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Author Topic: Looking for a bag  (Read 11802 times)
Ben Rubinstein
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« on: October 02, 2005, 04:33:21 AM »
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I have most of my camera gear in a Lowepro Nature Trekker. To be 100% honest, I don't particularly like backpacks, I'm not a hiker, but this bag was bought in the days of medium format when it seemed like a good idea.

For my wedding works the bag is simply too unweildy. It has a huge amount of 'bits' that stick out all over the place and make taking it into a bride's house or a wedding hall less than comfortable. Although it does hold all my gear which is useful, I'm going to swop for a peli case/briefcase type bag with padding for my wedding work.

For landscape work I usually empty out most of my gear anyway (I certainly don't need 2 flashes, a Lumisphere II, cokin SF filters, etc!) and my backpack ends up being pretty empty though still very heavy due to the weight of the backpack itself. I've seen a new style of backpack, the 'sling' type with only one strap that goes diagonally across the chest and it seems to me to be ideal for my needs. Small, easy to acess and far lighter and unweildy than a photo backpack as well as being very useful for street shooting.

The gear I would need it to hold is:
Canon 5D with grip
24-105L attached to camera
70-200 f4L (w/o hood attached)
one filter
cable release
a couple of very small acessories

The Lowepro Slingshot 100AW which would have been perfect seems to be too small to hold this amount of gear, specifically the 70-200 f4L unless I can work it out. (There is one rule with photo bags that is you can always fit another peice of kit, you just require imagination!)
The Lowepro 200AW still doesn't seem to have an easy way of carrying the 70-200 and to be honest, once I go back up in size of bag then I'm heading back into the world I'm trying to leave of heavy photo bags.

I could probably store the camera without lens attached but that kind of negates the advantage of this kind of bag for street work and having to put a lens on the camera every time I want to shoot sounds like a dust nightmare (has anyone seen any sample pictures from the 5D without dust?!). Spotting pics from Iceland, where I had the wrong (completely unused) lens on the 1Ds in the bag and therefore was constantly swopping, was a nightmare, over 150 dust spots on one picture!

Tamrac have some sort of sling bag though they look unweildy and uncomfortable from the pics on their website.

Belt systems don't work for me and regular over the shoulder bags arn't that comfortable for walking with though they are very useful for location work when you don't need much kit, I use one for this purpose.

Does anyone have any experience with the slingshot series or any other ideas?
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DAVO
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« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2005, 06:46:25 AM »
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My Lowepro DriZone busted it's zip and I've been looking for a new small pack for a while now, don't know if it's of any use to you but there's a company in New Zealand called 'Riverworks' that make a small pack for fly fishing.
Kiwi's are not much to look at but make good outdoor gear.
I like the look of it ( from the photos anyway ) for cameras beacause it has rod holders on the side that would work well with a small tripod or monopod and a couple of pockets that hook on the straps.
I hope to see one in the next few days.
riverworks.co.nz

Here in OZ it's $149.oo, might be worth a look.
David.
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John Camp
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« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2005, 08:01:46 AM »
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I've tried so many bag variations that it's ridiculous. News photographers usually carry their stuff in unpadded or very lightly padded Domke bags, just because of the weight problem -- they carry all kinds of crap around with them, and they don't need a heavy bag to add to the load. Problem with Domkes is that they scream "photographer," and also the load rides very heavily on one shoulder. I've seen the single strap across-the-chest systems, but never tried one. They were a fad for a while with college students, for book bags, but faded (I haven't noticed them for a while; maybe they're still popular elsewhere.) I think the reason that they faded might be that they're less adaptable than a regular book-bag/backpack, which can easily be slung off either shoulder, or both, without even thinking about it. I have seen small "amateur" photo backpacks that would just about carry what you're talking about, and also have some padding. But...you might think about making your own system. Somebody, maybe Domke, makes camera wraps, which are light foam wrappers with Velcro at the corners. You wrap your cameras, lenses, etc., to give them protection. Then you could just stick them in a regular book-bag type backpack; it'd be cheap, discreet and handy, and there are so many good backpacks that you could get exactly the size that you want. Some time ago I bought a belt system, which I wound up not using as a belt, but I use the lens pouches and just lay the lenses on the seat of my car when I'm travelling. I can get at them quickly -- even change lenses while I'm driving -- and they're protected. You could probably use the same pouches to protect the gear when you stick them inside a backpack. One problem with a sling-type bag is the tripod; if you get a mountain daypack, they usually have ties for ice axes that you can use to tie-on the tripod. (I don't like to do that because the tripod usually sits too far outboard, or bangs against your back or your arms, but it is a solution.) When I'm shooting, I don't like to attact attention. If that doesn't bother you, you could always get a tiny pack -- even a fanny pack -- for one the lens, and just carry the camera slung. You can also get a sling for a tripod, and carry that slung, and just skip a big pack altogether.

