Gear Guide For the Creative Dad | Cameras, Filters, Tech Bags, & More

A comprehensive list of the gear used (and wanted!) by the everyday creative dad; whether they take photos or videos of the family's precious memories.

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Life As a Creative Dad

Before having kids, I had a bulky full-frame DSLR camera system with many large-aperture primes and zoom lenses. I aimed to get the best image quality and maximize that sweet bokeh. Mmm, bokeh. I had my sights on winning wedding photography awards and having my work featured in magazines.

After my sons were born, my priorities shifted. I removed my large full-frame cameras in favor of more compact APS-C mirrorless cameras. I focused less on image quality and more on finding tools that would allow me to document my children more efficiently. I realized I don't need to land magazine covers or win fancy awards; being able to document my family is all I need.

The truth is, you don't have to travel to unique locations to create. Beauty is everywhere. You have to take the time to see it. Here is a list of my favorite tools, accessories, and resources for creating and documenting as a photographer dad. I'm sure the photographer dad in your life will love them too.

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1. Cameras

The ultimate dad camera is the Fujifilm X100V. Trust me, this is pretty much agreed up across the entire internet. Its small size and fantastic image quality make it the perfect companion for family snapshots, your next photographic masterpiece, and everything in between. Plus, the beautiful retro design will instantly turn you into a "cool dad" — at least, that's what I like to tell myself. Although it's rather complicated to come by one these days, given that backorders are heavily apparent, it remains a testament to Fujifilm's dedication to quality products that stand the tales of time.

Although this camera is now discontinued, if you're looking for something equally as beautiful and performance-driven, the latest X100VI camera is its new successor and totally blows expectations out of the water.

While I identify myself as a stills photographer, witnessing a child go from cooing like a baby to babbling as a toddler made me rethink what I need for quality video. Photographs cannot preserve sounds like silly conversations, funny pronunciations of words, and laughs that will melt your heart. That's where the Fujifilm X-S20 comes in as my hybrid camera of choice. Compact, ergonomic, and offers just the right video features to ensure your memories are preserved with high-quality audio and video.

To round out the cameras, let's discuss the Instax EVO. This hybrid camera is part point-and-shoot, part instant film camera, and part photo printer. In this digital era, we must pass the tradition of physical photo prints to the next generation. This camera lets you do so without worrying about inks, color calibration, or print labs.

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2. Lenses

When I'm not using the fixed 23mm f/2 lens on my Fujifilm X100 cameras, I reach for two different lenses to document my kid's daily shenanigans — the Fujifilm 18mm f/1.4 and the Fujifilm 23mm f/1.4. These lenses strike the perfect balance of sharpness, low light capability, and shallow depth of field. Their fast autofocus keeps up with bubbles, belly laughs, and bike rides. I like using the 18mm lens to document intimate scenes, storytelling, and general-purpose video. And the 33mm is great for candid moments, portraits, and those little details you don't want to forget.

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XF 18mm F1.4 R LM WR Lens

Fujifilm

Get up close and wide open with Fujifilm’s versatile new prime lens – the high-quality, portable, and weather-resistant FUJINON XF18mmF1.4 R LM WR. With a focal length equivalent to 27mm, it’s the per...

Add for $999.95
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XF 33mm F1.4 R LM WR

Fujifilm

XF33mmF1.4 R LM WR brings together decades of precision engineering, cutting edge technology, and carefully refined manufacturing processes to usher in a new era of optical brilliance and performance ...

Add for $799.95

But what about when it doesn't make sense to bring a camera? Well, I like to supercharge the camera I have on me at all times — my phone — with some Moment lenses. Having the wide, telephoto, and macro lenses allows me to add some creativity to an otherwise dull mobile phone shot.

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Wide 18mm Mobile Lens - T-Series

Moment

Meet our 18mm Wide Lens, the perfect wide-angle lens for mobile photographers and filmmakers. Instead of the usual distorted ultra-wide shots from your phone, this gem offers a beautifully broad yet g...

Add for $140
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Tele 58mm Mobile Lens - T-Series

Moment

Get 2X (or 4x with the Moment Pro Camera app) closer to your subject. Incredible for portraits, landscapes, and smooth video, the Tele 58mm is the best telephoto lens we’ve ever made. Made with 25% mo...

Add for $150
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Macro 10x Mobile Lens - T-Series

Moment

The 10x Macro T-series Lens captures life-sized images of the smallest objects. Different from traditional macro photography, this lens works less than an inch away from the subject to capture rich te...

Add for $140

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3. Bags

My dad's backpack of choice is the Brevite Jumper. The side zipper access allows me to quickly grab my camera when I need to snap a photo and then stow it away when I'm back on the move. Thanks to the laptop compartment and padded camera inserts, I use this backpack for family outings, travel, and when I'm getting work done at a coffee shop or on a shoot.

