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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 Founder
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    Bought the Domke F2. Should have it tomorrow.
    I regret purchasing the Lowepro Fastpack 350. I loaded
    it up with gear and laptop today to see how it would be
    traveling, and not only is it VERY heavy on the back but
    I look like a complete dork wearing it because I am only
    5'4" and this backpack dwarfs me.
     
    I'm sorry, but when I travel, I kind of like doing it
    executive style with the roller carry-on.
     
    I can't return the Fastpack 350. I might just try and
    sell it. I know I don't want it.
     
    In its place I'll probably buy a nice carry-on photography
    suitcase like the ThinkTank Airport Security 2.0. However,
    at the price they are asking, I'm going to save up for it.
     
  2. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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    Made a little money today.
     
    Sold some of my old camera gear to Adorama in NYC.
     
    They also bought my Lowepro Fastpack350 backpack
    though I took a bit of a loss on it.
     
    Also got my Domke F2 bag. Haven't opened the box
    yet but I'll talk more about it over the next week or two
    as I put it to the test at Cedia.
     
     
     
     
  3. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Executive Producer
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    I'm curious how the F2 worked for you in the convention hall. I recently used mine, but at a significantly less crowded location.
     
  4. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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    Been meaning to come back to this thread, I apologize.

    The Domke F2 worked out beautifully.

    I had to store it in my carry-on as to date I don't have
    carry-on luggage that can support camera gear. However,
    strangely, that worked out okay. It just sacrificed a lot of
    room in the carry-on bag.

    John Rice and the rest of you that predicted that the
    F6 bag would be too big were right. The Domke F2 fit
    everything I needed -- and it was quite a bit. I had my
    camera, an extra zoom lens, my camcorder, speedlight,
    diffuser and batteries all stored quite comfortably in there.

    The only problem was the weight on the shoulders. The
    bag did become rather heavy, but that can be relieved by
    the purchase of a shoulder pad for the strap. Will be doing
    that soon.

    I bought the sand colored bag, and I must say it's quite
    attractive. Received a few compliments on the bag
    whilst out at Cedia. Additionally (and thankfully) it's
    rather low profile so it doesn't look like you are carrying
    around a huge amount of stuff.

    The crowds were not a problem. There really wasn't any.
    Anyone I bumped into was at the shoulder and the bag
    never got in the way of anything.

    Really have to thank you guys for pushing me not to
    get the bigger bag. The Domke F2 is just perfect.

    (You can barely see it on my shoulder in these two photos)

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  5. JohnRice

    JohnRice Executive Producer

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    Ron, I guess you're finding out why that bag has been a staple of photojournalists for almost 30 years.
     
  6. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Executive Producer
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    Glad to hear Ron. I love my Domke bags for both aesthetics and functionality. I wish they were a little cheaper to buy...but seeing how long John's have lasted I have no real reason to complain. Plus, I managed to get my sand colored F2 for a mere $50 from a retired guy with too much time on his hands.

    I think of the Domke models, the one I'm most enamored with is the F5 series. I love both the sizes and shapes, particularly of the more square bags. I've had my eye on the F5-xa, but can't really justify it, though it would complete my collection of the F5 set.

    As far as a shoulder pad, I have the Domke mailman pad but I think it is actually less comfortable than the strap by itself. I bought a uniform thickness Timbuk2 strap pad, and I think I like it better. Since it was relatively inexpensive, I also picked up the shoulder harness, but I have yet to use it on a hike or long transport trek.
     
  7. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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    Cameron, you are recommending I pick up the Timbuk2
    strap instead of the mailman pad for the Domke 2?
     
  8. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Executive Producer
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    I think it's a YMMV thing. My shoulder / neck muscles have always been a little sensitive, so the asymmetrical shape of the Domke pad results in uneven pressure on the muscles, which is more uncomfortable to me over the long run with heavier loads. I actually have the Domke pad on a much lighter bag and that seems to work fine.
     
  9. Steven P

    Steven P Auditioning

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    Hey, Ron,

    I realize this post is a few months old. I'm currently using a Lowepro backpack for my D200 and lenses, but have been thinking about one of their larger camera bags. Have you considered them? Did you end up buying one?
     
  10. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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    Steven,

    I bought the Lowepro Fastpack 350 and ended up selling it.

    At first, I liked the idea of having a laptop and camera bag
    that I could strap on my back. Thought it was the perfect
    carry-on for flying.

    However, I got it and just let it sit for a month before I
    packed it up with gear and tried it on. That was a huge
    mistake. By the time I realized it wasn't what I wanted
    the 30 day return period was over.

    The first problem is that I am a short guy at 5'5".
    The bag pretty much dwarfed me. I think these backpacks
    tend to look better on taller guys. I looked in the mirror and
    there was just this awfully bulky backpack behind me. What
    worried me also was the consequences of turning around
    real quickly and knocking someone with the bag who happened
    to be in my peripheral.

    Finally, the weight was a huge concern. The bag, loaded,
    was very heavy. I have back problems as is and I just
    couldn't bear to think the burden I would be placing on my
    backside with such a huge bag.

    So, I lost a bit of money on the sale of my Fastpack.
    However, if you are confident that such a bag is right for
    you I can vouch for the quality of the Lowepro bags. They
    are very well made.
     
  11. Ed Moxley

    Ed Moxley Cinematographer

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    I bought this bag this morning, from Best Buy: http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Nikon+-+Case+for+Most+Digital+SLR+Cameras+-+Black/9463582.p?id=1218108990108&skuId=9463582 I had just bought my D7000 at a camera store, and didn't see anything there I really liked. Their's were more expensive too. My wife and I had seen this one the day before, and liked it, so I went and got it. Now I need enough stuff to fill it up!
     