Something else to consider, before I quit this -- go to a hunting-fishing store and look at the "soft" tackle bags. Some of them would be very adaptable to cameras, and lots of them are waterproof or at least more water resistent than camera bags. Tool bags from a good hardware store are another possibility.  

I oughta be a bag manufacturer. I find them kind of fascinating.

JC
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Anon E. Mouse
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« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2005, 08:16:04 PM »
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I've taken the winding road John has been on. I have come to the point where a use two systems. One is just a Mountainsmith lumbar pack with a padded insert. It makes a nice shoulder bag with more space than photo designs and I can quickly tie it behind me on my waist when it is in the way.

When I have a heavy load or rain is a possibility, my gear is in small individual bags stashed in a backpack. When I am shooting, they come out and are clipped to the pack with caribiners where the strap meets the bottom of the bag, on the waist belt, or slung over my shoulder. The shoulder strap is thin so as not to inerfer with the backpack straps. I also put one leg of my tripod through the backpack strap which keeps it handy but the weight distributed by the pack.

I perfer the designs of climbing gear over photo bags - they are more comfortable and better organized. I simply use inserts or cheap photo bags to organize the climbing packs. Oddly enough, I heard Lowe and Lowe Pro are not the same company.
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lester_wareham
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« Reply #4 on: October 04, 2005, 07:12:43 AM »
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Quote
Belt systems don't work for me and regular over the shoulder bags arn't that comfortable for walking with though they are very useful for location work when you don't need much kit, I use one for this purpose.
I use a belt bag that has an integral belt, it is a very good way to carry weight. I have stalked deer and insects in prone positions and I hardly notice I have it on. (Made by CameraCare Systems but no longer made: Looks a bit like Anon's Mountainsmith lumbar pack)

However to stop it slipping (and pulling my trowsers down) I use it in conjuction with a sholder strap. To get access I just release the belt quick release and it swings to the side so I can open it and work out of it.

Good for general outside. I don't recommend it for crowded weddings though, as it sticks out at the back. If there is anyone to close when you turn around you send them flying!

I guess for a wedding you have a lot of heavy kit - you need to get at it easily and the storage should not be too bulky. I think you might want a photo vest, not very sartorial though and may not have buttonhole...
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BobMcCarthy
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« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2005, 01:27:27 PM »
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While I have all the backpack gear one could hope for, I usually use the Lowepro "Stealth Reporter". Top loading, waterproof cover hidden away.

I have both the 650 which is pretty big , but holds a laptop and the 400 which is a very nice size for your needs. Nicely made, with good compartment logic and plenty of pockets for cards, releases, filters etc.

Bob
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Sageman
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« Reply #6 on: October 04, 2005, 08:57:42 PM »
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I have tried most types of bags and cases for my landscape work.  Shoulder bags kill my back.  Back packs (I have 3 sizes of Lowe Pro's) are just plain inaccessible.  Hard cases, while protective, are out of the question.  However, I have found the near perfect solution for my needs.  It's a chest system made for PJ's by NEWSWEAR.COM.  It's a little light on padding but I've used it exclusively for at least a year now and I love it.  It holds my 1Ds, 70-200, 24-70, 100, CF cards, remote release, etc. etc. AND best of all EVERYTHING is immediately accessible and, at least for me, it doesn't create stress on my 62 year old back.  When I'm shooting landscape I usually mount the 1Ds with 24-70 on my tripod and carry that over my shoulder which frees up space for other equipment in the chest system.  I'm talking short 2 mile hikes.  Did I mention that I luv having all my equipment immediately accessible.  Check it out.  www.newswear.com
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #7 on: October 04, 2005, 09:33:34 PM »
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JUST THIS MORNING I WENT THROUGH THE AGONY of choosing, buying and configuring YET ANOTHER camera bag (took over 4 hours - can you believe it?). I could have gone the Moose Peterson route, but the minimum is about 300 USD - a bit rich for this purpose and my needs; also can't try it over the web. For about 160 USD I bought a Lowepro Magnum AW; see the product description here: LowePro Magnum AW
They say: <Our original pro bag is now an industry standard. Continually improved over the years, the Magnum AW is still our best-selling bag for commercial pros.>

The selection and configuration strategy was to make sure that every item is accessible without moving anything else. It works: Canon 1Ds with 24~105 f:4L attached, 50mm F/1.4, 70~300mm DO IS USM, Epson P-2000, Canon 420 flash, remote control electronic cable release, spare 1Ds battery, other batteries and trinkets, RRS Pan Plate for Nodal point camera positioning, flash cards, GMcB mini-color-checker, instruction manuals, built-in raincoat to waterproof the water-resistant exterior. I attached my "Up-Strap" (from Stegmeyer in Florida) to assure no-slippage when carrying on my shoulder - and it works - i.e. no slip. Also, the handle is easy on the hands if the shoulder tires.

