Ilvy Njiokiktjien wearing her Think Tank Photo bag on assignment in Peru.

What’s in your bag? VII photographers show us their gear

VII Photo Agency
Feb 9, 2018 · 6 min read

We asked to have a look inside some of VII photographers’ gear bags. From digital and analog setups, to a flashlight, fountain pen and even a bulletproof vest, here’s a closer look at what we found.

Daniel Schwartz

  • 2 Hasselblad Bodies 500 C/M, each with Carl Zeiss Planar 2.8 / f 80 mm and Prism View Finder
  • Film Magazines A12
  • Contax RTS, with Carl Zeiss Planar 1.4 / 50 mm
  • Lunalight Gossen Exposure Meter
  • Kodak Lens Cleaning Paper and Lens Cleaner (both extinct)
  • Labels to protect exposed films (still useful for security check analog photography crash courses)
  • Kodak 400 TX120 and 125PX (extinct)
  • Kodax 400 TX
  • Chemically resistant triple lab tags (for notebook and film processing)
  • Notebooks
  • Caran d’Ache Fountain Pen and Pencil
  • Fenix Flashlight
  • Leatherman (despite Swiss made Victorinox Multitool being a seductive alternative)
  • Böker Thuja Damast Pocket Knife
  • Reading (not depicted and depending on journey)

Ed Kashi

WATCH: Mobile Photography Storytelling Class with Ed Kashi >>

  • 2 Canon 5D Mark II camera bodies
  • 16–35mm F2.8 Canon lens
  • 24–105mm F4 Canon lens
  • 100–400mm Canon lens
  • On-camera flash
  • Canon C200 video camera
  • Sennheiser wireless mic
  • Sennheiser shotgun mic
  • Passport
  • Extra batteries, cords
  • Media cards; CF cards, SD cards, CFast cards
  • Chargers for batteries
  • iPhone X
  • Filofax
  • Caption book
  • Pens
  • Tripod
  • Think Tank Photo rolling bag
  • Reading glasses
  • Three 4 TB hard drives
  • Headphones
  • Osmo with 4 lenses
  • Belt with pouches

Anush Babajanyan

  • Camera with 28mm lens
  • 50mm lens
  • Spare battery
  • iPhone
  • Charger brick for the iPhone
  • Headphones
  • Wallet
  • Passport
  • Business cards

Ilvy Njiokiktjien

  • 2x Canon 5d Mark IV
  • Canon 50mm 1.2
  • Canon 35mm 1.4
  • Canon 20–70mm 2.8II
  • Canon flash 580EXII with batteries
  • Lexar card holder & cards
  • Notebook & pen
  • Passport
  • Power bank to charge iPhone

John Stanmeyer

  • Canon 5D Mark IV
  • Canon 5D Mark III
  • Canon 50mm 1.2
  • Canon 35mm 1.4
  • Canon 24mm 1.4
  • Canon 24–70mm f4 IS (not pictured, lost in Kazakhstan, ordering another)
  • 2 iPhone 7 Pluses (not pictured, using one to take this picture, the other in my pocket, forgetting to show here.)
  • Rødes video mic
  • Shure iPhone mic
  • 2 battery chargers
  • 9 camera batteries
  • Anker power brick (not shown, often kept in a shoulder bag)
  • Passports
  • Pens
  • Extra pair of glasses
  • Think Tank Photo Shapeshifter backpack (all camera gear does in their while in movement through airports)
  • Think Tank Photo Retrospective 5 camera bag (This is the main bag John always uses. Fits 2–4 lenses or two lenses and camera body — second camera body is usually kept in Shapeshifter in hotels or in the car, used only if one camera stops working) batteries, passports and other minor things all fit in here very comfortably.

Maciek Nabrdalik

Here is what fits in his VideoTransport 20 Think Tank Photo bag:


  • Canon 5D Mark IV — my main camera and I usually use it with one of those lenses
  • Canon 28mm 1.8 (most often)
  • Canon 35mm 1.4L
  • Canon 50mm 1.4
  • Canon 100mm 2.8
  • Canon 135mm 2.0

My video setup:

  • Canon XC15 — my main video camera and what’s rare for video equipment it can also shoot stills so it works well as a back up for that, too.
  • Both cameras use the same battery packs as well
  • Rode Link wireless microphone system
  • Sennheiser ME64/K6 shotgun microphone

My 360 setup:

  • iZugar Z4XC rig allowing 6K video and stills in 360
    Zoom H2n recorder allowing Spatial Audio for 360
    MicroSD Card Holder


  • X-Rite Passport ColorChecker
  • Gaffer tape
  • Think Tank Photo folding wallet
  • Passport
  • LiveScribe 3 Smartpen and the dedicated Moleskine notebook
  • Kindle PaperWhite
  • Lots of cables and chargers (not pictured here)

