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Writings and musings on the latest web trends and life, advertising, design, projects, and news from an avid and prolific web designer.
Up and about since 2003.

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Mat Kearney

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Jan 3 | What’s In My Bag

What's in my bag - Rio Akasaka

I’m a photographer based in Tokyo. I collect film Canon SLRs too, though my current bag setup is not built around showing off my cameras!

The key components are a Canon 5D Mark III and the Canon A-1, with a Samyang 14mm wide angle lens. I’m chiefly a landscape photographer stuck in an hyper-urban jungle, so I make do with my 24-70 II whenever possible, and switch out my Samyang when I have no hope of using it during the day. My A-1 is really for the moments I have to compose carefully, but the 28 f/2.8 on it has surprised me with really beautiful bokeh.

The Gorillapod Focus and ballhead was expensive but it has definitely outdone itself many times, and is particularly nice in Japan where lots of places people take photos from explicitly prohibit the use of traditional tripods. It mounts nicely against railings and gates, and sets up within seconds. When I shoot video I bend the legs all towards one side so that I can rest it against my chest for extra stability.

What's in my bag - Rio Akasaka

I carry a couple of filters (CPL and one ND8), an extra SD card and a remote, which all sits nicely in a Tiffen lens pouch. I like this particular one because it has a Velcro attachment at the back so that I can wrap it around my bag’s strap when I need it within reach.

The 430 EXII has never failed me (yet) and I’m always surprised at the moments where flash has improved my shots, so I always keep it with me. Spare battery and an extra roll of film keeps me well prepared.

Lastly, this all fits nicely into a Timbuk2 bag with the camera padded insert. I have a sort of love-hate relationship with this bag, though. On the one hand it really doesn’t look like a camera bag and it fits everything really nicely — even when I end up switching the Samyang for a 70-200, for example. On the other hand, having most of the weight of this equipment on one shoulder really doesn’t do wonders to your back. So recently I’ve tried using a Thule camera backpack and another Timbuk2 backpack, but the former is a bit too large (its great for an overnight trip, together with a better tripod) and the latter doesn’t have padding. So overall I’m happy with my current setup.

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More recent posts

Dec 29 | Japan’s Star Wars train

It turns out there is a Star Wars train in Japan. Unfortunately, it isn’t the interstellar kind. At least not for now. The train, which runs on the Nankai Railway line between Namba station and the Kansai Airport (KIX), had been painted black with Star Wars characters emblazoned on its side, in anticipation of the […]

Dec 26 | 1980 Canon Reflex magazine

Follow my adventures on YouTube at the CanonFilmGuy or see the entire catalogue at This is the 31-page Canon Reflex sales brochure from 1980, and lists information about the Canon F-1, AE-1, AV-1, AT-1 and the A-1. The full version can be downloaded here. A stamp at the back identifies as the store it […]

Dec 24 | What’s in a viewfinder?

Follow my adventures on YouTube at the CanonFilmGuy or see the entire catalogue at The view within a viewfinder has always been an opportunity to display additional information to the user. In the photos below I go over 8 film SLR and rangefinder camera viewfinders. Canonet 19 (1961) The Canonet’s viewfinder, which sported what […]

Dec 22 | Canon A-1 vs. New F-1

Follow my adventures on YouTube at the CanonFilmGuy or see the entire catalogue at Update 12/24: Mike Santos from the Canon FD group on YouTube kindly suggested corrections. Thank you! In the late 1970s and early 1980s Canon released two different 35mm film SLRs: the A-1 and the F-1. They were targeting different buyers: […]

Dec 5 | Tips to buying cameras at flea markets

In building up my collection of Canon cameras I often get the asked how expensive a hobby like that can be. It turns out — not so much — since I go to flea markets and second-hand stores to find camera bodies. It is true that camera bodies are cheaper than lenses, so your mileage […]

Nov 14 | Swiss travel brochures

You need only perform a Google image search for “Swiss travel brochures” to understand how much artistry and thought has gone into the historic leaflets now adoring postcards and posters around the world. So you can imagine my glee when visiting the Zurich flea market I snagged a bunch for 20CHF. Aide from Giessbach I’ve […]

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