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What’s in my camera bag? {2017 edition}

Fat Mum Slim /

This is a collaboration between Olympus and Fat Mum Slim.

Hello. If you’ve been here before {welcome back!} you might know that I have a little love affair with photography. If you’re new here {welcome!}, you now know I have a life-long love affair with photography. It’s nice to now be on the same page.

I love photography. Always have. Always will. I’m self-taught, and only did a year of photography in high school but it focused more on printing our own film and photos. Everything I’ve learned is through picking the brains of photographer friends, reading, researching online and discovering myself from practice, practice, practice, and playing around.

The other day, while I was doing some filming in Singapore {being filmed, rather than filming myself} the photographers started talking to me about technical stuff with cameras and I stared at them blankly. I know stuff, but the stuff they were talking about was beyond me.

Why am I telling you this? Because I wanted to share where I sit in regards to photography. I’m somewhere between beginner and professional… which is where I think a lot of us sit. We love it. We’re open to learning more and more, and find it really fun to be able to be on the journey to shooting that perfect picture.

So what does someone who is passionate about photography but not a professional use for their photo-taking? Well, I used to be a Canon girl… simply because I knew nothing else. I walked into a camera shop, bought what the dude sold me and that was it. Sadly the Canon was so heavy and impossible to lug around everyday that I rarely used it. In face it’s still sitting in my cupboard and has been gathering dust for the last 5 years.

I am a convert to Olympus, because I find their cameras really easy to use for me, and they’re mirrorless so I can pop one into my handbag and I don’t know it’s there – then I can pull out and capture moments as they happen. Plus they’re more affordable too. For what I paid for that Canon body years ago, I can get a Olympus camera body and a few lenses too.

I’m an ambassador for Olympus, because I love what they do and their products, so my range is slightly extensive {because I try out new products appropriate for my needs}. If my house was on fire I would be grabbing these before anything else, I love them so much. After my kids, I promise. Today I wanted to share a little bit about why I love each of my cameras, and what lenses I choose, to give you an idea of what situation I would use each lens for.

To start with, the camera bodies: A professional photographer would have completely different reasons for choosing each camera. I almost always shoot on P-mode {sometimes on A-mode}, because it means I can let the camera do the work for me – selecting the aperture and shutter speed. Generally I’ll still tinker with the aperture to allow more light in if needed {because I love my photos to be filled with lots and lots of light}. The focus is automatic for me, because when I’m taking photos of my kids, I don’t have time to set it manually… because kids move so fast and the opportunity would have been lost by the time I had sorted it out – of course professionals or more experienced photographers would be much quicker and wouldn’t miss it. I’m working on it!.

So when choosing a camera body, I go for more aesthetic and practical reasons, where a professional would go for more functionality. Everyone is different… but I wanted to mention that for when you read on. ?

Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II

Why I love this camera? I love that it’s small and light, and really easy to fit into my handbag. I think the problem with bigger cameras is that they’re so big that we save them for the big moments, where this camera is easy to take anywhere and capture ANY moment. It also shoots video, and whole heap of other functionality {art filters, inbuilt stabilisation and more}.

Olympus PEN-F

Why I love this camera? If I’m going to shoot for work, or on a trip than I usually take this camera because it feels really meaty, has a nice chunky grip for taking photos – and can handle the weight of a bigger lens than the other cameras can, and judge me if you must, it has a cool retro look that I just love. Yeah, I’m fickle. I took this camera with me to Tokyo last year, and Singapore this year.

Olympus E-PL8

Why I love this camera? Continuing on with me being fickle, I love the look of this camera. I took this camera with me to Hawaii, because I knew we’d be moving around a lot and I wanted something super light and easy to use. I think this camera is a little more fun, because it has a flip down screen that you can take selfies on – which is perfect when I want to get photos of the four of us as a family and I don’t want to bother a stranger to take the shot.

Olympus TG-4

Why I love this camera? This is a camera I recommend to people when they’re looking for a camera for their family, but don’t want anything fancy. I bought one for my neighbour and my Dad, because it’s such a good all-rounder. It can be dropped {within reason} and will survive. It can go underwater. It takes beautiful photos. This camera is actually great for Lacey as she is exploring her new passion, and she’ll most likely move up to the OM-D E-M10 as she gets more into it.

Olympus TG-Tracker

Why I love this camera? Before the TG-Tracker was released last year, we had always used our GoPro for underwater and in water shots. Hubby is sporty and surfs, stand-up paddles and also uses a surf ski… and he likes to mount the camera and record his workouts. Moving to the TG-Tracker made sense because we use the Olympus Imaging App, and to keep it all in the same family it works for us. The TG-Tracker fits all the GoPro mounts, so it’s been an easy transition, and the results are beautiful too. It comes on every trip with us – in the water, and we took it on a helicopter trip we did recently too.

