Gear Talk: What's in my bag?

If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me what camera/drone I use, I would have been able to afford all the gears I want today. Jokes aside, I really do think that good gears provide you with an additional advantage while taking pictures, but the most compelling images are often made by being at the right place at the right time. Your gears are just tools to help you achieve your result, but what matters the most is the process of how you develop an image inside your brain. Good gears might get you a few good images, but it will never make you a better photographer. It's how you compose your images, how differently you perceive a simple scene, or how you can direct a viewer's eye on your images are what makes you stand out.

With the rising use of smartphones with exceptional cameras, photography has been at the forefront of people's interest more than ever. A lot of people starting out their journey in the field of photography are either curious, confused or concerned about what to buy. To curb all your curiousity, and to answer the most frequently asked question, I thought about listing down all my equipments once and for all. This is not your guide about what to buy, this is just an insight about what keeps my backpack full and how I use them.

Camera Body

Sony A7M3

This is my primary camera since last one year. After five years of shooting with a crop-sensor, I finally upgraded to a full-frame camera. This camera is extremely lightweight, and is by far one of the best mirrorless cameras in the market. It is packed with so many powerful features and doesn't dig a hole in your pocket at the same time.
Canon EOS 600D

This is the first camera I have ever owned. I remember saving my scholarship money for months to buy this, and it will always have a special in my heart. I still carry this camera during my travel as a secondary body, mostly paired with a 50mm prime lens or a telephoto lens to get the range.


Sony Vario-Tessar T* FE 16-35mm f/4 ZA OSS

This is my ultra-sharp wide angle lens that is mounted on the camera 90% of the time. This lens is fairly wide, which also helps me to include a lot of foreground elements in my landscape images. If I can carry only one lens to a destination, this will be the one.
Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 Di III RXD E-mount

This is the cheaper alternative of Sony 24-70mm GMaster F/2.8, but it produces similar results. This is the lens I'm using when my movements are restricted (e.g, shooting out of an airplane) or when I'm shooting people. I put this on my camera after sunset because of its incredible low-light performance.
Samyang 14mm f/2.8 MF E-mount

This is the lens I primarily use for astrophotography. It is also the only manual focus lens I own. This lens is outrageously wide. I use this lens when I have sufficient time to focus on my subject, and always paired with a tripod. My go-to lens for the northern lights, milkyway, or star trails.
Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM

My only telephoto zoom lens that I use with the Sigma MC-11 adapter on my Sony body. I'm always using this for compressed landscape shots, and when I want to isolate my subject from its surroundings. My absolute favorite to provide a sense of scale to grand landscape.
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM

This is the lens that I once loved, but rarely use nowadays. This is usually mounted on my spare Canon 600D all the time. I don't shoot with this one at all, but when I'm taking pictures of my friends or family, this is my go-to lens. I occassionally pair it with the Sony body for very low-light evening scenes.

Drones and Filters

DJI Mavic Pro

My one and only aerial beast that gave me some of the best images of my life. I can easily send this three kilometers away without a worry. It handled extreme Icelandic winds and light drizzling very well. Had a couple of close shaves in the city but never crashed. Always carry this with a fully charged remote-controller and four extra batteries because nobody wants to miss out on an incredible aerial view.
PolarPro Cinema Series Filters

This is the best investment I have made behind the drone. The processed photos using this filters are so lovely and colourful. The ND/CPL filters helps taking slightly longer exposure, because nobody wants to crank the ISO up in a drone. The polarizer significantly reduces the glare from reflective surfaces like water, glass etc and gives the image a rich colour. I always have the ND8/PL attached to my drone, and change it depending on the available light in the scene.
NiSi V5 Pro Square Filters Professional Kit

This is the long-exposure kit for my camera. It comes with a circular polarizer, 3 ND filters (3-stop, 6-stop, 10-stop), one soft GND 0.9 and one reverse GND 0.9. I still haven't made the most use of these magnificent filters. I use the CPL with my Zeiss 16-35mm almost all the time to cut-off reflections, and the soft GND 0.9 to retain highlights in the white sky. I use the 6-stop ND for those smooth waterfalls during the day, or any smooth long-exposure in harsh day-light. The 3-stop is my friend on an overcast day, and the 10-stop just lies there unnoticed in my bag. I promised myself to use more of the 10-stop ND in my upcoming trips.


