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Okay, let's debate camera bags

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

  1. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Well-Known Member

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    I know everyone wants to keep costs down, but I think as anyone who is a traveling photographer will attest, you're going to want multiple bags. The thing I realized is that I want the bag that will be the absolute minimum for what I am taking with me on any particular shoot.

    I know Ron said he never travels without his laptop, but he's never had a DSLR where he will want to take it everywhere to capture shots. Going on vacation to Hawaii? Are you really going to lug your 17" Macbook Pro up into the mountains, jungle, or lava flow? Probably not. Going to visit the Florida Everglades? Taking your MBP with you on that Airboat? Hope not. Going to Paris? Want to carry that extra 8-10lbs of computer + bag up all 500+ crazily winding steps of Notre Dame? I only had a P&S at the time and I was winded when I got to the top. My point is that once you realize you always want your trusty DSLR with you "just in case", you'll also realize that you don't want to always have your MBP with you. Vacation evening out on the town with friends? Bringing a holster w/ a DSLR has your friends saying "wow that's a nice camera". Having a full on laptop/DSLR backpack has them asking "what the hell are you carrying around in there?"

    There are times when I want only the 7D+17-55. I'm going to eventually get a holster only for the body and lens. There are times when I want the 7D + 1 small zoom, that's my Tamrac Velocity 7x. There are times when I'll want my laptop as well, that's the Fastpack 250. And when I eventually get the cash together to buy either the EF 70-200 f/4L IS USM or the f/2.8 II IS USM, I'll have to get a larger shoulder bag than the Velocity because the f/4 and f/2.8 are much too big to fit in the Velocity. This hobby, like most, isn't cheap. And there isn't a one-size fits all otherwise someone would have already created it and we'd have all bought it.
     
  2. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Well-Known Member
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    Carlo makes a good point. I've resigned myself to having different bags for different needs. It's kind of annoying, but I suppose it makes me understand women and their purse things a little better. :)
     
  3. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Well-Known Member

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    Yeah...except that I paid more for one Gucci purse for my girlfriend than all of my current bags, as well as my desired future bag, combined! /img/vbsmilies/htf/laugh.gif



     
  4. Thomas Newton

    Thomas Newton Well-Known Member

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    Perhaps a solution would be: one large bag to bring all of the camera equipment from home to the hotel. Another, smaller bag to carry just a few items (D90 body, one lens, accessories) to the convention floor.

    This would allow a person to swap lenses back in the hotel room. If a person felt that a particular session would require the use of multiple lenses, a person could even drag the larger bag onto the convention floor. Otherwise, the "dead weight" (temporarily unused lenses, AC adapter, etc.) could stay in the hotel room.
     
  5. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Are you really going to lug your 17" Macbook Pro up into the mountains, jungle, or lava flow? Probably not.


    You are right. Probably not.

    The biggest concern I have (and I knew this would become
    a huge problem once I get into DSLRs) is carry-on.

    I never, ever put electronic equipment in a suitcase I
    am checking at the airport. I have had shirts and DVDs
    stolen out of my luggage by the people that inspect checked
    luggage at the airport.

    I am certain there isn't one of you that parts with their
    expensive laptop, camera, camcorder when traveling.

    So, I need a carry-on that will hold all my electronic
    equipment. When covering events I won't just be bringing
    a laptop, DSLR and lenses -- but a camcorder as well.
    So, I am hoping that the CompuDayPack will take care
    of all that and meet the regulation size for carry-ons at
    the airport. It must easily stow in the overhead as well.

    I still need to look over all the other links to bags that
    all of you have provided above. Will do that today. In
    the meantime, really want to thank everyone for all the
    advice you have provided. This is going to be a fun
    group to talk photography with. You can be certain
    I will have lots of questions but I do promise to read
    and try to learn on my own.
     
  6. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    My God, that's a $50 strap. Looks beautiful.
    I suppose I really need to understand this hobby
    a little more to figure out why I need to go from
    the strap that comes with the camera to one that
    costs $50.
     
  7. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Really like the Fastpack 250 that Carlo recommended.

    Wonder if I could still travel with a normal carry-on to
    hold my laptop and camcorder and be able to slide
    the Fastpack 250 under the seat.

    Problem is, I don't think the airline allows two carry-ons.
     
  8. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Well-Known Member
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    Airlines allow a carry-on that stows in the overheard compartment and a "personal Item" that goes under the seat. That's how I was able to bring my photo backpack in addition to a laptop and other items (my toiletry bag, and additional electronics) without checking them. A standard laptop bag should fit under the seat without problem.

    Problem now is your clothes. I had to check my suitcase when normally I don't check anything. Fortunately Southwest doesn't charge for checked bags, but they are the exception these days.
     
  9. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Well-Known Member
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    I took a similar strategy at the Con. I used the backpack for transport to the event, but when I got there I off-loaded my core equipment to a belt system (which because it was Think Tank also integrated nicely with the backpack). I still had the backpack on my back, but the redistribution of weight was helpful.



     
  10. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    This seems to be chock-full of information.

    So, I need a nice backpack like the Fastpack 250
    which can hold my DSLR, two lenses, speedlight
    (and if I am lucky) my HD camcorder all in the overhead.

    Still thinking with all that gear and weight I might be better
    off going with a LowePro 2-strap regular backpack.

