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Photography Question 
Leisa Allen
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/7/2007
 

Backpack or Camera bag


Hey guys,
I'm in the market for a new camera bag and am wondering if any of you have the camera backpacks that I've seen in the photo magazines lately. Are they really functionable? I am a little worried that I will have to whip the pack off, and fumble around with it everytime I need my camera. What are some good camera bags?


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8/21/2007 11:39:18 AM

 
Christopher A. Vedros
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/14/2005
  I use Tamrac bags for all my photo gear. I like their modular system, and have several MAS and SAS cases and pouches for lenses and accessories that can attach to the sides or straps of my bags.

I have an Expedition 3 Backpack that I bought a couple years ago. If I were shopping today, I would get a larger one, since I have larger lenses now. I've used it on a couple of trips, and you're correct, it takes some maneuvering to get the pack off and get the camera in or out of the bag. Most of the time, I would keep my camera in my hand or slung on my shoulder, and only put it away when I had to. The backpack is useful when I need to have a bunch of equipment with me, just in case I need it.

Most of the time, I use a Tamrac Explorer 2 shoulder bag. This is a holster-style bag that can also convert to a belt holster. I typically keep the camera in the bag with a 24-70mm lens attached, a 70-200mm lens in an MAS lens case attached to one side, and my flash in an MAS pouch attached to the other side.

Chris A. Vedros
www.cavphotos.com


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8/21/2007 3:18:57 PM

 
Leisa Allen
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/7/2007
  Thanks Chris! As always you help me make the decision I was already leaning toward. =) I went with the Tamrac bag instead of the back pack. Have you ever taken your equipment on an airplane? Will they let me carry on all my camera gear?


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8/22/2007 6:37:28 AM

 
Christopher A. Vedros
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/14/2005
  Yes, I've taken my camera gear on lots of planes, and I ALWAYS carry it on with me. The only thing that I will pack in my checked luggage is a tripod or monopod if I'm bringing one.

X-ray machines pose no danger to digital cameras or memory cards, but allow yourself a little extra time at security in case they decide to hand-inspect your bag.

Which Tamrac bag did you decide to get?

Chris A. Vedros
www.cavphotos.com


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8/22/2007 7:56:46 AM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  Yep. Tamrac makes good products, including what some refer to as "kitchen sink" packs that you can carry tons of camera gear in but not much personal stuff.

My buddy Richard at http://www.kgear.com/ also makes all sorts of pacs and bags and belts and accessories that handle both camera and personal stuff at the same time. I travel nearly every week and Rich's stuff is made to fit under airplane seats and fit the scanners (Larger Tamrac bags, including their roll-ons, I believe, conform to the airline specs as well).
Take a look and take it light. ;>)
Mark


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8/22/2007 8:11:02 AM

 
Suzanne Colson
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/31/2006
  I have the Lowepro Slingshot 300 for the exact reason you are suggesting. I had a standard no name backpack type before and I always had to take it off to reach anything. The idea with the Slingshot is your are able to 'sling' it around and get to your camera easily. It does function fairly well in that sense. You do have to take it off if you want to switch lenses are get to anything else in your bag. I got the larger one because of my 70-200mm lense so loaded up it does get a little heavy.


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8/22/2007 8:34:05 AM

 
Oliver Anderson
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/16/2004
  I think if you've got the funds a backpack and regular bag are both best. The backpacks always seem to rip on me and I go through about one a season. I carry 2 camera bodies my 70-200 2.8IS, the 24-70, 17-40, the Quantum Turbo and flash to the races in the backpacks and they're not built like my Lowepro CommercialAW bag. It fits everything and has a rain cover. The Lowepro has lasted 2 years going accross the country and countless airport checks and doesn't show anysigns of wear.


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8/22/2007 8:56:24 AM

 
David A. Bliss   I have the Lowepro Nature Trekker

http://www.lowepro.com/Products/Backpacks/allWeather/Nature_Trekker_AW_II.aspx

Is it the best pack? I don't know, I haven't tried them all, but I can tell you that a back with a waist strap was one of the best photo investments I have made. I do a lot of hiking with my gear, and, while it can get heavy if there is too much gear, it is very comfortable.

