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Okay, let's debate camera bags

Discussion in 'Photography' started by Ronald Epstein, Jul 30, 2010.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    What kind of camera bags do you like?
    Looking for one to hold a Nikon D90, speed light and 2-3 lenses.

    Nothing overly expensive but something quality I can travel with.
     
  2. Scott Merryfield

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    Camera bags are always tough. Figure that whatever you buy now probably will not be what you want a year from now as your needs change/grow. There a different styles -- messenger bags, backpacks, etc.

    Personally, I like using a backpack, and I am on my second one. Currently I am using a Lowepro FlipSide 300 backpack, which easily holds a camera body, 3 lenses (one attached to the body), an external flash, teleconvertor, and filters. It has an internal pouch for extra batteries, charger, cable release, etc., a special pocket for holding memory cards, a tripod holder and an external pocket for a water bottle. A link to the pack can be found here: http://www.amazon.com/Lowepro-Flipside-300-Backpack-Black/dp/B000YA33DC
     
  3. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Scott,

    I kind of like the concept of backpacks.

    I do a lot of conventions and carrying around
    a bag is a hassle because you are always
    bumping that bag into people.

    A backpack is perfect for that reason.

    The only concern is how much crap can
    you put into it before you start straining
    your back.
     
  4. Will_B

    Will_B Well-Known Member

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  5. Thomas Newton

    Thomas Newton Well-Known Member

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    You could always combine a backpack with a photographer's vest. (Those have a bunch of small pockets on the front, where you can get at them easily.)

    The weight on the front would help to balance the weight on the back. Then the concern would be how much stuff you could put into the (vest + backpack) before your knees collapsed ... /img/vbsmilies/htf/tongue.gif
     
  6. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Well-Known Member

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    Ron - you still in NJ? The best advice for bags, since they are highly dependent on personal taste, is to get yourself into BH Photo in NYC. It's like Disneyland for photographers. I went there while on vacation in NYC and it was some of the best two hours I spent in the city. They have almost every bag imaginable and you can try each one on while making a decision.

    Seriously, if I lived within 200 miles of BH I would be there at least twice a year.
     
  7. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    My favorite bags:
    Messenger style: Crumpler Six Million Dollar Home (recommended for all photographers with less than a 1 series / 70-200f.8
    http://www.amazon.com/Crumpler-MILLION-DOLLAR-Shoulder-Oatmeal/dp/B000W8ZDWA

    Roller: Think Tank Airport Security 2.0, the best roller on the planet:
    http://www.amazon.com/Think-Tank-Airport-Security-Roller/dp/B00173FOQY

    Backpack / 15 inch laptop carrier: Crumpler Sinking Barge
    http://www.amazon.com/Crumpler-SINKING-Laptop-Backpack-Oatmeal/dp/B000W8U42O/ref=sr_1_1?s=photo&ie=UTF8&qid=1280547472&sr=1-1

    The bag i might get next, messenger style for DSLR and iPad, Think Tank Urban Disguise 35:
    http://www.amazon.com/Think-Tank-Urban-Disguise-Saddlebag/dp/B001K2IJLO
     
  8. DavidJ

    DavidJ Premium
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    The big downside to a backpack is that you have to stop and take it off to access your gear. For a small kit and the type of shooting that you are suggesting, I'd probably think hard about a messenger style bag. Keep in mind that I say this and I've used nothing but a LowePro backpack for many years.
     
  9. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    Agreed. I only use my backpack for travel where I want to have a camera AND laptop with me at all times, never for casual use.
     
  10. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Well-Known Member
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    For casual, low-profile use I like the Domke line. It also suits my personal style in its classic looks, whereas the Crumpler line is too modern for my tastes.

    It took me awhile to find my walkaround bag but the F-5XC is what I use the most, followed by the F-6 (the site linked to is also pretty good one for user reviews):
    http://www.cambags.com/bag-type/shoulder-bags-menu/domke-shoulder-bags/item/404-domke-f-5xc.html
    http://www.cambags.com/bag-type/shoulder-bags-menu/domke-shoulder-bags/item/405-domke-f-6.html

    Keep in mind the philosophy behind the Domke bags is that they are for working from, not transport, so padding is only what's needed to keep items separated and easy to access.