 

With all the cameras I have {besides the TG-Tracker, because it doesn’t have interchangeable lenses} I can change the lenses out depending on what I’m doing, what I’m going to be shooting, and what I need to do. I display all my lenses and cameras in my office space, and when I’m traveling I’ll pack the lenses that I want to take with my in this quilted case.

I get asked a lot what lens I use for particular photos, and why I use them, so I thought I’d address that here in this blog post too. And while I might be fickle in my choices when it comes to camera bodies, I’m passionate when it comes to which lens I use and why I use it. I also play favourites.

First up, my favourite lens: Olympus M. Zuiko Digital ED 45mm f/1.8
I love this lens because it lets so much beautiful light in, and creates lots of blur – which is my favourite way to shoot. So you’ll see below that the middle of the flower {the focal point I selected} is nice and crisp, and the rest is blurry. That’s what I love. With the photo of Lulu, I placed the focal point on the sheet, and the rest is gorgeous and soft. That’s what I love about this lens. It’s perfect for food photography too. I love this lens, and is probably one of the cheapest lenses to buy too. Did I say I love this lens? ?


Next up, my favourite all-rounder lens, Olympus M. Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8.
With this lens I can get a similar image to what I shot above {but just a smidge less light and blur}, but it’s diverse in that it can shoot landscape as well. So if I can only choose one lens to take with me, and I’m not sure what photos I’m going to be shooting – I always take this lens because it can do pretty much anything. When I’ve asked photographers what they use on photos I love, they use this lens… I think because it’s versatile and great for kids – because if they run away or get up close, you can get a great shot of either situation. It’s also great for food photography. It’s good for anything really!

And then my newest addition, the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm f/1.8.

I love this lens. It feels really sturdy, works for portraits, landscape and even photos with a bit of movement. I fell in love with this lens while I was on a photography trip and saw that everyone was using this lens, and the photos they were taking were next level… so I had to have it. I love that it can achieve an aperture of 1.8, which means lots of lovely light – which is what I love about any photo really.

So, that’s what I’m using this year. What a ramble! I’d love to know what you’re shooting with and what you’re loving right now when it comes to photography. Please share.

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  • Id love to become an ambassador :p I am about to buy my first camera and this has been really helpful. We plan to travel the world for a few years and photography is what I would love to do whilst away. Capturing motherhood around the world.

  • Talk about serendipity with this post showing up in my inbox this morning! We are going on our first cruise in September for my Mum’s 60th (10 nights sailing to the Pacific Islands, I can’t wait!!!) and I’ve been thinking a lot about what I’m going to do camera-wise while I’m away. I’m a Canon girl myself, I shoot client work (families & weddings) with a 5D mk III and personal work with my 6D and all with my trusty 35mm lens. The thing is, while both are great when at home or working on location, I’m not convinced they are going to be great to take cruising and island hopping (not to mention the fact that they are literally my tools of the trade and if anything happened to them it would be a pain in the arse having to claim the insurance to replace them before a client shoot!).

    So I’ve been seriously thinking about getting a mirrorless to take with us while we’re away. I was just wondering, of the cameras mentioned above, do any of them have the ability to shoot in full manual mode? I’d love something that gives me the same level of control over the image making process that I have on my DSLRs but that is lightweight and can have a kick-arse lens attached (that 12-40mm looks like my ideal lens for our holiday!). The other requirement is good low-light capability without having to use a flash. Any suggestions on which one you think would fit my criteria and also be perfect for our trip when walking around lots and getting on and off the ship?

  • I love photography too, but I feel like I need some guidance and schooling as I am so hit and miss with my photos! I have a great camera, but just use the lens it came with, and while most of the time it takes some good pictures, I think my lack of skill lets it down- I will have to look into a photography course! I love Olympus cameras, they seen to be so user friendly!

  • Kaye Sayer-Mayers

    I’ve gone back to uni in my 50s to do a photography degree after working as a printer and picture researcher in my 30s. One thing I love is when photographers (any level and I consider my level as yourself) share their camera equipment passions and tips – honestly not many of them do – so thank you so much for this post. Seriously considering the TG4 – am hoping to learn to scuba dive but bear in mind I live in the UK and the sea is very murky ?

  • I’m STILL learning to use my EM 10. I’m definitely going to check out that lens and I think I need that quilted bag in my life. I’d probably take my camera out much more if I could fit it in my handbag!

  • Nicole Tate

    I’m using a Canon. I got a few years ago for my 40th.
    I love your description of the Olympus though
    I’m shooting pictures of my daughter and our puppy. They are a delightful pair https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/7d064de30076a5a81bd8c14b8eb2dc688bf5a5e7df2abdb303200f2794776594.jpg

  • ngaire

    I am really interested in what kind of bag you are using for your photography gear when you are travelling!

@Fatmumslim