June 10, 2012

Camera Bag

I’ve had cameras ever since I was at school and got my first camera, a Russian Zenit E,  and even a home-made darkroom. I got my first serious SLR, a Canon AE1, when I started work and then eventually built up a collection of cameras from the Olympus OM system. This reached a point that I was lugging around so much gear that it got in the way and I decided to simplify things down to a single camera. I sold all my camera gear and bought a secondhand Leica M6 TTL.

I came to digital photography late in the day after being won over by the original model of the Ricoh GRD. Ultimately I bought a Canon EOS40D but I still prefer film photography in general. The camera taking this photo is the EOS40D — it gets the job done but the others are more fun.

And so to the bag… I don’t actually use a proper’ camera bag, preferring to throw my camera into whatever bag I’m using at the time. At the moment that is usually a small Timbuk2 messenger bag. I like this bag as it has just enough room for my survival kit (kindle, headphones, notebook, compact camera etc) and still has room for a larger camera too. I will generally carry only one camera at a time depending on my mood, the weather, and what film is loaded into which camera.

The GRD is the camera that I usually have with me. It has manual controls, a fixed lens and is great as a notebook camera. I used to use an Olympus Pen half frame camera in this role but, sadly, it didn’t survive a fall onto a pavement one Saturday morning.

The Leica is still my favourite 35mm camera. It’s the perfect shape for cradling in your ands and shooting fast (assuming focussing and exposure are already set) but like all film cameras, needs to be used more thoughtfully than digital. This is one of the great pleasures of shooting film — unless you’re incredibly disciplined (I’m not!) it’s easier to be more mindful of photographs and surroundings when shooting film. This camera is fitted with a great little Summicron 50mm F2 lens.

I bought the [Nikon FM3A(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nikon_FM3A) as I had the opportunity to buy it at a bargain price. Before there were digital cameras I always aspired to using a Nikon but could never afford them. I think of the FM3 as being one of the last high-end SLRs aimed at amateurs and it is a great camera to use. This one is fitted with a 35mm f2.8 prime lens.

The wooden Zero Image pinhole camera was a gift from my wife and is a lovely little camera to use for unusual photographs and unpredictable results. The cable release and Weston light meter travel with this camera. Apart from early experiments with other films, I only ever use Fuji Velvia 120 film in the Zeo Image because of its very predictable reciprocity characteristics. The little packet of elastic bands is to secure the rolls of film once I’ve finished them. Shooting square format on roll film has been a great pleasure and I would love to add either a Mamiya 6 or a Hasselblad to my collection.

One of the harder parts of using film cameras is remembering where and when the pictures were taken. The notebook and Enveloop pen roll are to jot down notes about pictures as I take them. Oh, and the lovely purple cloth came from my daughter’s dressing-up box!


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