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Inside My Digital camera Bag | Douglas Fry

I’ve been a business and company photographer for over 25 years, and earlier than Covid, I used to be commissioned about 300 occasions a 12 months for picture shoots all through the UK and Europe.

The photographic work is various and fascinating and I obtain briefs to seize company portraits, firm conferences, occasions, PR, and site pictures. Over time I’ve met presidents, prime ministers, rock stars and entrepreneurs, photographed mine clearing in Bosnia, and energy stations in Finland, which all have a narrative to inform and images that must be taken.

As a pupil I studied physics (with computing) at Imperial School London which went a good distance to assist me to embrace digital expertise. I used to be one of many first photographers within the UK to maneuver from movie to the brand new digital cameras after they turned out there and to make use of Yarc+, one of many first examples of RAW picture processing software program.

I began my skilled pictures profession taking pictures with Leica’s in 1992 once I invested in a pair of Leica M6 movie cameras which have been dependable and resilient.

On the flip of the century, I used to be seduced when Canon launched the digital D30, with its hefty 3.1 megapixels, and used this digicam for a lot of of my subsequent picture shoots. It was the immediacy and velocity of turnaround with this digicam that made the Canon engaging, and I used to be shortly dedicated to digital pictures.

Sadly, I discovered that my digicam bag received heavier and heavier, with the cumbersome zoom lenses, batteries, chargers and a number of cameras, and gave me back-ache.

I stored a watch on the brand new Leica cameras as they turned out there as I nonetheless had a number of small, pristine prime lenses, however initially I discovered that the Leica M8 had too many compromises for me by way of picture high quality and lowlight capability. The Leica M9 with its CCD sensor wasn’t appropriate for full time business work, once more when it got here to low mild pictures, though the picture high quality was an ideal step up from the M8.

Then the M240 arrived on the scene and this was an ideal digicam for me – 24Mp, CMOS sensor (for greater ISO’s) and full body, precisely what I wanted. I acquired the Leica M240 and the next Leica M10 and later the Leica SL with an adaptor with which I might use all my outdated lenses, and I nonetheless to at the present time use all of them commonly.

The Leica rangefinders are excellent reportage cameras and the SL is sweet for extra staged setups with transportable studio-type flash. My first ever Leica lens was the Summicron 35mm f/2, an excellent lens which I’ve had and nonetheless use for 30 years and which I lately despatched off to Leica to be adjusted for digital with 6bit encoding, offering it with a brand new lease of life I hope for an additional 30 years.

In addition to the just about legendary 3D look given to their photographs, Leica cameras have a secondary however very actual position in Public Relations. On a company photoshoot, the cameras can serve to attract the consumer’s consideration to the photographer and assist them interact within the shoot.

In 9 out of ten photoshoots with chief executives, administrators and celebrities, all of them recognise the enduring Leicas for his or her design, fame, and high quality. On many events, a protracted dialog and dialogue have ensued. This sounds trivial however might be a good way for the photographer to be remembered and if you’re utilizing a digicam, which they aspire to personal themselves, it lends credibility.

One instance of this was once I was commissioned to {photograph} a company occasion with visitor speaker Professor Brian Cox OBE FRS, a well known physicist and presenter of science applications. When Professor Cox noticed me taking a candid portrait, he recognised my Leica SL digicam with a Leica Noctilux lens and came visiting to debate the selection for over half-hour till the organiser moved him to a different keen group of visitors.


Leica M6 x 2
Leica M240
Leica M10
Leica SL

Hasselblad 501 – The Hasselblad is a type of cameras that I’d by no means promote, as when the necessity arises and the mission requires it, medium format movie has a novel and timeless look. All the pictures of our household dotted round the home are all taken on this digicam. I’ve shot with it for a few years and it at all times yields nice outcomes, with care.

Processing isn’t a problem as there are some nice labs bobbing up, now that movie has change into stylish once more, I hope to do the identical.


Leica Tremendous Elmar 21mm f/3.4 – That is an unimaginable lens, by far the sharpest wide-angle lens I’ve ever used. It’s crystal-clear nook to nook with minimal distortion and has glorious color and distinction.

Leica Summilux 35mm f/1.4 – Helpful for almost the whole lot in all mild, pin sharp and has nice color.

Leica Summicron 35mm f/2 – A small, older lens however nice for common pictures, actually sharp clear photographs.

Leica Summilux 50mm f/1.4 – This lens is small, exact and quick. I take advantage of it most days for portraits because it has a chic high quality, nice pores and skin tones and tremendous clean bokeh.