Manfrotto BeFree Carbon Fibre (MKBFRC4-BH)

The first step to taking sharper images is to buy a sturdy tripod that wouldn't move a centimeter even on a windy condition. I have upgraded to this one after using a Benro mid-range tripod for years, and I couldn't recommend it more. Looks very small when folded, and it's also one of the lightest tripod ever made. I feel this tripod is made for lighter setups and I wouldn't recommend it to people with heavy cameras.
Manfrotto Pixi Mini (MTPIXI-B)

This is another equipment in my bag which is largely unused, because I use my primary tripod whenever I get the chance. I only use the Pixi when I'm shooting something from a really low angle. It is very steady with most lenses except my telephoto. However, I'm looking to upgrade to a solid gorillapod in the near future so that I can place my camera just anywhere at any angle I wish..

Camera Backpack

F-Stop Tilopa

F-Stop Tilopa with large ICU

If I have made one correct decision in my life, it has to be the one when I decided to buy this backpack. And I really want to say this out loud - the F-stop Tilopa is probably the best camera backpack I have ever laid my hands on. Starting from its design, to its colour (don't hate me for the orange, I love it!), the technology, the durability - I love everything about this bag. It doesn't matter if it rains or snows - the Tilopa is made to weather the most extreme conditions. It also has back opening which is very convenient when I'm changing gears by placing my bag face down on the ground. As someone who uses expensive gears, I was constantly worried about the safety of my equipments, but when I'm using the Tilopa, I can just forget about all my concerns and concentrate more on shooting. This bag comes with a couple of handy attachments that I use to make the most out of it, and more often than not it fits my clothes too apart from the gears and chargers. I know this doesn't come cheap but cannot recommend this more if you shoot in harsh conditions. The best part? It perfectly fits as a cabin luggage in flights.

Pouches and other accessories

Accesories Pouch - Large

Accesories Pouch - Medium

Large Internal Camera Unit (ICU)

Memory Card Holder

F-Stop Accessories Pouch (Medium and Large) - I won a little contest with FStopGear and they sent me $500 worth of accessories, so I try to make full use of it in all of my trips. I use the medium pouch to hold all my chargers and some extra batteries, where the large one holds my camera cleaning kit, my head torch, extra memory cards, powerbank etc. It keeps everything organized, just how I like them. I have also used the large pouch to carry my drone sometimes, I think it's made for a Mavic Pro.

F-Stop Internal Camera Unit (Large) - This is the camera unit that goes inside my orange backpack. Mind you, this is an enclosed bag in itself and during the security check at the airport, it is very convenient to take this bag out of my backpack as it contains all the gears, rather than spreading out your gears separately those trays.

Memory Card Holder - I always have the fear of losing a memory card full of pictures (In fact, I almost did once but the cleaning staffs at the Akureyri Backpackers found it! We drove more than 30 kilometers to search for it in another location) and this is why I use a small little box which holds all of my memory cards. If space isn't a problem, I recommend using two of these - one where you keep your empty cards and one where you keep them full.

Sigma MC-11 Adapter


Peak Design Capture Clip


Black Diamond Head Torch


Zeiss Lens Wipes


MagicFiber Clothes

Sigma MC-11 Adapter - Since I was previously a canon user and recently shifted to Sony, the MC-11 adapter helps me use my canon lenses on Sony camera. The autofocus works smoothly 90% of the time.

Peak Design Capture Clip - This is the most valuable piece of accessory I own. This helps me attach my camera to the straps of my bag, or my belt without having to use a strap.

Black Diamond Head Torch - Always using this while shooting at night. This torch has four different colours of light, and the faint red-light really helps me see my camera at night without ruining any other photographer's images shooting beside.

Zeiss Lens Wipes - I keep a bunch of lens wipes handy because they significantly reduce the lens cleaning time.

MagicFiber Micro Fibre Clothes - These are very soft and very high-quality micro fiber clothes to clean your equipments. I spread them all over my camera backpack so that I can always get my hands on one of them.

Lastly, if you have made it this far, I want to just leave you with one small little thing. Remember that your gears will be forgotten, but your images may live.
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