essentials

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by theorist, Feb 12, 2003.

  1. This is a pretty basic question. I have a few things that I always
    take with me when I go shooting, but I was just wondering what kinds
    of odd accessories and things people have found useful to keep in
    their camera bags. Obviously each photographer has different needs,
    but I was wondering if there are staples that would be good for me to
    know about now, rather than trying to figure it out on my own (and
    over time). Yes, I am asking for advice from those wiser and more
    experienced. Let's just call you all my photo-parents. Thanks in
    advance...
     
  2. Some obvious, but essential, items would be:
    -extra batteries for both bodies and flashes
    -small flashlight (I use a Petzl Zipca)
    -small Leatherman tool (like the Micra)
    -notepad and pen
     
  3. Well, it all depends upon where you're going and for how long. Here are a few
    things that are occasionally in my bag (not only odd stuff):

    - filters (the whole personal collection)

    - Vivitar flash ($30 on ebay, can't kill them)

    - handheld light meter... amateurs don't use lightmeters enough, get one
    today :)

    - batteries, even if you just changed the ones in a camera, drag along some
    new ones as well, you never know

    - shutter release cable: cheap trouble solvers

    - lens cleaning kit

    - cloths, heavier-duty than leans cleaning kit (for camera body, etc)

    - can of compressed air (gets dust out)

    - A grey card (http://www.goshen.edu/~marvinpb/graycd.html)

    - tools (small kit, corresponding to your machine's screws, you never know)

    - tape: duct tape or 3M-kind (don't ask, you'll find 101 uses by yourself :)
    I didn't have a filter for one of my lenses because I thought it'd be useless
    since I used another lens with its filter for that kind of situation... I found myself
    forced to tape an unfitting filter to another lens :) what a saver

    - clamps (home depot carpentry style, small one, but gets heavy).. again, the
    usefulness is yours to discover :) and/or Bogen clamps to which you can
    screw a tripod head... you can affix your camera on a edge of a table, for
    instance

    - the dreadful elastic cords of bruised limbs and poked eyes (the one you use
    to secure say a bike on a rooftop rack on a car) can secure your tripod in
    some situations.

    - mini-tripod
     
  4. awahlster

    awahlster Moderator

    I been collecting these up form posts here and other groups I have more somewhere but this will fill up a small pickup truck so pick out what you need LOL

    Film

    empty film can

    extra batteries for everything in the bag

    Q tips

    compass

    bubble level for hot shoe

    towel

    lens brush

    lens cleaner

    lens tissue

    lens cloth

    Film leader retriever

    swiss army knife

    leatherman

    bug juice

    asprin

    gray card

    index card with file info

    pen notebook

    mini flashlite

    black duct tape

    masking tape

    electritions tape

    camera manuals

    multi clamp

    changing bag

    Tissue

    TP

    Immodium

    nickle (for battery door)

    screwdriver slot and cross point

    garbage bags

    baggies

    film lables

    spare lens caps

    plastic shower cap

    digital recorder

    spare batteries

    whistle

    Rubber Bands

    Magnifing glass or loop

    thermometer

    christmas tree tape orange

    Money clip with business cards blank cards

    first aid kit

    cable release

    flash slave

    couple of food bars

    lightmeter small sekonic

    water

    model release form

    Business cards

    Small portfolio

    hot shoe to pc adapters both ways

    lighter

    candle

    dry wood block

    wetones

    motion alarm

    Rolaids

    photo clay

    stop watch timer

    mylar blanket

    sunglasses with case

    cell phone

    radio

    GPS

    poncho

    Throw away wallet with fake ID 10-15 ones

    serial numbers of all equipment on business size card

    sharpie

    bounce card for flash

    cough drops

    film bag insulated with small reusable ice pak

    pliers

    bird book guide books

    Camera and accessories manuals and cheat sheets

    changing bag

    camo handkerchief or Bandana
     
  5. My back aches from just reading the above posts! Total kit for a typical days assignment: 2 Leica M bodies with 21mm f/3.4 lens and finder, 35/2 lens, 50/2 lens, 90/2.8 lens. Jewelers screwdriver that will fit most of the screws well enough to function, lens tissue, business cards, extra synch cords and Vivitar 2500 flash, 2 extra AA batteries, Weston Master V exposure meter with incident attachment. As much film as I can stuff in the bag. I always carry a few rolls of ISO 200 color when I'm shooting B&W, always carry a few rolls of Tri-X when I'm shooting color. Just in case! Small pack of aspirin and a few bandaids.

    If I know I'm going to need flash I carry a couple of Vivitar 283 units, 2 slave synchs, Omnibounce diffusers, a light stand, more spare cords, 8 more AA cells. A Gitzo Studex tripod stays in the car for emergencies. For some jobs I bring a 135/2.8 lens. I've also taken to carrying a Bessa L with a 15mm lens sometimes.
     
  6. Screwdriver? :) I head that nobody ever had to open a Leica M ;)
     
  7. This remains an interesting question :)

    I have now gone "minimalist" because I cannot carry all the cr#? any longer. I have sorted out my 3 camera bags into "types" - full SLR shoot, medium SLR, minimum SLR. Also I take a good P&S all over the place with extra film and batteries - so I have a little belt pack for "P&S".

    Mostly I leave the two big bags at home - my "minimum SLR" kit is pretty compact - Pentax Program A, 50mm 1.4, 50-200 4.5, lots of film and batteries, cable release & T/Top tripod and a couple of small odds and ends. Also a small Sunpack GN16 flash. That's it.
     
