In your bag No: 1561 – Robert Asami

With no market place answers, Robert addresses his gear issues with custom solutions for his travel kit.

My name is Robert Asami, a user experience designer in Southern California. Through the nature of my profession, I’m always finding little bits of product solutions to complain about and attempt to remedy. One of my other hobbies is leathercrafting, which gives me a solid foundation to modify or create one-off pieces to solve problems I face in the field.

I’ve got a month-long trip in various parts of Asia coming up, and this is the set coming along for the ride. Not all of these will be deployed at once, of course, they were carefully considered among the whole collection to create sets that complement eachother cross-system. One configuration for tripod days, perhaps another for days where space must be left over for (definitely responsible) purchases.

 I’m a huge fan of pancake lenses, and the Nikon 45P is among my favorites overall – it has its own foibles about it, but keeps up handily with modern, demanding sensors. The m43 pancake zooms do a wonderful job of playing shortstop to whatever prime is glued to the D850, especially when the 24-105 stays at home. I’ve even got a Canon 40 STM without an appropriate body to mount it on.

The Olympus E-M5 mkII is my favorite body at the intersection of practicality, performance, and expandability (apologies to my Ricoh GR). The 35-100 4-5.6 is a sleeper of a lens, not just for it’s size. Compared to a 35mm format 70-200 2.8, I’ll happily save myself the cost and a visit to the wrist doctor. Of roughly 150 lenses owned in the past, the Olympus 75-300 sits surprisingly among my favorite three. It’s no burden to bring along, and always guarantees unique compositional opportunities.

On the accessories front, there’s the Gitzo 1541T and Arca-Swiss P0. The legs have been wrapped in leather to minimize possible micro-fractures in the carbon fiber. I also installed D-ring mounting points for a strap to transport a tripod in a way I haven’t seen the existing market solve reasonably. There’s also a battery and SD card block and ND filter.

All of this centers around the Billingham Hadley Pro. In this age of replacing goods every few years, it’s one of the few items I’ve owned for more than five. I’ve made some modifications to it – strap pad, trigger snap to externally attach a body (or water bottle), and upgraded the fastening straps with an even stiffer bridle leather. The inner sleeve has also been swapped out with a custom one to minimize padding and reclaim more real estate.

You can find me tinkering with camera and leather stuff at 


Thanks for sending us your bag shot Robert, much respect for the DIY skills.

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