BetterPhoto Q&A
Category: New Questions

Photography Question 
Raquel S.
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/22/2003

Fun Question: What's in your camera bag/backpack?

Just curious to know what everyone packs in their camera bags.

I have a Lowepro Mini-trekker backpack and it currently has:

- Nikon FM2
- Nikon N80
- Several Nikkor lenses
- two prime lenses
- An extension tube
- A Lensbaby
- Several rolls of slide film (which I need to put back in the fridge).
- A flash
- A lightmeter
- A lens pen and microfiber cleaning cloth.
- batteries
- four or five lens filters
- a shutter release
- a digital voice recorder (when I'm too lazy to take notes)
- A notepad, pen, and mini sharpie.
- a flashlight
- 8 x 11 white posterboard
- a little bit of tulle
- a light reflector
- a pocket knife
- a tabletop tripod
- a laser pen (cheapo variety)

The only thing I didn't brink in my last exursion out to my parents home was my full-size tripod as it was in use for another project. (I regretted not having it too.)

This sucker was a lug to carry, but I'm happy to have it along.

So, just out of fun, what do you lug around in your photo bags? I just may learn something out of it too.

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5/19/2006 1:58:47 PM

Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/17/2003
  An interesting question...

I tend to lug around a lot of stuff in my backpack to avoid the inevitable,..."Gee, I wish I had my (whatever) for this!"

My pack consists of the following:

Camera bodies:
Two Nikon FM2's with MD-12 motordrives attached.

Nikkor 35mm f2
Nikkor 50mm F1.2
Micro-Nikkor 55mm f2.8
Nikkor 180 mm ED...(possibly my favorite).
Nikkor 300 mm 2.8 EDIF
(Note: this lens has its own hard case and weighs a ton so it usually waits for me back at the car.)

Nikon TC-201
Nikon TC-301

Extension tubes:
A set of three in varying lengths.
(...Can't remember the brand but definately generic.)

I have a stack which I carry as a "roll" with a cap on either end. There are about 15 or so but the ones I use most often are a polarizer, 80-A corrective filter and warming filters 81-A and 81-B.

A Vivitar 285HV...along with a Minolta Flash/Ambient Light Meter and home-made "snoots" and flash-filtering and diffusion devices. (All of these are packed together and include a flash distance-to-subject guide I made to save time in the field when using manual settings and vari-powered flash outputs).

I do a lot of work in the field with remotes so my arsenal includes:
*A Quantum Radio Slave trigger and receiver
*A Wein Sound Trigger and RCM-500 Remote module
*A Wein SSR-JR infra-red trigger
*A Wein WP-SSL infra-red receiver
*...and all of the cables required to match my motor-drives and flash.

Camera support:
I usually carry two tripods.
A full-size 'pod is slung over my shoulder in its own case and a mini-tripod is stashed in the pack for ground-level stuff.

Accessories include:
*Spare batteries
*A re-chargeable flashlight for adding highlights to macros (...or for finding my way out of dark places I had no business being). ;(
*Amber, red and blue cellophane...(to filter the flashlight for color-correction or for special effects).
*Lens cleaning supplies
*A get accurate distance-to-subject readings when using flash. (This is rarely used...usually I just guess and bracket.)
*A chunk of styrofoam, an assortment of plastic drinking straws and a pair of folding scissors to cut them to size..(for positioning flowers and plants for close-up work).
*A compact rain suit
*Some Velcro, Scotch tape, rubber bands and push-pins...(these always seem to come in handy).
*Beaded plastic diffusion material...(for those harsh sunny days we all hate).
*A "flip-open" style gold/silver reflector
*A gray card
*And of course,...plenty of back-up rolls of film.

...I think that's about it.


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5/19/2006 6:18:56 PM

Pete H
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/9/2005
  Food & drink! LOL

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5/19/2006 7:50:42 PM

Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/17/2003
  ...And, muscle relaxer. :(

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5/20/2006 5:11:56 PM


BetterPhoto Member
  Let's see, what's in my bag?

