Photos By Rikki » SF Bay Area | Freelance Photographer

What’s in the bag?

A lot of people have been asking me what kind of gear do I have.

“What’s in the bag Rikki? What do you typically bring to photoshoots? Do I need to get a good tripod?”


With so many questions in mind, I figured I might as well answer all of them as much as I can. So here is what I have in my bag:

I usually have two camera bodies with BG-E2 battery packs that holds two batteries or four (4) AA rechargeable batteries. The first camera body is the Canon 40D and the back up body is my older 20D. Most of my shots come from the 40D as I tend to use my general all around lens (24-70mm f2.8L). The 20D usually has either the wide angle lens or the monster white 70-200mm f2.8L. Presently, the 20D has well over 50k actuations while the 40D has close to 40k. I’ve owned the 20D since 2005 and it has served me well. I’ve only sent it back to Canon once and that was in 2007 prior to my trip to Peru to have the sensor cleaned. The 40D on the other hand has a built-in sensor cleaner which really helps a lot. I seldom use my sensor cleaning kit anymore. For any professional, two camera bodies should be kept in the bag at a minimum. The last thing you would like to see is one body ruined with no way to take photos. My plan is to finally purchase the Canon 5D MarkII as my main body and have the other two as backups.

As far as lenses are concerned, I just simply love Canon glass and if posssible, I always spring for the L-glass as they are built better and the elements are far superior.

My most versatile lens is the Canon 24-70mm f2.8L. This is my walk around lens. It is quite heavy though so just be warned. I used to have the 24-105mm f4L but soon sold it to fund this lens. As far as lens selection is concerned, I always go for the faster lens. What makes a fast lens? It depends on the f stop or how wide you can open the lens. An f2.8 is faster than an f4. A faster lens also makes it much better in low light conditions.

Second only to this lens is my monster 70-200mm f2.8 IS L. This bad boy is perfect for sport and action shots. I usually pack this lens when I have to do portrait sessions. With it’s build and construction, this lens is a work horse. I once took this lens to photograph a Blue Angles air show in San Francisco. My friend and I were shooting next to a jetty when a rogue wave come up and we were literally drenched. This puppy survived mainly because of it’s weather seals. This lens has definitely been through a lot and it still keeps on ticking! This is the main reason why I go for L glass if I can afford it.

Here are the other lenses in my bag. Each lens is covered with slimline B+W UV filters. I also use a multitude of Cokin filters for in camera effects along with a circular polarizer.

  • 100mm f2.8 macro
  • 10-22mm wide angle
  • 50mm f1.2L
  • MC 80mm f2.8 TS lens

In addition to these lenses, here are the rest of my gear:

  • Canon 580 EXII
  • GF Lightsphere
  • (2) AB800 strobes with Cyber Syncs
  • Pocket Wizard Mini and Flex (coming soon)
  • Giottos MT-8361 CF tripod with Bogen ballhead

So there you go. Now you know what’s in the bag. But speaking of bag, I have a few as well. Aside from my regular LowePro AW200 slingbag, I also use a LowePro Photo Trekker AWII camera backpack.

So a word of advice regarding camera gear. Don’t be cheap. Spend wisely. Don’t buy an expensive camera only to go to WalMart or Target and get a $50 tripod. There’s a reason why it’s $50. Camera bodies are dispensable as technology changes daily. Invest wisely on your lenses.

Stay tuned for more! If you have any questions or ideas that you would like for me to discuss, just leave me a comment or visit my guestbook and let me know.


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