Leica Noctilux 50mm f/0.95 – It is a weapons grade lens for shoots which might be in a darkish room on a darkish winter day when the consumer doesn’t need any flash. It’s surprisingly simple and fast to concentrate on a rangefinder, even when carrying glasses. It’s sharp at f/0.95 and utilizing it requires follow to be as quick as autofocus, however the muscle reminiscence does construct up and I’ve had no points with it.

Costly in fact, however the additional work it has provided means it has paid for itself. One UK managing director was so impressed with the standard of the pictures, he commissioned me to proceed the photoshoot in all their firm’s European places of work, and that almost paid for the lens in a single go.

Summicron 90mm f/2 APO – This was the focal size I used most frequently when on Canon (the 85mm f/1.2) however much less so now as I desire to be nearer when taking portraits. The APO is arguably the sharpest 90mm lens ever made and yields nice outcomes. Once more, the pores and skin tones are very correct however not overly sharp. Leica appears to position equal emphasis on color, distinction and precision, not simply striving to get ever sharper photographs that look unappealing.

Voigtlander 15mm f/4.5 III – This lens is in my bag for these uncommon moments once I must go extremely broad and wish so as to add some mega visible drama. The lens just isn’t delicate and produces some distortion, but when the digicam is held horizontally then architectural pictures might be undertaken and distortion can be corrected when processing with Lightroom.

It’s a improbable lens however not appropriate for portraits except you might be photographing somebody you dislike; the wide-angle distortion will likely be an excessive amount of!

Nikon 300mm f/2.8 – As a handbook focus lens with an adaptor on the Leica SL, it’s one other actually helpful lens, constructed like a tank and sharp. It’s vital for when a protracted attain is required at a convention or comparable. Helpful to have, however huge and heavy, within the occasion of a zombie apocalypse nonetheless I think it will be invaluable in hand-to-hand fight.

Flash Equipment

Elinchrom ELB400 Transportable Flash – I’ve used the Elinchrom flash equipment for a few years now, it has confirmed to be very dependable and sturdy. I mix it with the large Rotalux Octa Softbox for the best choice in high quality of sunshine, consistency, energy and portability.

Nikon Speedlight SB-28DX – It is a small flash unit that’s set to handbook for these moments when solely an on-camera flash will work, and I take advantage of it a couple of times a 12 months. I’ve had this unit for about 15 years and it nonetheless works completely, the Leica cameras all sync. with it as much as 1/one hundred and eightieth second and the ability goes right down to 1/sixty fourth energy which might be nice when bounced off a ceiling for a little bit fill mild.

I’m not that eager on on-camera flash as the pictures can look a bit ‘paparazzi’ which isn’t the look I am going for, but when I’ve to make use of it I’ll.


Tascam HD P2 – For audio when recording video, the standard is excellent and simple to make use of however does eat batteries, so it must be mains powered when on longer periods. I desire to work with a devoted videographer nowadays, so I can focus on stills solely.


Gitzo Carbon Fibre Tripod – I’ve tried different manufacturers however the tripods aren’t fairly as inflexible because the Gitzo. A great check is to set the tripod up and grip it by the top and attempt to transfer it backward and forward or rotate barely with out the legs slipping. Almost all tripods I’ve examined moved and flexed, the Gitzo was rock strong. It’s mild and remarkably sturdy, so it may well simply assist the Leica SL and Nikon 300mm lens.


Think Tank Airport Security V3 – It is a dependable curler bag with good extra options, like a padlock wire loop, so it might safely be hooked up to the wheels of a tank whilst you go and get your Pulitzer. It has an honest built-in mixture padlock too, to maintain the bag contents safe on a practice for instance.

The varied components of the bag have an excellent guarantee so yearly or so, I ship photos off to focus on how a lot I’ve worn down the wheels and get a brand new set freed from cost a number of days later, which is a good service.

Pelican Armoured Case – Once I journey overseas and I examine in my equipment on the airport, I must know will probably be protected. The Pelican vary of circumstances is well-known for his or her indestructibility, however I at all times take care to ask for my gear to be hand loaded onto the aircraft. There may be normally a particular gate for this, it’s freed from cost, and it doesn’t take lengthy to place it by the separate channel.

Handkerchief – An indispensable, easy merchandise of equipment I at all times carry. An outdated clear cotton handkerchief, it’s nice for cleansing glasses, lenses, wiping and absorbing water off rained on cameras, and extra usually, mopping a sweaty forehead. | @piranhaphotography

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