I spent much of my life travelling all over the world with up to twelve or thirteen cases of camera equipment, I have now decided that it’s time for a simpler and definitely lighter life. Who were the main benefactors of all this equipment, well I expect the subjects were because I had everything to hand, the excess baggage guys and girls at various airlines certainly and of course my chiropractor. In the days of film, remember film, the cases roughly broke down to 1 big Lightweight case full of medium format Mamiya RZ camera bodies, lenses from 50mm to 360mm, polaroid backs, prisms, motor drives etc. 1 big Tamarac shoulder bag full of 35mm Nikon camera bodies and lenses from 24mm to 200mm. Then of course there’s all the other stuff, a metal case with filters, two makes both Lee and Cokin, another metal case full of film, daylight film 100 ISO, 400 ISO, artificial light film all in both 120 and 35mm and Polaroid instant film. Oh and of course a Fuji Instant camera for quick left to right captions. Two cases of Elinchrom lights packed in Elinchroms own fine cases, a bag full of stands for the lights, a bag full of modifiers, umbrellas, soft boxes etc for the lights. Another bag with a heavy Manfrotto tripod with spare plates naturally. How many’s that so far? 9 I think. Well going on, a metal case for miscellaneous bits and pieces like extension cables, clamps, hooks, gaffer tape and anything else you can think of. Then of course there may well be props, backgrounds or specific clothes for the subject and finally your own personal stuff. You can understand why the airlines were so pleased to see us with all that excess baggage to be paid for.
Several of the bags have been ditched thanks to the change to digital cameras. No longer do I need both a medium format and 35mm cameras, the filters have been cut down drastically, all of the warming and cooling filters are gone as I can do that in the camera. The film case is obviously gone so now I’m fine tuning what’s left. Until recently I had been carrying a very big, excellent and beautiful Lowpro case (well it was to me anyway), this contained 2 Nikon digital bodies about 8 lenses a Nikon speed light and other camera related parphanalia. Then things changed.
Because I take a picture nearly every day to go on my Wanstead Daily Photo blog I needed something small and light to carry around, a camera that would fit in my pocket. After a lot of research, ploughing through magazines and trawling the internet I decided on the Leica D Lux 6. I went along to Red Dot Cameras in Old Street, London to try one out. Ivor is the owner and a Leica enthusiast he is one of the most knowledgable Leica people around. The camera impressed me, small, light , pocketable and I liked the styling I was sold and took the plunge. The camera proved brilliant, exactly what I need for my daily blog, I was more than happy. One day it occurred to me that I had never made a print from it, jumping in at the deep end and rather than just do an A4 I decided to make an A2 size print, I thought that would really show up any faults. We use Epson printers and for this particular print I used the Epson Stylus Pro 3880. The quality was fantastic, more than I could have hope for from a camera with a relatively small sensor. Long story short, I was so impressed with the print quality I used the camera to photograph two covers for The Green magazine. When the V Lux type 114 came out with it’s much bigger sensor I couldn’t resist and bought one, again I am truly delighted with it. So much so It has become a bit of a workhorse, used in the studio, on location, for portraits and also for most of my stock photography. I will be talking about both the D Lux and the V Lux in more detail at a later date.
So for now this is my day to day camera bag setup. A small LowPro Micro Trekker 200 backpack, inside the Leica V Lux type 114, a Leica D Lux type 109, a Nikon 50mm F1.4 lens and Nikon D7000 with a 10/24mm wide angle zoom lens. There is also a Nikon SB900 Speedlight and various remotes etc, this combination really works well for me, I have focal lengths from 15mm to 400mm (35mm equivalent) all in one small bag. If I want something light and inconspicuous, perhaps for street photography or just to carry all the time I use the D Lux type 109, for studio, stock and really everything else I use the V Lux type 114. The Nikon comes into it’s own with the 10/24mm wide angle zoom, it’s a lens I love for interiors and where space is really tight, you can achieve some really dramatic perspectives with it. The Nikon 50mm f1.4 I normally use wide open at f1.4 for throwing the background really out of focus. All in all it’s a kit I am very happy with now I just have to work on the lights…