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What's in Your Bag

Posted: Fri Jan 09, 2009 5:49 pm
by Andy
The PGA of America Website used to (maybe still does) have a section with all the players and the clubs they had in their bag. For Christmas, a couple of you here got new DSLR outfits. There was a brief discussion in another thread, but it made me wonder -- and I don't think we have done that here yet -- what equipment do you use the most, like the best, or covet? Do you have any doorstops or paperweights? I started it -- so I'll start:

Over the years, I have begun to develop a "less is more" philosophy about my gear. I currently have:

One Nikon D200 DSLR body
Nikkor 18-200 VR Lens
Nikkor 60mm "Micro" Lens
Nikkor 28mm TS Lens (manual)
Tokina AT-X 300 mm f2.8

2 - Bogen Tripods (aluminum legs; Bogen Ball Head and Bogen 3-way)

Small Nikon DX flash (used primarily for fill flash in outdoor work)

Circular Polarizer

Cable Release

Messenger style Bag for car and storage
Dorky Vest for field work

The 18-200 VR RARELY comes off the camera anymore. I probably overuse the polarizer. I shoot 95% from a tripod. Generally, I will look at my shots with the camera handheld, and once I find the perspective I want, will then set the tripod up to fit that.

I did have a 14mm f1.8 Sigma, but recently sold it because it had become an overvalued paperweight. Instead, I bought an Epson R1900 printer (which may become just a bigger paperweight -- but thats another story).

I am well satisfied with the equipment I have. I MAY find there is no real use for the TS lens and peddle it in the future. The only equipment I am wanting to get is to trade up from the D200 to the D300. The ONLY reason for this is the better noise and low light capability of the newer sensor.

Posted: Sun Jan 11, 2009 11:50 am
by pwt54
I'm just getting my Rebel XSI set up, so my pack is a little empty right now. I have a back pack. In it are the rebel, the standard 18-55 lense, the 55-250 lense, polarizer and UV filters, a wide angle sunshield and an old peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I have 2 tripods and a monopod in the car. But before I can enjoy al of these goodies, I have to become one with the snowblower again.

Posted: Wed Jan 14, 2009 8:39 pm
by Andy
Carol: Your question about the SB400 vs SB600. My answer: BUY THE TRIPOD FIRST!! If you do a lot of indoor work, flash becomes a pretty important necessity. If you don't, IMO, its a luxury (albeit a useful one). I have the smaller model, because I rarely use it and because I mainly use it to add a little fill light or highlight. I don't need the bigger flash and it is (1) expensive and (2) larger and more to carry around.

BUT, the tripod is, IMO, WAY more important

Posted: Wed Jan 14, 2009 8:46 pm
by Andy
Phil: Is the 55-250 lens an Image Stabilizing (IS) lens? One of the things I see happening with "newbies" to truly long focal length lenses is they see an immediate loss in image quality. My sister bought one of the super zoom cameras a few years back and began complaining to me that "it" didn't take as good a photo as her former camera. It actually took great photos. What she didn't realize was that the longer focal length magnifies everything--including body motion--which create unsharp images. IS helps. But all but the VERY expensive (thousands of $$) long lenses are generally "slow" (i.e., the have small wide apertures) and thus, are difficult to hand hold at normal ISO ranges, because you cannot get a fast enough shutter speed to "mask" the movement of your body. This is another reason why it is imperative to use a tripod with these lenses.

Posted: Wed Jan 14, 2009 8:57 pm
by Andy
I find it interesting that we describe not just whats "in" the bag, but what "is" the bag :lol: . I bought one of the LowePro Trekker Backpacks when they first came out (before that most of us had those old-fashioned satchel style bags). I HATED it. It was hard to get on, heavy, and my gear was never accessible when I needed it (it was on my back). I found that it spent most of its time in the car. An it was heavy and uncomfortable for active shooting.