  8. I have a drawer full of camera stuff, and I pack a bag out of it when I go out to shoot. What I consider essential depends on what I'm shooting with -- for example, sometimes I take a screwmount rangefinder with a collapsible 50mm 3.5 lens and nothing else. I can put it in my pocket. In another situation, I took this gear: Two camera bodies, a motor drive, three lenses, two flashes, four rolls of masking tape, a knife, 100 ft. of rope, an optical flash slave, two tripods, a 20-ft. air release, two towels, a wooden dowel, and a wrench. Clearly, that's not the most normal of things to do, but it was an odd sort of shoot.

    If I don't know what I'll be taking pictures of, I usually end up taking either my SLR or my rangefinder (depending on my mood) with a normal lens and one or two others. I have this great c-clamp / mini-tripod with this ridiculous little ballhead on it, and that's pretty much always in my bag. Normally I put a flash on it with an optical slave when I need to improvise some two-point lighting quickly, but it'll hold a camera with a small lens, in a pinch. There's always a Lumiquest flash diffuser in my bag, too. It's nice to have, because the 1/16th manual cutoff on my Sunpak 383 is often a little much when I want to shoot at f/2 with 1600 ISO film. The two-and-a-half-stop loss from the diffuser can actually be pretty handy.

    I think that without masking tape, I'd be completely unable to do about half of my photography. I use it to adapt lenses I like from one system to another (for macro, usually), fix backgrounds in place, just everything. Attach incompatible filters. Make lens hoods out of whatever's lying around. Fix lens registration problems. I use huge quanities of it almost constantly. At least it doesn't leave residue.
     
  9. Now I know why people often say the large format kits weigh less than the 35mm kits they used to carry.

    If you keep the weight of your camera bag down you are more likely to take it out shooting.

    karl
     
  10. Lens tissues for fingerprints, a pocket tripod (press the camera against a convenient wall, waste bin etc), cable release, lens hood, blower brush.
     
  11. Hi Rachel,<P>
    I'm just going to add a few things that I find especially useful. I try to carry only the essentials whenever I go out, so that depends on the nature of my excusrion. As far as pure photography goes (neglecting non-photo toys such as survival blankets and matches, etc.), I try to take things that have more than 1 purpose. <P>

    I take black electrical tape rather than duct tape because it packs easier into my camera bag. I've used it to stack lenses for macro work, and to hold back pesky stalks of grass that keep getting in the way of my compositions. I also carry a length of 4mm climber's cord and a carabiner. Long enough that I can use it to tie branches out of the way, or so I can lower my camera bag over a ledge or something if the terrain is too steep to carry my bag, or set up a makeshift rappel line if I have to. I carry a couple smallish reflectors with me too. <P>

    As for city shooting, I don't really need that much. I'll carry a body or 2, a handful of lenses, and "the essentials". You know, lots of film. It's always good to have a few options (colour, B&W, positive/negative, various speeds, etc.). In my bag will always be a lenspen, or a microfibre cleaning cloth, and a twenty dollar bill tucked into a small corner pocket. Just in case. <P>

    There are some great answers here, but it really depends on the type of equipment you are carrying and the type of shooting you do. Nturally, if you are a world traveller, your needs will be different from a National Geographic assignment shooter in the jungle and that will be different from my needs as a natural macro shooter (among other things).<P>

    Best of luck, and if you have any questions, please feel free to e-mail me directly.
     
  12. Well, I'm clearly not in the kind of shape Mark's in, because I don't think I could carry that much stuff with me. So, a quick list of the things I try to carry. Keep in mind that I've pretty much forgotten all of these things at least once and gotten burned for it each time.

    For equipment, I have a small set-up and a full set-up. Generally I carry something in between, starting with a shorter range zoom plus an 80-200. First things to get added are, depending on what I expect to shoot: a teleconverter, a 105 macro, or a prime 24mm. For action shooting, I add a 300/4. Usually a flash. Sometimes a second body.

    But, really I think you're looking for the "accessories" list: tripod with ball head; microfibre lens cleaning cloth, cable release, extra batteries; lens hoods for a couple of the lenses; plastic bag to cover equipment if necessary; garbage bag to keep the whole thing (including photo bag) dry if necessary; small light. Filters: I don't always carry them all, but I try to have: polarizers for each lens; 81A warming filters; ND grads, plus holder and adapter rings.

    This set-up can go in one of two camera bags, but if I'm hiking, it's usually in a regular pack, so that I can also carry: extra layers; snacks; maglight; hat; water. Photo bags suck if you're going out for a while and/or aren't reasonably close to your car.

    I have, once, gotten all the gear together, drove an hour to a place where I knew what shot I wanted, and realized I had, yes, no film. Ack.

    Onward.
     
  13. Yup, one of the universal items... A few Zip-Lock style bags or varying sizes. Great for storing film, and keeping things dust and water free. In a pinch you can fill one with a couple handfuls of gravel and use it as a beanbag support.
     
  14. When I'm out street shooting, it's one body, one lens, and film in my pocket. When I'm packing a tripod and a bag with everything, I have the usual lens-cleaning stuff, electrical tape, cable release, etc. that others have mentioned; I do a lot of night shooting, so I carry a stopwatch 'cause my self-timer only goes to 30 seconds.
     

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