Think Tank Photo Bags (after the honeymoon)
Photographers have a hard time moving from equipment that they know, even bags for carrying photographic equipment can be a very hard decision unless you have the time to invest in getting a couple trying them out and then sending them back, or a nice big photo retailer that allows you to try out a wide selection in the store before you buy. I don’t really have either of those options as I wanted the bags that arrived to be the bags that I kept so ensued literally months of research to ensure that I came home with the bags that I needed/wanted to use going forward.
The bag being replaced was a Lowpro Toploader 75 bag which had served me for many years actually, until the zipper broke and it became nearly impossible to get the camera out quickly and stowed quickly often leaving the top flap open with the camera exposed for all to see. I’d buy from them again but wanted to try something new that left me in charge of my equipment in a different way also keeping my gear safe.
The biggest requirement that I had was one determined by my health, I needed a camera storage system that left the camera weight not on my shoulders. I have been suffering for years now from pain associated with how I hold my shoulders while at work and on the side lines of sporting events and while photographing weddings. A person’s shoulders should be allowed to relax, even while photographing events and I believe that I have now achieved that.
Thinktank photo bags has allowed me to design a photo bag storage system that brings with me the essential pieces of gear that I feel I need while keeping it protected and it’s weight not resting on my shoulders. I ended up purchasing Modular Set Component System which really is nearly everything that you could ever need or want so far as bags and holsters for your camera gear. After a couple of weddings and other events I can say that each portion of the set has it’s uses, I have used each portion for different purposes at different events. Don’t forget to get a belt to put the Modular Set Component System on, I purchased the Pro Speed Belt which I believe is why I continue to like the system so much, very comfortable. Originally I thought that I would really only want one setup and configuration and that hasn’t remained true.
Also wanting a bag to carry my camera when I’m not on the job I purchased Digital Holster 30 v 2.0 I don’t know what is version 2.0 about the bag but I can say that I have barely used it since getting the belt pack as well. The digital holster has it’s place in the camera bag arsenal but has some downfalls that I would also like to discuss. For one there simply isn’t enough space in this one bag for the standard objects that I would want to carry. It would take an additional item strapped onto the bag to make it functional. While traveling I like to keep with me one camera and one lens, this isn’t a problem in the Digital Holster. The things that I can’t keep with me in the digital holster include: filters, extra media, extra batteries are almost completely out of the question.
All in all I believe that the bags have been a wonderful change of pace from the bag what was being replaced but it hasn’t worked out exactly how I had planned it, there are many bag manufacturers out there and though many of them could have done the job but Think Tank was my choice and will remain with me for quite some time.
The Traveling Photographer
Unlike traveling with children on the airplane traveling with camera gear is much more easy than even I thought that it would be. Even with the size of my collection of equipment and it’s weight traveling to Oregon for the weekend has been a breeze and I would expect the same on any other travels, no matter the distance. I in fact think that my camera equipment travels better than I do as a six foot plus body really isn’t meant to be in the poorly designed plane seats.
Understanding the rules and regulations of travel with anything is key to traveling well. Pelican and other hard case makers understand the need for professionals of all types to travel with their gear, keep it safe, and arrive with it in hand. To that end Pelican has created a case, with wheels, that is the maximum size that most, and I have to emphasize MOST, airlines will except while traveling. Always check with the airline that you are going to be traveling with to ensure that your method of packing will comply with their regulations. I have linked some regulations pertaining to flying with gear below.
Going anywhere with camera equipment is a balancing game of wants versus needs to capture the experience, if you’re going to the mountains to photograph the tree’s you probably won’t be needing a telephoto lens unless you want just the tops or plan on shooting from one mountain to another. Likewise if you are going out to shoot wild life you won’t need to take your fisheye lens, unless you are out to photograph macro’s of some of the smaller biology in the forest. Take into account anything that could happen where you are going as well, will you be on a boat and will your camera float, or will you be dust storms, sand, or extreme heat. Under each condition your gear will take on different shapes and may have different limitations.