I make a lot of fun of my "dorky" vest. I think many, if not most serious photographers find the vest to be quirky and for "wannabees" who want to "look" like a pro. They don't seem to be very popular. The "name brand" vests are also very pricey--and they don't alway seem to have the pockets that "work" for me.

In spite of the above, I use a vest in the field. The one I use is a Woolrich summer weight Travel vest with several large, rather undefined pockets. I carry relatively few items in the field, and it is what "works" for me.

I know another guy who swears by the modular system that has a belt with separate pouches, etc.

Others still prefer the reporter or messenger style bag. I currently use a messenger bag, which I transport equipment in, and leave in the car. My vest is what I use to carry my necessary equipment into the field. I also have a small engineers shoulder bag which has compass, maps, GPS, and other items in it.

I was intrigued by the sling type pack Carol talks about, but when I tried it, determined that it wasn't going to work for me. The vest gives me two key things. Items are quickly and easily accessible, and the weight is very well distributed. An additional plus is that it all fits well under my rain poncho when necessary.

I guess with bags, the important thing is to find something that works for your particular style.

Posted: Wed Jan 14, 2009 8:59 pm
by Andy
Phil: Just HOW old is the PBJ. Some of those old classics can get a little green mold on them, but can still have significant nutritional value :twisted:

Posted: Wed Feb 11, 2009 11:41 am
by GIC
My Equipment:
Nikon D300 with 8 gig flash card
Nikon D70 Backup
Nikon 995 for macro shots
AF-S DX VR Zoom- 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G IF-ED Used 99.99% of time
AF-S DX Zoom- NIKKOR 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5G IF-ED
AF-NIKKOR 50mm f/2.8D
Quantaray 70-300 mm DI f/4-5.6 Digital Series AF Zoom
Nikon SB 600 Flash
Tripod – Portable Light Weight
Spare Battery
Battery Charger
AC/DC Converter 400 watt – For recharging Batteries / Laptop / Digital Pic Frame
Compressed Air Canister with cleaning items
Large Zip Lock Bags – Rain/Mist Protection
12-Inch Digital Pic Frame
Four-2gig Flash Cards
Bushnell X50 Binoculars
Hand Held Compass
Pair of Motorola Handheld 2 way VHF Radio
Capture NX 2
View NX
Radar Detector for NH and MA speed traps.

Specifically in the bag:
WENGER Swiss Back Pack with a thousand pockets
Nikon D300 WITH 8 gig flash card and AF-S DX VR Zoom 18-200mm
Nikon 995 for macro shots
AF-NIKKOR 50mm f/2.8D
Spare Battery
Compressed Air Canister with cleaning items
Large Zip Lock Bags – Rain/Mist Protection
Bushnell X50 Binoculars
Hand Held Compass
Flash Light
Cell Phone
1 Motorola handheld multichannel VHF Radio on body and 1 on Vehicle

Posted: Wed Feb 11, 2009 8:35 pm
by autzig
I have a LowePro CompuTrekker and a LowePro Trekker. I love these packs. I travel by air a lot and I can carry just about everything I need. I did buy a Think Tank roller bag that I really like because it holds everything and it fits in the overhead bins on airplanes but it really is a pain in the field. If I want to take all of my equipment, I take the Think Tank and the Trekker. Then I use the backpack if I'm going to be any distance from the car and for me, that happens a lot.


Posted: Sun Feb 15, 2009 8:46 pm
by Andy
GIC wrote:My Equipment:
AF-S DX VR Zoom- 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G IF-ED Used 99.99% of time
Interesting to see another Nikon user who bought that lens and leaves it on the camera most of the time. I would say mine is the one I use 99% of the time, too.

In 2006, when I got off the plane at BTV and retrieved my carry on (I had packed my 14mm and 60mm Micro carefully in clothing in that bag -- yes, they were insured), my stomach sank when I couldn't find them in the bag! (I cell phone call to my wife confirmed that they were still sitting on the bench where I had carefully laid them out to pack -- back home) :oops: I shot all week with the 12-200 and never missed the other lenses.

