After over forty years as a photographer, my ‘bag’ has changed quite a few times. For many years, it was a box instead of a bag, and held two view cameras; a field camera and a monorail with 4 lenses.
Because of the nature of commercial photography (see guide) I also had many other formats: 8×10, 4×5, 6×6, 6×7, and 35mm. My 35 favorite was the Nikon F3, hands down the best camera I have ever shot with.
Each format gave me a different perspective on the work that I was doing. A portrait shoot may simply call out for 35mm, or perhaps it is to best be done on 4×5. These choices of format, along with the different way each camera operated helped me see images differently for each.
Today, we do not have that many ‘formats’ available to us. But I have recently found some new and exciting ways to bring that back to my photographic life.
My bag (a huge Tenba, not pictured) is stuffed with the essentials I use now, while a smaller bag sits with it with some of the new ‘formats’ that change up my vision.
Canon EOS 3 (Analog)
Hasselblad C with 50mm f/4 Distagon
Canon 50mm f/1.4
Canon 24-105mm f/4
Canon 100mm f/2.8 Macro
Canon 135mm f/2
Canon 200mm f/2.8
Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8
Assorted lens shades including a bellows type Compendium
Minolta Flashmeter IV
Assorted lens shades
Cable for tethered shooting
Macbook Pro 13”
Paper Notebook for ideas/info
Nikon 28mm f/2.8
Nikon 35mm f/2
Nikon 50mm f/1.8
Nikon 85mm f/1.8G
Nikon V1 System with both zooms available.
There are of course battery chargers, extra batteries, lens cleaning tissues, two iPod Mini’s (one Jazz and one Classical for long hours alone), and various other tools that are used on a regular basis when on location.
My studio has its own boxes and roll-around tool kits full of those things we use there, and my kit has to be nearly as flexible when on location. When local, we also carry two large ‘Home Depot” toolboxes with additional flashes, connectors, tools and gaffers tape.
After a career that spanned from a “generalist” to fashion, I find myself now interested in portraiture, environments and still life.
In former days, I lived in “telephoto land”. Headshots on 200mm were the norm, and most of my fashion was shot on 180mm – 300mm for maximum compression. Now I find the more intimate look of the 35mm, 50mm and 85mm to be my favorite. Yes, I still use my Canon 200mm L for those times I want that far reach, but I find that I want to do that less. The ‘close’ and personal feel of the 35mm (on full frame) is what I crave.
The Canons give me a lot of power and flexibility, with a lens selection that ranges from wide to long telephoto. (Next purchase for the Canons will be a Canon 35mm f/1.4 and it will probably be my go to, do most everything with lens.
The new Nikon Df has a feel much like some of the older analog cameras do. The small lens selection (28mm to 85mm) makes it seem more intimate to me. I view the photographic process differently than with the big Canons. Not better or worse… just different. It is by nature a bit slower, and more ‘deliberate’ to use, and I love that.
I can now choose the ‘format’ to pick the type of image I see forming in my head. Big Canons, intimate Nikon Df, fun and fast Nikon V1. Ahh, the sweet smell of choices.
My name is Don Giannatti, and I am a photographer.