8 Essential Photo Items That Do Not Leave My Camera Bag


I’ve been receiving emails from my readers inquiring about the camera gears and accessories I use when I travel and what’s in my camera bag. I told them that I am only using an entry-level camera which is the Nikon D3100, a precious gift from my then-boyfriend-now-husband with an 18-55mm kit lens attached to it. However, after my journey to Nikko and Kawaguchiko, my kit lens started to malfunction and never worked ever since.

Few months after, I received another gift from my sweet and gorgeous husband, the Nikkor 50mm 1.8G prime lens. It was a gift for my birthday! I was bewitched as it was the lens I’ve been dreaming about. From then on, it’s the lens that’s attached to my D3100 for my travels, it made a big weight difference. Very light! Anyway, I’ll talk about my prime lens on a separate blog post.

After which I received the prime lens, I bought stuff for it, which are mentioned below, with a goal to take care of my prime lens and camera for longer lifespan. So, here are the things that don’t leave my camera bag when I travel casually.

My D3100 shot using Samsung Galaxy Note 3
My D3100 shot using Samsung Galaxy Note 3

1. Vivitar Lens Filter Kit: UV, CPL, and FLD. So far, I have used the UV and CPL (Circular Polarizer). The CPL is very useful for outdoor situations with very bright skies and water reflections. I use CPL on top of my UV filter. You should scour the internet to know more about CPL.

2. Vivitar Close-Up Filter Kit: (+1,+2,+4,+10). The 50mm 1.8G prime lens is not capable of close-up shots. When taking photos of food on the table or flowers, I had to use the +2 or +4 macro filters for a nice macro effect, so that’s when they become really useful.

Vivitar Close-Up Filters

Vivitar Close-Up Filters

3. Giottos Rocket Blower. This is the only dust blower that you should use for your camera! When changing my lens into 55-200mm, this will come in handy. I know it looks a bit strange but it’s the best dust blower out there in the market. I have the largest one which produces a high pressure steam to effectively remove hard to reach dust.

4. Toothbrush. No, it’s not for my teeth. It’s manily for the lens rubber ring and other parts of the camera that contract dirt easily. It a little bit embarrassing when the brush head pops out from the camera organizer and it’s dark and dirty. If someone would see it, he would think that it’s time to change my toothbrush.

5. Microfiber Cleaning Cloth. No need to explain this noh? HEHE.

6. Desiccant (Silica Gel). Here in Japan, unpredictable conditions where humidity is high is expected. Having silica gel packs scattered inside your camera bag is the best way to avoid fungal growth in your camera lens and body. Mind you, I have 6 of them in my camera bag! I think fungal growth was the cause of my kit lens to shutdown as it stopped functioning after I visited Nikko for 2 days where the humidity level was high at 100% the entire time! Silica gel packs are available in camera stores. You should definitely have these especially during summer.

7. 55-200mm Zoom Lens. I don’t use this lens a lot, but it always comes in handy whenever there’s a sudden trip to a zoo or if there’s something interesting to capture at far distance. This lens has been with me since 2008 and it still functioning very well!

8. Charger. Another thing that needs no explanation.

Other non-photography items:

9. Small notebook and pen. Sometimes, I track my expenses when traveling. Although I do not always do that, it helps me to be conscious of my budget and this notebook has helped me a lot in that matter. I also make sure to list down important things (to blog about) that could be helpful to my readers when they travel to a destination I’ve been to.

10. Wallet with IDs, train pass, card, and money.

Notebook and pen

So those are the items that’s always in my camera bag. Keep in mind that these are the things that I bring for my casual travels such as city trip, photo walks, lunch, meeting friends.

P.S. A lot of my friends have been wondering where I bought my camera bag. I got it from Amazon for less than $50.

“If you wish to travel far and fast, travel light” by Cesare Pavese