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Ten items you should have in your camera bag

By dpreview staff on Oct 4, 2013 at 18:02 GMT
Ten items you should have in your camera bag
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Ten items you should have in your camera bag

What's in your camera bag? A camera (hopefully) and maybe a lens or two, but that's probably not everything that you need. In this article we're looking at ten items that deserve a place in every photographer's kit bag, whatever sort of photography you enjoy doing. If you think we've missed anything, let us know in the comments. 

Let's get started!

Comments

Total comments: 287
123
DanielFjall
By DanielFjall (6 months ago)

I always got a P&S camera stuffed in the outer pocket of my bag for boosting creativity.

3 upvotes
totunu
By totunu (6 months ago)

P&S also good for some quick video and like backup camera.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 51 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
OldZorki
By OldZorki (6 months ago)

I always have a small flask of bourbon in my bag. Let you get over a missed shot or dead battery so much easier.

12 upvotes
Valiant Thor
By Valiant Thor (6 months ago)

Don't forget a pack of condoms for those model shoots.

23 upvotes
uberzone
By uberzone (6 months ago)

giggity giggity, alright......

2 upvotes
Siddharth
By Siddharth (6 months ago)

Latest addition to my bag
- Expodisc Whitebalance filter

Comment edited 21 seconds after posting
1 upvote
yabokkie
By yabokkie (6 months ago)

would like the things be categorized into several groups,
(1) anything you can find in a (small) camera store,
(2) goods for travel, from raincoat to camelback,
(3) others,
I thought the "ten items" should mostly from (3).

0 upvotes
photosen
By photosen (6 months ago)

- No but good idea.
- Check.
- Check.
- Check.
- Check but don't use it for photo yet.
- Check.
- Nope.
- Nope.
- Nope.
- Check.

- Also do carry a WB card, cable to connect to PC.

0 upvotes
XeroJay
By XeroJay (6 months ago)

They missed:
-flash gells
-electric tape
-precision screwdriver set
-colorchecker passport or at least a grey/wb card
-Advil

1 upvote
dholl
By dholl (6 months ago)

don't even know what half those things are.

you're sure they're relevant?

4 upvotes
Larry Brooks
By Larry Brooks (6 months ago)

I like to keep Cheat Sheets with me for the options/settings that I use only every once in a while. For example, step by step instructions to ready the in-camera Wi-Fi, or step-by-step instructions to ready wireless flash, starting exposure settings for fireworks, etc.

0 upvotes
Maxxuman
By Maxxuman (6 months ago)

I also have my Whibal card and a lens pen.

1 upvote
MarceloSalup
By MarceloSalup (6 months ago)

I would hope most of the people reading this site would have those, for sure. I recently added one more: a bean-bag-mini-tripod. It is a beanbag with a tripod head and great when shooting in locations where the mini-tripo is too clumsy: for example, windowsills, held against a light post... the bean bag conforms to the surface really well.

3 upvotes
flipmac
By flipmac (6 months ago)

Haven't seen one of those yet so I'll check them out. Personnally, I like those mini flexible tripods (gorillapod). You can wrap them around tree branches, stand them on rocky/uneven surface, etc.

0 upvotes
MarcMedios
By MarcMedios (6 months ago)

I have one, a Gorilla tripod I picked up somehwere for like $14. Love it. I had a brainstorm today... I might clamp it to my shoulder during events for the flash, who know it might give my light a new angle?

0 upvotes
Stephen McDonald
By Stephen McDonald (6 months ago)

A handheld flash/bang device will keep the grizzlies and jaguars at bay. And closer to home, I always carry my bus pass for when I wear out halfway through a 20-mile photo-walk.

Comment edited 5 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Giulio Fabricatore
By Giulio Fabricatore (6 months ago)

A mini Color Checker, always...

0 upvotes
Artpt
By Artpt (6 months ago)

I did not consider a polarizer with outdoor photos...thanks for the gear list.

0 upvotes
JimWongyyz
By JimWongyyz (6 months ago)

Toilet paper. Cannot count on public washroom to supply paper.

20 upvotes
uberzone
By uberzone (6 months ago)

Do your business before you leave. Lighter on your feet and no need to carry around a roll of paper.

Coffee works miracles.........

