What’s In My Camera Bag?

I was using Pentax film cameras when I made my first hesitant steps in the world of photography. However, ever since 2005, a Nikon camera has been what’s been tucked away in my photography backpack. First, there was the stunning FM3A, then there was the groundbreaking D70, and then there came the outstanding D300. Since the dawn of the digital age, I’ve been particularly interested in photographing avian subjects. What was formerly the exclusive purview of specialists has gradually made its way into the realm of the general public, making it possible for me to access it. But what exactly would you discover if you were to look through my camera bag right now? In addition to my camera and lenses, there is a whole lot of other stuff, so feel free to take a look around.

As was the case with Spencer’s gear post, I have assembled all of my equipment into a single link that can be found at the very bottom of this piece. In this link, you will find information on cost as well as availability.

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Camera Backpack And Camera Strap

A few things should be spoken about the bag itself before we crack up the cover of my backpack and have a look at the items that are stored within. I have two backpacks so I may choose which one to use based on how much equipment I need to bring with me. For several years, the Lowepro Pro Trekker 400 AW (for a review of this product, please click here) has been one of my most reliable backpacks. With the exception of the buckle that I shattered due to my carelessness quite some time ago, I would still characterize its condition today as “like new.”

When I go out into the field with a lot of gear, especially when I have a 400mm f/2.8 lens attached on my camera, this is the bag that I like to bring with me. Although I haven’t had any problems with it so far, it does not conform to the dimensions of carry-on luggage allowed by airlines. Or, to put it another way, I’ve refined my acting talents in the airport so that it always appears as if I’m not carrying anything at all.

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My experience with the Peak Design Travel Backpack, which you can read about on this page, which I’ve been using for the past few months, has been quite positive. The modular system that consists of replaceable camera cubes offers a great deal of adaptability to the dimensions of your apparatus. When I travel, I almost always carry the largest packing cube in my suitcase; but, on my most recent trip to Ecuador (which was not a photo expedition), I utilized the middle-sized cube. Because of this, I had plenty of space in my bag for other things.

Disadvantages? So far, I’ve thought of one solution. To carry all that I used to be able to carry in my previous Lowepro, I’d like the pack to be a few cm larger in all directions. If I had that little bit of extra cash, I would sell the Lowepro right now. But for the time being, I’m going to maintain both of them so that I may use long and wide telephoto lenses.

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Cameras

As a Nikon School speaker, I’ve been working with the Czech office of Nikon for more than 10 years now. Because of this partnership, I don’t have to necessarily own all of the equipment that I use because I have the option to rent some of it instead.

Despite this, I was aware that I would soon require my very own DSLR, so I decided to patch up the hole in my integrity by purchasing a Nikon D500. This camera still has a place in my backpack to this day. The D500 was the camera I used for the great bulk of my photography. The camera’s professional build quality, excellent focussing, and remarkable image quality at high ISOs are some of the features that really stand out to me.

Even in this day and age, the Nikon D500 remains one of my top choices for a camera to suggest to anyone who are interested in taking pictures of wildlife. Especially when financial constraints are a factor.

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Only a few short months ago, my worn-out D500, which had reached the point where the wording on the buttons could not be seen, was moved into the role of backup. At this point, the Nikon Z9 is serving as my primary camera. Even though it looks like a camera from another planet, the Z9 nonetheless inherits the characteristics of its DSLR forebears.

A body that is well-built, an excellent AF, excellent image quality, buttons that are illuminated, a large number of customization possibilities, and an outstanding battery life. If you feel that my analysis is too succinct, I’ll direct your attention to our Z9 review. In that piece, the review team at Photography Life went into great detail on the Z9.

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Lenses

When I’m photographing birds, I often use a focal length that’s somewhere about 500 millimeters on an APS-C format camera (or 750 millimeters on a full-frame camera). To this day, I believe that the APS-C format is the most effective teleconverter. My go-to lens for everyday photography is the Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6E VR, which was included in the package when I purchased the D500. When I go on excursions, though, I bring either the Nikon 400mm f/2.8G VR or the Nikon 500mm f/5.6E PF lens with me.