    Ron got to see my ginormous backpack at Comic Con - the Think Tank StreetWalker Hard Drive. I was a little concerned how it would do in the crowds, but I only got bumped a few times. My main concern was transport and comfort over five days of constant carrying and it did a great job. Not to say I wasn't sore each day, but it was manageable discomfort and I know I would have been in horrible shape with a one-shoulder sling or messenger bag. Though I don't think Ron will get into day long shooting at this point, a belt system is the best way to go without messing up your back and shoulders, not to mention convenience. You look like a big photo dork, but if you're shooting all day at an event, there's no way to avoid that label so you might as well go all in.

    In addition, LowePro does make backpacks with an easy access side door - the Fastpacks. I tried one and didn't really like it, mainly because the weight distribution didn't feel right and the top section is not the most efficient with space. For day hikes it might be fine, but for travel with alot of gear I'm somewhat skeptical.
     
  11. Scott Merryfield

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    Ron,

    I am using the current Lowepro backpack I mentioned above precisely because it does a fine job of allowing me to carry the weight for extended periods of time. Previously, I had a Lowepro slingbag style backpack that was great for accessing your gear without taking off the pack, but was lousy for carrying the weight of all that gear on your back.

    I have fairly heavy kit, and have hiked for miles with it all using this pack. It does not have room for a laptop, but I never travel with one (don't even own on e), so that is not a requirement for me. Just last week I hiked all over Niagara Falls and through the Watkins Glen gorge with the pack.

    As for the downside of not being able to access your equipment without taking off the pack, when I am walking / hiking I have my camera out with the lens attached that I expect to use. So, I only need to remove the pack to change lenses or get a filter.

    I do also own a small Tamrac shoulder bag that I use for short day trips -- usually family events. I can carry just the camera with lens attached, and can squeeze in an external flash and a small second lens (plus it has pockets for an extra battery and memory card, too).
     
  12. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    I still like the concept of a backpack, as I mentioned
    previously, for the fact that when in large crowds at an
    event, a side bag is constantly banging into people who
    you are shoulder-to-shoulder with.

    What I really need is a camera bag with laptop folder.
    I never travel anywhere without my 17" Macbook.

    Maybe a Lowepro bag like this (though it seems to be
    lacking in storage space for camera gear.

    http://www.amazon.com/Lowepro-CompuDaypack-Camera-Slate-Gray/dp/B000EY5R8C/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1280579491&sr=1-1

    A better view of the compartments can be seen here:

    http://products.lowepro.com/product/CompuDaypack,1922,16.htm





    I would LOVE to do that.

    The only problem is that going into NYC can be
    very expensive if I take the car. Taking the train
    can be somewhat less expensive.

    ....and then there is sales tax. If I buy anything
    from B&H online I don't pay tax as opposed to
    buying in the store.

    Still, I do think it's a very good idea to go in,
    browse the store for a few hours, take notes on
    what I want and then order it all from home online.
     
  13. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Cameron,



    You didn't look like a dork.



    So, you would be the perfect person to recommend (or not)

    a backpack for the kind of event we were covering.



    Do you think the backpack is the way to go? I linked

    to the bag I am considering above.
     
  14. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Well-Known Member
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    Ron, I would definitely recommend a backpack for the reasons you cite - navigating crowds and comfort.

    As someone else mentioned, backpacks are less convenient for accessing and putting away your camera, so you basically have to plan on always having the camera out once you're at your destination. There's really no "wander, shoot and holster" with a backpack, though models like the LowePro Fastpack try to remedy that. Although I didn't care for the Fastpack 250 or 350, you might also give those a look. They will hold a laptop and provide the quick access door on the side.

    Here are some additional user reviews of the CompuDaypack and Fastpack. I'm not a big fan of the upper section with all that open space, but you could mod it to hold more items if you wanted. My other complaint would be the wimpy waist belt, which is helpful for taking some of the load off the shoulders.

    http://www.cambags.com/bag-type/backpacks/lowepro-backpack-bags/item/13-lowepro-compudaypack.html

    http://www.cambags.com/bag-type/backpacks/lowepro-backpack-bags/item/44-lowepro-fastpack-250.html
     
  15. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Well-Known Member

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    I have the Fastpack 250 and find that I only use it for travel with a laptop. It was the first bag I bought because like you, I thought I would rarely travel without my laptop. While that was true in the beginning, I now find that I do travel a lot with my camera without my laptop. So I also bought a Tamrac Velocity 7X. Between the two bags, my 7D + extra lens stays in the Tamrac 95% of the time, and when I go out and about in SoCal the Tamrac goes with me. Day trips, even quick overnights to Santa Barbara, San Diego, Orange County, Las Vegas, the laptop really doesn't come with me anymore since I have the iPhone. While the Fastpack does a good job in storing and protecting all my camera/laptop stuff, once you start traveling lighter you become loathe to put on all that gear unless it's absolutely necessary.

