What’s in Thomas Hawk’s Camera Bag?

What's In My BagWhat’s In My Bag Hosted on Zooomr

Earlier today when reviewing the EF 50mm f/1.2 lens, a commenter asked what I kept in my bag. I’ve written a lot about the different gear that I use day in and day out, but not a comprehensive “what’s in my bag” post.

I’m pretty anal about my gear. It goes with me pretty much everywhere. I think as a photographer so many of the best shots happen spontaneously. I’ve kicked myself too many times early on for not having my camera gear with me. So now it goes with me everywhere. To work, on the weekends, in my car, I always keep my gear with me. I try to do this 100% of the time.

The actual bag that I use is a Lowepro bag. It’s a really nice laptop camera combo bag called the CompuDayPack.

So, here’s what’s in my bag.

1 Canon EOS 5D digital SLR
1 EF 50mm f/1.2 lens
1 EF 24mm f/1.4 lens
1 EF 135mm f/2 lens
1 EF 100mm f/2.8 macro lens
1 Canon EF 1.4x II extender
1 8 GB SanDisk Ultra II compact flash memory card
1 4 GB Transcend compact flash memory card
1 CameraMate CF Card Reader
1 Canon RS-80N3 Remote Switch (cable release)
1 Canon CG-580 battery charger
3 Canon Li-ion battery packs
1 set V-Moda Bass Freq Modaphones
1 box 100 Moo cards
1 Verizon EVDO card
1 MacBook Pro
1 incase MacBook Pro case
1 pen
1 small notepad

My favorite lens to shoot is the EF 135 f/2.

I shoot every single day and each day dump the contents of my shoot onto my MacBook Pro’s hard drive. I process some of these images and then about once a week dump the folders of each day onto an external 750GB Seagate hard drive. I’ve got about 5.5 terabytes of storage at present. I highly recommend the 750GB external USB Seagates.

Gear at home that sometimes comes out with me, but is not included in my bag are

1 SLIK 611-800 Tripod
1 Bogen-Manfrotto 725B Digi Tripod
1 Canon EOS 10D camera
1 Canon 50mm f/1.4 lens
1 Canon EF 70-200 f/4 zoom
1 Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 zoom
1 Canon Speedlite 550EX flash
2 MacBook Pro power adapters
All the hoods for my respective lenses

All of my lenses have UV filters on them. Most recently I’ve been buying Hoya Ultras which are a little nicer than standard.

In terms of where to buy gear, my number one recommendation is B&H; Photo. I also think Costco is a pretty good place to buy a camera body because of their very flexible return policy.

I hate buying at most camera stores here in the Bay Area. The selection is generally not very good. Maybe it’s just me but I also haven’t found the service terribly good at most of them. I’m not going to name names but given the store markups over what you can buy online typically it’s just not worth the hassle for me.

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  1. paul says:

    Hi Thomas – I’m the one who asked about what’s in your bag.

    Wow, that’s impressive. I have a 16-35 2.8, 50 1.4, 85 1.8, 135 2 and 24-105 and I’ve always thought that was too much to carry. Now you’ve inspired me 🙂 In all seriousness, I think the bag might be key. That looks like a pretty killer combination of being compact and providing easy access.

    You must have a strong lower back though – all that stuff must be awfully heavy!

    Thanks for the quick response.

  2. nocturne1 says:

    Thanks for the info! I’ve always wondered what gear you use…

    FYI, Costco no longer has as good of a return policy on cameras as they once had – now it’s reduced to 90 days. 🙁


  3. Thomas Hawk says:

    FYI, Costco no longer has as good of a return policy on cameras as they once had – now it’s reduced to 90 days. 🙁

    Ah, Jay, that’s too bad about Costco. I should have known that a one year no questions asked return policy wouldn’t last. Oh well.

  4. Fabian says:

    Wow and you managed to fit a laptop in there as well? You must have pretty strong shoulders!

  5. millol says:

    Hi Thomas,

    I recently became one of your regular readers.

    I was really interested in knowing what lenses you use, what’s your photography gear… Thank you for sharing this with us.

    I have the same CompuDayPack but I find it a little flimsy especially that my laptop weights 3 Kg.

    I am also interested in knowing how do you sort the photos you take on your HD, and whether you rely on external HD or you also back up the originals online. Can you tell us about this?


  6. Steve says:

    Do you backup your original photos anywhere? Do you worry at all about one of those 750g Seagate drives crapping out and losing all the originals that live there, or worse having something happen that destroys all your drives?

    I ask since I’ve been thinking about how I want to backup my photos. I’ve thought about just uploading everything to Zooomr, Flickr, or SmugMug as well as backing things up to Amazon S3 and just putting processed photos up on whatever photo sharing site I go with. It’d be cool to hear about your backup strategy in a separate post.

    On an unrelated topic, any idea when MarkIII of Zooomr might roll out? I’ve been waiting to see it before making my decision on what site to settle on. 🙂

  7. Richard says:


    What does your loaded pack weight?

  8. Irwin says:

    This was a great post! While trying to imrpove my own work, it’s great to see what the photographer’s who’s work I aspire to use and do.

    If you’d be willing to share, I’d love to hear about your processing techniques. What do you look for, what do you do/not do, etc.


  9. Smokey Behr says:

    One of the problems that I’ve found with most camera stores is that they’re mostly overpriced, and that the staff is generally ignorant about photography. I’ve been going to a couple of different mom-and-pop camera stores with people that are actually pros (mostly portraiture) and sell the equipment and supplies on the side to make extra coin.

    I do love Costco, though. It’s the cheapest place that I know of to buy media, and their in-house labs don’t do too bad of a job on film when I need a quick set of prints from a disposable evidence camera.

    If you’re worried about not having a camera, think about a pocket-sized point-and-shoot digital. Some of them are actually pretty good for the price, and have high resolutions and manual controls.

  10. Hank says:

    thomas – you may already have shared this information, but which software package do you use to process your pictures on your mac book pro? do you use aperture or lightroom? I’m finally ready to invest in some decent software, but want to get you take before spending the cash. thanks!

  11. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for posting that, very interesting. I’m a little surprised you only carry one memory card though. I’m currently using an Extreme 2 4GB in my 30D, but after having my previous card die, I now carry a couple of smaller cards in my bag, just in case. Just curious, have you ever experienced a CF card failure?

  12. Uldis Bojars says:

    What do you use the 1.4x extender with if EF 70-200 f/4 is not always in your bag?

    Not for the wide-angle zoom, i guess…

    I am really enjoying 70-200 f/4 (non-IS version, I am afraid) now but have not used it with an extender yet.

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