Camera bag advice.

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Corry, Mar 20, 2006.

  1. Corry

    Corry Flirtacious and Bodacious Supporting Member

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    Helloooo...I've been considering investing in a new camera bag.

    The one I have now isn't too bad, and it's absolutely AMAZING and hard to believe what I can fit into it. Unfortunately...I'm not going to be able to fit much more, if any at all, so I think I'll need to look into a new one soon.

    The one I have now is the messenger bag/slung over one shoulder type, and it fits both my cameras, five lenses (you'd never believe it!), battery charger, two spare batteries, mini tripod, a few rolls of film, and various other small accessories...

    ...but, besides the fact that I'll soon run out of space, as you can imagine, it's quite heavy, and absolutely KILLS my shoulder after a while.

    I was thinking about possibly getting a backpack style, thinking maybe that'll be easier on my shoulder. Well, I when I was shopping yesterday I saw a Ritz Camera, so I went in so I could look at some bags first hand. NONE of the backpack style ones would fit more than one camera plus all my lenses (at least not in the compartment that is cushioned and protected)...not even the rather large looking ones.

    So...I'd like some opinoins, and some answers to a few questions.

    1) For those that have used both styles...does the backpack style put less strain on your back and shoulders?

    2) If so, do you know of any particular backpack style bag that might actually fit all of the stuff I listed above?

    3) Which style do YOU prefer? (and why)

    Thanks!!!!
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Firstly, even if you do get a bigger bag, it will soon be filled...we tend to pack as much as we can. My solution is to have a few different bags and use the one that is best suited to the situation.

    I do have a backpack style bag, it's the Lowepro Computrekker AW. It's a fair size bag, but storage space is still at a premium. Like you, I also found that most backpack bags (at the local store) were fairly small and not big enough for my needs.

    I got the Computrekker (with the laptop area) even though I don't have a lap top. It was actually cheaper than the same sized bags without the lap top area. It also has a fair sized compartment for stuff like clothes or lunch etc. That was a high on my priority list.

    The more expensive backpacks, do support the weight quite well. I'm sure the top brands are all pretty good but I've always been impressed by Lowepro. Some of the 'hiking' packs are really good, with big padded waist straps. Mine has smaller waist straps...but I can also zip them back into the bag so they are out of the way.

    One thing I don't like about most camera backpacks (the good sized ones anyway) is that they are big on your back...and because they are so solid, it sticks way out...making it awkward in tight or crowded areas.

    Backpack are definitely more comfortable than a should style bag...especially the longer you carry it. However, it is less convenient to access. You have to take the bag off, find a level place to open it, then get your gear. With a shoulder bag, you can just open the top and get at your gear. You can even leave the top open while you carry it.

    The worst part about the backpack is the orientation of how you put the gear in. If the bag is upright, the gear will almost fall out, if the bag is open. Or you can lay it down on the straps but that's not always what you want to do. With a shoulder bag, the bottom is the bottom...you can set it down in the mud if you really have to.

    All in all, I'm glad I did purchase my computrekker and I use it as my primary camera bag...but there are definitely some situations when I prefer to take either my large shoulder bag, my medium shoulder bag...or even my Lowepro TZ-1, which holds only the camera batteries and cards, rather than the backpack.

    Oh, I forgot to mention the AW (all weather) part of my bag. It's fantastic. The fabric is somewhat water resistant and the zippers are covered fairly well. When it starts raining, I just pull out the built-in rain cover. Worked like a charm in the rainforests of Costa Rica.
     
  3. zedin

    zedin TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    I would basically mirror everything BigMike said. The backpacks are great if you are going to be going any distance but suck in terms of quick access to your gear. I have a lowepro pro trekker which is great since it holds all my gear (plus some raingear and water =p). The frame for it and the super trekker are nice since it does remove a lot of the wieght but again.. you are paying for space by loss of easy access. The other option is to combo them..When hiking I often keep my camera and main lens in a top load holster type bag that is attached to my backpacks waistband. So I am pretty much good to go for normal stuff but still have everything I need if the situation arises.
     
  4. Corry

    Corry Flirtacious and Bodacious Supporting Member

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    Mike, do you know that you are the absolute best advice giver ever known to man? Seriously!

