Earlier this week, Fstoppers creators Patrick Hall and Lee Morris posted a tongue-in-cheek video that mocked photographers’ very real lust for the perfect bag. I hope you all got a great laugh out of that just like I did. We’ve all been in Hall’s position, watching a seemingly endless pile of gear come out of someone else’s bag. Today, I thought I’d go through the five bags I use on a regular basis for both my work in Seoul and my travel work.
Let me start by laying a few ground rules. These are not the best bags on the market. They are not the be-all-and-end-all. They may not be right for you. These are bags that I love. They are homes for my gear that I have found work best for the way I shoot and the equipment I use. The criteria for choosing these bags is simply that they do their job in a way that allows me to get my job done. A couple of these are out of production, but I have tried to provide alternatives where possible. So, here they are.
LowePro StreetLine SH 140
This little bag is something I wasn’t sure about in the beginning, but it has been an amazing addition to my kit. I looked long and hard for the perfect bag for my day-to-day work, and this is it. I needed something I could put a couple of bodies, a couple of lenses, a flash, and, when needed, my laptop into. The LowePro StreetLine series is comprised of three shoulder bags and a backpack. I chose the SH 140 because I use a small laptop and because I love that you can fold the gear pockets to make room for different shaped objects. They can also be folded to accommodate things other than camera gear.
I typically use this bag for family sessions, corporate events, and personal days. On a family session, it holds two Fujifilm X-T2 bodies, my 16mm f/1.4, 23mm f/2, 35mm f/2, and 50-140mm f/2.8 lenses. For corporate events, I will usually take my 16mm lens out and replace it with a Godox TT350F flash, then add my laptop into the back sleeve if I have been asked for onsite deliveries. On my days off, I’ll often mix a little street shooting with some blogging and a drone flight. My laptop, a Fujifilm X-T2 with a 23mm and a 35mm, plus my DJI Mavic Pro kit all fit in there snugly.
Think Tank Photo Retrospective 6
For times when the SH 140 doesn’t quite work out, this is my go-to bag. I love it for weddings, couples sessions, and family sessions. The two main features that make this bag so appealing to me are its shallow design and those trademark Think Tank Photo sound silencers. At weddings, the Velcro can be covered with inbuilt flaps to silence the bag so you can open and close it without disturbing the guests.
The shallow design is perfect for smaller MILC systems like my Fujifilm kit. The lenses are much smaller than their DSLR counterparts, and so can be tucked into much shallower compartments. I can get two X-T2 bodies and four prime lenses into this bag with no problem at all. If I need a flash or a zoom like the 50-140mm, I can put it in a pouch and lay it over the top of the other lenses and bodies. The flexible lid of the bag and strong Velcro that holds it shut mean that I don’t have to worry about anything falling out.
Again, this series of bags comes in many different sizes, so check them out on B&H.