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Author Topic: Billingham Photo Vests  (Read 10622 times)
Josh-H
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« on: May 31, 2011, 09:08:05 PM »
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My Domke has finally kicked the bucket (just one to many spin cycles in the dryer I think). Ive got mixed feelings about letting it go - its been a long time freind, but at the same time I have cursed it for some of its design elements and I think I am ready for a change. Grin

Has anyone tried the Billingham Vest? http://www.billingham.co.uk/acatalog/Photovest.html I like the way its quite subtle and not overtly 'tactical' or overtly covered in pockets. It look like it would be good for travel as well.

I hate ordering clothes online as the sizes are always a bit of a guess...
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Marlyn
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« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2011, 08:46:03 AM »
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Josh,

I also use a Domke, but am seriously considering upgrading to one from these guys:  http://www.vestedinterest.com/about.htm
They make to order, and have accurate sizing on their order form. (they want measurments).

However, they are not subtle.  I was going for something that will carry gear in field without a backpack.

This is something else I looked into a bit recently and still looking, give me a call if you want to discuss.

Regards

Mark Farnan
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DaveL
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« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2011, 09:57:44 AM »
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I'm interested in this thread. I've outgrown my Domke. Sad 
There is a Canon forum (it's huge----  Photography on the Net; google POTN and you should get it.
They sell photo vests quite cheaply.

I'm in Canada. I don't know how I rationalized a Domke. They're hugely expensive here.

As a compromise, I use a Scot-e-vest. It's incredible. It handles the knick-knacks that I stress out about, worrying that I may do without if I forget them. It works for me.

If I were carrying serious gear in it, I mean bigger/heavier I would look at exactly the ones you've mentioned.

Domke also has a photo jacket I would look at....So does Gitzo I believe.

Best,
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alanb
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« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2011, 12:08:44 PM »
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Amen to the the Scotte vest.  I seldom use my Domke vest anymore.  Look at the Scotte Expedition jacket also.  Good luck!
Alan
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Wayne Fox
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« Reply #4 on: June 01, 2011, 05:18:53 PM »
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Guess it depends on what you want to carry in the vest.  The scotte vest looks OK as long as all you need is places for things like CF/SD cards, whibal tools, other odds and ends.  Don't see any pocket to throw in that extra lens.  At least with a Domke you can fit a lens or two in the pocket.

I have 3 vests, one similar to a Scotte which I use when carrying the gear in a backpack, a Domke which i don't really use anymore, and the vestedinterest one which I use when carrying the camera on tripod over my shoulder and need a few lens pockets.  It's quite comfortable with the extra weight of some glass in the pockets(more so than the Domke), I can hardly feel the small side case with my Mamiya 300mm, and the padded shoulders help with the somewhat heavy tripod/MF camera. I bought the camo color, which I now regret since I don't do wildlife.
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DaveL
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« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2011, 09:43:09 PM »
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I can easily carry an extra lens in my Scottevest.  After all, it's made for concealed carry. There's even a large pocket on the back (could pack a newspaper in that. I would have trouble carrying a dslr body, but that's what my BR strap is for.

One packet easily carries an ipad too.

There's even a strap to hold a water bottle in one of the waist level pockets.

I've worn my vest almost daily since I've bought it.  Also have a travel coat, fleece, and raincoat. Those don't get worn as often. Just a customer. Smiley

DaveL
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Josh-H
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« Reply #6 on: June 02, 2011, 07:49:33 AM »
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Thanks all - I ended up buying something on the way home from the office. A Columbia Titanium vest. It was half the price of the Billingham (I guess because it isnt specifically marketed at photographers  Shocked Its going to suit just fine I think for travel and light weight duties as a replacement for the Domke. Its not overtly tactical, doesn't scream photographer, has plenty of pockets to hold some lenses if I am asked to lighten my bag at the airport and is very comfortable.


But this thread has got me thinking that like camera bags I 'need' more than one vest  Grin Now looking at a Vested Interest as well for more serious field work involving hiking. The "Khumbu' from Vested interest looks like a seriously good vest for carrying substantial amounts of gear in the field without the need for backpack.
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Christoph C. Feldhaim
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« Reply #7 on: June 02, 2011, 08:01:30 AM »
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For longer hikes and serious bulk I'd always prefer a backpack,
because if it is one with a good waist and chest strap system
you can really distribute the weight between waist and shoulders.
My backpack usually weighs around 12 kg,
which would be too much for a vest I think.
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Josh-H
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« Reply #8 on: June 02, 2011, 09:07:59 AM »
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For longer hikes and serious bulk I'd always prefer a backpack,
because if it is one with a good waist and chest strap system
you can really distribute the weight between waist and shoulders.
My backpack usually weighs around 12 kg,
which would be too much for a vest I think.

I have used backpacks for years in the field and I think I am finally over them. It bugs me no end to have to stop, take it off, find somewhere out of the mud etc. to put it, open it and dive in for a camera before I can actually take a photograph. I do like backpacks for certain situations (I would not part with my Gura Gear bag/back pack for example - its simply the best bag I have owned) but I think a vest would also mean I would really only carry the necessities in the field, rather than 'the lot' for the sake of it. And there is no question a vest speeds the process.

Of course... it all depends on what type of trip, where, how long etc... An overnight trip/hike is unquestionably a backpack job - and probably a dedicated hike pack, not a photographers back pack. Shooting out of the boot of a car.. well.. who needs anything other than a bag. A day hike though in the wilderness.. well... I can really see the logic in a serious vest like the vested interest.

