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Backpacks Are for Sore Backs
Here's how to get the shot without lugging a lot.
Headline: Smartphones are Killing the Camera Industry!
Body Text: Actually, it’s the bag manufacturers that should be worried.
Conclusion: You can trim your kit to just your favorite camera and a smartphone, and leave the backpack full of photo gear behind.
Here’s the situation.
Most casual snap shooters settle on a single camera. That’s all they need to preserve the moments of their life. And in this day and age, that memory keeper is no longer the DSLR hanging around dad’s neck or the stylish compact in mom’s purse. It’s a smartphone.
Serious enthusiasts have been evolving as well. They’ve moved from bulky DSLRs to mirrorless cameras that provide similar capability in a smaller package. But that doesn’t mean they’re blind to the convenience of smartphones. And more than once, that new camera is going to be left behind when the family piles into the car for a Sunday afternoon drive.
But I think we’re missing an opportunity, at least for the artists among us. Let the smartphone replace the bag, not the mirrorless camera. Here’s my thinking.
One way to ditch the bag.
My iPhone has a 13mm f/2.4 ultra wide, a 26mm f/1.6 prime, and a 65mm f/2.4 telephoto. Don’t those sound like lenses that you might lug around in a backpack? The iPhone shoots Raw and takes great pictures under a variety of conditions — that’s a pretty sweet backup body.
To complement it, my “traditional camera” is one of two types, either an Olympus PEN-F or a Fujifilm X100V. Let’s talk about the Fujifilm. It sports a 35mm f/2.0 prime lens. Add this handsome hunk of technology to the iPhone, and I have a two-item kit that fits in a couple of pockets — the X100V in my jacket and the iPhone in the front of my pants. My non-camera bag kit features four prime lenses and the best of both photography worlds.
Let’s drill a bit deeper on that idea.
Here’s what I get from the X100V:
- A great viewfinder that’s superior for composition in many lighting situations.
- A tilting LCD that encourages more creativity when framing a shot.
- Years of color technology at my disposal, such as Fuji’s film simulations.
- A larger sensor that makes it easier to control depth of field.
- No text message or phone call interruptions during a decisive moment.
- A device that is beautiful and inspiring to use.
The iPhone has plenty of advantages as well:
- Compact and easy to carry in my pocket at all times.
- Advanced computational photography helping me overcome common technical challenges.
- Cellular and WiFi connectivity.
- Powerful imaging apps.
- Ubiquitous form factor that doesn’t attract unwanted attention in sensitive situations.
- Instant cloud backup and sharing of images.
I’m light as a feather.
I’ve tested this tandem on numerous outings, and I’ve never felt more energized. With the X100V, I experiment with film simulations, depth of field, and unique angles. The iPhone provides me with an ultra wide perspective, fast response to changing situations, and connectivity regardless of my location.
Combining a smartphone with a well-thought-out camera provides the options I need in a kit that can always be with me.
In this age of mobility, my camera isn’t going anywhere. As for the backpack…
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