lenses, I love this camera, it is a joy to take photo's with. About half the size of my DSLR, and with lens on, weighs less than the Canon did without a lens.
- Fujinon 35mm 1.4 (attached): I love this lens, it pretty much lives on the camera. At an equivalent 53mm, this is one of the sharpest lenses around. This is built to the same specs (as are all fujinon EBC lenses) as the Medium Format glass that they build for Hasselblad. basically, if Cameras were cars, this is the engine in a Rolls Royce! So sharp, such nice images, the 35 1.4 is simply beautiful!
- JJC Cleaning cloth/18% grey card: this cloth (in opaque plastic tube) doubles as an 18% grey card for setting custom WB.. Handy!
- Canon FD 50mm f1.8 on Kipon Adapter: while I wait for Fujifilm to release the 56 1.2, this is my portrait lens. Does a very nice job for a $80 lens that is as old as me, on a $15 adapter!
- Fujinon 55-200: I also use this for portrait work, and whilst not as "fast" as my old Canon EF70-200 2.8L, I'm yet to see this impact my work. For me, I think its every bit as good!
- Fujinon 14mm 2.8: I love shooting with wides. landscapes, group shots, wide shots from the back of the church... even portraits (come on! get creative!) This is a beautiful lens, better than my L series wides I had with my Canon. Sharp, fast, I could go on!
- Giottos Rocket Blower: Don't change lenses without a quick clean, get the dust out of your camera (stay out of dusty environments if you can anyway, and eve yourself some trouble and don't change lenses in dusty environments). Great blower!
- Lumopro LP180 Flash: BOOM! Light! This manual flash has heaps of power. 1/4 the price of the equivalent power Nikon or Canon Speedlights. On paper more than most speed lights out there. Coupled with the X100S, this is a daylight sun killer. I'm only using these in future! best bang for my buck (and not many $$)!
- Fujifilm X100S: This is probably the single best camera on the market today. Old School. And in a way that hipsters just don't understand. If you shot film with a 35 film camera, you will love this! I've blogged about this before, if you haven't read it, check out my previous post about this camera with the LP180. I'm pretty sure I'll be buried with this thing. You wouldn't be able to pry it from my cold dead hands. It goes absolutely everywhere with me. If I only had one camera, this would be it. Fixed lens? Zoom with your feet! I get asked often "what DSLR should I get for my first real camera?" my answer? "None, get an x100s and learn how to take pictures!"
- JJC hood and B+W Pro filter: Protection. spend a few dollars, put these on and keep them there. I don't use a cap on this camera (they come off and I lose them). But don't use a cheap filter. B + W are the best. German made, pure optics. Whats the point of having a camera with the best sensor and glass, if you stick cheap distorted junk in front of it. $50 won't break the bank! The hood stops glare and adds more protection. You can spend $$$$ for the fuji one, or $ for a nasty el cheapo. Spend $$ and get the JJC. as good as the real thing, but not flimsy.
- Wein Sync IR transmitter: I got this after reading Zack Arias' blog. He uses it to sync at high speeds with his x100s. Its not expensive, and does the job brilliantly. Additionally, the X-Pro1 doesn't have a flash, so there are no optical triggering options... enter Wein Sync!
- Spare X-Pro1 batteries: I always have 2 of these charged and ready to go... just in case! (the X-Pro is a bit battery hungry)
- Spare X100S batteries: again carry one or two.. the X100S isn't as power hungry as the XP1, so one spare often does the job for me.
- B+W ND4 filter: The X100S has inbuilt ND filter, giving 3 stops, but screw this on for a couple more! May come in handy in the midday sun!
- Powerex AA rechargeable batteries: for the LP180. Big power requires good batteries. I use both Eneloop and Powerex. No real preference.
- OCF 5m TTL cord: Again, I saw what Zack Arias' could do with this, the X100S and a flash. yes my flashes aren't ETTL (at the moment), but this is just a beautiful cable, and I believe worth the extra $ over a cheap ebay "no brand" The product of Syl Arena, a master of OCF, he built it to meet his needs, and then everyone wanted one!
- Gels: both colour correction and effect gels for the LP180. Bare flash can be nasty if not handled well, and won't suit every shot. be prepared!
- Spare memory cards: Good quality cards are a must. Make sure they are genuine. Don't risk your clients photos to save $20. I use Sandisk, usually 16Gb.
- Business cards: How will you get more work if you are't prepared!
So thats it. my everyday kit. As I said, some things vary, if I have special requirements, but I'm usually pretty confident that with this kit I can do most stuff!
So how big is this all packed up? Well I usually carry it in an old messenger bag I got a few years ago, with a camera insert. Sometimes it goes into a small backpack, say if I need a couple more flashes, and battery packs etc, but generally this is it: