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Author Topic: F-stop Tilopa vs Clik Elite Contrejour 40  (Read 10760 times)
erpman
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« on: July 27, 2012, 11:40:57 AM »
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Hi!

Im looking for a new backpack to use as a daypack, and have come across these two pretty similar backpacks and could use some advice on which one to get. Theyre both aimed at outdoors photographers carrying a lot of gear in extreme conditions.

Link to F-stop Tilopa
Link to Clik Elite Contrejour 40

If Im getting the tilopa I would have it set up with the "large" icu (internal camera unit). This probably makes the two packs pretty similar in that respect. I plan to stuff it with:

D800 body
24-78 2.8 lens
70-200 2.8 lens and/or 105mm 2.8D
50mm 1.8d
RSS PG02 Omni Pivot pano head
Ball Head
Induro AT413 tripod or Manfrotto CX055 3Pro
Acessories, laser distance meter, cloths, cable releases etc.
7" inch tablet


While I very much like the ICU-system from f-stop the clik elite seems to have a better solution for attaching a large tripod. Since Im planning on getting the Induro at413 (3.2 kg/ 76cm) this is a very important point. It has to hang evenly and not too far out if on the front of the pack so it doesnt "pull me backwards".  However, Ive heard that attaching a tripod on the front of the Contrejour dramatically reduces the space available for other items like jackets etc. F-stop has a better solution for this since the tilopa is more "square" so items are stored more on top of the camera unit rather than down along the front. But on this one the tripod hangs more traditionally on the outside further away from the point of gravity of the pack.

Comments are appreciated.
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NancyP
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« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2012, 12:13:14 PM »
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I am considering getting a good technical (internal frame) pack as well, and am interested in any replies.

It would be nice to see both in person, and try them on for fit.

Observations: First, the ClikElite pack has side access as well as back access. This could be handy if you do any off-tripod work (wildlife, etc) along the trail. Second, if one doesn't already have a pack, and want to be able to camp overnight or otherwise carry non-camera stuff, the F-Stop is more versatile due to the (swappable) internal camera units of varying sizes. Third, both have hydration bladder capacity, essential for both day-trippers and campers. Fourth, if you go for fiddly attachments, the F-stop has Molle-compatible strapping. Both packs look as if they can support central tripods. F-stop sells the longer tripod/ski straps separately (as do many non-camera pack manufacturers).
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erpman
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« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2012, 01:27:03 PM »
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The big difference for me is that the Contrejour lets you attach the tripod diagonally across the front of the pack, making for more even weight distribution and helps you avoid bumping your head in it if you fall over. Problem with the contrejour is that it doesnt have the adaptability of the f-stop. But could you possibly customize the f-stop for diagonal tripod-attachment?

The typicall scenario for me is parking the car and then walking for a couple of kilometers, or being based at a hotel or a cottage and then making day trips from there. And for longer hikes its always possible to buy a ICU to stow in a larger hiking-pack.

« Last Edit: July 27, 2012, 01:28:36 PM by erpman » Logged
ternst
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« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2012, 04:33:39 PM »
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I tried the big F-stop bag recently but sent it back - I'm 6' and it was too short - the waste belt hit me across the belly. The bag also seemed kind of small overall - I was expecting it to be much larger. I normally use an f64 backpack that seems much larger, and the waist belt fits at the waist on me. So if you are tall, I would look for another bag...
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erpman
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« Reply #4 on: July 27, 2012, 05:07:05 PM »
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Im 176cm or about 5"8, so I guess Im neither tall nor short. However, I do have a somewhat long back, so in that respect it might be better with the clickelite, which is about 70cm whereas the fstop is 55cm. There is also the fstop Satori, which measures 66cm. Anyone tried that one?
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NancyP
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« Reply #5 on: July 27, 2012, 05:21:42 PM »
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Does the height of the pack matter? Isn't the fit a function of length of frame and strap attachments?

I am 5'5", torso approx. 17.5" to 18." by self-measurement (might be off compared with a measurement done by an outdoor camping salesperson).
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duane_bolland
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« Reply #6 on: July 28, 2012, 12:36:51 AM »
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I bought a Tilopa and returned it.  I didn't like the tapered large ICU.  Actually, I didn't much like any of the ICUs and I thought the bag was a bit gimmicky.  I later bought a Lowepro Pro Trekker 400 AW which I like very much. 
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NancyP
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« Reply #7 on: July 30, 2012, 02:09:56 PM »
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How do you like the harness fit on your LowePro?
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erpman
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« Reply #8 on: July 31, 2012, 05:23:51 AM »
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Ok, after doing a bit more research I think the thread needs to be re-titled F-stop Satori vs Clik Elite Contrejour 40.

Also, I think the most important feature will be how the pack carries a heavy load, and especially how it carries a heavy tripod. Ive heard some complaints that the clik-elite has a somewhat small and thin harness for heavier loads. Here the Satori has an advantage, but doesnt have the option of carrying the tripod diagonally. But maybe carrying a 3.2 kg tripod on the side of the pack wont be a problem if the rest of the load in the bottom of the pack is also quite heavy?