Comment edited 29 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
ed rader
By ed rader (6 months ago)

or do the paperwork later

2 upvotes
white shadow
By white shadow (6 months ago)

What about some soap and water to wash up if you doing it in the bush?

Keep your precious camera and lenses clean.

1 upvote
slncezgsi
By slncezgsi (6 months ago)

I do not really need a rain cover and the rocket blower is too weak in my opinion and I use small A6 sized notepad instead of tablet, but still find the list rather reasonable.

I have the previous version of the Manfrotto aluminum table to tripod - it is awesome. Small lightweight and very stable - best friend when traveling with a TLR (or a digital camera with swivel LCD). It even holds a normal sized DSLR with not too long lens perfectly stable.

And I keep telling myself to finally have those business cards made. One day I will ... :)

0 upvotes
R Neuschul
By R Neuschul (6 months ago)

If the pocket knife doesn't have something equivalent then a pair of small fine jeweller's screwdrivers [crosshead and flat] can be useful additions on longer trips. I once had to carry out emergency repairs to a Summicron lens after an idiot [me] dropped his Leica down a small cliff; was able to get the lens working again for the duration - although Leica told me that although I'd done quite well I really should try not do it again, once I got back home a few weeks later and sent it in for checking :-)

I also take spare lens and body caps on longer trips. Also on longer trips I now sometimes take a solar charger, which allows me to top up camera batteries and the tablet and/or smartphone.

1 upvote
drent
By drent (6 months ago)

Hmmm, you took a look in my bag? :-)
I think most of us carry these things with us by experience.

1 upvote
El Pix
By El Pix (6 months ago)

Spectacle wearers (and others): don't forget a small, watchmakers screwdriver to tighten those little screws that always seem to come loose at the worst possible times!

1 upvote
Lan
By Lan (6 months ago)

No point, airline security always confiscate those as soon as you try and go anywhere...

0 upvotes
Impulses
By Impulses (6 months ago)

That's news to me, I've been traveling with one on my bag and it's never been an issue... You can hardly wield it as a weapon tho, it's barely longer than a toothpick (unscrews in segments to reveal the various tips) and as thin as a ballpoint pen ink tube.

0 upvotes
bcalkins
By bcalkins (6 months ago)

TSA says screwdrivers less than 7" are OK these days. Scissors with blades under 4" OK. And snow globes with less than 3.4 OZ in them :)

0 upvotes
JohnEwing
By JohnEwing (6 months ago)

+ light rubber gloves. Might have to shake a politician's hand.

22 upvotes
3DSimmon
By 3DSimmon (6 months ago)

Chuck in a fold up reflector as well

1 upvote
NancyP
By NancyP (6 months ago)

If you are camping, just add extra aluminium foil

0 upvotes
HBowman
By HBowman (6 months ago)

Condoms ??

16 upvotes
Artpt
By Artpt (6 months ago)

Someone has a sense of humor...or happens to work in the San Fernando Valley, California... :)

0 upvotes
Chev Chelios
By Chev Chelios (6 months ago)

This is why I bought the x100s. So I wouldn't need to carry around a camera bag or feel the need to buy all this tat to fill it!

:)

8 upvotes
M Lammerse
By M Lammerse (6 months ago)

The list is a good start:
I usually carry also with me (which might be a tip for others)
- aspirin and several sticking plasters
- a note book and pencil (even in the digital age)
- small LED flashlight, using same batteries as my flashes
- sun or spare glasses

Depending on the event:
Presscard (usually connect it to my bag, important to not forget)
tiny folding chair
parts for a folding step ladder
gas mask
folding reflectors
specific flash diffusers
A small yellow (rain)coat/top with reflecting safety striping for in the dark

And I never ever carry my smartphone in my camera bag. I would advice no one to do. In case of loss/theft or confiscation of your camera bag you can contact those who you need to contact.

4 upvotes
BartyLobethal
By BartyLobethal (6 months ago)

Your list is a good one, but a gas mask? Do you live somewhere there are frequent riots? Is a lot of your work done in sewers?

And why no Geiger Counter?

7 upvotes
JimWongyyz
By JimWongyyz (6 months ago)

Folding chair? Why not bring a shopping bag and sit on the ground.

0 upvotes
M Lammerse
By M Lammerse (6 months ago)

@ BartyLobethal:
Hehehe LOL, no I'm not a paparazzi so I do not see so often sewers nor trash cans nor do I live in nations with a lot of violent riots, but I have been to several which ended violently
I only once forgot to bring my gas mask, that will remember me the rest of my life to bring always one to large protests, especially with students.