Since I just came off a shoot, my bag contains the following:

2 Minolta X700 bodies
1 MD-1 motor drive
1 Auto Winder G
1 Vivitar Series-1 19-35mm Ultra wide angle zoom
1 28-70 Promaster zoom
1 50mm f-1.4 prime
1 28mm f-2.8 prime
1 135mm f-2.8 prime
1 70-210 Vivitar Series-1 f-2.8-f-4 zoom
1 TOU/FIVE STAR 500mm f-8 prime telephoto
1 Promaster 5750 DX flash
1 Promaster module for Minolta Program manual
1 Module cable (3 foot) for flash
1 Vivitar flash grip
1 Lumiquest Promax bounce system
1 Cokin filter system with 49mm, 52mm, 55mm, 62mm,72mm, and 77mm mounting rings
Filters for cokin system: circular polorizer, diffusion filter, fl-a & fl-b, 2 point, 4point, 8 point, & 16 point star, red, orange, green and yellow B&W filters
1 set closeup lenses 77mm, w step up rings for each lens
Minolta 100 macro f-2.8
Velbon Victory 150 tripod
Lens tissue, pre moistened cleaning pads
Q-tips (for long lenses)
Infant syphon syringe
blower brush
Ewa Marine Under water housing
Ewa marine hurricane hood
Minolta 280PX back up flash

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5/21/2006 8:43:02 AM


BetterPhoto Member
  And Motrin for lugging it all around

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5/21/2006 8:44:14 AM

Raquel S.
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/22/2003

Well, now I'm inspired to keep a bottle of Aleve in there as well. It's probably just as practical to put in some Claritin and Nasalcrom too.

I did forget to mention the couple Lumiquest products I keep in my bag as well.

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5/21/2006 9:03:31 AM

Andrew Laverghetta
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/13/2004
  Hmm, ok, so I guess I'll check this one out too...

I actually have most of my stuff in a suitcase that rolls behind you on two weeks because I don't have a decent camera bag yet. I've got

-Canon 20D
-Canon Rebel GII 35mm
-Seagull medium format TLR (works great)
-420EX flash
-4 AA alkalines
-4 AA NiMH
-2 CR123's
-a fiew various filters for film(diffusion, black and white contrast polarizer etc)
-cable releases for the rebel and 20D
-Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8
-Canon 200mm f/2.8L
-50mm f/1.8
-many rolls of kodak tmax100

I used this for some photo shoots that I've had recently so I've got some general purpose work lights and light stands plus a promaster manual flash with sync cord.

I think that's about it. Oh, memory cards and camera batteries I guess...

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5/21/2006 6:45:09 PM

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5/21/2006 11:13:12 PM

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5/21/2006 11:15:08 PM

Debbie Del Tejo
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/30/2005
  my allergy pills in case I come accross any CATS!
Extra pair of contacts.

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5/22/2006 2:47:36 AM

Craig m. Zacarelli
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/3/2005
  Jack and
just kidding! I keep my 30d, 70-200 f4L. 10-22siggie, 100MM macro,28-135mm IS, a few 1 GB cards and filters.. a lighter, a towel hangs out of the handle, sometimes a protiene bar or two, one of those little sillicon gel pack to keep moisture down, a collapsable 12" round diffuser and the 420EX and spare double A batts. Thats all I can remember right now without peeking..

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5/22/2006 8:54:49 AM

Bob Chance
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/19/2006
  I've got a two week old PBJ if anyone is interested.

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5/22/2006 11:46:11 AM

Craig m. Zacarelli
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/3/2005
  oh yeah...i plumb forgot.. I keep a pill case with Benadryl, motrin, at least one Allegra D. a small knife and bandaids. Business cards, a small pack of release forms (dont know why...just in case) a pen a small flash light too. Funny thing is... I never take this bag out of the car, I insted, carry a small shoulder bag with the sigma 10-20 or 100mm macro and the 28-135 IS, filters and spare cards in it. and I carry the 30D with what ever lens on the monopod over my shoulder like a rifle.
my celly is always in my pocket.
PS... I got a really cool sleevless, button down, green fishing a photog vest but for fishing.. it was cheap and it holds lotsa filters, spare cards and such! And its totally lightweight so I can wear it over a tee shirt. Throw on my Yankees cap and im good to go!