Nichole Sobecki

  • 2 cameras, with fixed 50mm and 35mm lenses
  • Extra batteries
  • SD cards and case
  • Audio recorder
  • Rechargeable AA batteries
  • Portable solar charger and cords
  • Passport
  • Portable hard drive
  • Notebook and pen
  • Book
  • Scarf
  • Travel coffee maker and beans
  • Granola bar
  • Sunglasses
  • Ibuprofen
  • Blistex
  • Mints
  • (Rhodesian Ridgeback not included)

Sara Terry

Doc/assignment work (Canon is my go-to camera)

  • Canon 5Dmiii
  • Canon EF 24-105 f/4
  • Canon EF 70–200 f/2.8
  • Canon EF 50 f/1.4
  • Fuji X-T2 w/Fujinon XF 56mm f1/2
  • Newswear belly bag
  • Notebook and pen
  • (Not shown: Additional batteries and CF cards/card reader; iPhone 6+, which I also use as a serious camera)

Film and TV/unit photography work (Fuji is my go-to camera for set work, because it’s mirrorless, which means it doesn’t require a bulky sound blimp housing)

  • Fuji X-T2 w/Fujinon XF 56mm f1/2
  • Fujinon XF 18–135mm f/3.5–5.6
  • Fujinon XF 35mm f/2WR
  • Canon 5Dmiii
  • Canon EF 24–105 f/4
  • Canon EF 70–200 f/2.8
  • Canon EF 50 f/1.4
  • Jacobson sound blimp
  • Newswear belly bag
  • Notebook and pen
  • (Not shown: Additional batteries and CF cards/card reader; iPhone 6+, which I also use as a serious camera)

Doc filmmaking/cinematography:

  • Canon C300mii
  • Canon EF 24–105 f/4
  • Canon EF 70–200 f/2.8
  • Canon EF 50 f/1.4
  • Sennheiser EW 100 transmitter and receiver
  • Tram lavalier microphone
  • Sennheiser MKE 600 shotgun mic
  • Flashlight

Tomas Van Houtryve

Over the past year, Tomas has been using a mid 19th-century field camera and wet plate glass negatives to photograph the pre-1848 Mexico-U.S. border. The project, called “Lines and Lineage,” is supported by a CatchLight Fellowship and the Pulitzer Center.


  • 9x12cm wooden field camera, made in Paris circa 1870
  • 110mm f4.5 Ibsor lens
  • 125mm f5.6 Fujinon lens
  • 135mm f3.5 Zeiss Plannar lens
  • 147mm f5.6 EM Target brass lens
  • 150mm f2.8 Leitz Dimaron lens
  • 180mm f4.5 Schneider-Kreuznach lens
  • Wooden plate holder
  • Loup
  • Tape measure
  • Bubble level
  • Timer
  • Glass plates and Print File archival sleeves
  • Notebook to record exposures
  • Wet plate collodion recipes and instructions
  • Bostick & Sullivan wet plate chemicals
  • Ilford fixer

Not pictured:

  • Folding dark box and laboratory
  • Ice chest
  • Tripod
  • Lights
  • Stands
  • Backdrop
  • Nitrile gloves
  • Safety glasses

Linda Bournane Engelberth

  • Medium format, a Hasselblad 500C
  • 50 mm + 80mm lens
  • Light meter
  • Polaroid camera
  • Remote shutter
  • 135 mm Pentax

Ashley Gilbertson

WATCH: Street Photography: The Art of Photographing Strangers with Ashley Gilbertson >>

  • Fuji xpro2 and 23mm
  • Fuji xt2 and 35mm
  • Passport
  • Spirax notepad
  • Batteries
  • Pen
  • Bic lighter
  • Cards

Ron Haviv

Ron Haviv’s camera bag.

WATCH: Your Photojournalism Survival Kit with Ron Haviv >>

  • AA batteries
  • Charmin toilet paper
  • Portable medical kit containing bandages, needles, medicine, tape, etc.
  • Tourniquet
  • QuikClot — used to treat gunshot wounds
  • LaCie Rugged Triple 500GB hard drive
  • Gas mask
  • Gaffer tape
  • Extra bandages
  • Domke pouch
  • RØDE video microphone
  • BGAN satellite data transmitter
  • Flash cards
  • Passport
  • Press credentials
  • Zoom audio recorder
  • Newswear chest vest
  • Gas mask filter
  • Canon EOS Mark II with Canon 50 1.2L lens
  • Canon EOS 1DX with Canon 35 1.4L lens
  • Canon EOS 24–70mm 2.8L lens
  • Maglite
  • Leatherman
  • Powerbar
  • Inverter clip-ons for car battery
  • Zacuto video viewfinder
  • Sharpie pen
  • Thuraya handheld satellite phone
  • Po Chai Chinese herbs for stomach ailments
  • CeraLyte oral electrolytes
  • Apple iPhone 5S
  • Bulletproof vest
  • Kevlar helmet
  • Ballistic protective glasses
  • Gloves
  • Business cards
  • Silk sheet pouch
  • Ballistic plates, level IV protection

In case you missed it …

Check out our 7 With VII series: “Ethics in Photojournalism,” “All About Gear,” “World Press Freedom,” and “Fake News”.

Follow VII on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store