You can't carry around all this stuff and pretend it is light - but the bag is comfortable, convenient, and I am confident about its protective capacity and durability.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
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« Reply #8 on: October 05, 2005, 01:13:48 AM »
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I have a Domke F3 and highly recommend it. It is small, thin, comfortable and holds a surprising amount of stuff considering its size. All the equipment you listed (plus another lens) would fit in it.

Likes:
* Small
* Comfortable shoulder strap (Cross chest or just on one shoulder)
* rubber sewn into strap keeps it from slipping
* comfortable on the hip
* Smartly designed hand strap lets you pick it up without latching the lid
* Sturdy construction
* Easy access
* Can hold more than I'd like to cary all day
* Not bulky like almost every other bag I've seen.

Dislikes:
* The net-pouch on lid inside can be cumbersome to access when the bag is on the shoulder.
* Opening tends to close on itself when wearing it. (needs a rib-cage of some sort)
* Only comes with one foam divider
* The back pouch is next to useless. Either the camera pushes against it or your hip does making it hard to put stuff in it.
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Ben Rubinstein
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« Reply #9 on: October 05, 2005, 03:04:32 PM »
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Thanks guys, I'm looking for something that I can 'wear' while cimbing up a hill or down a ditch. I don't like to hike but I don't shoot landscapes from the road. I tried a belt system, it kept pulling my trousers down and when I mentioned the idea of shoulder straps my wife put her foot down and said that I was not allowed to look like an idiot! The belt will go on ebay when I get a second!

I have a nice shoulder bag but it's not so easy when clambering up rocks. I guess this kind of thing is very personal, once you find a good system you will never leave (A bit like RRS L plates!)but it takes a lot of time, money and trial to get there!
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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #10 on: October 05, 2005, 04:14:07 PM »
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Wouldn't it be nice if RRS started making bags!  

Eric
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-Eric Myrvaagnes

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Hank
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« Reply #11 on: October 05, 2005, 04:28:35 PM »
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I may have skimmed over it, but you haven't ruled out vests.  There are lots out there from the big to the small.  I like them because they distribute weight well, greatly freeing my movements in the hills without causing back pain.  

I often wear a daypack with mine, in which I load food, water, extra clothing, etc.  My favorite daypack is big enough that when shooting wildlife I often stick a 500 f/4 in it, wrapped in a coat for padding.

I wear a Domke every day for work, but am seriously considering a model from The Vested Interest for nature work.
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mikeseb
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« Reply #12 on: October 05, 2005, 04:38:29 PM »
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Everyone's perennial favorite topic--bags. I have a closetful like everyone else here. I hate them all for one reason or the other. Reflects my own uncertainty about my storage/carry priorities among the three bag characteristics that matter, IMHO: protection, portability, and accessibility. I want each, in full measure, in the same bag! Will no one answer my plaint?

Someone mentioned the LowePro Magnum here. I have its larger brother, the Commercial, into which I've stuffed a Contax 645 system with four lenses, a body, several film backs, and assorted gewgaws. Too heavy, have to move things to get to other things (stuff in layers in the bag--BAD.) Carrying it over the shoulder risks separation of said shoulder with resulting arthroscopic surgery. I schlep it around on one of those rolling luggage dollies, from which it falls to the side on every turn.

Agree also re backpacks--they bring portability with some protection but accessibility suffers. And the beloved Domke--I am just nervous about putting only a sheet of canvas around $10k or more of equipment--accessible, maybe portable, but protected? Naw.

Belts: no one likes Crack-Man photographers any more than C-M plumbers. Portable only as long as you don't mind continually hiking up your trousers.

Vests: I have a Domke vest. I sweat like a pig in the brain-bolt chute even before I put it on. (It was 90F here today! October!!) Accessible, but portable only if you don't mind a 35mm Distagon sticking out like Miss Muffet's tuffet. No protection at all. Something tells me these weren't designed for MF.

Harness systems: haven't messed with those. They seem awkward, though they are protective, portable, and accessible. But for MF? Not sure. Any opinions? Could nirvana be found along this pathway?

Excuse my glomming on this thread with stream-of-consciousness blathering; I guess this is my cri du coeur also--"Where are you, perfect bag?"