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5/22/2006 12:10:21 PM

Bob Cournoyer
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/9/2003
Contact Bob
Bob's Gallery
  Thanks, Natalie!!
Here I am reading along, not paying attention to what's coming along next, making note of what everyone carries....and then you pop up....and I darn near had to have the dog call 9-1-1 to have some paramedics come revive me....:-)

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5/22/2006 12:38:33 PM


BetterPhoto Member
  Oh yeah, that reminds me. Add a cell phone to mine.

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5/22/2006 12:48:55 PM

BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/7/2005
  OMG - LOL I was wondering if anyone would actually READ what I wrote!!!

he he he.........

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5/22/2006 4:10:50 PM


BetterPhoto Member
  Now that we all know that we all suffer from backaches, cramps, PMS, or any combination thereof...

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5/22/2006 7:31:49 PM

Debbie Del Tejo
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/30/2005
  yes, but we would not trade this job for anything else in the world, backaches, PMS and all.

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5/22/2006 8:12:59 PM

Brad silcott   I have some cheap bag with

Canon AE-1P
Toyo Optics 75-200mm
Canon 50mm
Toyo Optics 2x converter
Nikon N-50
Nikkor 35mm-80mm
TWO sharpies one black one silver
Pilot G2 pen
Pen light like a nurse or doctor would use
15 Rolls of film two being B&W the rest being 200 and 400 Kodak HD
Grey Card
Eyeglass repair kit for my lens
Syringe full of KY jelly for my cheap 2x converter that hangs up all the time
Blower brush
Lens cleaner
Mirco fiber cloth
Release forms
Airport Guides
Aviation Scanner
and a small pocket size photo album to show of my work
Cell phone.

opps don't forget the polarier.
Other than that just need blue skies and some good air traffic

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5/22/2006 9:19:56 PM

Bob Chance
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/19/2006
  Okay, I'll play along. But I warn you, I travel lite.

Main Camera Bag
Canon 20D DSLR w/1GB Sandisk Ultra II CF
Canon EF-S 17-85mm USM IS
Canon EF 25mm Extension tube
Canon EF 100-400mm F4.5-5.6L USM IS
Owners manual & warranty cards
Lens cleaning supplies
Battery charger and spare 511A battery
Extra AA batteries for the flash

Back-up Camera bag
Kodak Easyshare DX6490
Spare battery for same
Extra AA batteries for flash

Location duffle bag
Stroboframe pro swivel flash bracket
Sunpak 544 flash
Bogen Manfatto tripod w/ball head

That's pretty much it for now. Unless I'm shooting for a client, I usually only travel with my main bag and maybe carry the tripod along. But if I'm doing a wedding or something, like this past weekend, then everything goes.
I took my wife along to help me carry everything. Tee Hee!


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5/23/2006 11:38:50 AM

Raquel S.
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/22/2003
  I've enjoyed reading everyones responses, including some of the more eyepopping ones. (The KY jelly thing threw me for a loop...)

I do keep a loaded Canon Elph Jr. in my purse at all times - that's how I travel light. ;)

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5/23/2006 11:47:19 AM

Brad silcott   "The KY jelly thing threw me for a loop...)" ...Hey when the converter started sticking I had a airshow to shoot in less than 3 hours and I didn't know what would be gentle as not to hurt the lens and it hit me. When other things aren't moving so smoothly what else would you use ;). Funny thing is the converter hasn't jammed since.
I also meant to add EAR PLUGS those babies are loud.(the planes)

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5/24/2006 8:33:37 PM

Christopher A. Vedros
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/14/2005
  Okay, I'll give it a shot.

