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What’s In My Camera Bag

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After last week’s post about affordable camera equipment for beginners, I thought I would share what I use and why I love the gear I have.

My Gear

My Camera Gear | Jest Kept Secret Canon 7D – George Q, as I lovingly refer to my current camera, is the latest in a long string of well-loved Canons. My very first camera was a Canon Rebel G, a 35mm camera that I bought while I was in AmeriCorps. Over the years since then, I made my way through a series of updates, including the Canon 20D, 40D, and now 7D. The 7D was a big step up from the 40D. Not only did I almost double my megapixels, but I also gained video, which is something I had really been missing on my past cameras. I shot a LOT of video while Leslie and I explored Europe, and you’ll be seeing more of that in the very near future. Camera Strap - I'm pretty proud of this little guy because I made it myself! I love having something quirky and colorful that instantly identifies my camera. I'm still working on the pattern for the strap cover, but once I get it perfected, I'll be offering these for sale in my upcoming Etsy shop. Stay tuned Lenses - I shoot with 3 lenses and a lens adapter. My walkaround (everyday) lens is a Canon 28-105mm F/3.5-4.5 Macro USM EF Mount lens. I love that it gives me a wide range of focal lengths, and it's fast enough for most of the shooting environments I find myself in. My telephoto lens is a Canon 75-300mm F/4-5.6 EF Mount lens. It's great for getting pictures of wildlife or sneaking shots of my dad when he isn't looking. I MEAN... Next, I have a "Nifty Fifty" Canon 50mm F/1.8 II EF Mount Lens for portraits, and a 0.43x HD Wide Angle Converter with Macro adapter, which screws onto the front of my lens to give me a few extra feet around my subject or help me get a beautiful, tight macro shot. [box title="Pro Tip" border_width="2" border_color="#8f2017" border_style="solid" icon="camera" icon_style="bg" icon_shape="circle" align="center"]If you don't have a macro lens or adapter and you're shooting on Canon*, you can still get lovely macro shots by detaching your lens, flipping it around, and holding the front of the lens against the body of the camera. Be careful not to let dust and debris get inside where it can damage your camera's sensor, but this tip came to me courtesy of a National Geographic photographer, so it's legit. (*This for sure works on Canons, but my friends who shoot on Nikons tend to have no luck with this one. Sorry.)[/box]   Canon 320 EX Speedlite Flash - This is the latest addition to my arsenal---so new, in fact, that I haven't actually used it yet! I inherited this one from my Uncle Lee, who was also a photographer, and I will think of him every time I use it. Filters - I keep these things in my bag just in case I ever want to use them, but I honestly can't even remember the last time I did. I have tried several different kinds of filters, but never really felt like they were my thing---at least not any of the ones I can afford. Maybe I'll become a convert when I can afford some nice Neutral Density Filters... Accessories - I keep a variety of accessories in my bag, including: Tripod - I made the mistake once of thinking that I could get away with a $15 department store tripod. And honestly, I did get away with it for a long time. But after I lost a camera to a lake because that tripod was not very sturdy, I determined that it would never happen again. Since then, I've used the Promaster 7100 Tripod with Pan Head, and I love it! It's super sturdy, the tripod head is super smooth for panning and tilting, it has convertible feet (rubber bumpers for sensitive surfaces, picks for dirt and gravel), and the bubble level is really handy. [box title="Pro Tip" border_width="2" border_color="#8f2017" border_style="solid" icon="star" icon_style="bg" icon_shape="circle" align="center"]If your tripod, like mine, didn't come with a carrying case, there's an easy solution: get yourself a cheap ($5-10) yoga mat bag and voila! You've got the perfect tripod carrying case. Don't say I never gave you anything. ;) [/box]   Camera Bag - When I worked as the marketing director at Bear Lake Aquatics Base last summer, I knew I was going to need a backpack that could double as a camera bag. I bought an EcoGear bag from Big Five Sports and lined it with the padding from my old camera bag, which had died a miserable death in Italy. It has pockets galore, and I love that it has space between the two main pocket sections where I can put my camera for easy access when I'm doing a lot of shooting. And last but not least, my Backup Camera - The aforementioned disaster with the tripod and the lake left me without a camera for five whole months because I didn't have the funds to replace it. Desperate to avoid such torture ever again, when I acquired George Q, I decided to keep the 40D I had eventually bought to replace the 20D after its watery demise. Should anything ever happen to Georgie (knock on about a thousand pieces of wood), I have Watson the 40D as a backup until I can save up the money for a better replacement. [box border_width="2" border_color="#b9e4ee" border_style="solid" icon="camera-retro" icon_style="border" icon_shape="circle" align="center"]

If you're looking to add to your camera collection, KEH--my favorite source for affordable photography equipment---is currently offering 25% off Ugly & As-Is gear if you use the code UG4A. This is a great opportunity to pick up some affordable gear. The code is valid until 4/12/2020, but if you miss the window, never fear! I try to keep this post updated with the current sales, so be sure to check back later.


My Wish List

I love the gear that I have, but I definitely still want more. If I had all the money I needed to spend on photography equipment, here's what I would get: Canon 7D Mark II - This is the newest generation of my current camera, and I have some serious heart eyes for this thing. It would get me a few more megapixels and the image quality is slightly better, but the thing I'm really nuts about is the continuous focus during video mode. That would make my job as a filmmaker a TON easier. Canon 500mm F/4.5 L FD Mount Lens - I had the opportunity to shoot with one of these before at a photography conference in New Mexico. I was instantly in love. They're big and they're heavy, but my oh my. I love taking pictures of wildlife, and this would improve my game exponentially. I want one. Lensbaby Composer - This one is just fun. The Lens Baby is a creative focus lens, which can create fun bokeh backgrounds, tilt shift effects, and selective macro focus. I would have so much fun with this one. But yeah, as you can probably imagine, the prices for some of those make it pretty cost prohibitive right now. But a girl can dream, right?

What's in your camera bag? And what kind of gear is on your wish list?

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Jess Friedman
Jess is a Canadian-American who’s always ready for the next adventure. She loves all things living, always has a million creative projects in progress, and polishes her nerd badge daily. She is passionate about helping families make and preserve treasured memories that strengthen bonds across generations. You can read more posts by Jess here.

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