What’s in my bag

by Bjoern Lauen

The contents of my photo bag, or case in my case, are different depending on what I am going to do. Today I am sharing what’s in my bag for when I travel and when I need a lighter setup that consumes less space.

Sony A7R II
What can I say, possibly one of the best cameras I have ever owned. I do love the 42MP the sensor provides and the incredible amount of detail and dynamic range I can get out of it. For portraits and travel alike, the camera doesn’t fail to impress. The compact size, light weight and versatility are what always puts it in my bag. Its weather sealing and rugged build means that I am never worried about the camera’s readiness to shoot as soon as I take it out of the bag – even if it’s been a rough ride to our location.

Sony 85mm 1.4 G
A solid piece of glass, incredibly sharp and with its 11 circular aperture blades a guarantor for finest bokeh. The heavy build and size and it being f/1.4 are making it my favourite choice for travel portraits. I have always loved primes over zooms and this one is no exception. The bigger size is actually a benefit for me, since it seems to add a very comfortable grip position when combined with the Sony A7R II or A7S II.

Sony A7S II
I very often have the Sony 50mm f/1.8 on which I love for street photography and taking shots along the way. The compact size makes it fit easily into any bag. The A7s has 12.5MP resolution and records internal 4K and 120fps at FullHD. Great low light performance and 12 stops dynamic range paired with the 5-Axis SteadyShot INSIDE image stabilization allow me to be able to film and photograph, utilizing the ambient light wherever I am.

Sony FE50mm f/1.8
It’s a small and light lens but a stunner when it comes to performance. I love the lightweight and compact size and cannot recall a trip or job where it wasn’t in the case. The sharpness of this under AED 1000 lens is incredible. I have photographed portraits in Nepal and Africa with it that I later on printed in 80x120cm and I could still see every detail of the face as crisp as possible. It’s a great lens for street and travel photography. The focus is not as fast as it is with the other Sony 50mm lenses, but once focused is spot on.

Sony A7R II, FE 50mm, F/4.5, 1/800 sec, ISO-100

Sony A7R II, FE 50mm, F/2.8, 1/640 sec, ISO-100

This handheld GPS allows me to install map data and open source maps that provide me with exact details of the terrain and area that we are travelling in. I am independent from internet and phone based navigation, and have access to GPS data that is crucial for finding my way and mark spots that I would like to go back to.

Field Notes
Never leaves my bag. The pages are water and tear proof. I write down details of the people I have photographed, their names and stories and the location and GPS coordinates where we met them. I often use it as a daily diary while travelling.

Pelican SD card case
Small and strong – the Pelican SD card case keeps my cards safe. The case is dust, water and shock resistant. I usually keep my full SD cards on one side of the case, turned upside down, and the empty cards on the other side. I usually also lock my SD cards that are full.

X-Rite Colorchecker
The automatic white balance on modern digital cameras usually does an amazing job. Less so when the lighting is mixed or there is many different colors that one would like to replicate as close as possible to how they look in reality. Hence I am relying on a solid manual white balance with grey and color card. The color-checker folds open, protecting the greycard and color palette from the elements.

This satellite messenger keeps me safe and sound and my loved ones back home sane. I can message them that that I am ok or that I need help, even where there is no phone coverage at all. It also is my life-saving line of communication in case I am in a critical life threatening situation anywhere remote in the world and require emergency services.

I carry a few batteries for each camera, but try to reduce it to a minimum since I can charge my cameras on the go, leaving the batteries inside utilizing my power bank.

Power Bank
Another item that seldom leaves my bag. You will usually find two or three of these with me at any time. They allow me to leave most of my different cables and chargers at home and still charge my devices. Since Sony Alpha series cameras can also be charged via USB, this significantly reduces my carry weight.

Profoto B2 with Air remote TTL-S
This small and compact lighting setup is a bliss to have. The battery pack and flash head are relatively compact and pack a good punch. With 250Ws and 9 f-stops, they are ideal for travelling. I can connect 2 heads and add one of Profoto’s light shapers to each of them. Not only does that mean better control of light on location but it also allows me to create the mood and feel that I see for the scene. The new air remote TTL-S now also allows me to trigger the flash in HSS, TTL and Manual from my Sony Alpha cameras.

Take a look at what Bjoern has to say about his gear

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