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A Look Inside the Bag of a Hobby Photographer on a Budget

We often get to see inside the bags of professional photographers. You know, the bag that we dream of having ourselves, filled with three full-frame bodies and six or more lenses with plenty of accessories to fill out every pocket the bag has to offer. Well, I’m not a pro – and today’s ‘inside the bag’ post might not be something to drool over, but it should give you an idea of what you can do on a reasonable budget if you’re planning to do some serious photography on the weekends.

Inside the bag of a hobby photographer on a budget

hobby photographer gear

As you can see from the photo, I have a fairly well rounded collection of lenses that let me capture anything from ultra-wide to super close. I wouldn’t consider anything inside this bag “pro-level”, but the collection is very capable and allows for a wide range of subjects.

My camera body for the last three years has been the trusty Nikon D7000. I highly recommend this camera, or its bigger brother the D7100, to anyone who’s interested in getting into photography seriously. While it’s not an FX (full-frame) body it does have a lot of pro-like features, is very capable in low light situations and being marketed at the enthusiastic hobbyist it’s fairly affordable as well.

As far as lenses go I use the Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 most frequently, followed closely by the Nikon 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G. It really depends on the mood that I’m in but I tend to spend most of my time at the extremes of my focal length range. On occasion the Nikon 50mm f/1.8G and the  Nikon 18-105 3.5-5.6G, which came with the D7000, will be used for specific shots. The Nikon SB700 speedlight featured in the photograph above is rarely used and is probably my greatest regret in terms of purchases (not that it’s a bad flash, just that I don’t use it nearly as much as it deserves).

On top of the DSLR stuff I do carry two Olloclip adapters (the telephoto + circular polarizer and the 4-in-1 kit) for my iPhone along with a Gorillapod with an iPhone mount attached to it. Sometimes I just enjoy the simplicity and creativity that the iPhone allows.

Other little things not pictured above include a wireless remote shutter release, 77mm circular polarizing filter, and a 77mm Hoya ND filter.

To support the main camera I use the Manfrotto 190XPROB aluminum tripod with the basic Manfrotto ball head. It does the job I need it to do, and has served me well for three years, but I do want to upgrade to a carbon fiber tripod in the future for the added strength.

What bag holds it all and how’s it packed?

I manage to fit all of this into a Lowpro Slingshot 102 AW which when fully packed it’s bursting at the seams. The bag itself is designed to fit a camera body with a small lens attached, two smaller lenses on either side, and has a couple other storage compartments for extras like filters, charging cables and cleaning supplies.

I almost never pack my flash as it’s not typically something I use, but if I do pack it, the 18-105mm is usually the lens that gets left at home. Here’s a couple photographs to show you the bag fully packed.


Main storage compartment from left to right: Tokina 11-16mm, Nikon D7000+18-105mm, 55-300mm.


Secondary compartment – 50mm, Olloclips, cleaning supplies and remote trigger.


All closed up and ready for a shoot with Gorillapod attached to the side.

The filters and other little things that I may need can fit in the front compartment and if I want to bring the Gorillapod along I can attach it to the side of the bag using the built in tripod holder (which doesn’t really work well for anything larger than a Gorillapod anyway.

What do I use this kit for?

Whether it’s waterfalls, seascapes or the night sky; the D7000 plus the Tokina, supported by the Manfrotto, works like a charm. While I primarily shoot landscapes, the 55-300mm lens comes in handy when I want to capture a shot of some wildlife or simply looking for a change in perspective. I’ve also done some cityscape photography, a few portraits and one wedding (read: The Story of Photographing my First Wedding also Likely my Last to find out why I won’t do that again.)



All in all I think it’s a pretty well rounded kit for someone who spends his weekends hiking through forests taking photos. Obviously there’s a lot more that I could add to the collection, and I plan to do just that when I have more money to invest into it. Currently on my ‘next to buy’ list is a macro lens and then it might be time to upgrade the body.

So that’s my bag – what do you think about it and feel free to share your own in the comments below.

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John Davenport
John Davenport

is the creator of PhoGro an online community that aims to help you grow your photography through engagement with other photographers. Join today!

John also offers a free email course 6 Weeks to Better Photos. This course covers the most important techniques you need to learn when getting started with photography.

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