In your bag 375, Trevor Saylor
Trevor is a guest writer on the site, and has also had his bag on here before. And now he is back. Let’s have a look and see how his bag has changed.
Over the last year, I have been experimenting with different gear and trying new set-ups. I touched on a bit of my photographic journey in a previous post, so you should check that out if you’re interested.
Nowadays, I take almost an entirely different set of equipment to photograph with. First of all, I no longer have most of what was in that picture; both film cameras, all three lenses are gone. They have been sold off to find new homes as for one reason or another, I couldn’t settle down with them. Choosing camera gear often feels like dating. The X100 remains, and the Domke bag is still here as well. The Fujifilm plastic film case (if you recall, I got the last one) has been supplemented with another, this one branded by Japan Camera Hunter–it’s a slightly different color, but is functionally exactly the same. I quite like it, and may even add a third, but three is a lot to carry around, unless I’m traveling and they’re in my suitcase. The phone is the same, the notebook is the same…accessories don’t change much.
A. Leica MP 0.72x – I love this camera. This is, as I have said before, the last Leica for me. However, it has recently become clear that I require a lower magnification viewfinder in order to be able to see the framelines when shooting, as I wear glasses. This has become my go-to body for the 50mm focal length. It has a lovely character to it, has the standard viewfinder magnification, and is built like a tank. It will be with me forever and always, and I hope that in 30 years it’s as scuffed and scratched and brassed as I can make it. I grow more attached to it every day.
B. Leica M6TTL 0.58 – This is a new addition, as with glasses it can be hard to see the 35mm framelines with the 0.72x magnification on my MP. This allows me to have my 35mm Summicron mounted all the time, though it can also be used with other focal lengths as well. I prefer the handling of the M6TTL to the MP in some ways; the shutter dial turns the correct way (relative to the meter, opposite of the traditional M series) and the larger dial means I can access the shutter dial with my finger without taking the camera from my eye.
C. Fuji X100 – I have spoken about this camera often, and always glowingly. I love the size, weight, performance, lens, viewfinder…pretty much everything. There are a few minor quibbles but nothing serious. Far and away my favorite digital camera to date. I don’t use digital a lot these days, but when I do, I use the X100.
Color-Skopar 25mm f/4 – I don’t go wide often, but when I do this is a lovely little lens to have. I used to have the 21mm Color-Skopar, but found 21mm too wide for me, and found 28mm to be too close to my favored 35mm focal length. This is a good compromise. I love the small size, and it was very cheap.
Summicron-M 35mm f/2 ASPH – This is my go-to lens. It wasn’t cheap, but it is the best 35mm lens that Leica makes (some say the best it has ever made). I used to shoot more with the 50mm focal length but enough time shooting with the Fuji X100 has taught me that I prefer 35mm, as you get more in the frame. The square hood is annoying, and I generally avoid hoods, but I had some problem with flare on this lens (which I didn’t expect!) so I keep it on now.
Nokton 50mm f/1.5 ASPH – This lens is almost indistinguishable from the pre-ASPH Summilux, at a fraction of the cost. Other than bragging rights for actually owning a Summilux, I’m not sure why you’d choose that one over this lens. It is fast, not too large, and not very expensive; performance is very good throughout the aperture.
Elmar-M 50mm f/2.8 – I generally prefer not to have two lenses of the same focal length, but I make an exception for this little gem. About half the price of the Summicron-M 50mm f/2, I love the rendering of it, and it’s small size for traveling. You can collapse it and throw it in your pocket easily. One drawback: at f/8 and above, there are no half stops in the aperture.
E. Domke bag – This bag is great, fits all I need for a day of shooting, and is small and light. There is no velcro to draw attention to myself when opening/closing the bag, and the metal buckle keeps things secure (it’s actually really hard to open, so I won’t get robbed!).
F. Fujifilm/Japan Camera Hunter film cases – These are really awesome, and as I mentioned in my initial post, I got the last Fujifilm one from JCH earlier this year. Bellamy now has a range of JPH-branded cases and I highly recommend them. I don’t usually go out with more than 10 rolls at a time, but for traveling abroad it’s lovely to have all my film in these cases. I have 5 of them for longer trips.
