My Camera Bag

I now use a ThinkTank bag, a Restrospective 20. I had been previously a heavy user of LowePro bags, and started with one of their camera bags, not bad kit, served me well in the past. As I outgrew this bag, I tried Kata bags, and although I could now get all of my growing kit into it, it was quite uncomfortable to carry around (Lowe beats Kata hands down here).

Why did I move to ThinkTank, mainly because it didn’t look like a camera bag, so slightly less obvious. The reviews were favourable, so I took a chance. I can now carry the majority of the kit I need in one bag, with a reasonable degree of comfort.

So what do I have in my bag?

  • Camera, with battery foot and single lens.
  • PocketWizard TT5 radio triggers x 3
  • PocketWizard AC-3
  • Speedlights x 2
  • A full set of Gels, and Peter Honl Speedstraps
  • A Peter Honl Speedlight Grid
  • Charger and power cable for the camera batteries
  • Lastolite Collapsible White Balance card
  • Moleskin notebook (love the way these feel in your hand)
  • Spare Eye Cup
  • Spare charged camera battery
  • 2 x pens
  • 1 Tb hard drive and USB cable
  • Remote cable trigger
  • IR remote trigger
  • BlackRapid Strap
  • Lens cloth and pen
  • Phottix speedlight dome diffuser x 1
  • Sometimes, I also carry my spare rechargeable batteries as well – (12 x 2450mha) in a battery caddy.

This is quite a lot of gear when you lay it all out, but the Retrospective 20 swallows this all up with ease. As a result I am now a convert… I would strongly recommend the ThinkTank for serious consideration. Please review very carefully how you plan to use the bag, and what you need to carry… And judge accordingly… (that is beginning to sound quite sensible in my old age…)

Now when I need to travel really light I have been using these camera slings. I started with a sunslinger, but that would not handle the weight of my camera, it’s battery foot, and fast glass… The shock absorber simply went limp, and the strap just started to wear heavily… Then I tried a BlackRapid RS-7. Now this was a little more substantial. My only annoyance was that the strap at the rear would allow the pad to wander, which became quite distracting… But the wear rates were impressive (the camera was on me most of the time)…

I bumped into Kurt Peterson, (one of the senior management team at BlackRapid) at GPP 2012 and congratulated him on such a great product. The benefits still far outweighed the annoyances… And recounted my tale above. Kurt is a consummate professional and allowed me to vent… When we finished he recommended that I try an RS-Sport strap, and I must admit he was absolutely right, I hadn’t noticed previously, but when leaning forward with the old strap, I would instinctively reach back to catch the camera as gravity pulled it round. Not so with the RS-Sport strap. Camera stays where it is… My hand still moves round to catch something that isn’t there, old habits die hard… Kurt is an absolute star, and a genuinely nice guy, if you get the chance, introduce yourself, you will be better for it…

The strap simply does what it is designed to do, comfortably and without any fuss… Another simple device, simple in design and concept, perfectly executed. Now the female club members would really like a female cut strap on the RS-Sport please…? Is this likely to appear on the horizon?

Battery caddy, if you go completely portable you are at the mercy of the dreaded batteries… Plenty of articles out there regarding the care and choice of batteries, I am not going to go there. What I will say is how you carry the batteries, which few people touch on… Batteries if shorted will discharge themselves… A 1.5v AA battery can start a fire… You need to take care of how you transport these items, very good care… I am using the power cell battery caddies designed for air crew by PowerPax. Simple firm polythene cages that protect the batteries whilst storing them. They come is quite a few colours and sizes. I try to stick to just AA size, and I have a 12 battery caddy. Another very tidy designed item that does its job with little fuss… Another happy camper… Job well done…

 

Update:

I have now received a ThinkTank Airport International V2.0 as a gift, as my travel plans are now more flight, than foot, based. I cannot recommend this company highly enough. Photographers bags designed by photographers for photographers. The experience was flawless and painless. Even the wheels roll as smoothly as silk… an absolute joy to use… Strongly recommended…

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