1 upvote
Digital Suicide
By Digital Suicide (6 months ago)

Only two ot those, maybe. Or none at all.

0 upvotes
clifford37
By clifford37 (6 months ago)

I guess this was inevitable as Christmas draws near ???;)

1 upvote
deleted-13120401
By deleted-13120401 (6 months ago)

Love the poncho idea!

0 upvotes
budi0251
By budi0251 (6 months ago)

let's start with the first and foremost important item you MUST have in your "camera" bag; the "CAMERA" itself, it's a camera bag for pete's sake.

0 upvotes
Takahashi
By Takahashi (6 months ago)

"What's in your camera bag? A camera (hopefully) and maybe a lens or two, but that's probably not everything that you need."

It's on the leader page, Pete.

2 upvotes
PatMann
By PatMann (6 months ago)

Camera is listed, but I'd never keep mine in my camera bag. How can you take pictures if your camera is in a bag?

1 upvote
thecameraeye
By thecameraeye (6 months ago)

Add in a Lenspen and some form of remote flash trigger. I love my optical slave.

2 upvotes
ngollan
By ngollan (6 months ago)

Yes, by all means, carry a Lenspen. It's still one of the most useful pieces of cleaning equipment.

2 upvotes
jon404
By jon404 (6 months ago)

I'd add some gaffer tape, not a full roll, just a few pieces.

3 upvotes
evan47
By evan47 (6 months ago)

manfrotto 680b and rc 234 head, makes for a great weapon/walking pole. doubles up as a good steady monopod too!

0 upvotes
kixigvaq
By kixigvaq (6 months ago)

Most of that stuff I wouldn't carry, but I can see why somebody would. I have two chamois skins to wrap gear in. Very useful. I carry a spare set of car keys in a zipper pouch of my Domke satchel. Usually a Swiss Army knife or a Leatherman. A Spacepen and a few Band Aids. Now that I'm long in the tooth and can't workout without reading glasses I carry a spare pair.

0 upvotes
muhammad lal
By muhammad lal (6 months ago)

If required, the landscape pictures I like (If you do not have a built-in camera, electronic horizon level) circular polarization, besides the obvious, you can also spirit / bubble level is required. Anyway, so - I am no one, to save my life, I swear you can not get the horizon level.

You hot shoe (my Sony NEX-C3, etc.) If you own the camera without hot shoe is easy to find one, you can not cheap to get one mounted on a tripod. I'm in the part number joby.com get JB00124-CEN. Part number does not come up in the search, it "GorillaPod tripod, camera and accessories," then appeared in the call for some reason "GorillaPod Hybrid / SLR-ZOOM Ball Head for additional bubble level clip." It costs like $ 3 and $ 5 after delivery.
http://www.technologyexplores.com

Comment edited 36 seconds after posting
1 upvote
larrytusaz
By larrytusaz (6 months ago)

Did you see my post earlier? I said the same thing, how great someone else was thinking that.

Yes, I don't know what happened to me, for a long time my horizons were PERFECTLY level without the need for any tools. Somewhere along the line I started getting to where I couldn't take a level shot to save my life. This especially happens on hilly terrain where you yourself are not level & if you go by what feels level to you, you end up being way off.

That part number you mentioned is the exact same one I mentioned. I have 2--one in the camera bag, one in the closet so if I lose the 1st one there's no delay having one on-hand again (you don't exactly find them in "everyday" stores).

0 upvotes
sh10453
By sh10453 (6 months ago)

Generally this is a good list. I have all of the above packed, plus a couple more items:

- A graduated ND
- A couple of color filters
- A monopod. Cant trust a mini tripod with a Canon 5D and a 70-200mm L lens
- A small/medium flashlight if needed, or expected to be needed
- A spare camera body (depends on the occasion though)

Some people mentioned a note pad. I thought these have been obsolete for a long time. The cell phone's various writing / recording apps can do that job with ease.
In my case, I rely on OneNote (Windows phone), and I think it's the best little product Microsoft has ever made (shhhhh, don't tell MS, they'd eliminate OneNote if they saw this comment).

1 upvote
justinwonnacott
By justinwonnacott (6 months ago)

A sandwich?

