What's Been in a Photographer's Bag Over a 30-Year Span

We've all see those "what's in my bag" videos on YouTube, but this one was particularly interesting to me, as it's a fun walk through camera history. Check out how one professional landscape photographer's gear bag has evolved over the course of three decades.

Craig Roberts is a landscape and travel photographer. In this video, he walks us through the cameras and lenses he has shot with from 1986 to 2017, detailing why he chose each one, the advantages and disadvantages of each, and how they fit into the industry at large at the time. It's a fascinating look at one person's journey through modern camera history. I was happy to see my favorite film camera, the Fuji GSW690III, make an appearance. Affectionately called the "Texas Lecia," the camera was hilariously oversized when pressed to someone's face, but it also churned out gorgeous 6x9 cm negatives that were sharp as a tack. I found it particularly interesting to see his kit top out at a massive 6x17 cm camera, before gradually downsizing all the way down to a micro four thirds system. Have you been shooting for quite a while now? Tell us what's been in your bag over the years and what your favorite camera was!

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3 Comments

Ralph Hightower's picture

The Mamiya RZ67 is one of my bucket list cameras.I bought the Canon A-1 in 1980 since it was state of the art at the time with shutter priority, aperture priority, and had a program mode. July 2013, I added a used Canon New F-1 with the AE Finder FN (for aperture priority) and AE Motor Drive FN (for shutter priority). December 2013, I added the Canon 5D III. But I am an hobbyist.

Deleted Account's picture

RZs are really cheap these days, including the optics, but they're absolute behemoths. Not really suitable for handheld shooting and requiring a pretty solid and heavy tripod. If someone puts up with these inconveniences the reward is an astounding image quality delivered on those huge negatives or transparencies. The RZ lenses still have an amazing image quality that makes one wish for a true 6x7 digital back for the RZ.

The electronic shutter control of the RZ system is a huge advantage over older mechanical leaf shutter designs like in 500 series Hasselblads or the RZ's predecessor, the RB67. As the electro-mechanical control is much simpler it usually doesn't suffer from the speed consistency problems that quite often plague purely mechanical shutters. Still, the little battery of the RZ seemingly lasts forever.

One caveat regards the magazines: unless they've already been replaced the foam light seals of the first generation RZ magazines will most likely have turned into a gooey mess on pretty much all of them by now. Removing the decomposed, tar-like sticky mass isn't nice and quite time-consuming and installing the new seals can be tricky. One way around that is using the RZ67II magazines that don't have light seals; they're backwards compatible with the original RZ. More plastic in those Mk II mags - they already did that back in the 90ies - but no worries about light leaks.

Leo Tam's picture

That was a cool insight - I love seeing old pro load outs from the 80s, especially press photographers with a bag full of stuff (multiple bodies, motor drives, vivitar 285s)