Hands on

March 1, 2020

What's in my bag 2020

A few years ago, I was asked to tell the readers of the whatsinmybag.com website, what gear I take on the road. The site doesn't exist anymore, but I really liked the idea. So, here is a quick update of what I am currently travelling with.

One of the main reasons for me to switch to the Sony mirrorless system back in 2015 was the reduced size and weight of their cameras. I have small hands and and holding a heavy camera in front of my face for hours just sucked. I really used to work with monsterous cameras like a Canon 1ds MKIII which was my working horse for many years. Not to speak of a bulky Phase One medium format camera.

For almost five years, things have changed for me. I go lighter now with my Lowepro ProTactic 350AW backpack. It is tiny enough to fit under a seat on a plane which is a huge advantage for me. And it still fits all the gear that I need for my projects and when being on the road.

All inside

Like in every photo bag, you can adjust the inner dividers according to your needs. I keep the camera at the top, so it is protected the best. There's a hard shell on the top of the backpack, therefore nothing can destroy the display of the camera.

I am not a fan of the side pockets that allow access to the gear from the side, but as this is not a camera bag review, I will continue to talk about what I carry with me.

I work with fixed focal lenghts all the time. And I decide not to take more than three focal lengths when traveling. So, depending on the job, I make my choice. For shooting nudes, I take my Zeiss Batis 85mm f/1.8, my Sony Zeiss 55mm f/1.8 and the tiny yet great Sony Zeis 35mm f/2.8. Those lenses work excellent, even on the 61 MP resolution of the new Sony a7 RIV.

Body-wise, I have the Sony a7 RIV and my old a7 RII as a backup in my bag. As they have different batteries, I have to carry two different sets. This sucks, but as luck would happen, I never needed to use the backup gear, anyways (knock on wood). It really travels with me only as a backup. It's not a second camera that I use.

Gear I take with me

The new batteries of the a7 RIV are really nice. One battery takes me almost through an entire day. And this includes filming as well. But as you never know, I have three spare ones in my luggage as well.

Speaking of backups, I also have a second Sony charger with me. Just to re-charge faster (one loading cycle takes around 2.5 hours) and to be on the safe side as you cannot buy a charger on a remote island.

I work with a brand new Apple Macbook Air. It is equipped with 1TB SSD harddisk and 8GB of RAM. Except for Capture One and Photoshop, I don't run any additional software on it. Before every job, I delete all data, so I really travel with a sort of empty harddrive to be able to copy all photos and videos to the computer.

I bought the new Sony Tough SD cards. They are a bit more pricey, but said to be very stable and they are super fast. This is a huge time saver. With the Sandisk SD drive for USB-C, I can copy a full card in less than 10 minutes onto the computer. Sometimes it even takes only three minutes or so, but I guess the card wasn't full then.

Besides that, there's a little bag with my Sony lavalier microphone and connector which is a lovely piece (I reviewed it in an older blog article here). And I forgot to pull it out of my backpack for this picture, but there's also an external harddrive, so I always have three copies of the produced data from every job.

I keep the SD cards inside a tiny, sealred plastic bag in my pocket when they are full and they will rest there until I get back to my office. This helps me to make sure, I never lose any data. Even if the backpack gets stolen. Another copy is on the harddrive of the Macbook. And a third copy is on the external drive. Recently, clients also asked me to upload photos before I get to my office. This would mean, they have the fourth copy of the data. No worries about losing data any longer.

The mini tripod called T-Pod is always with me as well. And there's room for a GoPro Hero4. Quite an old GoPro, but it does the job for filming a timelapse or something. Additionally, I have a set of lenses and glass to hold in front of my lens when photographing to create those blurry effects, I often do.

Inside the backpack, I carry a pen, paper (e.g. contracts) and useful stuff like rubber hair-bands, because some models forget to bring them on set.

The best thing is: This whole package weighs less than 8kg (7.8 kg to be precise). So even with picky airlines, there is no problem with onboard luggage.

 

https://www.simonbolz.com/blog/hands-on/2020-03-01.php

Simon Bolz, Frankfurt
Tel.: +49 (69) 95 82 02 12
Mob.: +49 (172) 620 55 18
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