4 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (6 months ago)

glucose, caffeine, and nitroglycerin

3 upvotes
gerard boulanger
By gerard boulanger (6 months ago)

More ads....

0 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (6 months ago)

Where, exactly?

1 upvote
gerard boulanger
By gerard boulanger (6 months ago)

I guess my level of being able to absorb direct or indirect ads to push me to buy stuff is saturated.
A list of equipment without picture would have been as good, but as soon as a the picture shows a brand name and a model, it's natural for some of us to think its another disguised ad.
No big deal in a way, too much for me sometimes, that's all.

0 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (6 months ago)

So there are as many ads as there are recognizable 'things' on our site ;)

0 upvotes
george4908
By george4908 (6 months ago)

A nickel to unscrew the battery cover. Oh wait, that was a while ago, wasn't it?

9 upvotes
Mario G
By Mario G (6 months ago)

Now you need that to unscrew the gorillapod hot shoe.

0 upvotes
Kriekira
By Kriekira (6 months ago)

@Offshore: I use a Manfrotto mini-tripod with my gripped Sony a850 (FF) with the Sony 70-400G. Granted, a small ball-head is useless with 5 kg of camera, but the mini-tripod is very useful. Even a small ball-head will keep the camera steady with a medium- or light-weight lens attached. I keep a mini-pod (as well as a "The Pod") in every camera bag I carry.

0 upvotes
kodachromeguy
By kodachromeguy (6 months ago)

Old-fashioned small notebook so that you can write notes on where you took photographs. This is useful for filling out the EXIF fields later.

2 upvotes
InTheMist
By InTheMist (6 months ago)

I just snap a pic with my iphone. GPS location included.

2 upvotes
offshore13
By offshore13 (6 months ago)

Mini tripod? really? can it hold a mid-sized dSLR? Sorry but I don't think so. P&S yes, entry-level maybe if with a pancake, but if you start talking about a 100, 70-200's?

Let me add: hand gloves for seaty hands

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 3 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Richard Murdey
By Richard Murdey (6 months ago)

The good ones like the Manfrotto 209 are rigid enough, but for larger dSLR rigs you should probably do what I do and switch the ballhead out for something more substantial.

0 upvotes
Mark Thornton
By Mark Thornton (6 months ago)

The Leitz mini tripod would hold a LARGE DSLR or medium format camera, if fitted with a suitable head.

2 upvotes
Gesture
By Gesture (6 months ago)

Good thoughts, also 25 centers for the phone booth ... oh, scratch that.

Small LED flashlight?

1 upvote
jon404
By jon404 (6 months ago)

Absolutely the LED flashlight! They are getting very powerful, last forever, and you can put an orange gel over them to warm up the light.

3 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (6 months ago)

search: high CRI flashlight

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
2 upvotes
G Davidson
By G Davidson (6 months ago)

Re. High CRI flashlight, thanks for the suggestion, I could see this replacing a small flash in many situations.

0 upvotes
bcalkins
By bcalkins (6 months ago)

My little Crumpler travel camera bag has:

Memory cards
Spare batteries
ND filter, Polarizer
10mm extension tube if I don't pack a macro lens
Microfiber cloth
Pen (not the Olympus type!)
OMD camera, two or three small primes

The remote trigger and tripod are not high on my list. The first I deal with using the self timer and/or anti-shock setting on the OMD. The tripod I make do with physical structures or IBIS. I find the mini tripods are almost always not big enough, when i really want one it is because there is nothing tall to rest my camera on or against. But I'm not much of a night shooter, so low on my list.

I almost never travel with a flash. I carried one with me on multiple trips and never use it... When I want it, would be to do fill flash on a bright day, and unless I choose a more advanced model, I'm then stuck at 1/250s and smaller apertures only.

Despite these items being small (except for the tablet/computer) I still want to minimize what I carry. All adds up!

1 upvote
EduardoJB
By EduardoJB (6 months ago)

and... your medicine

1 upvote
57even
By 57even (6 months ago)

I find with my CSC that a Gorillapod makes an excellent mini tripod because you can normally find something at eye level to wrap it around.

I also have a waterproof cycling cape. If you are at an event like an airshow and can't find shelter in a hurry, one of these can cover you and your bag in one go. No need for a bag cover. And they wrap up very small and fit easily in an outside pocket. You don't even have to put your camera away.

