What's Inside My Camera Bag

I love to see what gear other photographers are using, so I thought you might also like to have a sneaky peak  inside my camera bag to see what gear I use.  I've gone one step further than just listing equipment, so for the lenses, I've included images so you can see some examples of it in action, along with when and where I would use each one. 

The Camera Body

My original camera body was the Canon Rebel T3i, and I upgraded a couple of years ago to the Canon EOS 5D Mark III .The performance at high ISO's is truly incredible (especially after shooting with a rebel!) which is great for me since I shoot indoors a lot, and tend to use mainly natural light. It also has an amazing auto focus system, which I should probably play around with more, and has a fast continuous shooting mode, both of which are great features to have when photographing children! The buttons are also perfectly placed, so that you can change settings much more easily - they have made it really easy to change ISO, aperture and shutter speed without lifting your eye from the viewfinder. There is a downside though, and that is the weight. It's a heavy camera to carry out with you, but worth it :)


The Lenses

Let me preface this section by saying I have too many lenses, and my lens stash is about to be culled by at least one, probably two lenses. (The trouble is, I can't decide which to get rid of, which is why I have been saying that for a few months now!) 

The reason I have so many lenses is that I shoot with primes. Primes lenses are those that have a fixed focal length, in other words, you cannot zoom in and out.  Although you can definitely shoot with just one or two primes quite easily, if you do a lot of different types of photography, you are probably going to want a few lenses, each one being better suited to a different job.

The reason I shoot with primes rather than just having one or two zooms is because I love to shoot with big apertures, and you can stop down lower with a prime than you can with a zoom. I also find I enjoy "zooming" with my feet - it feel it allows me to get more creative about shooting from different angles and so on.  Of course, other people love zooms for exactly the opposite reasons! There is no right or wrong answer but if you unsure which is right for you, you can check out this post on zooms vs primes. 

Also please bear in mind that I shoot with a full frame. If you shoot with a cropped frame camera, these lenses will perform differently. Again, I've got another post that explains the difference because of this "crop factor", understanding the lens numbers, which you may find helpful. 

Because I always like to search for example images taken from lenses before I buy, I've added in a few shots that I've taken with each lens, so you can get an idea of how that particular lens performs too. 

The Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 is one of the cheapest lenses I own, but luckily also happens to be one of my favourites! I nearly always take this lens with me when I am shooting outdoors, as it's a great focal length for remaining close enough by your subject, but still allowing for a little bit of distance. It's also incredibly flattering for portraits, so it's my go-to portrait lens. It's sharp stopped all the way down to F1.8, it focuses like a dream, and produces amazing bokeh. And the fact that it's one of the lowest cost lenses available means for me this a real winner and one I would recommend over and over again! Here are some examples of images taken with this lens.

The Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM Lens is probably my most used lens and I also adore this one. It's fantastic for shooting indoors for two reasons - firstly, it's incredibly sharp stopped all the way down to F1.4, which means I get "extra" light into my camera when it's a bit dreary inside, and secondly because the focal length is ideal for shooting indoors, particularly good for me since I have relatively small rooms and can't back up too much. It's also a great lens for shooting outdoors when you want to include more of the environment, say for example if you were shooting at the beach. This lens is a little more pricey, but it has been money well spent when you consider just how often it is on my camera. Here are some examples of images taken with this lens.

The Canon EF 135mm f/2L lens is gorgeous and I really don't use it as much as I should. The problem is not with the lens itself, and more to do with the fact that my main shooting subjects are younger children, and therefore I generally need to be a bit closer to them. Even with older children who are running about it can be a difficult length to work with. I do use this if I don't need to be close by, and can get some extra room to step back. It is insanely sharp, and the bokeh that it produces is out of the world. Here's some examples:

I don't shoot things like bugs, or butterflies, but rather use my macro lens to capture the smaller details of everyday items, such as what I'm having for lunch or the flowers my husband gave me. You get two versions of this lens, one with IS and one without, but I do like the IS feature on the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS USM as it helps you when you are shooting a lower speeds than you need for handheld. However, it's not essential, and the non-IS version would also do you proud. It also doubles up as a fantastic portrait lens as it's a great focal length for that, and of course as you would expect from a macro lens it is razor sharp.

The Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 a great little lens, and pretty affordable too. The 50mm focal length is just a great all round focal length - you can use it indoors and for portraits, for also scenes when you want to show the environment and so on. My only issue with this lens is that it's not sharp stopped all the way down, so as F1.4 it can be quite soft - it's not until you get to around F2.5 that the sharpness kicks in. I use this lens when neither the 35mm or 85mm focal lengths are quite right, and also when I want a good walking around lens (and I only want to take one lens with me) as it's super-light, small, and a good all round focal length.

The Canon EF 200mm f/2.8L II lens that is often overlooked for the more well-known 135mm F2.0, but let me tell you this lens is amazing. I might even prefer to the 135mm but it's a close tie. However, for exactly the same reasons as the 135mm is not terribly practical with children, neither is the 200mm. (You really need an assistant to work with small children with these longer focal lenghts I think, as they can look after the child and help keep them at a workable distance!) I also struggle framing with this lens, but I do think that is because I rarely use it, and it feels weird going from a 35mm to a 200mm! For the times you can use it thought, it produces exceptional results. The sharpness is incredible, the bokeh is to die for, and the color and contrast straight of camera means that you really don't need to do much post production work with it. Awesome, awesome lens.

Camera Bags

I have two camera bags.  I think camera bags are important, because you might find yourself not taking your camera to certain places to protect it, or because it's too difficult to get in and out of your bag.  It doesn't have to cost much to get a decent bag to carry your camera - the purse style ones tend to cost more naturally :)

The first bag is my Kelly Moore Hobo in Heather Grey.  This is a purse style bag, and I use this when I want to carry a couple of extra lenses with me (it can hold camera with lens attached, and two spare lenses) It's also great for being able to just reach into your bag and easily pull the camera out. (It's also great for being able to reach in and pull out a spare lens and change lenses without putting the bag done) However, it's incredibly heavy when full, and because it is worn over your shoulder, quite uncomfortable to wear for extended periods when full. However, it's great and comfortable when just carrying a more sensible amount of gear. 

I also have a back pack which I use for times when I am going to walking for longer, as I can carry this more comfortably than a purse style bag.  This one fits my camera with attached lens, plus a spare lens, plus a top pocket for extras, which I use for snacks etc, but you could fit in another lens, or a flash unit. 





The Extras

I use my expodisc to set my white balance. It's super easy to use, and just take a few seconds. You can read more about using the Expodisc here

I like to have two cards, so I can swap them out for uploading. I prefer a CF card because they write faster than a SD card, but they are a bit more expensive.   I can't say I've noticed a difference between brands, so I'm guessing there is not much between them.

I don't often use a flash, but I have such dark rooms during the winter that occasionally I feel the need to supplement it.  You can do some amazing things with flash, but I am not one of those people, I simply use it to add a little extra light (so never as the main light, or off camera) You can read more about using flash to add additional light to scenes here.



I do have some other bits and pieces - a Lenspen for cleaning lenses on the go and a reflector,  plus a couple of nice camera straps, oh, and a interval timer, but apart from that, that is everything listed! 

I hope that you have found this interesting - if you have any questions, don't hesitate to get in touch!