My general shooting style seems to be drive to location 'X'. Load up with gear/backpack and hike to location 'Y" and shoot before returning to car and repeating at different locations. I did this in Iceland, and have done it in Australia, New Zealand etc... That 'loading up' has always been a backpack and I have struggled and watched other photographers likewise struggle with overweight backpacks that really are not that great for this style of shooting. The only real down side I see to vests like the Vested Interest.. are they are anything but subtle... I am not sure I would want to ever wear one anywhere near a city for fear of it attracting all sorts of unwanted attention. But again, out in the wilderness with a load of gear its not a fashion competition Roll Eyes
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Christoph C. Feldhaim
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« Reply #9 on: June 02, 2011, 09:40:24 AM »
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How long would you say is the maximum sane time to carry with a vest (before your spine and shoulder start crying)
and where would you see a bulk limit in kg?
Sometimes I wished to use a vest for similar reasons you mentioned,
but refrained from doing it, because I'm afraid of all the bulk lying on my shoulders.
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RobSaecker
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« Reply #10 on: June 02, 2011, 10:54:31 AM »
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Thanks all - I ended up buying something on the way home from the office. A Columbia Titanium vest.

Josh,

is there any style name or number on that vest? Searching Columbia's website for "men's titanium vest" gets 23 results, of which 22 are not vests, and the one vest doesn't look all that suitable for hauling photo gear. Searching "men's vest" gets 4 results, none of which are identified as Titanium, and doesn't include the one from the previous search.  Huh
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Rob
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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #11 on: June 02, 2011, 11:51:10 AM »
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Josh,

is there any style name or number on that vest? Searching Columbia's website for "men's titanium vest" gets 23 results, of which 22 are not vests, and the one vest doesn't look all that suitable for hauling photo gear. Searching "men's vest" gets 4 results, none of which are identified as Titanium, and doesn't include the one from the previous search.  Huh

Try this: http://www.bigmen.com/columbia/tomnidryvest.html
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leuallen
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« Reply #12 on: June 02, 2011, 02:08:26 PM »
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Don't use a vest, I use a Tamarac belt system which serves to the same end. It works for me because I use M4/3 and not a larger system. Probably would not be so convenient with a larger camera system.

I have four lens pouches, the camera pouch, and three smaller pouches. Currently I am carrying a GH2, 14-140 on camera, 100-300, 20, 9-18, and 90 macro. In the smaller pouches I have remote releases, bubble levels, flash light, extra batteries, filters and misc do dads. So I am ready for most anything. Curious, I just weighed the system and it is 6lbs 12oz. It is really comfortable enough that I don't mind wearing it even if I do look like a dork. I use the optional shoulder harness as it makes for more comfort.

It sits on the couch next to my computer, always ready to go. I look out the window frequently and if it looks like a good sunrise or sunset I can be out of the house in five minutes confident that I can handle almost any situation that comes up. Tripod always in the car.

The trouble with backpacks is that you set them on the ground, dig around for what you want, setting things on the ground next to the pack as you search. Sometimes these things don't get put back in the pack. I've almost lost some things this way even though I try to be very careful. With the belt system everything has a home so I know where it is and can make switches without setting anything on the ground.  A vest seems like it might be too hot in the summer and does not offer as much protection to the gear as the belt system.

I have additional camera and lens pouches and can change configurations for special needs. For the local Sunday quarter mile dirt track races (car), I substitute a camera pouch for a lens pouch, and carry the  14-45 on one camera and the other with one of the long lenses. All lens/camera combos listed above fit in the camera pouch.

Works great for the way I work. Lots of short local photo excursions, never far from the car. Not too much hiking, I am over 70 and can't handle that anymore.

Larry
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Josh-H
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« Reply #13 on: June 02, 2011, 06:38:12 PM »
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Yes, thats it. I bought it from my local sports store - not sure how long it has been in stock with them.
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RobSaecker
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« Reply #14 on: June 02, 2011, 09:07:23 PM »
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Thanks. Not on Columbia's website, maybe it's not made anymore.
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Rob
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Wayne Fox
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« Reply #15 on: June 03, 2011, 12:29:41 PM »
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Thanks all - I ended up buying something on the way home from the office. A Columbia Titanium vest.
That's the vest I wear most of the time instead of the Domke... bought mine at REI.  Didn't happen to have it when I replied earlier, so wasn't sure of the brand/model.
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hassiman
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« Reply #16 on: June 06, 2011, 10:22:37 PM »
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I have heard they are great but poorly ventilated.... that's ok for the UK... but in warmer climes you are toast...
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JeanMichel
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« Reply #17 on: June 07, 2011, 04:00:09 PM »
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Hi,

See: http://www.tilley.com

The VOMP is overkill, I had one and gave it away. I bought the multi pocket one and it is perfect for my needs. And as they say it is great for going through security at airports - it holds everything securely. Guaranteed for life. Theirs hats and travel clothing are also of very high quality. And al made in Canada by people getting paid living wages.

Jean-Michel
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stamper
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« Reply #18 on: June 08, 2011, 03:49:34 AM »
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You should visit an angling store. Some of the vests made for anglers will be suitable for photographers and probably cheaper.
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Josh-H
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« Reply #19 on: June 08, 2011, 04:45:45 AM »
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You should visit an angling store. Some of the vests made for anglers will be suitable for photographers and probably cheaper.

You know.. I have heard that line from others.. and its one well used on other forums to the answer of the perfect photo vest. But..

Angling vests are just not designed to carry the sort of weight that photographers (well me anyway) carry in the field. They might be ok for short walks etc.. but I would not want to hike very far with gear in an angling vest.
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