What’s in My Bag? – Panasonic GH4 and Canon Glass

Posted by Valentina Vee on

As someone who makes money by taking photos and videos of other people, I often find myself packing the same essential items into my backpack. So to help you decide what to bring with you on your assignments, here’s a guide (with pictures) on how I organize my camera bag.

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I’ve never wanted to have a traditional camera bag because, living in Los Angeles, a thief can spot a “camera bag” a mile away and is more likely to go after its contents than if you just have a backpack. Also – having a backpack allows me to pack many things in whatever configuration I want, which is extremely useful for big items like my reflector and Gorillapod. My current favorite backpack is a Wenger Swiss Army padded laptop backpack I bought at a thrift store. To house my lenses and camera, I also own a Clik Elite Small Capsule. It holds my camera and all three lenses very well, along with their lens hoods and filters.

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I don’t have a preference between DSLRs and mirrorless cameras or brands. I firmly believe that the best camera is the one you have. However, I did chose the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4 for a few specific reasons, all of which are outlined in my previous blog post. One of the main draws (packing-wise) is its small size, flip-out screen, and long battery life. I also carry a charger and 2 Clearmax batteries

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Because I switched from Canon to Micro Four Thirds and Metabones have yet to release an EF-m4/3 Speedbooster, I am satisfied with just the Fotodiox EOS-m4/3 adapter ring. It’s sturdy and made of solid metal.

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Good glass is almost more important than the camera you use it on. In my case, I hardly ever have the need for autofocusing (I either shoot video or I employ focus peaking in my photography). Therefore, it made sense for me to buy Rokinon primes straight off the bat. I currently own the Rokinon 35mm f/1.4 (my pride and joy) and the Rokinon 14mm t/3.1 cinema lens. I also own a zoom lens (not pictured here) – the Canon 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6. I recently purchased the Canon 50mm f/1.8 as well because sometimes I want to carry just one lens and I won’t feel bad should something happen to my “Nifty Fifty.”

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I always travel with my Zeikos glass cleaner pen. One side has a retractable brush and the other is loaded with very fine carbon – a perfect way to clean your glass without liquid chemicals. I also carry a small microfiber cloth.

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I always carry plenty of SD cards with me, and all of these work exceptionally well because they are Class-10 cards. If, however, I want to record in 4K, only my 64GB U3 card can record the footage without dropped frames. I intend to purchase a Sandisk Extreme Pro in the future.

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I only need filters when I am shooting video (because I’m limited in my shutter speed). And since I only shoot video with my Rokinon glass, I only need one size of filter – 77mm. Both this UV filter from Hoya and Variable ND filter from Promaster fit onto my Rokinon 35mm f/1.4 lens. The other lens – the 14mm – is so convex that it cannot fit a filter. For that, I’d have to attach NDs to a mattebox, and that’s too much for my everyday needs.

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I’ve owned by Gorillapod with Joby Ballhead for years and it’s always been my go-to tool for practical stabilization. It can wrap around any pole or fence and instantly become a tripod. It can be bent into position and act as a steadicam or shoulder rig. If I pull on wool glove fingers (literally – the fingers I cut off a glove) to each of the legs and slide it on a smooth surface – it becomes an excellent slider.

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Because I’d rather not shoot anything than have poor sound, I have three options with me at all times. The first is a Rode SmartLav, which connects to my iPhone’s RodeRec app. The second is a cheap “backup” lav that feeds directly into my camera. And the third – the most flexible option – is my Aputure V-Mic D1 Condenser microphone. I also carry a wind screen and extra batteries.

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I will often not carry any sort of light panels for run-and-gun shooting and photography. They are often too heavy and require their own stands or an assistant to hold them. Instead, I go for my trusty 43-inch 5-in-1 Reflector/Diffuser. It was actually the very first piece of film equipment I ever bought and I still heavily rely on it for almost every shoot.

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I always carry a few mini clamps, a clothespin, tape (not pictured), an Eddie Bauer multi-tool, Sabre pepper spray (I do work in Los Angeles), a power stick to charge my iPhone and transport a small amount of data via USB, a first-aid kit, and high definition anti-gloss powder with a brush. You never know when one of these things may come in handy (hint: almost always)!

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I often use my iPhone as a way to record audio, so it is always by my side. With the phone wallet, I am able to keep spare change and credits cards in one place. I also carry my earbuds to monitor audio (with some pink gaff tape attached to differentiate them from other people’s). An important thing I never leave the house without is my business card holder. I get a lot of customers when I am shooting outdoors and people come up and inquire about my services. It’s nice to have a sturdy card to give them.

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I also bring a few things that I find essential – like sunglasses, sunscreen and a hat (mine folds up into a tiny space). It’s important to have a screw-on water bottle, because I don’t want to risk water spilling anywhere near my camera. I also carry a small notebook with a few pens and a Sharpie as well as a fanny pack to put batteries and memory cards in while I’m on the go. Yes – I carry a fanny pack. No – I don’t think it’s “lame” to wear one. It’s incredibly useful, especially when you have limited pocket space.

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THAT IS ALL! Thanks for taking a trip through my camera “bag.” What sort of camera/lenses do you bring on your shoots and why? What other items do you think are essential to bring that I’m missing out on? Let me know!

The post What’s in My Bag? – Panasonic GH4 and Canon Glass appeared first on Aputure Blog.