Replace the Bag, not the Camera

Fujifilm X100V and iPhone 12 Pro Max

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 one way to do it.

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 an iPhone, or something that looks like one.

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 are 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. The iPhone 12 Pro Max, for example, should replace the camera bag, not the camera. Here’s my thinking.

The iPhone 12 Pro Max 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 any condition — that’s a pretty sweet backup body.

To complement it, my “traditional camera” is a Fujifilm X100V. 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 12 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’ve tested this tandem on numerous outings, and I’ve never felt lighter. 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 me the options that I need in a kit that can always be with me.

In this age of smartphones, my camera isn’t going anywhere. As for my camera bag…

Photographer, writer, podcaster- Tune in at

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