- What's in my Camera Bag -

What's in my Camera Bag?

January 03, 2019

One of the most intimidating aspects of photography is the cost of equipment. As a beginner and a college student, I did not even want to think of how much I needed to spend on gear. My first personal camera was a point-and-shoot and I quickly grew out of it. I was grateful to have that experience but I wanted to upgrade to a DSLR camera, or a digital camera that combines the optics and the mechanisms of a single-lens reflex camera with a digital imaging sensor. I began borrowing DSLR cameras from my university. It was a three-day rental and came with only one lens. I craved the flexibility of owning my own camera and using it whenever I wanted.

Last year, my parents surprised me with my first DSLR, two lenses, and a camera bag. Since then, I have slowly been acquiring the gear as I feel it is needed. My favorite purchases of this year were my "nifty-50" and my Minolta X-570 film camera.

The Bag

Nikon DSLR Camera bag Black

It's definitely a good starter bag! It is able to fit more gear than it seems. Ideally, it can fit about two cameras with lenses attached inside the main compartment. However, I have managed to fit two cameras with lenses attached, a spare lens, and my flash. It is a bit snug but my gear is still safe.The bag is lightweight, compact, and contains many pockets. I can fit extra SD cards, 35mm film, polaroid film, chargers, and personal items in the extra pockets. I use this bag for travel but I do plan to upgrade to a backpack soon. My current bag is a cross-body and can get in the way during shoots plus it is not personally ideal for travel.

Cameras

Nikon D3400 Camera Body

I absolutely love this camera, especially as a beginner. It is user-friendly and very reliable. It is lightweight and compact so it is perfect for on-the-go. I like to carry it with my everywhere I go because I never know what picture perfect moment I will find. Although it is not a full frame, I am still able to capture my desired shots!A useful feature is SnapBridge, which allows you to view and download your pictures from your camera on your phone.

Minolta X-570 film camera

Earlier this year, I was finally able to buy my first film camera! It was the first camera I found in store that was reasonably priced. I had recently rented a Minolta film camera from my university and I fell in love. Before that, I had been using a Nikon, which I enjoyed, but something about the Minolta felt right. Without much previous knowledge about the model, I bought my X-570. This may easily be the greatest purchase I have ever made!The viewfinder on the Minolta X-570 displays 95% of the film frame area. In the viewfinder, it displays the selected shutter speed when shooting in manual mode. The camera also has the capacity to shoot in Aperture-Priority Automatic Exposure Control mode, which allows you to set the aperture and the camera will automatically set the shutter speed. This allows you to creatively play with the aperture.

Polaroid OneStep Closeup 600

Passed down from my parents to me, my OneStep was my first camera and the beginning of this wonderful journey. It an instant film camera that was first released in the early 1990's. The OneStep comes with a built-in flash, ensuring that you always have enough light. It comes with a fixed lens, along with a sliding closeup lens. Another cool feature is the lighten and darken slider to give you more control based on your lighting conditions.This is perfect to capture special moments and fun to take to events! I took my Polaroid to ACL Music Festival and it was one of my greatest decisions. There's something about instant film that makes the photograph even more unique and remarkable.

Lenses

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G Lens

My "nifty-50" is my absolute favorite lens in my collection! It is perfect for portraits and everyday use. This lens is always on my camera and is perfect for travel because it is so small. As a prime lens, it forces me to become more creative with my angles since I cannot use zoom.The short lens with a fast aperture allows you to capture images where your subject really stands out from the background because of the shallow depth of field. This is an essential part of your equipment.

Nikon AF-P DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR Lens

This was one of first lenses and is also a great addition to the collection because it is compact, lightweight, and versatile. It allows you to capture tight portraits one second and wide landscapes the next.The VR stands for "Vibration Reduction" which keeps your photos and videos looking steady and enhances your camera's capabilities in low-light situations. The 18-55mm lens also has a quick auto-focus and as a part of the "P" series the auto-focus is quieter than before. You also have the option to use the manual focus and this lens can switch from manual to automatic with almost zero lag time.

Nikon AF-P NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6E ED VR Telephoto Zoom Lens

Perfect for landscapes, sports, and more this lens has come in handy! It is definitely my favorite lens to use for sports. I am able to get close shots of the action without physically getting close. For sports, you are very confined outside of the play area and that can make taking pictures tricky. You need a fast lens with VR image stabilization, fast autofocus, and great zoom with amazing quality to shoot action and sports. It is also perfect for taking videos of sports and action.The lens is also great for closeups and portraits since it can collapse to 70mm. Although it is not very ideal to always have on your camera because of its size, the versatility is perfect for certain events, like weddings and concerts.

Albinar ADG 80-200mm f/3.9G Macro Zoom (film)

This lens came with my film camera when I purchased it and it is a pretty good lens. Just like the 70-300mm for my Nikon, it is perfect for landscapes and sports. I am excited to use this lens to shoot sports on film. I believe this will be an entertaining and educational experience.I have used this lens for a couple of shots when I traveled and I really like the telephoto aspect but I do not think the quality of this lens is as high as the quality of Minolta lenses.  However, it is a pretty cheap lens which can make it easy to add to your collection. Telephoto lenses are fun to work with and can challenge your creativity.

Lighting

Nikon SB-910

This flash can operate on the camera as a hot shoe mounted Speed-light, remote unit, or wireless Commander. It includes a dedicated Menu button and illuminated buttons for control in low light. To prevent the flash from overheating because of use, there is an improved thermal cut out protection. The SB-910 also recharges quickly and is ready when needed. The flash can rotate from 90° to 180° for direct lighting or to bounce off of objects.

Vivitar 285 Flash [GN120] {Bounce, Zoom}

The Vivitar 285 Flash is bright and powerful and can be used on the hot shoe or off-camera. It has a zoom range of 24-105mm for coverage of a variety of focal lengths. Similarly to the SB-910, this flash can rotate from 90° to 180°. It can recharge quickly in 0.3 to 10 seconds. This flash is great for beginners because it is relatively easy to use and is moderately priced. I mainly use this for my film camera but is also compatible with DSLRs.

Film

Kodak GC/UltraMax 400 Color Negative Film (35mm Roll Film, 36 Exposures)
I recently started working with color film and this is currently my favorite film. It is daylight-balanced with rich saturation and works well with skin tones. Kodak UltraMax is fine grain and ideal for scanning and enlarging.

Kodak Professional Tri-X 400 Black and White Negative Film (35mm Roll Film, 36 Exposures)
I have been using Tri-X for two years and I love the tonality. It has high sharpness and very fine grain. A great thing about this film is that it can be pushed processed, giving room for creative experiments. Push processing increases the sensitivity of the film being processed by increasing the contrast.

Polaroid Originals Color 600 Film (Ice Cream Pastels Edition)
This is currently my favorite pack of Polaroid film! The frames come in a variety of pastel colors including pink, purple, blue, yellow, and green. The colors do not come in order so it’s a surprise every time! The pictures develop quickly and are in color. I love the look of Polaroid films because it makes moments feel more special. (FUN FACT: you are not actually supposed to shake film because it can ruin the development process... which is disappointing.)

I love growing my collection of equipment. I am in search of my next camera body so that I can have a backup for shoots. I suggest researching and renting equipment you are interested in before buying anything. This is the best way to ensure you are getting exactly what you are looking for before spending money. Let me know what your favorite equipment is!