If you are like me, you likely have a lot of camera bags and don’t want to hear of more, but I have one more to tell you about.
I have backpacks, shoulder bags, rolling bags, hard cases, soft-cases and still others. I have been on the never-ending quest for a camera bag I can really like.
For several years I have been leading workshops to numerous locations around the globe. I have seen just about every camera bag you can imagine. I see workshop attendees hauling 40-50 pounds of gear on their backs and photographers walking around in vests with every pocket full of lenses and filters. Most of them are overloaded with gear.
I used to be like these photographers. That is until my back started protesting. Maybe it’s old age, pinched nerves and all the things that go with carrying heavy loads on one’s back for so long. I thought there had to be a better way.
Not too long ago I reviewed the Think Tank Airport Navigator rolling bag. This case has served me well. These days I’m shooting with the Sony a7r II and related lenses and my whole kit fits nicely into this rolling case. I carry 2 bodies with Vertical grips, and a full ranges of lenses, chargers, cords and even an Apple MacBook Pro on occasions. I also use the GuraGear Chobe 19-24L bag that sits on top of this roller for my laptop, iPad, and paperwork .
This is the set up I use to get to destinations. It is easy to roll around an airport and, best of all it takes a load off my back. And, it fits neatly into the overhead storage of airplanes.
When I get where I am going, I can use the GuruGear Chobe as a bag to carry gear. However, I have found what I consider to be one of the best field bags ever; for the last year I have used this Pacsafe Camsafe Venture V8 bag.
Once I get to the area I am photographing, I load up my Pac Safe bag with what I will need for that location. My typical set up is a bottle of water on the outside of the Pacsafe, 3 lenses in the Pacsafe bag and one lens on my camera. The outside zipper pocket holds extra batteries, SD Cards, lens cloth, filers, business cards, Allen wrenches and a multi tool. I also include a small table top tripod in one o the outside pockets.
The bag itself, as you can see in the video, is quite well built with a beautiful interior compartment with Velcro dividers and flaps.
I carry a 70-200mm plus 2 other lenses easily in this bag. There is a double zipper securing the top opening. So, if you are going to be doing changes of lenses frequently, just secure the cover with the Velcro and bypass the zipper. There are numerous safeguards built in that make this very good street photographer’s bag. The shoulder strap has steel wire running through it. There are zipper locks too which discourages the cut and grab attempts to steal your bag.
I place the strap on my right shoulder, and then across my body, so the padded bag sits on my left hip, which is very comfortable. These days I am shooting with lighter Mirrorless systems and the total weight is a fraction of what I used to carry. These systems are the Sony, Fuji and Olympus cameras. They all fit beautifully into this bag.
While in the field I use a Blackrapid camera strap. I put the PacSafe bag over my right shoulder crossing my body allowing it to ride on my left hip and then the Black Rapid strap that crosses over from my left shoulder keeping the camera at my right hip. See photo at the top of this page.
Lately I have been attaching my camera to the Pac Safe with a Capture Camera Clip from Peak Designs. This is a very cool set up. I put a Peak Design plate on the bottom of the camera and it clips in and out of the holder. There is a locking mechanism that is easily released by pushing the red button. I also use the Cuff from Peak Design so the camera is secured around my wrist when holding the camera. This is a fast and secure rig.
I like this bag a lot and it makes it very easy to shoot in the field, since the gear can be reached really easily. Walking distances with this set up is so easy. When traveling I pack the bag with clothes and such and stash it in my duffle bag. When I arrive at the hotel I unpack it and load it up with the gear needed. You can purchase this bag from Travelsmith who usually has a good price on it or from B&H.
Rethink what you carry and how you carry it. My back is thanking me for ‘taking a load off’.
Bag Specs: 9.5 x 5.25 x 12.5 inches, 1 lb. 4 oz. Shoulder strap adjusts from 39 to 59 inches.
As of the publication of this article Peak Designs has offered a new type of camera bag through a very successful Kickstarter campaign. I signed on board the first day. The delivery of the bag is slated for December and I’ll do a review of the bag when it is delivered.