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Okay, let's debate camera bags

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

  1. Cees Alons

    Cees Alons Moderator
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    Ron

    I second Man's suggestion to give the Kata line a look.

    I "discovered" these bags roughly a year ago, and I now own several: one or two to hold my gear during travel and a few (bigger ones) to serve as a concise storage at home for different "groups" of equipment.

    Works like a charm.


    Cees
     
  2. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Glad to hear you guys approve of Lowepro.

    Mann and Cees, thanks for the recommendation
    of Kata bags. Just went to the site. They look
    great.

    Kind of hard for me to take a serious look at
    them right now after just having bought a Lowepro,
    but I have bookmarked the the page for future
    reference when researching my next bag.

    Thanks again.
     
  3. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Having moved away from the idea of getting any sort of
    Double Strap system to hold my hear while at a trade show
    (though I will still probably buy the RS-5 Strap), I am now
    looking at bags that I can strap on my shoulder and carry
    around.
     
    I need a large, long bag that will hold not just a DSLR,
    two lenses and flash -- but a camcorder and batteries as well.
     
    Looking at BHPHOTO, one of the top rated consumer review
    bags is the Domke F-2 Shoulder Bag.
     
    I would probably consider this bag, that is, unless someone
    wants to share the name of a really nice bag they own.
     
    Another strong contender is the Think Tank Urban Disguise 60
    which holds a 17" laptop which makes it perfect as a carry-on
    and as a walkaround shoulder bag at a trade show.
     
     
    (May try to get out to B&H in another week or two)
     
  4. JohnRice

    JohnRice Well-Known Member

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    Ron, the Think Tank bag does not look like a genuinely functional bag to me. Something that is shaped to carry a laptop is not going to be properly shaped for camera equipment.
     
    That Domke bag is a classic, decades old design. I used that bag years (as in almost 30) ago, but had moved to a larger one, though I still have it. I have actually been planning to go back to that bag. It says it can handle two bodies, but it can't hold them with lenses installed, so not really. With digital that usually isn't a problem and you only have one body anyway. I would just move the center section to one side so you can put a body with lens facing up on the other side.
     
    Actually, now that I look at it closely, it will take two bodies with lenses so long as they aren't the very large bodies, but it is perfect for one body with lens, and a small video camera. That bag was originally made by a company called Atan here in Boulder, CO. They went out of business and sold their designs to Domke, as I recall. The Domke is built with tougher fabric. It is an excellent bag and I can't imagine you regretting having it. After all, I have kept it and another, smaller Atan bag for all these years.
     
  5. JohnRice

    JohnRice Well-Known Member

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    Ron, for your amusement, here are the bags I have for "Roll Film" cameras. The sheet film stuff goes in entirely different, much larger stuff. To put the size of these bags into perspective, the Domke bag you linked, which is hardly small, is the one in the front right. All together, there are 3 Atans (now Domke) and 3 Lowe Pros.
     
    [​IMG]
     
    The middle left bag is what I had been using for digital/35mm, but I will probably switch to the front right for digital only. I figured it was about time to take the 35mm stuff out. I use the rear right bag for my Bronica SQ-A medium format outfit. I am actually planning to start shooting film again for the first time in years and I plan on using it and some large format. That black MF bag is a beast. It weighs at least 40 lbs, but it has 8 lenses, probably 6-8 films backs, several hoods and filters, 2 viewfinders and so on. Bronica made GREAT cameras that are completely modular. There used to be a second body in the bag, but I took it out to accommodate several new lenses.
     
  6. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    You are correct. That's the problem.
     
    I bought the Fastback backpack (post #37) to solve two problems: How to carry lots of
    camera equipment and two, how to use it as a carry-on that will support a laptop. Nobody
    wants to check their laptop in their luggage. Too much chance for theft.
     
    Problem I face now is that the backpack is just not a good idea for use in a crowded
    trade show. I need something that can be slung on the shoulder.
     
    Yes, the Think Tank bag is not the best bag for all that I will need to put in it. However,
    it is the closes thing I could find that acts as the perfect carry-on for luggage and a 17"
    laptop. The airlines only allow one carry-on and a personal item. However, not certain
    I can get away with putting a Domke bag in the overhead bin and a 17" laptop under the
    seat (or perhaps I can).
     
    What do you think?
    And, what bag did you get that is larger than the Domke. I might consider that.
    Thanks
     
  7. JohnRice

    JohnRice Well-Known Member

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    That's exactly what I would try to do. Do you want to carry the laptop around with the camera all the time? I sure wouldn't. I don't see any bag that carries a laptop being convenient and functional for camera equipment to be carried used and accessible.
     