G. Film – Alright, here is what you’ve been waiting for. What kind of film do I shoot generally? The answer is, quite a few kinds. I used to shoot Ilford HP5+ mostly when I started on film 5 years ago, but have moved to Tri-X/Arista Premium for most of my monochrome nowadays. I like them both equally, but I can get Arista for around half the price of the Ilford, so I shoot that mostly. For color I shoot a bit of Ektar, but have moved away from it as I don’t always love the results; Portra 400 is probably my favorite color film, but I also enjoy Fuji Pro 400H, and I’ve got loads of that stuff around the house (70 rolls or so!), so I’m shooting a lot of it these days. With the way color film costs keep going up and up, I’m moving toward more black and white. Once my color film is gone, I’m not sure what I’ll do–at nearly $10/roll it’s a lot to ask to shoot color negative film. I’ve all but stopped shooting color reversal film, prices have gone way up and developing costs have risen as well. Another of my favorite films, Superia 1600, has become scarce and ridiculously expensive (over $12/roll when you can find it) so I have begun experimenting with Ilford Delta 3200 and (the recently-discontinued) TMAX P3200, which I try to shoot at 1600 to give myself a fast option.
Black and white:
Kodak 400TX/Arista Premium 400 (very cheap!)
Ilford HP5+ 400
Ilford Delta 3200
Kodak TMAX P3200 (recently discontinued)
Kodak Portra 400
Fuji Pro 400H
Superia 1600 (less lately with scarcity and cost increasing)
H. Leica SF-20 flash – I recently acquired this for a project I am going to be starting next year that I’ll need more light for. Shooting with a flash generally isn’t my style, but I got it used for pretty cheap, and it works well in my tests so far.
I. iPhone 4 – still using the same phone, going on two years. It works and I have little reason to upgrade, considering how effing expensive these things are these days.
J. Wallet – I got this from Dynomighty and really enjoy it. It’s thin and light, and they have a lot of sweet designs. Made of some kind of paper, they are almost indestructible. Check them out.
So that’s my general bag setup as of now. I don’t always carry all three cameras–in fact, I never do–but usually two of them, or just one if I’m going out without the sole intention of making photographs. Which one I take depends on my mood, and what I think I’ll encounter during my time out shooting.
Black Domke bag – I don’t honestly know what style it is, but it’s from the mid-1980s and they were throwing two of them away at work. Despite over 20 years of use by photojournalists traveling all over the world and using it hard, it looks great. So I took one off their hands. Domke bags are great.
Hasselblad 501CM with Planar 80mm f/2.8 CFE T* lens – a great camera that I acquired earlier this year. I enjoy medium format, and the results from this camera always blow my mind. The lens is out of this world. This combo I got almost mint condition, with boxes, paperwork, and all original accessories, with the upgraded Acute Matte split screen (makes focusing easier), and manufactured in 2002. The original owner didn’t use it much; it’s lovely.
Fuji Instax 210 – this is a fun camera that is absurdly large for the size print you get, but I like the results. It is incredibly light and easy to carry around, and if I’m already carrying a bag with the ‘Blad in it, this one doesn’t add any weight.
Film – I love shooting Ektachrome E100G, but it is sadly now discontinued. This is my last box before I move on to Provia 100F for good, although that film is no slouch either. Portra 400 is as good in 120 as it is in 35mm; I also use Kodak’s 400TX, and Fuji’s Pro 400H–largely the same film stock I carry for 35mm use. I like consistency.
Here is where people can find me:
Thanks for sharing your bags with us Trevor and thanks for the great articles. Keep them coming.
Check out Trevor’s links and make sure you come and comment.
Keep them coming folks, we need more submissions, so get your bag on Japancamerahunter.com. Send me a hi resolution image of the bag (please make sure it is horizontal) and its contents, with some details about yourself and what you shoot. Oh and don’t forget your contact details (twitter, flickr, tumbler et al). Send the bag shots here.