In your bag No: 1610 – Ben Brown


by Michael Nguyen /

3 min read
Scroll down

In your bag No: 1610 – Ben Brown

Ben is mulling over and leaning toward this minimal setup to archive his nuptial jaunt through Europe.

Hello, JCH community. My name is Ben Brown and I live in the Triangle region of North Carolina, U.S. There’s a blast of growth, change and surprise here, which is why I nearly always carry a camera with me and spend my lunch breaks shooting the streets. This is a very special “In Your Bag,” for me, because I’m debating what camera gear to bring to Europe this fall. My lady (a photo-video pro) and I are getting married there and, well — all the wedding questions aside, do I bring my expensive gear and soar on quality? After all, it’s my marriage. Or bring the “good enough” and worry a little less about baggage losses, theft, shit-happens, etc? I’m thinking the latter. I did a “practice pack”  — in a military surplus shoulder bag Frankensteined with camera-bag innards — and here’s what went inside:

-Olympus OM-10 all-black with manual adapter (analog, overall joy)

-Ricoh GR (digital, street photography)

-Olympus E-M10 (digital, general photography + video)

-Ilford HP5 Plus 400

-Kodak Gold 200

-(JCH Streetpan 400 to be added, no doubt!)

-OM M.Zuiko 50mm 1.8 lens 

-OM M.Zuiko 135mm 3.5 lens

-OM-D M.Zuiko 14-150mm 4-5.6 lens

-Various accompaniments, extra batteries

The OM-10, recently serviced, works like a hummingbird. And I love the all-black. But there’s a part of me that wants to play even *that* more safely, and instead just bring along my much more modest Petri 7 S, a mid-1960s fully manual Japanese rangefinder that shoots well and wins its games. It has one of those around-the-lens selenium light meter systems that hasn’t let me down. Plus it just has the vibe of a travel camera. Last week someone stopped me on the street and asked if it was a Leica. Ha. I could feel the Petri blushing. 

I’d love to interact with more of you. My info below. 




Twitter @benbrownmedia

Instagram @_lenswalk_

Flickr benbrownmedia

Thanks for sending us your bag shot Ben. I had the same issue last month on deciding if I should take medium format gear to Europe for my sister’s wedding. Swing for the fences!

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

Send me a high resolution image of the bag. Optimum size is 1500px across. Please ensure there is a bag in the shot, unless you don’t use one. The more you can write about yourself the better, make it appealing and tell us a story. Snapshots of your gear with a camera phone and no words will not be featured.
Oh and don’t forget your contact details (twitter, flickr, tumbler et al). Send the bag shots here. Please understand that there is a long wait now as there is a backlog of submissions. Not all make the cut, so make sure yours is funny/interesting/quirky. And please make sure the shot is of good quality, as the ones that are not do not go up.


3 comments on “In your bag No: 1610 – Ben Brown”

    Daniel Castelli October 24, 2018 at 11:30 am / Reply

    Dear Ben, congratulations on you upcoming nuptials. Just where are you going in Europe?
    I mean, you can get robbed anywhere; Europe doesn’t have an exclusive franchise on theft.
    We just returned from Ireland. I packed a Leica M (film) & a 28mm lens. I added 20 rolls of Delta 400, an exposure meter, medium yellow filter. Cell phone & spare battery in a pant’s pocket. A minimal bag that was easy on the back, easy to maneuver through trains & planes and didn’t call attention to itself. I have worked in the UK, Paris, Florence, and now Ireland. I honestly can say I have never felt the hairs on the back of my neck stand up because I was in a tense situation. I avoid places that even the local stay away from. I’ve shot around the US, and the only place I feel wary is Hartford CT (about 20 miles from my home.)
    My advice is don’t take my advice but listen to yourself. Are you shooting for a holiday or are you planning to make pics for commercial use? Nature, foodie or architecture? Will you be staying in a place for a bit of time, or are you on the go, requiring packing/unpacking? What about transportation? Biking about or relying on public transportation? Taxi or Uber? Feet? All of this is as important as lenses and cameras. The OM (film) system was built around small, good quality lenses. Explore a couple for travel. Have a wonderful time. Eat well, make new friends, buy your wife silver & gold baubles.

    Ben Brown October 25, 2018 at 8:21 am / Reply

    Thanks, Daniel! My main worry was less about shady/tense situations (though I’ve had those) and more about airlines, as we had a lot of flights to survive. I’ve certainly had bad airport luck in the past with baggage (and on this trip, too, as it turned out, but that’s another story). We just got back, amazing time. Small wedding in Amsterdam was beautiful (sandwiched by London and Rome, two weeks total) I ended up bringing most of what you see in this post, except I swapped the E-M1O for my E-M1 Mark II (which, yeah, way more pricey, but I ended up wanting the advantage). Took thousands and thousands of shots. And you’re right about old OM lenses — I have a great collection of those (so sharp) and use them often on my film and mirrorless cameras. My now-wife did lose one lens along the way, in a taxi, a Jupiter 8 — hard to replace (KIDDING!). Thanks for the kind words my friend.

    Daniel Castelli October 26, 2018 at 5:56 am / Reply

    You’re welcome. The only scary airport story I have took place at BWI. I was coming back from services at the Viet Nam Memorial. I passed through security, asked for hand inspection for my film (“yes, I know the scanner is safe, but I have the right to ask for hand inspection…”) and I set off bells & whistles. My elbow implant set off some alarm. The TSA guy pulled me aside and another TSA guy grabbed my M6 out of my bag and went into an unmarked door. I’m asking where the guy went with my camera, the TSA guy is telling me to calm down and I can see a situation developing in which I’m going to be the loser. Somebody called over the Maryland State Troopers and told them “the old guy is being picked on” and I looked for the old guy, thinking why pick on an old guy (ahem, it was me.)
    The statey got my camera back, my film was handed back to me and they walked me through security. I will never know why this happened. I don’t shoot my mouth off, I stay calm and comply. The implant is not supposed to trigger an alarm, my belt & shoes & watch, et al was removed per instructions. Ah, the joy of air travel. I now take trains to and from DC.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.