2 upvotes
awoz
By awoz (6 months ago)

#11 Those lenses in the bag (slide #1) should have a lens cap.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
Takahashi
By Takahashi (6 months ago)

*sigh*

0 upvotes
Akpinxit
By Akpinxit (6 months ago)

One more item : camera body cap - if , for any reason you going to remove the lens for more than ten sec. period , you should first screw in the cap to prevent the particles fly in .

2 upvotes
izdatu
By izdatu (6 months ago)

Only carry a Ape Case that can be connected to my belt if needed to keep it from moving around. Items in bag: camera, 1-2 lenses including the one on the camera, spare battery, lens cover and card, lens pen, filter of choice and plastic dog poop bags from my local dog park for rain protection (sometimes they get used for poop because my dog is usually with me). Rain cover for bag is built into bag. Other items simply go in my pockets-jacket and/or water proof cargo pants that convert into shorts (priceless)

0 upvotes
aerorail
By aerorail (6 months ago)

what camera bag?

sony rx100/m2

no bag needed, travel light.... it's 2013

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
12 upvotes
Richard Murdey
By Richard Murdey (6 months ago)

Meh, if you are being that stingy just use your iphone.

0 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (6 months ago)

maybe Xperia Z1 (IQ non-issue/don't care)

0 upvotes
tbnl
By tbnl (6 months ago)

Additional items to add:

- hockey tape: sticks to everything, and makes for quick bandaids too.
- permanent marker: sometimes you may need to make notes on your forearm.
- carabiners: necessary for rock climbing, and just as useful to attach water bottles, coffee mugs and whatever else you can clip on.
- corkscrew/bottle opener: never know when a party breaks out.
- bug spray: no one likes bugs.
- pair of shoe laces: tie your tripod to your bag or attach your camera to a tree.
- spare change: sometimes you need that extra coffee.

0 upvotes
Kodachrome200
By Kodachrome200 (6 months ago)

i dont think a rain poncho is needed with pro dslr gear its all very weather resistant to begin with

0 upvotes
Peter KT Lim
By Peter KT Lim (6 months ago)

Wrong, our gears are water resistance not water prof. A rain poncho will help you to combat the bad weather.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 4 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
Kodachrome200
By Kodachrome200 (6 months ago)

sorry depends on the camera but the top end canon and nikon stuff is designed to go to hell and back

0 upvotes
Graham Meale
By Graham Meale (6 months ago)

I always carry in my bag (with camera and lenses) a cloth, spare battery and memory cards, lens pen, polarising filter, GPS unit and humidity sensor. That's all.

Comment edited 5 minutes after posting
1 upvote
CameraLabTester
By CameraLabTester (6 months ago)

11. Cash - thieves will find it, and leave the rest of the bag alone, their mission done. Applicable to most situations, but not guaranteed. Batteries not included.

12. CB radio / Walkie Talkie - do not venture out alone in remote areas. Some valleys have no signal. If indeed alone, be linked to a base camp.

.

1 upvote
Kodachrome200
By Kodachrome200 (6 months ago)

thieves know how much camera gear costs and how ebay works

3 upvotes
CameraLabTester
By CameraLabTester (6 months ago)

Who said there's camera gear in the bag of 1-10?

They are just bricks for exercise... :)

(and some protein pills when you put your helmet on...)

.

1 upvote
guamy
By guamy (6 months ago)

Mosquito repellant spray. Extra cash in case your wallet have been pick. Alcohol packets or gell. Tea bags as well

0 upvotes
larrytusaz
By larrytusaz (6 months ago)

An essential item if you do landscape photography as I do: besides the obvious circular polarizer, you also need a spirit/bubble level (unless the camera has a built-in electronic horizon level). I do, anyway--I swear that without one, I can't get the horizons level to save my life.

Hot shoe ones are easy to find, if you own a camera without a hot shoe (like my Sony NEX-C3), you get can a tripod-mounted one for cheap. I get part number JB00124-CEN from joby.com. For some reason that part number doesn't come up under a search, but it comes up under "GorillaPod Tripod Cameras, Accessories" and then it's called "Extra Bubble Level Clip for GorillaPod Hybrid/SLR-Zoom Ballhead." It costs like $5 and then $3 shipping.

0 upvotes
Total comments: 287
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