    In fact for my next trip to Europe I plan on not taking my laptop, only my iPhone, because I'll be taking a tripod as well and will want to travel light. The tripod will help me get better pictures, the laptop will not. My iPhone will service 90% of what I used my laptop for back in my France 2006 trip, and who knows, I may have an iPad by then as well!
     
  16. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    rich_d likes this.
  17. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Well-Known Member

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    Yes, definitely go check out bags in person if you can. I did that each time before choosing something although B&H didn't have my current bag back when I shopped.

    If you're looking for a good slingbag, I can recommend the Kata series. I've been using the Kata T-214 for a couple years now (on a daily basis, riding subway, etc):

    http://www.shuttertalk.com/articles/katat214

    I checked out the Tamrac Velocity series and didn't like them -- well, I did like and owned the Velocity 5 (until I outgrew it), but that one is more like a messenger-style sling/hip hybrid bag somewhat similar to Sam's recommendation of the Crumpler 6M Home (but smaller). I find the rest of the Velocity series to be not so easy to sling around for quick access.

    I've also checked out the more conventional looking Lowepro Slingshot series, but they don't seem as ergonomically sound as the Kata T series plus are designed pretty much exclusively for slinging over the right shoulder and under/around the left side. I much prefer the other way myself -- although you can do it either way w/ the Kata w/out too much diff near as I can tell. IIRC, the Velocity (6-and-up) series slingbags are also designed for one way only, ie. right shoulder. Also, you don't actually need to sling the Kata all the way to the front, but can get good, quick access just slinging to your side (kinda like a messenger bag).

    The Kata T-214 (and the larger T-216) also has a back compartment that might be useful enough to stow an iPad or maybe a netbook (as some seem to do), and I may do just that w/ an iPad, if I get one.

    Weight distribution also seems just about as good as it can get for a slingbag. Since it works best to let it hang a bit on the loose side (for easier access), the bag ends up riding into the lower back w/ a bit of leverage from below. And since it can be slung both ways, you can always switch shoulders, if need be, though I always keep it on the same side.

    So if you're considering a slingbag, I'd strongly recommend checking out the Kata series before deciding.

    FYI, there's also a substantially cheaper Kata DT series slingbag w/ similar basic design, but it's missing a couple features, eg. no front compartment (that's useful for a speedlight), no back compartment, while getting rid of all the extra straps, clasps, etc.

    _Man_
     
  18. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    You're crazy if you want to carry a backpack with a laptop in it through a convention. Sorry, that's just silly.

    The benefit of the messenger style bags is that you can slide em so that they rest on your hip throughout the day, not constantly held on your side.

    Al alternative I would recommend for most event style shooting, and something I use every day is the Black Rapid R strap:

    http://www.blackrapid.com/product/camera-strap/rs-7/
     
  19. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Well-Known Member
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    Yeah, I was going to say that even though my bag has a laptop section, I had no need to bring a laptop with me to the event. Instead I used it to hold a hard plastic case for all the swag I was picking up.

    But transport is again another issue. If Ron plans to have the backpack be his only carry on bag he will need the laptop section. Myself, I was bringing enough stuff that I needed a small rolling laptop case anyways, so that took some of the load off my back.
     
  20. Michael_K_Sr

    Michael_K_Sr Well-Known Member

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    I use the Tamrac Velocity 7x sling pack.

    http://www.amazon.com/Tamrac-Velocity-Photo-Sling-Black/dp/B000P3ZB42

    The thing I liked about it is that it's not huge, even though it holds my D90, 18-200mm and 50mm lenses, SB600 speedlight and extra batteries, memory cards, etc. But it's biggest selling point for me now is that it is unobtrusive if I slide it over my shoulder so it's in front of me. Never have to worry about it knocking into people on a show floor. Also, it takes just a few seconds to open the flap, get the camera out and start shooting right away if need be. I'll probably have to re-assess my needs once I get a few more lenses, but for now this pack is great.
     

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