Anyone with the answer, or suggestions tending in the direction of an answer, please chime in!
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michael sebastian
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« Reply #13 on: October 05, 2005, 09:46:15 PM »
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I'll join those who like the Mountainsmith lumbar packs. I use mine (apologies to pom's wife) with the shoulder strap over my shoulder. Not only does this stabilize the bag and take some weight off of my waist - reducing the pants lowering weight - but it permits be to quickly undo the waist belt latch and swing the whole thing around to the front.

I go back and forth between prefering to put everything including the camera in the bag and, alternatively, carrying the camera separately around my neck.

For me the problem is still what to do with the tripod. Recently I've been carrying that separately in a bag slung over the other shoulder but I'm not totally happy with that solution.

- Dan
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #14 on: October 05, 2005, 09:57:05 PM »
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From the looks of this thread, photographers will just need to be born with an additional piece of anatomy strong enough to hold the bag without discomfort and conveniently enough located to reach in and grab whatever the moment requires. Any thoughts on design and location?  Cheesy
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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« Reply #15 on: October 05, 2005, 10:45:22 PM »
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Sherpas! We all need Sherpas to carry our stuff for us!    

Eric
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Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #16 on: October 06, 2005, 01:07:07 AM »
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I use the LowePro PhotoTrekker AW II. The bag itself isn't that heavy, it's well-padded, and you can put a crapload of stuff in it. Mine currently contains (from the bottom up):

1D-MkII with either 24-78/2.8L mounted, going side to side rather than top to bottom
Spare AA batteries
1Ds with 70-200/2.8L mounted, dovetailing with the 1D-MkII
Spare NP-E3 batteries for the camera bodies
35-350L
2x 550EX flashes
2x 420EX flashes
135/2L
17-40/4L
Canon 1.4x TC
100/2
50/1.8
Mini COlor Checker, flash gels, memory cards, polarizer filters, Sensor Swabs & Eclipse
Westcott Micro Apollo mini-softbox, shoulder harness for cameras, remote release, miscellaneous other small crap. And a kitchen sink. (Just kidding!)

Total weight, fully loaded, just under 40 pounds. But it's got everything I need to shoot just about anything. The shoulder straps and waist belt have a wide range of adjustment so that you can walk around with it on all day and not need back surgery at the end of the day. I've done so more than once shooting horse shows where I had no secure location to park my gear.
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DiaAzul
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« Reply #17 on: October 06, 2005, 04:41:24 AM »
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I use a Crumpler Budgie Smuglerwhich I find very comfortable over a days worth of slogging around. The benefits of this bag are: Wide and adjustable over the chest strap, with padded section; easy access to the contents by swinging around side (but easy to push around back to move it out of the way); reasonable capacity to carry equipment (better suited to f4 than f2.8+1-series gear though).

The version that I have is not quite as sophisticated as the one described on the website now (the original version was a bag with an adapter insert). If I come to choose another bag then I would definitely look towards Crumpler based on its utility and build quality. As the Australians would say - it's built like a brick dunny, though obviously it doesn't way as much.

POM, I guess that I have been through the same thought process as yourself - a backpack is too much for a relatively light load and a bugger to access quickly, something slipping from the should is not practical, so the chest strap is recommded.

Given this is a (radical) departure from the usual you may need to try one out. The only issue you may have is (a) if you are wearing open jacket or such like, then the chest strap pulls the clothing up in front of you which whilst not uncomfortable, per se, does wrinkle clothing and can look a little lopsided ( you need to decide whether you need a shirt or clothing with a collar to ensure the strap doesn't chaff against your neck - I have no problem ususally (but then I don't wear T-shirts).

Final point - it don't look like no camera bag (though if one of the above posts is correct then it is a little out of fashion, but I don't care none about that).
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Ben Rubinstein
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« Reply #18 on: October 06, 2005, 07:07:22 AM »
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I'm going to try and find a Lowepro Slingshot 100 and see if with pulling and shoving I can get the gear in it. I doubt it though. If only they had made the top pocket lens space instead of just 'pocket'. Maybe with a box cutter....

It would be slightly better if I left the battery pack at home but I can only afford one 'L' plate per camera!
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madmanchan
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« Reply #19 on: October 06, 2005, 07:25:20 AM »
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pom, I strongly recommend you look at a belt system.  I personally use the belt system made by Kinesis (www.kinesisgear.com) and it's wonderful.  It's a lightweight, modular system that lets you attach only the pouches/cases you need.  Best of all, you have quick access to everything (because it's at your waist in front of you or at the side), and the construction is first-rate.

In your case, I recommend getting a belt, a holster case (e.g. the C580, or maybe a smaller one), a multi-lens pouch (e.g. the E530), and a lens pouch for the 70-200 (e.g. the E280).

I arrange the holster case on the right, the tall (70-200) lens pouch on the left, and the multi-lens pouch in the middle.  Gives me quick access to everything, and it balances well.

Eric
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