Often as photographers, hobbyist or even professionals at times, we will arrive at a location not knowing what would be best to have along, for situations like this you may find it best to have a small point and shoot that can accomplish a good cross section of the functionality of your gear while offering the size and portability of something that will fit in your pocket, you wouldn’t show up to a wedding with a point and shoot unless it was for a very specific purpose, likewise you wouldn’t go to photograph your third cousins’ twice removed birthday party with a full digital SLR kit unless you were really good friends or were being hired to do so.
Keep it light and keep it simple, that is the best way to travel with photographic related equipment. But always way sure that you have what you feel you may even want and if you find yourself packing anything more that one camera and one lens you may want to consider something with wheels.
Looking for a Camera?
Many people insist that their camera on their phone is enough for them, and while this may be true it wasn’t until recently that camera’s on phones offered a resolution better than the resolution of the screen on the phone itself, or the ability to off load the photographs to a computer or other medium for backup and though it is hard to beat the convenience of the camera phone it is hard to beat the quality of many other camera’s available to the every day consumer. Photographs are a way of self expression, memory preservation and documentation for many purposes. Consider this; many people would have more than enough camera if the camera’s were more suited to their uses, sports and wedding photographers such as myself need camera’s that respond on target every time without delay, landscape photographers need camera’s that preserve the beauty in front of the lens and mom’s and dad’s can often work with simple point and shoots.
The beauty of a dslr (digital single lens reflex) camera is that you have the ability to interchange your lenses and have a rather fast start up time and very little shutter lag. What do I mean about all of this? Simply put dSLR’s wither consumer, pro sumer, or professional are built with one thing in mind, speed and versatility. Very little time until recently has been put into efforts to make the camera’s beginner friendly, relegating their use to the experienced or casual use in hopes that the photographs would turn out well.
Their are many good things to be said about the use and availability of dSLR camera’s often though they can for their operator become bulky for the equipment needed to properly use one and expensive, enter the option for pocket sized camera’s. Which without the entire history is the topic of my post. Anything pocket sized is ready for use at almost a moment’s notice no matter where you are and there are many manufactures offering many different styles of camera’s to fit almost anyone’s needs or particular color taste; Canon, Nikon, Casio, Olympus and Samsung to mention just a few.
First rule of purchasing a camera, “Know what you’re getting in to” it is through research you find the things that you can live without and the things that you have to have a couple resources I have found useful over the years have been: dpreview.com, fred miranda, photo.net and people that are already owners of the camera that I like via reviews on sites that people use to purchase camera’s every day, be certain that you read the good and the bad to get a good view of the cameras limitations and strengths, some now even offer water proof digital camera’s.
While looking for a camera, if you have the time, take your time to ensure that you receive good information. The sales person at the local Best Buy may know what is new on the market and which camera is going to have the most MP (mega pixel), often however they won’t know what the lens relative focal distance and low light capabilities will be, their job is to sell you what ever is in the department that to which they have been assigned that day. Visit a local cameras shop, even if you are planning on ordering the camera online, their job is to match you with the camera that is within your budget and help you find the one that fits your need, especially if they are a small business. Mikes Camera, my local camera shop, has recently become competitive option to online purchases and may be well worth the trip to downtown Visalia.
For those of you looking for further recommendations on which camera would work best for you as a portion of your research please check out this site, they will be able to give you a couple of good recommendations that won’t break the budget.
The RStrap and Quickdraw Shooting
In the world of photography you need to be ready at a moments notice, this need for readiness usually comes with many different cameras hung from the shoulders with an arsenal of lenses also in the mix. While this provides a camera for every thing that may need to be photographed it may not provide the availability that is needed.
The RStrap from BlackRapid is an attempt at making the camera more available while still encouraging management of cameras on straps that are held over one shoulder. Check it out, if you are a sports photographer or ever carry more than 2 cameras on your shoulders I think that you will appreciate their product. http://www.blackrapid.com/
Here is a quick demo video on the RStrap.