    The one you have actually looks like it might fit my stuff. It's not like the ones I was looking at last night. The ones I was looking at last night had a section in the bottom that was cusioned really well, and had room for a camera and maybe 3 lenses max, then there was a section in the top that and quite a bit of space, but wasn't padded. And the bottom was the bottom in those, not ones you lay flat like the one you linked too. Hmmm...that might actually work. Problem is, I'd like to find one that I can actually see and touch (not online) before I buy it so I can make absolute sure it'll fit all my stuff! (there aren't many camera stores in my area...the one I was at yesterday was a Ritz Camera in a mall two hours away).

    Thanks Mike!

    Anyone else?
     
  5. ShutteredEye

    ShutteredEye TPF Noob!

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    Corry, I have a Tamrac 5575 Expedition 5, just got it last night, so I'm pretty stoked about it. It has TONS of room in it!

    This thing has some serious padding, and it has lots of neat little "why didn't i think of that" features--like a drawstring weather proof strip that snugs down over the zippers to keep rain out. And flaps over the inside zippers to keep them from scratching your stuff.

    The compartments are velcro adustable, so you make it fit what you want. And the tripod is secured outside by three click straps while the feet stuff into their own pocket.

    Oh, and my biggest pet peeve is low quality back pack zippers. I fought forest fires for 2 years, and used Osprey packs ($$$$), and believe me when I say the zippers make a huge difference. Now I use UpHillDown packs ($$ hand made) for school. The zippers on the Tamrac are close in quality to these other backpacks. BIG thumbs up for me.
     
  6. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I know the small backpacks you are talking about Corey, with the camera gear below. I thought that was what I wanted when I was checking them out on-line. But when I actually saw them, they were just too small.

    I wouldn't want to buy on, without trying it out first. Especially a backpack, which you want to try on. Luckily, my local camera chain has plenty of bags on hand, to try out.

    I don't know what to tell you. I'm guessing you want a new bag for your D.C. trip. Maybe you will have to wait until you get there, and visit a large camera store. Maybe you can convince your Ritz to order in a few different bags for you to try...then buy the one you like best.
     
  7. Corry

    Corry Flirtacious and Bodacious Supporting Member

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    Yup...looking for DC. The last time I had my bag over my shoulder for a long period of time was when Erik and I went to the zoo over the summer. When we were leaving I got to a point where both my shoulders hurt SO BAD that even though we were on our way out, and it was probably only a 10 minute walk, I just could NOT carry it anymore. Thankfully Erik can be a gentleman sometimes and he took carried it for me. :p I DON'T want my shoulders to hurt so bad, and I DON'T want to have to ask someone else (even my own boyfriend) to carry my pack for any length of time. I'm already thinking about walking around with the damn thing on for a couple hours every few days to strengthen my flippin shoulders!!! :lol: Yes, I know...I'm pathetic.
     
  8. Corry

    Corry Flirtacious and Bodacious Supporting Member

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    Ok, so the space problem I can handle easy enough I guess, if only I could find a way to make my current bag easier on my shoulder...Does anyone know if it's possible to find just a strap? One that's soft and cushy and helps with the pain in the shoulder, like the TPF camera strap does with my camera!? I've never seen just a strap sold, but if I could find something like that, it would be the best route for me financially and otherwise.
     
  9. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I've seen straps in luggage shops, maybe even in camera stores. Maybe even Wal-mart or some other big store like that.

    Have you seen those foam pads that slip onto a seat belt? Maybe something like that could be put onto your camera bag strap.

    Come to think of it, I could probably get something made up in our factory here at work. We use nylon webbing of all kinds, and we have clasps, & snaps & hooks etc. All I would have to do, would be to figure out a way to make a pad for the shoulder....
     
  10. Corry

    Corry Flirtacious and Bodacious Supporting Member

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    Hmmm...well I think I'll put off looking for a new camera bag til I can figure out if I can find a comfortable strap to replace the crap one I have.

    BTW...my current bag (can't even remember the brand...an off brand, I think) was one I bought for $24 on Ebay...I got LUCKY that it's really only the strap that I don't like!
     
  11. Corry

    Corry Flirtacious and Bodacious Supporting Member

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    WOOHOOOO!!! LOOK WHAT I FOUND ALREADY!!!

    http://www.the-gadgeteer.com/review/bag_strap_review

    A REVIEW page with a bunch of straps for bags!! Some are Op/tech JUST LIKE THE CAMERA STRAP!!! I think I'll go with this for now!!!

    Thanks for all the advice everyone! You guys rock!
     

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