First, the bag. I’ve been on the hunt for a solid camera bag for a while now. I have the official Canon Backpack, which works great for storing all my gear — but when I’m planning a day of shooting where I’ll only need my DSLR body, 2-3 lenses and a few spare batteries/memory cards, I don’t want to be carting a 30 lb. pack all over town. I needed something light, simple and durable. Enter the Lifetime Leather Convertible Messenger bag from Duluth Trading Co.
I was first introduced to Duluth at this year’s Haven Conference in Atlanta. They had a booth stocked with leather goods and all kinds of workwear ranging from soft flannels to sturdy winter coats. I was thoroughly impressed with the quality and immediately inquired about whether they had anything suitable for toting around my DSLR and accessories. The bags they had weren’t specifically made for cameras, but as I explored their line (ie. touched, sniffed and drooled on absolutely everything while innocent Duluth reps looked on in helpless horror) I came across the Convertible Messenger and realized that not only would it get the photography job done, but it would double perfectly as an everyday bag. Multipurpose wins the day!
I can fit everything in there! I’ve got my camera body (with strap), 3 lenses, spare batteries, wallet, phone and notebook; and that’s just the main compartment! In the other pockets I have gum, business cards, my phone charger, a little makeup bag and a bottle of perfume.
Now for my gear! I’m only covering what I bring with me on a typical shooting day. This isn’t the whole of my collection, just what I use most often and always carry in the event that a photographic emergency takes place — which happens a lot.
1. Canon EOS 5D Mark II // This camera is phenomenal. It’s fast, full-frame, outstanding in low light (6400 ISO), takes pro-quality video and has a ton of other functions that I haven’t even tapped into yet. I upgraded to the Mark II from the original 5D (which I also loved), and the improvements are definitely worth the jump. The video capabilities alone make the Mark II a must-have for any 5D series lover. It’s definitely one of the spendier DSLRs on the market, so if you’re looking for something a little more affordable, go for the 60D. It’s a crop-body, but takes great photos and video, and works with all the lenses I use on the 5DII.
2. Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 // This is my favorite macro lens. It takes gorgeous close-up shots and I can get a sharp focus within inches of the subject. This is my default lens for capturing details with shallow depth of field.
3. Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 // My favorite portrait lens. This is my go to for mid-range shots like faces, food and decor vignettes. It produces beautiful bokeh and is phenomenal in low light with an aperture opening up to 1.4.
4. Canon EF 35mm f/2 // This is the best all purpose (wide-angle), most affordable, most compact and lightweight lens I’ve used so far. If you had to pick only one to start your kit with, I would recommend this. It’s great in tight spaces and you can get very close to your subject while still capturing a lot of the scene without noticeable barrel distortion. If I’m heading out for some light shooting, this is the only lens I bring with me. I use it for everything.
5. Giottos Rocket Air Blaster // This is great to have on hand in case you get any dirt or dust on your lenses or inside the camera. You should never blow with your mouth into the camera or wipe down the sensor, so I’ve found this little thing to be extremely useful. A few squeezes and everything’s clean!
6. Tamrac Leather Padded Quick Release Camera Strap // All Canon DSLR bodies come with their own strap, but I’ve found them to be pretty uncomfortable and inconvenient. This Tamrac strap is great because the leather pad protects your shoulder really well and the clips on each end are designed to release without having to completely undo the attachment strips. This has been a real lifesaver comfort-wise, especially when I’m hauling a heavy lens and an extra battery pack.
As functional as this thing is, it’s just stinkin’ cute — and since the fun part for me is always styling, I got my lovely friend Kay to model (she seriously belongs in a J.Crew catalog!), and I’m going to show my 3 favorite ways to sport this bag.
1. Crossbody // I am so in love with the “convertible” aspect of this messenger, and I’d say this is the most practical way to carry it when I need quick access to my camera and lenses.
2. Elbow // My favorite way to wear this bag when I’m using it as a purse. I convert it to backpack mode and just sling the straps over my elbow. Easy and comfortable!
3. Backpack // I love wearing the backpack when I’m wandering. The main strap adjusts on both ends for a perfect fit, and it sits very comfortably on the shoulders.
Basically, you need this bag in your life. Get it here in 1 of 2 gorgeous colors — I have the Brown!
Duluth Trading Co. provided me with this bag to review, and all opinions expressed in this post are my own! I test products thoroughly before writing about them, and I’ll only recommend something if I truly love it!
Tell me all about your photography gear and your favorite bag(s) this season. I want details!
Sweater – J.Crew / Beaded Cotton Sweater (N/A), similar style “Jeweled Chandelier Sweatshirt”
Undershirt – J.Crew / “Painter Button Boatneck Tee” in White
Pants – J.Crew / “Toothpick Cord” in Dark Fatigue
Pumps – Nine West / “Gillyan” in Tortora Patent Leather
Leather Bracelet – Borderstate Made / “Triple Wrap Bridle Hook”