This is one of the questions I am asked most often. I’m not going to go into great detail or technical data here, just a quick tour of my camera bag, explaining ‘what’ and ‘why’.
The first point to bear in mind that as a Fujifilm ambassador, I use Fujifilm cameras and lenses exclusively. This is not because I’m paid to use them (which I’m not!) or because I get free gear (which, sadly, I don’t!) – it’s because I love using that gear and it does exactly what I need it to do. My main, everyday camera is the Fujifilm X100V, which is just about the perfect camera for street photography; it’s small, quiet, light, discreet, has excellent low light capability, a great lens and superior sensor. And like most of the X-series cameras, all the main controls are on the top plate and fall easily to hand without having to delve into menus. I could probably survive for ever more with this camera and nothing else.
My other ‘main’ camera is the Fujifilm X-Pro3. I tend to use this more for projects which have a documentary angle, where I may need to use a variety of lenses. The X-Pro series is based on the rangefinder form factor, and the ‘3’ is the latest iteration. It shares the same sensor as the X100V and has very fast autofocus. This model courted controversy when it was launched last year because the rear LCD screen is hidden (folded inwards) in its default position. This was a brave move from Fujifilm and it immediately elicited a ‘Marmite’ response – you’ll either love it or hate it. I love it. It somehow makes shooting a more raw and organic experience – not unlike shooting with a film camera. Being unable to see the picture you have just taken (unless you really want to) is quite liberating and I find the experience wholly positive. The other big benefit for me is dual SD card slots – I never feel 100% safe without a back-up, particularly in a situation where the shots are unrepeatable.
Last but not least in my camera line-up is my ‘go everywhere’ camera, the diminutive XF10. With its sharp fixed 18mm lens (28mm equivalent) and 24MP sensor, this is more than capable of producing stunning images. This camera is tiny and will easily fit into a shirt pocket. As a street photographer’s camera, its size and weight are ideal and the great thing is you’ll always look more like a tourist than a photographer. This goes everywhere with me – a trip to the supermarket, beach, dentist – everything! It’s around half the price of its nearest competitor from Ricoh, with pretty much the same specification.
As for lenses, if I’m using the X-Pro 3 I’ll usually have a variety of primes with me: the 16mm f/1.4, 23mm f/1.4, 35mm f/1.4 (my favourite) and the 50mm f/1.0 which is use mainly for shooting street portraits. I much prefer prime lenses over zooms for their better sharpness and contrast and also their ability to shoot wide open whence situation demands it.
Having said all that, I do find myself being drawn back to film and really enjoy shooting with a medium format film camera. I’m currently using a lovely old Rolleiflex T which offers a very organic shooting experience and it’s great to be challenged again by the square 6×6 format.. Generally, I’m a big fan of film and would encourage everyone to at least experience it; you may surprise yourself and fall in love with it.
As for bags, if I’m having a relaex day with one camera I tend to favour a small shoulder bag but if I need to carry more kit I’ll use the Peak Design Zip Backpack – a new-ish and relatively compact bag which I find to be the perfect size. Whichever bag I use it will usually contain:
- Fast SD cards (usually between 150-300 MB/s)
- 4+ batteries
- Notebook and pen (I love making ‘real’ notes on paper)
- Business cards (I find I need to hand these out almost daily)
- Zeiss lens wipes (I prefer these to cloths, which can attract grit particles)
- Sometimes a GoPro Hero 8 (I’m always looking for opportunities to shoot B-roll for videos)
- If I’m travelling, I’ll use an iPad Pro for post-production and will backup everything to a Gnarbox
I do, however, always aim to travel as light as possible and I want to blend in, not looking like a photographer, so most of the time, for an average street shooting day, it’s one camera only – and most of the time it’s the X100V.