I recently had a visit from a photographer friend who I have known for a very long time. We were friends in several territories I covered for Nikon for 33 years.
He was in Washington DC for an assignment and he had a couple of days before he had to get shooting.
He looked pretty tired and physically uncomfortable and I badgered him until he let loose with his story.
He owns 3 systems of camera gear. Canon, Sony A7, and Fuji X. While he uses them all, his Canon system remains his current mainstay so he carries his 2 Canon 5D Marks, together with 3 zooms and 3 prime lenses, 2 flashes, etc. His total load weighs in at about 25 pounds. So he hurts from carrying all his gear, he carries the extra body, all the lenses and flashes and accessories. But here is the real deal. He generally only shoots with 2 of his lenses and 1 body and 1 flash. He carries it all, even with all of his experience because of a fear he might need the focal length to get the shot.
So even after all the years of shooting he was still fundamentally impaired when it came to carrying less.
So I challenged him, well okay created a situation that would force him to change and adapt and have more confidence in his ability to get the shot with the gear I was going to let him carry. I gathered up his Canon and Sony gear while he slept and secured it in a galaxy far, far away and left him only with his Fuji Xt1, 23mm 1.4, and 56mm 1.2, 50-140 zoom, small flash by Nisson 3 batteries, 4 cards, 4 packs of Lens Cleaner and lens tissue. And I grabbed a ThinkTank Photo 30i mirrorless bag of my shelf and loaded his gear into it. I shall not describe the reaction, the language, and the frustration he showed as he left to shoot his job, yelling I ruined his life.
Long story short, he returned from his job, 1200 images later, hopped up the steps in front of the house ready to go out for dinner. He wanted to know if I would come live with him so I could hide his equipment on a regular basis.
Of course that is not going to happen. However, he is now convinced that self restraint, and reaching for the smaller bag, making it a container that he has to live and work with, is possible and that less is more and better for his back.
He has been leaving his Canon gear at home. Not because there is any thing functionally wrong with it except for the fact like Nikon and other full sized systems it is too big, too heavy. He gets to his assignments in less pain and with more energy and has learned that even with all of his experience as a journalist, he can get better imaging with less gear by relying on the smaller bag and his exceptional talent.
For me the decision what to take is an easy one. I own the terrific Fuji XT1 and 4 primes, and the lens that is generally on the body for my walk about is the pancake 27mm 2.8. A very small but might sharp lens. I generally couple that with either my 14mm 2.8 or 56mm 1.2. I like fast primes. My other system is one that most will not remember. It is the Ricoh GXR system and lens modules. I have the 24-85 zoom, 50mm 2.8 macro, and the 28mm 2.8. That whole system fits comfortably in one small bag. That bag is called the Cosyspeed Streetomatic (black but other colors available) and it can either be worn across the chest or around the waist. These are small systems, with great imaging and controls and one or the other is always with me.
I have a lot of small bags and large bags for that matter but I have found the Cosyspeed Streetomatic protective while supplying quick access to my camera. Very handy especially for someone like me who really loves street photography.
But it is important to remember that no matter what kind of photography you love the Philosophy Of Less should apply. Whether you are out for the day enjoying the sites, on the street to capture life as it happens, hiking through the woods, etc..
Everyone I know is strong willed enough to make a decision on less gear and learning to make less gear work for you. Photographers for many years have done just that with great success and less stress.
Go to the cosyspeed web site if you are using small mirrorless, or small Dslr products and learn what a pleasure going out for the day with your camera gear can be.
The image to the left is the Streetomatic in different configurations
Edited By Brian Zwit – www.schoolofcreativephotography