In your bag 400, Ming Thein
Well well well, we have reached number 400! And still we are going strong. There are plenty more bags to feature. But todays bag is not just one…Ming has been kind enough to send us his multiple different configurations. And I am loving the classic one. Come and have a look at number 400!

Hi Bellamy,

Here’s my contribution to In Your Bag. I’ve actually only got one bag in the shot, mainly because the bag wouldn’t fit…here goes.

By way of background, I’m a commercial watch and architecture photographer based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; I also run the photography site Needless to say, I do travel a lot; whatever I carry has to fit inside an airline carry on – just too much reputation risk if you turn up on the other end and can’t complete the job because some equipment didn’t make it (and this is where professional support and your friends come in, but that’s another story for another day).

To the bags. Short of just picking up one camera and going bag less – which I frequently do when I’m shooting for fun, or teaching a workshop – this is about my bare minimum kit, e.g. when I’m teaching or on holiday:

Inside a Billingham Hadley Pro, we have:
Olympus OM-D with grip
Olympus 12/2 and 45/1.8 lenses, plus the 15/8 body cap (a really fun lens; highly recommended)
Sony RX100
Spare batteries for both
The GR-Digital case is the only belt pouch I’ve found which gives a low profile and a quick draw for my compacts; it’s stayed with me since my first Ricoh GR-Digital I in 2006 even after I bought and sold three of the different versions.
Spare SD cards
Business cards
A super-compact Fulton umbrella
A mid-2012 Apple MacBook Air 11″, which I use not for processing (though it’s more than powerful enough) but for email triage and site maintenance/ posting on the go
Cables, chargers and adaptors in that brown pouch
A Gitzo GT1542 Carbon 6x Traveller with 1780QR head, which goes in my check-in. I don’t use it that much, but there are times when you do need a tripod – this is the lightest and most sturdy I’ve found so far. Plus, it’s nearly eye level with the column extended. The head I’m not so happy with, but I’ve yet to find a good low-profile replacement.

Next comes my architecture kit:

This typically goes inside a combination of waist pouches if I’ve got to do a lot of walking, a ThinkTank Airport International roller, or a Kata DPS-216 – also depending on how many of the individual lenses I’m carrying. One body goes over each shoulder.

Nikon D800E
Nikon D600
Nikon AFS 24-120/4 VR II G
Zeiss ZF.2 21/2.8, 28/2, 50/2 and 100/2 lenses
Spare batteries and SD cards
The Mother Of All (portable) Tripods, a Gitzo GT5562LTS 6x Carbon Systematic with geared centre column and Manfrotto 410 geared head. I think this is probably the best balance of stability, precision and portability – though the head and column weigh as much as the actual tripod.

The next image is what I take on location for watch photography assignments: it’s a bare minimum, and there’s usually more; it goes inside a ThinkTank Airport International and a couple of Manfrotto lighting/ tripod bags:

Nikon D800E
Nikon D600
Nikon AFS 60/2.8 G Micro
Nikon PCE 85/2.8 G Micro
Carl Zeiss T* circular polarizer set for all lenses
3x Nikon SB900s
Nikon SU800 wireless flash controller
One home-made diffuser, backdrop sheets, glass sheets, black and white cardboard
Sony RX100 for b-roll and general non-assignment photography
Two sets of Kenko 12/20/36mm extension tubes
3x Manfrotto 5001 compact light stands
Gitzo GT1542 Traveller again – if I’m working in the country or somewhere drivable, then I’ll replace this with the The Mother Of All (portable) Tripods from the previous shot
Manfrotto geared micro positioning rail
Lots and lots of spare batteries – I like Sanyo Eneloops for the flashes; Energizer CR123s for the SU800, and Nikon’s own for the cameras.
Soft cloths and dust blower for cleaning watches and equipment
(not shown) Blu-tak for holding watches in place, Whibal cards, MacBook Air 11″ and cables/ chargers

Finally, I’m going to finish with the film kit. I never carry all of this at once, because I only use it when I want to experiment for personal work:

Nikon F2 Titan and Nikon AI-S 58/1.2 Noct-Nikkor (the latter sourced by Bellamy). Sometimes I’ll replace this with the AI-P 45/2.8 for daylight shooting.
Hasselblad 501C with 80/2.8 CF T* lens and A12 back; I’ve got the 50/4 CF FLE T* and 120/4 CF T* Makro-Planar on the way too, plus some additional backs
The CFV-39 digital back is on loan and under evaluation.
Sony RX100: this is my backup meter; my primary meter is my eyeball. Note that both of these cameras are 100% manual and 100% meter less: the best way to heighten your consciousness of the quality of light.
Film, and lots of it – I like Ilford Delta 100, though sometimes I’ll also use PAN F 50 and Delta 400 pushed a stop.

I think that just about wraps things up!

Ming Thein |

Wow! Just wow! These bags are epic. This is a lesson to all in how to do the ultimate bag shot. Love the F2 as well Ming, it is a beauty. Thanks for sharing your bags with us, it is great to see the difference in each bag.
Check out Ming’s site and make sure you come and comment.

Keep them coming folks, we need more submissions, so get your bag on 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.