Last November, I spent part of two days walking the streets of Chicago, where I was able to do some hands-on comparison with my 14mm and the 12-200. I rapidly concluded that with my "style" of seeing, I didn't need the extra focal width enough to change back and forth. And I valued the Polarizer (no way to do that on the 14mm 2.8 front element) more than the wider angle anyway. I sold the 14mm.

Posted: Sun Feb 15, 2009 8:54 pm
by Andy
autzig wrote:I have a LowePro CompuTrekker and . . . Al
Al, I would be interesting in hearing a little about what gear you carry around in that bag and what you tend to use most.

Posted: Tue Feb 17, 2009 10:44 pm
by autzig
I carry my Canon 40D with a 24-70L lens attached. I can also fit a 70-200, a 180 macro a 17-40 and a 400mm f5.6 in there along with a 1.4 teleconverter. All that is in the main compartment. I've got a cable release, a bunch of flash cards and a bubble level in the inside pockets. I can fit my EX580 flash and a light meter in the outside pocket where I also keep my manuals. Of course I put my laptop in the pocket built for that. It weighs 8 pounds and the whole thing weighs about 40. That's my carryon. When I'm in the field, I leave the computer in the car or hotel.

Posted: Thu Jun 04, 2009 12:40 pm
by amyflavored
hello all,
Some of you have quite the bag full of goodies!!!
I have an older--- Nikon FE
105 macro/portrait lens
Vivitar 80-200 macro/zoom lens
Side and top mounting flashes

Then a more portable version Nikon point and shoot SLR, not digital, with 35-70 zoom lens on it. I hope to take it traveling, but I still love my old larger one and tend to pack it along.

Posted: Fri Jun 05, 2009 8:49 am
by pwt54
I guess I missed a few questions by Andy a while back while I was taking a vacation from my computer. Yes the the Canon 55-250 lens is image stablized. When I bought the Rebel I could buy this lens for only $ 199 instead of the regular $ 299 so I bought it. While I was In Florida this April I bought a used Quantary 18-200 stablized lens for $ 75. The guy had just bought the Tamron 18-270 lens and didn't need this the Quantary. Right now I use the quantary the most. But it is heavy. I recently sold a few older electronics and my panasonic FZ 30 and used that money to buy a new Canon SX 10 with the 20x zoom. I tested both this camera and the Nikkon P-90. They were both impressive but I liked the picture quality just a bit more on the Canon and I liked it's "Super Macro" function, so I bought the Canon. If anyone is looking for a super zoom camera either one will be a great choice. Next on my list will be a macro lens for the canon. I've been talking to the folks at Green Mountain Camera at the Cabot Annex Center on route 100 in Waterbury Center about that and they have been very helpful. I can't afford a new one right now and they didn't have a used one for a canon so maybe this fall I can get one.

Posted: Mon Jun 15, 2009 11:02 am
by Andy
Hi Amy! Welcome to the forum here! Sorry to be so late in my welcome, but haven't been around lately.

Base on the equipment in your bag I assume you use (gasp) FILM??? Wow. My kids don't even know what that is :D

Hope you'll stop in here regularly

Posted: Mon Jun 15, 2009 11:05 am
by Andy
Phil: While this may be blasphemy to the folks at Green Mtn. (and, of course to Canon), I have had good success with the third party brands, particularly Tokina and Sigma. When you are buying a macro lens give consideration to what you want to do with it.

I have a 60mm Nikkor macro and on my film camera it was a bit too short for certain really small subjects. The 90 and 100 seem to be favored. With the "crop" factor on my DSLR, it isn't as much of a problem.

Quantaray actually makes a pretty inexpensive 50mm macro -- but I had two of them and took them both back because they had severe "ghosting" (you could see the shape of the shutter blades in the images). Maybe that problem has been fixed. Quantaray is a cheap (Ritz) brand, but for light duty, I found the optics to be just fine.