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Jumper Photo Backpack

Brevitē

The Jumper Backpack is simple, minimal vibe on the outside. Camera protection on the inside. Its minimal design on the outside is perfect for city exploration. While it’s organizational options on the...

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Now, onto the Moment Fanny Slings. These bags changed my life. I have to carry a lot of stuff with my two boys: my keys, wallet, glasses, medication, hand sanitizer, and the occasional monster truck or fruit snack packet.

All these things PLUS my Fujifilm X100V fit inside the 2L fanny sling. This means I'll always have my camera, even if I don't want it exposed in the open. I can document and create, and when it's time for dad duty, I swing the pack behind my back and get to work carrying toddlers and wiping tushies.

The 1L Mini Fanny Sling is the perfect companion for those days I want to travel lighter. It fits all my essentials: a point-and-shoot film camera and an extra roll of film. Amazing! I've even personalized my slings with photography-related pins to make them my own.

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Fanny Sling 2L - Olive

Moment

This is our daily, go-to fanny sling. It’s comfortable, adjustable, and fits your daily carry from wallets to keys to phones, and even a 35mm camera. The seven different adjustment points mean the pac...

Add for $70
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Mini Fanny Sling 1L - Clay

Moment

Meet your new favorite travel buddy. Our new MTW Mini Fanny Sling is the 1L version of our best-selling 2L Fanny Sling. It’s super low profile, comfortable, and adjustable. Great for film cameras, poi...

Add for $35
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4. Leather Camera Straps

I'm obsessed with the straps from Clever Supply Co. They match perfectly with the Fujifilm X100V and X-S20 and are both versatile and beautiful to look at. I can easily switch from wrist strap to neck strap depending on my needs, thanks to the integration of the peak design anchor link system. I can immediately go from street photography mode with the wrist strap to Dadographer mode.

The Anchor Wrist Strap is perfect for safely toting your Fujifilm camera without the bulk of an entire camera strap. The Skinny Anchor Wrist Strap is an excellent complement to the little point-and-shoot cameras. And the Minimal Anchor Strap is fantastic for slinging your camera at your side when carrying a toddler or attending to other dad duties.

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5. Film

My favorite part of analog film is the delayed gratification. The gap in time allows me to forget what happened. Forget the photos I was trying to get. I am ecstatic when I get the email from my lab and am genuinely surprised when reviewing the scans.

My favorite shots tend to be the ones I don't clearly remember but end up being some of my most cherished photographs of my kids. The out-of-focus charm. Their expressions. The motion blur. It triggers my memory to hear their laughter and the pitter-patter of their little feet running around.

My favorite film stocks are Kodak Portra 400 for those natural tones, Lomography 400 for just the right amount of film punch, and Ilford HP5 for that stark contrast and timeless grain.

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6. Camera Essentials

My favorite camera accessory right now is Moment's CineBloom diffusion filters. They create a hazy glow around light sources and soften contrasting edges in your image. I always have the 5% on my X100V for a subtle look that works fabulous day and night. The 10% will fade the shadows, contrast, and saturation for day shots. And at night, it gives a moderate dreamy look to light sources. And for those who want a full-on wistful and nostalgic effect, look no further than the 20% CineBloom filter.

SanDisk is the only brand I trust for both my client work and my personal family memories. The 128GB 170 MB/s strikes the perfect balance of speed, reliability, and affordability. I can never have enough of these, and I'm sure the photographer dad in your life can always use a spare.

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Time

Dad's life is busy. So, I'm always looking for ways to get my time back so I can spend less time editing and more time creating and spending time with my family. Presets and LUTs are a great way to reduce that creative mental load regarding photo editing and color grading. If you're looking for a versatile preset pack tailor-made for Fujifilm cameras, check out the "Home-Faded Film" preset pack made by your favorite photographer dad (me!). But if that doesn't fit your aesthetic, I'm sure you'll find something among the great selection in the Preset Shop.

And let's not forget about self-care. Sometimes, I must step away and recharge my body, mind, and creative soul. One of my favorite ways to do this is to order some late-night takeout after the kids are asleep and binge a Moment lesson or two. My favorites are Colin and Samir's course on YouTube Storytelling, Willem's Film Photography Course, and Sisi Liu's Street Stories.

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6. Unique Gifts

And for the photographer dad who has everything and doesn't require gear, accessories, or lessons, how about some photography-themed gifts? My favorites are the "alternate universe" film apparel from Shoot Film Co. and Film Canister Pint Glass from Photogenic Supply Co. But don't stop there; these two shops have many unique photography-themed gifts that any gearhead will appreciate displaying in their office/studio or rocking on their next dad outing.

Self-portrait with my Fujifilm camera.
Self-portrait with my Fujifilm camera.

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