The other thing I like is being able to keep the gear I am not using on my back, especially in areas that might make me nervous because of the ease of a grab and run, or in areas where putting a camera bag down might cause damage (on a beach with the tide coming in).


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8/22/2007 8:59:43 AM

 
Oliver Anderson
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/16/2004
  Dave's right that lap belt does make a HUGE difference. it looks dorky but takes all the weight off the shoulders.


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8/22/2007 9:19:34 AM

 
Carlton Ward
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/13/2005
Contact Carlton
Carlton's Gallery
carltonwardphoto.com
  I use both. I usually use my backpack for travelling by plane/car with lots of gear (including laptop)and then when I am hiking or moving around on foot, I will put my camera & a couple of lenses in a shoulder bag for quicker access. I also use Tamrac and they do have quite the selection. My shoulder bag is deep enough to fit my camera with the 100-400mm lens attached and I have attached a couple of lens bags each side of it for extra lenses and/or flash and also a pouch on the front strap for lens cleaner & filters.
I can even weave my tripod legs into the strapping of the shoulder bag because I can never remember where my tripod bag is :) I also avoid using bags with Canon/Nikon plastered on them to make them a little less obvious to others as to what are in the bags.


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8/22/2007 2:26:52 PM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  Funny you should mention avoiding bags with product names on them. Years ago I read a thread at Photo.Net about a guy who was flying to Europe out of JFK and did curbside check-in of all bags including the big one that said HASSELBLAD on it in bold blue, black and white letters. He even watched as they disappeared down the baggage chute.

You'd never guess, but that was the last time he saw his Hasselblad gear. Shouldda gotten the guy a Darwin award.
M.


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8/23/2007 2:31:42 PM

 
Sharon  Day
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/27/2004
  I like the backpack even if you do have to take them off to get to your gear. They are suffocating in the summer and my back is usually wet from wearing one but the lopsided feel of a Slingpack really wears on my shoulder. I honestly can't carry a Slingpack very long, but can carry my backpack all day long.


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8/23/2007 5:07:12 PM

 
Oliver Anderson
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/16/2004
  I had the same bag but replaced Hasselblad to say Hasselhoff and everyone thinks its David's bag....no one dares to mess with the Hoff.


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8/23/2007 9:07:23 PM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  Unless of course, they're feeling pretty parched and looking for a drink. /:>0
M.


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8/24/2007 8:16:42 AM

 
Brooke M. Lewis
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/28/2007
  I have a LowePro AW CompuTrekker and I love it. I use it whenever I go anywhere and want to take all my gear, including a laptop. It works great for carrying on in an airplane. The big drawback is that it is very heavy when loaded full of gear. I also like the tripod holder on the front of the pack. My personal philosophy is to have a bag for every occasion...I have several smaller bags for when I want to take less gear.


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8/25/2007 12:03:04 AM

 
Diane Dupuis
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/27/2003
  http://www.lowepro.com/Products/Backpacks/allWeather/Orion_AW.aspx

I got this one - it's a bit different. It's a waist pack - which you can wear with a cross shoulder strap - or you can switch it to have the backpack on top... It all depends on where I'm going and what I need.


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8/25/2007 5:58:34 AM

 
John G. Clifford Jr
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/18/2005
  I used to carry everything in a big Lowepro bag, but the older I get the less stuff I want to carry.

I have a Lowepro Nova 2 that is just right for my dSLR, an 18-50, and a 50-150, plus a 1.4x TC, memory cards, and a spare battery. This is my 'walking around' camera bag for when I am mainly doing the tourist thing but want to be able to take photographs.

I also have a Tamrac Velocity 9 sling bag that I use to carry my longer, heavier lenses. I bring it with me to airshows, or when I'm deliberately out on a photographic jaunt. I'll throw in my 15-30, my 24-70, and my 70-200, plus filters, memory, batteries, and I'll bring my tripod along also. If I'm out to make panos I'll bring my Pentax 50/1.4 and my 135/2.5, plus my 18-50 and 70-200. If I'm out for wildlife I'll bring along my 70-200 with the TC and perhaps a 300/4... the crop factor on my dSLR gives me a 600mm+ 35mm equivalent with the 300 and TC.

In other words, I try to let the conditions dictate what I bring.


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8/25/2007 12:39:56 PM

 
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