    This looks to be the best bet thus far:
    http://www.amazon.com/Lowepro-Flipside-300-Backpack-Black/dp/B000YA33DC

    (Thanks Scott Merryfield)

    (Looks like it will fit in carry-on bin)

    ...and a small bag to hold my 17" MBP plus a few
    odd items that will comfortably fit under the airline seat.


    Perhaps this:

    http://www.amazon.com/Hybrid-Messenger-Backpack-Laptop-Bag/dp/B000GHED9G
     
  11. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    You know why that strap is $50? Cause it's worth it =) Especially for sports and event shooting where you are run and gunning, putt camera to your face, shoot, drop and it settlers right on your backside right where a gun holster would be and you can rinse repeat.

    But if you go to PhotoPlusExpo in NYC in October you can get it there for about 25% off.
    http://www.photoplusexpo.com/

    Let me tell you how important PPE is to me. If I move to Maryland as expected I will be taking 3 days off from work that week to come home to my parents house to spend at least one day taking the train into NYC and humping it down to the Javits. It's my second favorite day of they year behind Christmas and no move is going to ruin this for me.
     
  12. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Well-Known Member

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    Ron the only one I'd steer you away from is that last one, the BumBakPak. For a laptop + DSLR that will be a lot of weight to either carry off to the side of your body, or on your bum (according to one of the pictures). For that much weight you want to evenly distribute it on your back. Heck, my least used bag is the one I bought first, which was a side bag built only for the camera + 2 lenses. That was too much weight on my hip and that's why I ended up buying the Velocity (which is lighter and can be used in a shoulder bag fashion) and the Fastpack 250. I personally would never use a side bag like that for anything with more than a combined weight of 5 lbs.
     
  13. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Sam,

    I'll consider the strap. Time will tell.

    I am down to two bags:

    The CompuDayPack is perfect for carry-on.
    It holds camera equipment and 17" laptop that
    I can secure in the overhead. I will not carry
    the 17" laptop around otherwise. Just need it
    for overhead bin travel.

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

    The downside to the CompuDayPack is that
    I get less storage space than the other bag I
    am considering, the Fastpack 300 which holds
    far more gear.

    http://www.amazon.com/Lowepro-Flipside-300-Backpack-Black/dp/B000YA33DC

    Of course, the answer to both these problems
    lies here....

    http://www.amazon.com/Lowepro-CompuRover-Camera-Bag-Black/dp/B000A2LA70/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1280685468&sr=8-1

    But at nearly $200 and a bag size that might dwarf me.


    Very tough choice which way to go.
     
  14. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    I think I narrowed my choice down to this one bag:

    http://www.amazon.com/Lowepro-Fastpack-350-Black/dp/B000YIWR8G

    The laptop portion will be used just for travel.

    I just need to find out if one, it will fit in an airplane
    overhead with ease and two, if when walking through
    large convention crowds that I am going to be
    slamming this thing into everyone.
     
  15. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Well-Known Member
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    FAA says the max size for most carriers overhead bins is 45 linear inches. The Fastpack 350 specs has it coming in at 44 inches.

    As far as wearing it in crowds, just don't make any sudden turns and you'll be fine. People walking behind you will naturally give you the space. If you're in the way of somebody, they'll let you know. Considering the numbers of people at Comic Con, I didn't have one instance of anyone being rude to me. They just tapped my bag and I knew I had to reposition myself to let them through.
     
  16. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Cameron,

    That advice has helped me immensely.

    I really like the Fastpack 350. It seems
    like the perfect travel bag to put my laptop
    and camera equipment in.

    The only thing I was really afraid of was
    the bulk on my back walking through crowds.
    However, you have sort of assured me that
    with proper knowledge of knowing how to move
    around people (no sudden turns) I should be
    fine.
     
  17. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    So, yesterday, the first of my photography
    shipments arrived. This one from Amazon.

    The LowePro Fastpack 350

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    My biggest concern when ordering this bag was that I needed a carry-on that would support a 17" Macbook Pro.
    Not only does my Macbook Pro fit in the sleeve, it does so with an additional bulky sleeve cover over the laptop.

    The second biggest concern was whether, being that I am a short (but loveable) 5'5" person that the bag would
    be so large that it would dwarf me.

    Fortunately, the bag is not as massive as some reviewers on other sites made it out to be. I think I will be able
    to properly fit the bag on my back. The only concern is weight. I don't plan to lug around the laptop other than
    transporting it from the airport to the hotel.

    Nice bag. Will take more pictures once my photography gear arrives (camera and all) later today.
     
  18. JohnRice

    JohnRice Well-Known Member

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    Lowe Pro makes good stuff. I have at least 3 of their bags, including one that is over 25 years old, which I still use for my DSLR outfit. Now, keep in mind, I did commercial work, no weddings or other high wear stuff, plus I take great care of my equipment and I rarely shot 35mm. Still, I've had that bag since High School.

    I finally had to replace the padding from the bottom of the bag because it simply turned to dust. Everything else is going strong, though the shoulder pad is beyond worn.
     
  19. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    Agreed, I really like Lowepro, Crumpler and Think tank all for different reasons. There is no perfect bag and most photographers will have a few. Trying to pin all your needs into a single bag will drive you mad.

    Again I'd reiterate my advice to Ron from the start. Get a messenger style for the shows and use that laptop carriers you usually do. =)
     
  20. JohnRice

    JohnRice Well-Known Member

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    I have 6 or 7 camera bags, from various sized shoulder bags to elaborate fanny pack types to backpacks, not including all the hard cases for the large format stuff. They tend to collect for various uses.
     

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