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NancyP
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« Reply #9 on: July 31, 2012, 10:51:20 AM »
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Currently I am limited to "near the car" use of additional equipment not fitting in vest or leg pocket. When I want to hike a mile or more,  I carry one lens on the camera, a teleconverter in a pocket, plus the small stuff (battery, cards, socks, filter, release) in a second pocket, plus two water bottles on a belt, plus rain jacket. Bug juice and sunscreen applied before leaving the car. Tripod is a PITA to carry in its bag.

My interests are in having a good harness and frame, because those make the weight easier to carry. Also, I would like to be able to load it over the (very minimal) harness of the Cotton Carrier vest, if needed. Hydration unit, 2 liter or preferably 3 liter, is necessary.

Typical day hike load would include:
Canon 60D
Canon 400mm f/5.6 (presuming that birding is the main activity)
Custom Brackets Basic Gimbal (a "sidekick-like" add-on to the ball head) 1.3 lb
Tripod, full size Feisol with Arca Z1sp head, total 5.5 to 6lb)

and one or more of the following, depending on shooting plan or destination:

macro gear:Canon 180mm f/3.5

landscape gear:Canon 15-85mm f/variable and nodal rail OR
Sigma 8-16mm f/variable

and of course the usual:
CPL filters, remote shutter release, S clamp or carabinier for the tripod hook, extra camera battery, extra cards, pack rain cover, own jacket, extra socks, depending on weather, extra top layer, plastic bags, lunch, maybe an additional water bottle or thermos hitched to a belt loop, probably a gardener's foam kneeling pad bungied to the outside of the pack.

That's at least 20 lb with 3 lenses, not counting the pack itself. I have an el-cheapo large pack that holds all this stuff but doesn't have adequate strap adjustment, a waist belt, or any frame. The pack is basically a (perfectly adequate) suitcase and storage unit, not meant for comfortable hiking.
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bretedge
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« Reply #10 on: August 05, 2012, 11:41:45 AM »
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I was originally sponsored by Lowepro.  I left them for a sponsorship with Clik Elite.  A year later I picked up a sponsorship with f-stop.  Each move got me to a better product. 

Lowepro packs are great for working from the car but they haven't yet figured out how to make a pack with a real harness for photographers who actually carry their gear for hours on end in the backcountry.

Clik Elite is a huge step up from Lowepro.  My main complaint with Clik Elite packs is that the harness starts out comfortable and supportive but after about a year, mine was sagging like the jowels on a hound dog.  It was also a heavy pack.  The Contrejour is lighter in weight than the Hiker model I used.

Finally, f-stop gear - these guys make backpacks that are modular in design (ICU's) and most importantly, that carry comfortably all day long, even when they're loaded with gear.  I've been using a Tilopa BC for well over a year (close to 2 years, actually) and it's bombproof.  It's starting to show signs of wear with a few small abrasions in high contact areas but it still carries as comfortably as it did on day one.  Consider this: I'm a pro landscape and adventure photographer and I spend a lot of time beating the hell out of my equipment.  My packs get squeezed through slot canyons, scraped on rocks and trees, etc.  If you're going to hike with your gear, and the f-stop packs fit you, go with f-stop.

Yes, I fully realize that you'll all think my opinion is biased because I'm sponsored by f-stop.  I would use their products even if I wasn't sponsored by them.  I'd pay full price without blinking.  I don't make a dime recommending their packs.  I'm just a very happy user of their product. 
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mgrayson
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« Reply #11 on: August 05, 2012, 05:12:53 PM »
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I am NOT paid by f-stop, but I use and love their bags. Tilopa BC for hiking and the Guru for going to work with laptop and some camera gear. Very light packs, very flexible setups. No complaints.

Best,

Matt
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NancyP
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« Reply #12 on: August 06, 2012, 05:59:32 PM »
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Here's an interesting thought: padded camera unit in dry bag either carried in a standard backpack, or just a dry bag with backpack strapping incorporated. Dry bag would be of the roll-top variety. I have thought about secure ways to carry camera for short distance of wading into position for a photo. I looked up backpacks and dry bags at Cabela's and found a dry bag with backpack strapping, unclear how heavy duty it is (can it hold camera body, 400 mm f5.6 lens without a problem?). Lowepro has a waterproof bag line (2 bags) in which the waterproofing is done with an extra liner with a waterproof zipper. These are pricy. Of course there are a zillion variations on dry sacs that could be portaged in cheapo backpacks (for short distance, until ready to set up).

Another thing. Does anyone have a source for sturdy long thin plastic bags (for tripod legs)?
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erpman
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« Reply #13 on: August 07, 2012, 07:32:22 AM »
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bretegdge: How does a heavy (3kg+) tripod carry on the f-stop?
« Last Edit: August 07, 2012, 06:03:27 PM by erpman » Logged
bretedge
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« Reply #14 on: August 09, 2012, 09:49:08 PM »
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bretegdge: How does a heavy (3kg+) tripod carry on the f-stop?