  8. Michael_K_Sr

    Michael_K_Sr Well-Known Member

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    Probably each airline has its own interpretation of one overhead item and one personal item, but on Southwest I am able to board with both an extra large duffel (with my Tamrac Velocity 7x and photo equipment nested inside) and a Brenthaven backpack that holds my MacBook Pro and a bunch of other stuff. You don't want to check your laptop or photo gear not just because of theft, but because there's a very good chance that equipment will be damaged during transit.
     
  9. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Thanks for sticking with me on this, guys. Thank you Michael.
     
    Think I found the answer then. Buy a functional bag and
    board with a separate 27" laptop bag.
     
    John, getting back to my original question....
     
    Do you recommend the Domke bag for my DSLR,
    camcorder, two lenses and a flash or should I go with
    something slightly bigger? I see a bigger bag in your
    photo. What would you recommend? Remember, it
    has to be able to fit in the overhead.
     
     
  10. JohnRice

    JohnRice Well-Known Member

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    Ron, that Domke bag should work great. It will easily hold all your equipment. I don't know what Lowe Pro currently makes, but the smallest bag I have from them (the blue/grey on middle left) is called "Magnum 35", so I'm sure they changed the name. It is much larger than you need. There is a basic design difference between Lowe Pro and Domke to consider. Lowe Pros have thicker padding (maybe too thick) and it is everywhere, including the top and all the side pockets. Domke uses minimal padding, with none on the top. This makes their bags small and efficient, but you need to be more careful. Everything on Lowe Pro also zips shut. Again, that is both good and bad. Better protection, but slower access. Neither is right or wrong and each has its advantages and disadvantages. When I was in high school and my camera use was more rapid and "journalistic", I used the Atan/Domke. Once I got to college and my use was more "commercial", deliberate and slow paced, I switched to the Lowe-Pro.
     
  11. JohnRice

    JohnRice Well-Known Member

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    One other thing Ron. With the Domke bag, you might be able to put a padded laptop carrier on top of the camera equipment, then strap the top cover over it and put it all in the overhead. That just might be the best of all options, but the only way to know is to physically try it.
     
  12. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    John,
     
    You have been tremendously helpful.
     
    Think I will go with the Domke bag and a fairly cheap
    laptop bag that I can put under the seat.
     
    Thanks
     
  13. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    If I need a slightly larger Domke bag there is also the F-1X Shoulder Bag
    that should guarantee a nice fit for all my equipment
     
  14. JohnRice

    JohnRice Well-Known Member

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    Ron, that is a very large bag, and it seems to be designed not so much for more stuff as for bigger stuff. It looks to me like it could hold a medium format camera or the large digital cameras. You don't want the compartments so large that your camera rattles around loose. My gut feeling is the F2 is the better fit.
     
  15. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    John, you own the F2, right?
     
    You are absolutely sure it will hold:
     
    * Nikon D90
    * Two lenses: 18-55 and 70-300
    * Speedlight
    * HD Camcorder
    * Batteries
     
  16. JohnRice

    JohnRice Well-Known Member

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    Ron, I'm making no guarantees.
     
    I was just switching my digital stuff over to it. Right now it has a D200 w/18-70mm, SB-600, a Minolta hand held light meter, a 20-35mm, 70-180mm, 200-400mm and batteries and there are still some outer pockets open. It depends on the size of your video camera, but I expect my 200-400 is larger than it is. Everything is snug, as it should be, but not overly tight.
     
  17. JohnRice

    JohnRice Well-Known Member

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    Of course, there is probably no real drawback to the larger bag. The cameras may be a little less cramped. That was a modification Domke did and it wasn't available when I got mine.
     
  18. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    John,
     
    Here is a picture of my Sony HC1 (which is 5 years old)
     
    [​IMG]
     
    I would say about 7.5 length and 3.5 height
     
    You gave me a lot to consider. Definitely the Domke bag. Just
    have to figure out if the Domke F2 will be big enough of I have to
    go to the F-1X. If I go with the larger bag I will probably add foam
    inserts to protect the gear.
     
    John, you have been a Godsend.
     
  19. JohnRice

    JohnRice Well-Known Member

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    Ron, as I recall that larger bag is no taller or deeper, just a bit longer. I believe the padded 4 compartment insert is the same on both. So, you end up with more camera room at either end. There probably isn't any real down side to that, so the larger bag probably isn't a bad idea.
     
  20. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Well-Known Member

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    At ~3.5" x ~7.5", the camcorder would be quite close to the dimensions of a 70-200 f/2.8 telezoom -- but probably a good bit lighter and not as strong. Maybe that would help put it into perspective for a camera bag choice.
     
    _Man_
     

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