The art of packing a camera.

Never have I ever been a fan of complexity. Over the years, my intolerance for complexity has only gotten worse.
So, imagine an evening spent figuring out – or trying to figure out – how to get all the gear I need into a camera bag. Now, keep in mind that we are not talking about a small bag here. We talking about BIG camera bags, the kind that, even when empty of gear, are heavy and clumsy. And yes, if you know me at all, there is a part of me that still misses my old Olympus 7070Z which fit in a pouch that clipped on to my belt. Yes, those were the days.
The complexity of it all has only increased in the last year with the purchase of a Pentax 6×7 film camera. On one level, it isn’t really all that bad. I purchased a 6×7 that had almost a complete set of lenses by itself. But still, I had already been buying vintage 6×7 lenses for use with my Pentax 645Z. And, I already had a number of 645 lenses. So, now, I have three sets of lenses, more or less.
Originally, I thought I’d have two “kits.” One for the 645Z, and one for the 6×7. There would be some crossover – for example I love the 6×7 55-100 lens – so it would move from one kit to the other as needed.
I am OK with that. I can handle it.
But then, the more I got into film, the more I began running into problems. To begin with, my post processing got turned upside down. I had to figure out how to process film, scan images, archive negatives…. Lions, and tigers, and bears, oh my…. When I got through that, I discovered that some of the features I have taken for granted with my 645Z in the digital world flat out don’t work in the world of film.
What could that be?
Thanks for asking.
You know all those dramatic skies we see in every digital photo? Well, you are not likely to get them with film. Yup. Not going to happen.
Well, not unless you change the way you work with film.
What the hell does that mean?
Ah…. It means more gear. Lots more. It means filters. Lots of them, and they are not cheap. Now, fortunately, the 6×7 lenses, for the most part, all take the same size filter. The two lenses I use the most – the 55-100 and the 80-160, however, do not. They have huge “mouths” that require a 95 MM filter.
Which, in turn creates a paradox – I can literally take 2 lenses, which don’t have the necessary filters, and be done with it, or, I can take 4 or 5 and carry a ton of filters. Since I already have filters for most of the 6×7 lenses…. You guessed it!
If all that were not bad enough, it has gotten worse. I have had serious issues processing film – it turns out I have a defective Lab-Box – so today I am taking TWO cameras – my 645Z digital camera and my 6×7 film camera. In the same backpack. Plus my tripod.
And it is cold here – likely to be 50 at most – so I will be wearing a coat.
OK. I’m done venting. So, what did I do? Unlike politicians. I really tried to compromise. I decided to bring the 55-100 even though I have only one filter for it, the 45 mm 6×7 for wide images, the 105 mm on my 6×7, and the 165 and 200…. And every filter I own that will work on the 105, 55, and 200.
Some days, I swear that if I ever find my old Olympus, it will be back on my belt.