In Thom's Bag

I actually have several camera bags packed and ready to go. Which one I pick tends to be determined by what I'm shooting and where I need to shoot it. The more extreme the challenge or adventure, the lighter I tend to go. But for the money shoots, I tend to use my FX gear.

Every piece of gear mentioned on this page I can vouch for personally. It's in my bags because I've found it delivers the results I want. Believe it or not, this list is considerably pared down from where I was a few years ago. There's a good chance it'll get pared down more in the coming years.

If you're thinking of ordering any of this gear, this site's exclusive advertiser, B&H, has been kind enough to create a landing page with much of the following information [advertiser link]: 

bythom gearbags


All links in the following copy are to the B&H page for the item.

FX DSLR Bag
My pro kit typically lives in a Gura Gear Betaflae 26L [advertising link goes to the direct replacement for that bag, the Tarmac G-Elite 26]. 

Notes: This is a very tight fit and requires you to master the partitioning in the 26. It's a bit of a logic puzzle to get it all in and protected right, but it can be done. You might want to consider extra wraps for some items, particularly where you double up items in one opening. The four primes I list are my favorites of the recent f/1.4 and f/1.8 series. Also, note that with the exotics (400mm f/2.8 in this case), it's generally okay to buy in the used market. The last couple of series of updates of the exotics doesn't provide you any real optical gain; mostly size and weight reduction.

Sometimes I transfer some of the items to a different bag more suited to a particular task; for example a subset of this gear will transfer to my F-stop* backpack for hiking, or a different set  will go into a ThinkTank roller bag for sports/event shooting). For instance, I use the following for sports shooting in low light in a ThinkTank Airport Security:

Notes: The Airport Security is big enough to carry the big gear plus some accessories (extra batteries, charger, flash, etc.). But one reason I use it is because of the zipper locks and the coated security cable and lock. I often have to leave this bag somewhere in the press box or stadium partly unattended, so I need to protect what's still in the bag, which is usually just a lens or two and some accessories, but still, I don't want to lose those to casual theft. 

DX DSLR Wildlife Bag
My wildlife DSLR kit lives in a ThinkTank Airport Takeoff:

Notes: For the time being, DX has morphed into just a wildlife and daylight sports solution for me via the D500 bodies. The Takeoff is the smallest bag I've found that fits all this gear—again, another packing puzzle at first—and it fits even in the smallest overheads I've encountered. I've gone to DX for wildlife mostly to stay compact, light, and small, but still provide image quality that's competitive. Note that these lenses give me a two body approach that's equivalent to 75-150mm f/2.8 and 600mm f/4 in full frame. But I'm carrying a smaller and lighter kit than I would with FX. The 11-20mm f/2.8 Tokina also works well here.

Sometimes I'll travel with the 200mm f/2 Nikkor in a separate ThinkTank Urban Disguise.

If I'm shooting out of the bag, I'll reconfigure it slightly so that I've got a body+lens position handy, which is one reason why you'll see some extra dividers ready in the bag. 

Mirrorless Bags
See the sansmirror.com site for this information. For example, my m4/3 gear. And my Sony A7 bag

Video Bag
In transition. More when I finally stabilize on my 4K system in 2018.

Support Gear
A number of items are used with multiple kits, so I'll list them separately:

  • RRS Versa 2 tripod
  • Uniqball 35X, RRS BH-55, or Acratech head
  • RRS Long Lens Support, Pano Head, Monopod, as needed
  • SB-5000 Speedlights (two to four, as needed)
  • Singh-Ray Graduated ND, Vari-ND, B&W polarizer as needed (I have sets that match each of the common filter sizes I standardize on (77mm, 67mm, 52mm, 49mm, and 40.5mm, plus step up rings as necessary)

I typically use a Sony RX100V or a Canon EOS M5 for casual walk around work (compact, always carry camera).


* I have no relationship with F-Stop Gear other than I bought one of their bag systems a number of years ago, like it, and still use it for some hiking. Recently there have been some articles on the Internet that are quite negative about the company and its handling of customers, particularly related to a Kickstarter failure by the company. 

text and images © 2017 Thom Hogan
portions Copyright 1999-2016 Thom Hogan-- All Rights Reserved
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