I have a Tamrac Expedition backpack, but for day-to-day purposes, I use a Tamrac Explorer shoulder bag. It has a belt that pulls out the back, so I can also wear it as a hip-pack and belt system. Then I can add more lens & utility pouches to the belt until I look like Batman. ;-)

With this I usually carry:

Canon EOS Digital Rebel Camera
2 spare 1-GB CF cards (in little pouches on the camera strap)
Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 EX lens
Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 EX lens
Sigma APO EX 2x Teleconverter
Canon 50mm f/1.4 lens
Canon 420EX Flash with Lumiquest MiniSoftBox diffuser
Spare AA NiMH batteries for flash
2 or 3 spare BP-511 batteries for the camera
Off-shoe camera cord for flash
Cokin filter system (which I rarely use anymore)
Polarizers for each lens
Cleaning kit
Leatherman tool
Mini Maglight
Infrared remote shutter release
Tamrac water bottle & holster
Several additional Memory Cards (though I rarely go past the 3 1-GB cards)
Mini Tabletop tripod
Full size tripod or monopod (depending on need)

I think that's about it.

Chris A. Vedros

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5/25/2006 8:31:14 AM

Kerry L. Walker   OK, let's see if I can remember it all.

Bag 1

Pentax 645N
150 mm lens
75 mm lens
flash meter
2 sync cords
2 flashes
a few filters
blower brush

Bag 2

Pentax 645
sewing kit
a couple of bricks of film (when not in freezer)
business cards
price lists
release forms
20 pack of AA batteries
flash bracket

Bag 3

Olympus OM-2n
50 mm lens
135 mm lens
28 mm lens
70-150 zoom
film - again, when not in freezer
lens cleaning paper

Bag 4

Minolta X-700
50 mm lens
80-200 zoom
500 mm lens (reflex lens - just for playing around with

In the back seat of the truck


In the bed of my truck

posing stool

Probably forgot about half of it.

Yes, Natalie, I read what you posted and busted out laughing too.

Oh yeah, ear plugs to alleviate my suffering from PMS - not mine - my wife and daughter's!

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5/25/2006 9:40:55 AM

Nikki D. Storms   I am still new at this so here goes:

Light traveler
Samsung P&S
4 extra AA batteries

Normal traveler
Canon Rebel XT
18-55mm Standard lens
microfiber cleaning cloth
2GB CF card
Battery charger
Hp Laptop

Thats it, But I am going shopping in the next week for EVERYTHING ELSE


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5/16/2008 3:10:17 PM

Brenda  D. 
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/27/2005
  Don't forget to add a Bounce dryer sheet.the mail carriers use them to keep the bees

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5/16/2008 3:19:53 PM

Brenda  D. 
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/27/2005
  away. oops sorry about that.thanks for asking the question Rachael and to everyone else for the great ideas, I need to recheck my bag. I love the idea of extra contacts. I keep eye drops but will be adding the contacts too. I also carry a small sticky roller. lint just seems to follow some people around.and hand sanitizer.

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5/16/2008 4:34:29 PM

Raquel S.
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/22/2003
  LOL! I've been away from this site too long. It's been fun to re-read the answers on this thread. Thanks for resurrecting it and pulling me back in. I need to dust off my photo equipment and get shooting again.

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5/16/2008 6:10:36 PM

Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  Wellllllllllll, let's see:
3 Leica rangefinder M-6 bodies w/ winders;
5 Leitz/ Schneider lenses including:
21mm; 28, 35; 85; 135
10 rolls of film, mostly Tri-X, (for exposure at ISO 250) Fujichrome, and/or Efke b&w of various speeds;
Lunapro hand-held meter
Vivitar 285 HV with a Quantum Turbo battery and paramount PC and supply cords;
a collapsible Saunders flip flash bracket;
collapsible portable umbrella, stand, and multi-use bracket secured to bag with velcro;
several B+W filters including a redhancer, 45 red for shooting IR, b&w contrast filters.
Reporters note pad and small 6 ring notebook; model releases, Sharpie Pens & Flair Pens in different colors for coding film leaders, notetaking in the rain, etc.; roll of white linen tape for marking, etc.;
packet of Avery Labels;
spare Ray Bans
an old Erskine Caldwell novel;
a corned beef sandwich w/ swiss on light rye;
My good luck Snickers Bar, circa 1990;
(non edible)
Aspirin tablets (Ascriptin 325mg)
A newer Snickers Bar;
Pretzel crumbs;
spare cell phone battery;
spare batteries for the M-6 meters and LunaPro;
a Streamlight pocket-sized, lithium ion battery powered flashlight w/ spare battery;
lens tissue;
1 bottle ROR Lens cleaner 1 sm can Dustoff.
Small water bottle holder on bag strap.
Ear plugs for shooting concerts and airport tarmacks;
All in a Domke Lil Bit Bigger Bag.

