I believe anyone interested in photography are going through phases. I used to lugg around a backpack filled with a digital body and gelded zoomlenses. I had lots of fun and I made many pictures that I still like. However, the mere weight made shoulders sore and slowed me down, not in the good way as in stimulating thought, but by wasting time digging in the bag and looking for places where to safely put down the expensive equipment.
My new phase involve two Nikon bodies, an FA for colour negative film (Ektar or Portra 400) and an FE for black/white (Pan F+, FP4, Tri-x etc.) and three primes, the 28/2.8 AI-s, the 50/1.2 AI-s and a Carl Zeiss 100/2. My few accessories include a yellow filter Y48 and a lens cleaning cloth. I either store this in a Crumpler Jackpac 4000 or one body over my shoulder and a spare lens in my pocket. I feel the 100/2 is a little too bulky and heavy to carry in my pocket so I plan to replace this with a 105/2.5 AI-s.
My new photographic life prioritizes freedom before the absolute best optical quality at any given time.
I kind of miss the ultra-wide option, so maybe I'll look for a 20/2.8 AI-s.
What's in your bag and why?
Currently, I am using a pair of bags. In my walkabout bag (actually a "butt-bag"), I have a Ca 1979 well-worn, black F2 (meter-less) with a 50mm F1.4 Ais Nikkor and a 28mm F2 Ais Nikkor. This is a kit that is always with me. My Domke F2 (used when I am out for the day shooting, or off exploring/travelling) contains (currently) the following: F6 and F3HP bodies and 24mm F2, 35mm F1.4, 50mm F1.2, 85mm F1.4, 180mm F2.8 ED (all Ais) as well as a 80-200mm D ED F2.8 AFS lens. The F6 will generally be loaded with E100G while the F3HP with have Tri-X/HP5 Plus. If I am backpacking/hiking, the Domke F2 will be replaced with a Lowepro backpack containing two bodies (two of: F2AS/F3HP/F4e/F5/F6) the 28-70mm F2.8 ED AFS, 80-200mm F2.8 D ED AFS, 300mm F2.8 ED or 400mm F3.5ED and the 600mm F4 ED ( as well as my surrogate Sherpa, a monstrous and unwieldy Manfrotto tripod). Needless to say, every kit has the obligatory cleaning equipment!
Let's bump this up. I'm taking a short visit to San Francisco (from San Diego) with an F2A, 28/2.8 AIS, 50/1.4 S ai'd, and a 105/2.5 ai. And a various kinds of film. Really the first time I've traveled with only a film camera and no digital in quite a while.
And bumping it up a little more: Off to the Calgary Stampede on 5 July. So, the Domke will have the F2AS/MD2 and F4E (hasn't been out for a while) bodies. Lens-wise, the following Nikkors will make the trip next door: 24mm F2, 35mm F1.4, 50mm F1.2, 85mm F1.4 and the 180mm F2.8 ED. For film, I'll bring along 4 rolls of E100G, 2 rolls of E100VS , 4 rolls of HP5+ and a couple of rolls of Delta 3200 that I found this am in the back of the deep-freeze (November 2014 dating).
And off to Banff this weekend to shoot what remains of the fall colors and perhaps a little bit of shooting at the higher elevations (first snowfall?) if some of the trails are still open. Packed into a smaller Lowepro will be the following: F5 (E100G), F3P (Delta 100), 18mm, 55 Micro, 28-70ED, 80-200ED, 300 AF and the 300 ED.
All that I have been carrying lately is my F3HP and 50mm f1.4 Ais and HS-9 hood with either Velvia 100 or T-Max 400. Really no need for a bag at all.
I just switched to film, so my kit is pretty basic at the moment - an FM3a with 50/1.8 AIS (one of these). Usually loaded with HP5+, but occasionally delta 3200 when shooting dinner parties or board game night
Doing the "rotation thing" to keep the arsenal in working order, so currently in use are an F6, F2w/MD2, 20/3.5, 28/2, 50/1.2, 85/1.4 and a 180/2.8ED. The F6 is loaded with E100G/VS, the F2 with HP5+.
Switching things up and travelling light: Decided to restrict myself to a single camera and lens for three months to see what I could come up with. So...90 days with a Soverized F2AS, a 50mm F1.4 Ai lens and a brick of Tri-X (PB 10/13, so rated at ISO 200, in the interest of caution). Wow, talk about a feeling of freedom...
Bradley, That is what I do most of the time now. No regrets.
Decided to shoot the Chinese New Years' parade in Vancouver yesterday morning and then venture down to the border (White Rock/Boundary Bay) to shoot in the late afternoon. So, I set aside the F2AS and the Tri-X and loaded up a Domke: F6 (E100G)w/ 24mm F2, 35mm F1.4, 85mm F1.4 and the 180mm F2.8 ED, and the M6 w/ HP5+. Today, it's back to traveling light...
Bradley - what is "Soverized F2AS"?
Keeping it light is a luxury in some ways, but well worth the discipline. But I have found it annoying when you need a telephoto for cropping out some power lines etc when some good scene apppears and you are restricted in your movements.
Took my first 'film only' trip recently. New Orleans. Two bodies, three lenses: Nikon F4, Nikon FE2, Nikkor 28/2 AIS, Zeiss 35/2, Nikkor 50/1.4 AIS.
Ektar/Portra/Cinestill through the F4, Delta through the FE2.
Shots turned out great, but honestly if it I were to do it again I'd take a Leica M and a compact point and shoot (Contax, Ricoh, etc). The Nikon system is a pleasure to use though.
M6F6E6: "Soverized" refers to any Nikon F2 body that has been serviced (actually brought up to factory spec, would be more accurate) by the legendary Mr Sover Wong. The man is not cheap, but his work is absolutely meticulous. He knows the camera inside out, and very definitely loves his work: He repairs F2s, he collects them, he modifies/customizes them and he is an F2 resource without peer. To date, he has done three of mine; each works as though brand new - I trust them enough to run my irreplaceable E100G and E100VS through them.
While it was strangely liberating at times to go with the un-motorized F2AS and 50mm (I did take a short break with Chinese New Years and, more recently, a trip out of town where I opted to bring only an M6/50mm Summilux ASPH and half a dozen rolls of Tri-X), there were also times where I felt a little confined to the point of frustration. So it's now back to work, shooting E100G/VS, on my Vancouver project, where most of my efforts will be directed. The Domke is back in service with the following: F6, F3P, 24mm F2, 35mm F1.4, 50mm F1.2, 85mm F1.4 and the 180mm F2.8ED.
Seems odd (?), but the more comfortable I become street-shooting with the Nikons, the lighter my Domke becomes: For the past several weeks, shooting mainly in the downtown and Gastown areas, I have been carrying only my F6, a motorless F2AS (a backup), and 24, 35, 50 and 85mm lenses; anything longer seems pointless.