Gadgets in Gadgets

It’s probably no surprise (given the title of this blog) that I have something of a gadget addiction. It’s not limited to computers or electronic devices, either (though I have an enduring affection for them, despite the fact I spend much of my working day keeping them functioning). I like all sorts of gadgets.

I’m a guitarist and folk musician, which gives me endless opportunities to compare the relative merits of different microphones, pick-ups, mixers, and (yes) capos. I will literally sit and wonder at guitar players who use a capo (that’s the device clamps across the neck to quickly change the key of a song) that has never worked for me.

And let’s not get started on tools. Yes, every project is an excuse to buy a new tool…

My real addiction, however, is to gadgets that you put other gadgets in. What’s more fascinating than laptop briefcases, cell phone holsters, tablet cases, notepad folders, and camera bags?

Oh… camera bags.

I bought my primary camera, a Nikon DSLR, in 2007. I’m still using the same body, but I’m now up to five lenses and a wide angle adapter. I’m also up to four different bags that will hold the camera itself, plus various lens holders, accessory bags, belts, and even a duffle bag designed to put other bags in.

My excuse for all this is that different circumstances demand different equipment, differently available to my hands. My everyday bag is a sling design, which gives me quick access to the camera, flash, memory cards, and lens cleaning supplies. Other lenses are there, well protected, but if I really need them I have to take the bag off. In another situation, I might find myself changing lenses more often, in which case a separate lens case, fastened to the outside of the main bag or hanging from its own strap, might make more sense.

When I need to travel lighter, I use a bag that holds pretty much just the camera with lens attached, with some more places to tuck a flash, batteries, and memory cards. And when I need to haul more gear, there’s the full backpack (with a side opening that means I can get the camera without taking it all the way off) and a belt loaded with equipment loops.

My next one will probably be a relative of a messenger bag; I’m looking for something that will hold camera, one extra lens, plus some recording devices for doing interviews and covering press conferences. And yes, there will be a next one.

The inventiveness of the human species – we marvelous tool makers – is striking in its breadth and variety. My greatest affection belongs to those who create the tools to carry other tools.