The perfect camera bag(s)

I had previously been searching high and low for the perfect camera bag. 

But I reached the conclusion that it doesn’t exist, nor should it. 

Actually I often won’t even use a bag even though my Leica M goes with me everywhere. I sling it across my neck/shoulder messenger style and its there when I need it. 

But there are times I want one because I need to carry more things than the camera alone. 

So instead of a single bag, I now have three bags that I’m quite pleased with.

1. Day bag. My typical day bag when I’m running around the city or with the kids is the Filson Small Field bag. Love the look and material. It just feels great. In this bag I carry my camera, sometimes an extra lens, a ND filter, field notepad, a pen, sunglasses, iphone charger and a mophie juicepack. (It doesn’t have any padding so I use a Domke insert with the Leica M. I remove the insert when I carry the Hassy)

2. Carry bag. On long trips, I bring a few cameras. So I put the Filson in my suitcase and I put my laptop, cameras & accessories in my new Ona Camper Bay pack. Lauren bought it for me this past Christmas and I love it.  On our recent family trip to Jackson Hole, I easily packed the following in my pack: a MacBook Pro, Hasselblad 503cw, Leica M, gorillapod, two lenses, two filters, 3 packs of film, lens cloth, field notes, spare batteries for the Leica, mophie juicepack, iphone charger, sunglasses and a kindle. I could have easily packed my dslr as well. 

3. Active bag. The above bags are truly great but they won’t work as well for active sports like skiing or biking. So for this option I have a CamelBak Snoblast which is a simple, light, compact pack. I can fit my camera, nd filter, mophie juicepack and an energy bar and water. (I can’t imagine you can fit an SLR in this bag but I’ve never tried). 

Hope this helps.

A review of some gear I picked up recently

It’s been awhile since I wrote up some stuff on gear. This year I’ve picked up a few things so I thought I would share. 

1. Filson Small Field Bag. I love this bag. I got the tan one with brown leather trim/straps. It fits my Leica M9, a couple Field Notes pads, and a Mophie Juice sled. It also fits a modified gorilla pod which I often bring along

2. V-Moda Crossfade m80 headphones. I’ve gone through more headphones that I care to admidt. I tried getting into the Bose noise cancelling headphones for long airplane rides but the idea of charging yet another thing in my life wasn’t a good fit for me. The m80s work and sound great. The build quality is excellent and they don’t require batteries.

3. iPad, back to the big version. I was in the Apple Store the other day. The camera on my iphone was messed up and I was waiting for my appointment at the genius bar (apple replaced my iphone on the spot. amazing). While I was waiting I started playing around with the latest iPad Retina/4g model. It was the first time I used the “big boy” iPad since picking up my iPad mini. The screen was stunning and everything felt so much faster than the mini. I bought one at the store and I’m loving it. The Mini will likely end up as a Sonos remote in the house and a game machine for the kiddies. 

4. Fuji x100s. Before my Leica, I was shooting with the original Fuji x100. That camera was quirky but a delight. I ended up selling the x100 when this Leica came into my life. Recently, Fuji updated the model to the x100s and promised to fix several quirks along with a number of improvements, notably autofocus speed. I picked it up as a way complement my rangefinder system which is all manual. 

After using this system, I came away a big fan of the Fuji. It’s small, quiet.The built in 35mm glass is lovely and the controls are wonderful. The EVF and OVF combo is killer. The images are gorgeous, especially in low light. Sony and Olympus can learn a lot from Fuji.

However, I ultimately returned the x100s. I just didn’t find I was using it and that felt wasteful. But if my Leica was ever stolen or busted beyond repair, I would get the x100s in a second.