Take it light. :>)

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5/16/2008 8:48:03 PM

Christopher A. Walrath
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/25/2006
  Well, let's see.

2- Mamiya M645j bodies
1- 45mm Sekor C lens
1- 80mm Sekor C lens
1- 150mm Sekor C lens
1- 210 Sekor C lens
1- Minolta sr-T101 body
1- Vivitar 28-200 Macro Zoom
1- Weston Master IV light meter
1-10 rolls of 100TMX medium format film
1-3 rolls of 35mm ISO400 Neopan
1 ea.- Cokin A holder with blue, green, yellow, orange, red, circ pol, .5 and 2.5 grad ND, NDx2, NDx4 and NDx8 filters.
2- tamraq pouches in the end compartments holding the filters
1- Air shutter spool with bulb and 20 ft. tube.
1- Homemade 6x6 pinhole folder with optional lift or slide shutter. (Yeah, I made that)
1- Homemade 35mm pinhole matcdhbox camera loaded with Efke 25 (Yeah, made that one too)
1- flip open Multi LED work light for more lighting.
1- Promatic FTD4000 flash.
1- 24 inch Vivitar style flash sync chord for use with the . . .
1- Vivitar 2800 auto-thyristor flash
Field notebook (leather bound, Indy style)
1- 12" shutter cable
1- Microfiber cleaning cloth
Various assorted manuals
2- ink pens (the clear BIC six sided ones that are the best pens ever made IMHO)
2- plastic bags for inclement conditions
1- can opener (not for darkroom, for opening cans)
Think that covers it. Sure it doesn't.

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5/17/2008 1:00:54 PM

Christopher A. Walrath
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/25/2006
  See? Oh yeah. SPare batteries. Spare cell phone. Mamiya L grip. Mamiya prism finder, non-metering. One or two silica gel bag I never threw out that are just sitting there hanging out with the gear. (S'up guys . . .)

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5/17/2008 1:03:41 PM

Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/17/2003
  Boy,...this is an old thread and I'm sure many of our gear bags have evolved considerably since then.

I've personally added a few more lenses...including a 20 mm 2.8 Nikkor (which has become one of my favorites), a 105 mm Micro-Nikkor and a 600 mm f-4 beast.

A bellows system, another camera body (that's three now), a third tripod, a home-made car-door mount and other misc. accessories were also added.

One thing I've learned since '06 was how to combat those pesky biting bugs during the warm months afield.
A pair of clear plastic safety glasses (the kind the gun shooters wear) keeps the gnats out of my eyes while I'm setting up or trying to focus.
A few bottles of Swamp Buddy Repellant stays in my pack all the time.
This solution really works!
It's also natural.
(I've never been into the DEET scene. That stuff has been known to melt I can't imagine what it might be doing to my skin.)
Another good natural repellant is fresh mint. Whenever I happen upon a patch I will pluck off a few sprigs and tuck them under the brim of my hat for a little added protection.


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5/17/2008 4:33:22 PM


BetterPhoto Member
  You got that right Bob. Personally, I have added another bag with a Sony Alpha A100, 18-70mm zoom, 75-300mm zoom, Promaster 5750DX flash module for Sony and a Seigelite flash bracket. Anything else I need is usually in my X700 bag.

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5/21/2008 2:44:47 PM

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