Good question. Unfortunately, I don't know.  My tripod weighs in at 4 pounds (about 1.5 kg).  The Tilopa carries my tripod just fine.  I used to carry it in the center of the pack but switched to carrying it on the side about two months ago.  There is a small pocket on the bottom of the side panels that you can put two of your tripod legs into to keep it from sliding down.  This works better as the weight is better distributed and it's more secure.  My only nit is that the pockets are shallower than I'd like.  I wish they were another 2" or so deep to better contain the tripod legs.
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OldRoy
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« Reply #15 on: August 10, 2012, 04:10:00 AM »
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Some time ago I abandoned the whole idea of staggering about carrying huge weights of photographic gear for recreational use and bought an OMD.
But even if I was still in the market for yet another backpack, I wouldn't be buying a "Clik Elite Contrejour 40" on the basis of its spectacularly idiotic name.
Roy
« Last Edit: August 10, 2012, 10:11:58 AM by OldRoy » Logged
DaveL
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« Reply #16 on: August 10, 2012, 08:46:53 AM »
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There are many resources at a Canon forum: Photography on the Net Google POTN and it will take  you there.
Bag reviews; photos of bags. Canon camera talk of course.

A tripod made for wet use is a Benbo (British; stands for bent bolt.) The legs are inverted. The tripods are heavy.
DaveL
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williamrohr
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« Reply #17 on: August 10, 2012, 11:54:06 PM »
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Over the years I have owned too many camera bags/backpacks (so my wife says).  The F-stop bags are the best I have ever owned.  I use mine to pack Hasselblad and Canon equipment and have learned to hang the bag by one shoulder strap off the tripod back (opening) facing up.  The weight helps to stabilize the tripod and you have easy access to all your gear.  The f-stops are designed and built apparently by serious hikers/climbers and it shows ... they are really light but give great protection.  With extra ICUs you can easily prepack specialty kit and just insert an go.  For the tripod get f-stop's separate tripod bag, put a strap on it and sling it over your shoulder. No association with f-stop, just love their gear.  Bill
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erpman
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« Reply #18 on: January 13, 2013, 06:13:04 AM »
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Hi again

Thought Id revive this thread as I have now finally reached a conclusion (drum roll...):

F-stop Tilopa!

It was a leap of faith, but the point that convinced me was the ability to remove the ICU from the pack and use it with another larger backpack with a more rugged harness for longer hikes and carrying more gear. The Tilopa will make a great daypack for carrying gear over shorter distances and for transporting all my gear as carry on luggage. It also has a padded space for a 17" laptop for this purpose.

My main issue was being able to carry a heavy tripod (induro at413, 75cm folded length, 3.2 kg) on the pack. I decided that Id get the Tilopa and try and see how that would work, and if it didnt work just carry the tripod in my hand, or use a larger backpack if carrying it over longer distances. There seems to be no need for that, as the Tilopa does the job great. Yes I can feel the tripod pulling me back slightly, but its negligible and is something I wont notice in daily use. F-stop has released a new ICU alternative called "slope" where the top of the icu is slightly shallower than the bottom (I think the medium already has had this design for some time, I got the large version), giving it a sloped contour, and the backpack therefore gets slimmer toward the top. This means that when the tripod is attached on the front (the pack is too small to have a big tripod comfortably on the side) the top of the tripod is centered over the pack and thereby keeping the point of gravity close to your body.

The harness is great, its kinda stiff and feels "tight", like the backpack is glued to your back, and its extremely well padded and balanced without being bulky. There is no weight on my shoulders and the hip belt is solid yet compact and comfortable. There are also stabilizer straps on the hip belt which allows you to loosen the hip belt a little so you get more freedom of motion. (btw Im 176cm tall)

Actually the ICU was a bit smaller than I had thought, and I had to struggle to fit all my gear into it. Mind you, the panoramic rails do take up a lot of the space, and I might just carry them in the top part of the backpack (where there is ample space for some clothes or a tripod head or a hard drive or whatever)

Two things I miss are: More small pockets for things like cables, instruction manuals, memory cards etc. A mesh pocket on the side of the pack for a water bottle (hydration system my ass, I will never stuff a plastic bag of water next to $9000 worth of photo gear...)

Without uttering a single derogatory word about the clik-elite which Ive never tried, I say you cant go wrong with the F-stop Tilopa  Grin
« Last Edit: January 13, 2013, 06:18:09 AM by erpman » Logged
OldSchoolPentax
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« Reply #19 on: January 15, 2013, 10:09:58 PM »
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Can anyone share a pic of either of these bags loaded with a medium format rig and a pro DSLR?
I am having trouble visualizing how they would both fit.

Plus, am I seeing this correctly that you would have to take off the pack every time you want to access a camera?
« Last Edit: January 15, 2013, 10:26:51 PM by OldSchoolPentax » Logged
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