What's in my bag: film edition

One of my goals this year is shoot a lot more film - at least one roll a week. Come the start of fall quarter back at SLO, I'm going to get my developing workflow up and running. Until then,  I'll show you guys my everyday carry for my film gear. 

Let's start with the boring stuff first

As per many other photographer's bags, I carry the notebook + pen combo. Nothing special, just a standard dollar tree comp book and a gel ink pen (Pilot G2 or go home!). And for those wondering: yes, I actually do use it. I scribble locations, photo ideas, random thoughts, contact information, and letters/notes on it. For me, pen+paper is actually faster than a smart device. The only problem is the former takes up much more space. But it's truly a nice feeling to actually write.

Next we've got the everyday carry items. The Timex Weekender is my go-to watch. It truly has a timeless design - simple and stylish. My wallet is the successfully Kickstarted EZGO. It's extremely functional, being compact yet holding up to 10+ cards and cash. It's got a cool open design for easy viewing of the ID and easy access to your cash card. Oh, and it has an SD card slot built in - very useful to photographers. The rest is self explanatory: phone, headphones, and sunglasses. I also carry an iPad for reading, school-related assignments, surfing, etc. 

Now the actual photo-related items

I always carry an extra body cap and rear lens cap, just in case. Also a Lenspen + micro fiber cloth for cleaning my glass if needed. The portable tripod on the right is the mid-size Joby Gorillapod. It carries about 5 pounds comfortably, so it's perfect for up to a SLR + smallish zoom. 

Now for the actual gear. The body I carry is a Nikon F3HP. If you know film, you know this is one of the greatest bodies ever made. Its viewfinder is big and bright, and it has a nice LCD display - the first of its kind. It sits great in your hands and is built like a tank. Sometimes you'll see me substitute it with my Nikon FG (due to its compact form factor), but I still prefer the F3 over all. The three lenses I carry are: 

  • Nikon 50mm Ai-S f/1.4
  • Nikon 35mm Series E f/2.5
  • Nikon 75-150mm Series E f/3.5. 

The first lens, the 50 Ai-s, is my most used. Probably because the  50mm is my favorite focal length. It's a true work horse with so many units in circulation - it's definitely tried and proven.

The second lens, the 35mm Series E, is also a hidden gem. I like it because it's so small and compact. It's mainly plastic, but the image quality is fantastic and it's still fairly fast at f/2.5. I wouldn't mind using it as my main walk around lens, but 35mm is a bit too wide for me (cue the 35 vs. 50 argument). I'm looking around for a 24mm prime to replace this 35mm, so I can have a proper wide angle.

The final lens is the 75-150mm. Again, I like this one because it's nice and light. I also own the 80-200mm Ai-s f/4, but opt not to carry it simply because the Series E is that much smaller and that much lighter. I know 150mm is a bit short for a telephoto, but it's still sufficient for the majority of shooting situations. 

For film, I usually carry around 5-10 rolls (more not pictured because they're in the fridge). Usually one or two color rolls and the rest B&W. In regards to my film preferences, that's a whole new blog post. 

Timbuk2 Snoop, Diablo Size Small

Timbuk2 Snoop, Diablo Size Small

The bag

Last but not least, the bag. I use a Timbuk2 Snoop 2014 (size small). I really love this messenger bag because it doesn't scream 'camera.' It's very well built, well designed, and locally made (Timbuk2 is an SF based company). It also serves well as a standard, everyday commuter bag. It's big enough to comfortably fit my 12" laptop and one body + one lens (you can squeeze in more if needed). A second time around, I'd probably grab the medium size (because this doesn't comfortably fit full-frame DSLRs), but if you only have a single (smaller) body or you shoot mirrorless, it works great. 

Thanks for reading, more posts to come. 

-Frank