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I don’t mind the lens’s considerable weight as long as I can take advantage of the rapid f/2.8 speed of the 400mm f/2.8 lens and its compatibility with teleconverters. Filming in tropical conditions, on the other hand, is a true slog, which is something I am becoming less and less willing to put up with.

When this occurs, the low weight and significant degree of agility of the 500mm f/5.6 PF tempts me to use it. When taking pictures of birds, it is often essential to find a gap between two branches in order to view the bird that is hidden within the tangle of leaves and branches. This is necessary in order to get a clear shot of the bird. As can be seen in the image below, it is conceivable to do this operation with the bulky 400mm f/2.8 lens, but it is much simpler to utilize the relatively lightweight 500mm f/5.6 PF lens.

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Why isn’t the 200-500mm f/5.6 my go-to lens when I’m on an adventure? It is not due to the optical qualities, which are exceptional for a zoom lens in the price range that this one is offered at. That lens’s inability to maintain focus over time is its primary deficiency. It is not a design that works particularly well for flying birds.

In addition to the telephoto lens, I almost usually have something with a wider focal length in my bag. My objective for the long run is to take photographs of various animals using a wide-angle lens. It’s always nice when the snapshot also includes a glimpse of the habitat that the animal calls home. On the other hand, this presents an entirely new set of problems for the photographer. When you put a wide-angle lens right under an animal’s beak, they may not all react positively to it.

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My bag has always had a Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 lens for a very long time. Although it was a good lens for the D500 overall, there were a few problems with it. Having said that, given that the Z9 is now my primary body, I will most likely swap to the Nikon Z 14-30mm f/4 S (see our evaluation of this lens here).

There is a good chance that the Nikon 10.5mm f/2.8G Fisheye may experience the same demise. Although I have not yet encountered a bird that will allow the front lens of this lens to be pushed all the way to the tip of its beak, I have found that snakes and frogs are more amenable to being photographed using this technique. At some time, I’ll need to locate a different device to use in place of the Z9.

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I will let you in on a little secret that I’ve been keeping. It’s hard to believe, but up until very recently, none of the lenses in my collection were in the typical 24-48mm range. I know, it’s shocking. My Nikkor Z 24-120mm f/4 S has only been in my possession for a month, but I already can’t contain my excitement about it. When traveling, having access to a range like this is quite helpful for capturing images. About a week ago, while I was taking pictures of blue-footed boobies with my camera, I used a focal length of 24 millimeters, and the results were some magnificent views.

Even though photographing birds is my significant interest, I don’t entirely exclude the prospect of capturing other small animals that need the use of a macro lens. In particular, I’m thinking about insects and spiders. My camera bag now has the Sigma 105mm f/2.8 OS Macro lens; however, I intend to replace it with the Nikon Z MC 105mm f/2.8 Macro lens in the not-too-distant future. My plans call for this to take place as soon as possible. After doing some testing on my end, I discovered that the results were to my liking, which was quite pleasant.

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When trying to picture birds, you’ll often find that no lens is long enough. Because of this, the TC-14E II teleconverter may be found in my backpack at all times. When I use the 200-500mm f/5.6 lens, it doesn’t really click, but when I use the 400mm f/2.8 lens, it’s nearly like it’s bonded to the lens. When combined with the D500, you get a field of view that is similar to 840 millimeters of focal length and an aperture of four millimeters, which is fantastic for shooting at long ranges while still keeping a fast rate of speed.

Memory Cards

Which memory cards are best for taking pictures of wild animals? The ones that are quick are really fast. It is in no way desirable to have to wait many tense seconds following the completion of one sequence before being able to continue filming.

A Delkin 256GB POWER CFexpress Type B card has recently been installed in my Z9 camera. Although it is not quite as fast as some of the other cards out there, at the time that I purchased it, that particular card had the greatest price-to-performance ratio that I could discover.

The capacity of the card should be given equal consideration to its speed. Particularly if you are a nature photographer, you have undoubtedly seen the “FULL” sign flash on your display precisely when the subject was at its finest.

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