  12. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Executive Producer
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    Well, over three years later and I'm curious how people's bag use has changed (or not).

    I'm still most frequently using my Domke F-5 bags, either the "B" or "C" model.

    My favorite bag of all has actually turned out to be a rather unexpected one. It's the ThinkTank Modular Pouch (now replaced by the Little Stuff It). I believe I got it as a free item with purchase, but it has turned out to be one my most versatile bags. I use it to hold my Olympus XZ-1 compact camera, but the cool thing about it is how many ways I can attach it to other bags. It doesn't matter what primary bag I'm using, there's bound to be a way to attach the Modular Pouch due to its number of external eye loops, velcro straps and flaps. Of course I can also carry it by itself, either clutch style or by simply adding a shoulder strap.

    Unfortunately the Little Stuff It doesn't appear to have the same complement of attachment options, though I've considered picking one up to make a full comparison. While ultimately not as versatile as the original, if you're looking for bag for your compact camera or other DSLR acccesories, be sure to check out the Little Stuff It.
     
  13. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    Can't recommend Think Tank high enough. Since my post talking about picking it up back in 2010 the Urban Disguise has become my workhorse and it's been around the world with me:
    http://www.thinktankphoto.com/products/urban-disguise-35-v2.aspx

    I like to travel light, usually just the D4 and 24-70. But when I need to stuff it I can fit all of this in there:
    D4
    24-70
    70-300 & 85 108 in one side
    SB800 and giottos rocket blower in the other
    3+ Pocketwizards
    R Strap
    iPad and / or 13" Macbook Air
    Memory Cards, cables and business cards
    A bottle of water on the side

    And the back pouch has a clever zipper that lets you create a flow through it which lets me mount the whole bag on top of my rolling luggage so I can zip through the airport without it stuck over my shoulder.

    Alternatively I can do the 70-200 and the 24-70 but that makes putting the speedlight in there tough.

    I take it everywhere and the fabric on it is TOUGH. It looks brand new today.
     
  14. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    Still using my 5-6-yo Kata T-214 slingbag. Doesn't fit quite as much as Sam's Think Tank, but it suits me very well. And it's still in great shape although I haven't been lugging out nearly as often the past couple years due to working mostly from home. Took a look at Sam's Think Tank and do wonder though if those metal rings used for the strap (on the bag itself) will wear out and break after a few years (like what happened to my previous Tamrac hybrid sling/torso bag). My Kata bag doesn't use metal rings for that -- then again, its strap is not replaceable either. I also keep my iPad in the Kata's back compartment -- not sure if it'd work well for a thin 10" laptop. Can fit a 70/80-200 f/2.8 very snuggly next to DSLR+17-55 f/2.8 plus another small lens in main compartment -- I also stick my midsize rocket blower in there though not sure how well a fullframe DSLR+comparable widezoom would fit. The main compartment uses velcro (de)attachable material and comes w/ an attachable little pocket for memory cards and such besides the separaters. Can also fit a speedlight (along w/ some small items like an extra battery) in the additional front/accessories compartment._Man_
     
  15. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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    The Domke F2 has become my lightweight bag of choice.

    Been very happy with it since my purchase.

    Nice to revisit this thread again.
     
  16. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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    Well, three years later I still own the Lowepro Flipside 300 backpack. However, I added a Lowepro Flipside 400AW early this year because I needed more room for a week long trip to Glacier National Park. I can fit two bodies (Canon 5D3 + 7D) and four lenses -- 17-40L, 24-105L, 100-400L and 40mm pancake. There is also room for my Lee filters and other accessories (batteries, charger, memory cards, etc.). Finally, the pack is still small enough to fit either under an airline seat or in the overhead compartment of the smaller regional planes, which is a requirement for me. I hiked all over Glacier N.P. with it on my back with no issues, and also took it to Myrtle Beach last week.

    I did upsize my messenger bag to a bigger Tamrac that will allow me to bring my 5D3 and three prime lenses, plus my external flash.

    I tried a Lowepro Flipside 500AW backpack last year, but found it to be too large for my needs. I still need to sell it -- I only used it once.
     
  17. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Studio Mogul

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    Sadly, my camera gear now takes 3 bags to contain it all (not counting the mic stand bag that holds my light stands and umbrella softboxes). I need to figure out how to get my stuff to fit in 2 bags if possible, but I'm finding it to be a tough proposition if I have to travel by air with the stuff nowadays. One bag is the Case Logic SLRC-206 (holds my 2 camera bodies and 4 lenses), another is an older Lowepro Slingshot 200AW (holds flashes and triggers, etc), and the misc. 3rd bag (misc. AA batteries, light meter, more speedlites, modifiers for speedlites, my EOS M bodies, etc.) is just a gym bag (Transformers promo give-away).
     
  18. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Executive Producer
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    Have you thought about getting a rolling bag to replace the slingshot and maybe the gym bag?

    I just noticed the Streetwalker HD went up in price by $50! I'm glad I bought it when I did, though the occasions to carry so much stuff are rare.
     
  19. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Studio Mogul

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    Sort of. I can almost get by with the backpack and 1-2 lightstands if I want to travel light, and add the slingshot for the 2nd body, and leave the gym bag in the car. The rolling bag option has pro's/con's (can't roll it everywhere, backpack is heavy when worn all the time).
     
  20. rich_d

    rich_d Cinematographer

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    I'm another fan of the Sling Shot or sling bags in general. At first, I thought, "Will this be comfortable et cetera?

    I actually found it to be more comfortable than a conventional backpack and the ability to simply twist the pack around to your front and get to your gear WITHOUT setting the bag down is wonderful. I still don't know why the bag stays so well on my back ... it just does.
     
    Patrick Sun likes this.

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