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View Full Version : Photobag Organization and Strap Modification


SolarTempest
04-04-2006, 07:29 AM
I just got a Lowepro Stealth Reporter 400AW (http://lowepro.com/Products/Shoulder_Bags/allWeather/Stealth_Reporter_400_AW.aspx) bag online and am looking to optimize how my dividers are set up:
My bag (http://flickr.com/photos/solartempest/122901894/).

I have one more large divider, plus two smaller dividers from my old photo bag. That's the extent of my gear and I'm not looking to buy any more lenses anytime soon.

I want to leave a little extra space so I can put some random things inside like maybe a nalgene or gloves for shooting in the cold.

Anybody have advice on ways to set up my bag better?

I also carred my bag around a bunch today and realized the shoulder strap kinda sucks. I think I've got bony shoulders or something, so it's not too awesome. My current strap has a padded area which is rubberized on the one side and curved like a boomerang.

Has anybody replaced the strap on their bag?
If you did, what did you replace it with? (make it yourself, beef up the existing strap?)

TomodachiFriend
04-04-2006, 08:55 AM
I have a smallish camera bag (well, it is smaller than the one holding the Canon XL2) about the size of what you're using. What I do is put it in a backpack. It's the same backpack I use for my climbing gear and school. It gives me extra space for film for the rare occasions I shoot film now, snacks, water, gloves, and whatever I can fit in there. The camera bag only holds lenses, a flash, and one or two camera bodies. Having a bag in another bag keeps everything organized as it creates even more partitions. It also avoids attention unless I clip a tripod to the backpack.

Since you went with Lowepro, I know they make backpacks configured the way my backpack is when I slide the camera bag in.

If you're shooting in the cold, you should really get some of those mittens smokers like to use. You won't have to take them off when shooting, making more space in your bag.

SolarTempest
04-04-2006, 09:59 AM
A climber eh? Wicked. My fave sport!
How big is your backpack?

I've got a Deuter Aircomfort 28L (http://www.deuter.com/cms/front_content.php?client=1&lang=1&parent=&subid=&idcat=60&idart=147&idside=&webgrab_path=http://www.deuter.com/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=3_10&products_id=67) for climbing and school, but my new photo bag is actually 24L so it doesn't fit =(

Here's the catch though, I purchased this bag specifically because it was a shoulder bag. Many of my shooting friends have photo-specific backpacks, but I find it annoying to have to take the backpack off to switch lenses. With this bag it's super fast to access gear, especially during photo shoots.

I wish I could cannabalize my hiking backpack (http://www.deuter.com/cms/front_content.php?client=1&lang=1&parent=&subid=&idcat=61&idart=149&idside=&webgrab_path=http://www.deuter.com/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=3_15&products_id=50) for one of its straps, but that's such a huge waste...

Yup, I have a pair of smoker's mittens, although the ends of the thumbs don't come off so I find it a little awkward switching lenses with them. I might do some modifications this coming winter though =P

skypirate
04-04-2006, 10:58 AM
You can never be too organized. I use the Hakuba Digital Media Cases for organizing memory cards. Empty cards get stored face up. Fill cards get stored face down. Same thing with AA batteries for the flash, fully charged, stored in battery cases positive up. Discharged, stored alternating positive and negative. No guessing about what can and can't be used.

If you're trying to lighten the load on your shoulders... batteries weigh a lot. I wear cargo pants to cons and store batteries in the knee pockets to lighten the shoulder bag's weight.

gmontem
04-04-2006, 12:04 PM
Here's the catch though, I purchased this bag specifically because it was a shoulder bag. Many of my shooting friends have photo-specific backpacks, but I find it annoying to have to take the backpack off to switch lenses. With this bag it's super fast to access gear, especially during photo shoots.
Have you looked at the SlingShot 200 AW (http://lowepro.com/Products/Sling_Bags/Designed_for_Digital/SlingShot_200_AW.aspx)? Check out alternate views #9-11 from that page.

ZiggyB
04-04-2006, 03:17 PM
I use this backpack now, the Orion Trekker II (http://lowepro.com/Products/Backpacks/classic/Orion_Trekker_II.aspx).

The lower compartment is a camera bag, enough for me to carry my camera and 3 additional lens as well as a cleaning kit. Granted, I don't have a lot of camera stuff with me all the time.

The nice thing about this bag is that the upper compartment is big enough for you to carry misc stuff, food, drinks, etc and can act as a regular backpack. My laptop is actually small enough to fit in the upper compartment, but my laptop is pretty small.

I was really surprised at how comfortable the bag is, even when it was filled to the brim. I did make the mistake of taking off the center strap. The one that goes across your chest. It prevents the straps from slipping off your shoulders and distributes the weight a little more.

It's also nice that it looks like a regular backpack. It was fantastic on my last trip to Japan. I could have my camera with me and still have space for stuff when I bought toys, clothes, etc.

Of course if you have a lot of lenses and other camera equipment, this might not be the bag for you.

Compartment wise, I pretty much followed how the original set up. You can see how it is in the last picture of the alternate view.

tfcreate
04-05-2006, 06:19 PM
I just have a sturdy, medium sized backpack I call a "Zoom Bag."
I can grab it, hop on my bike and I'm gone. It carries 2 digital and 2 film cameras 4-6 lenses including a 500MM. I rarely use a tripod these days, but I can clip it to the side. It works well.
TFC

SolarTempest
04-05-2006, 07:34 PM
If you're trying to lighten the load on your shoulders... batteries weigh a lot. I wear cargo pants to cons and store batteries in the knee pockets to lighten the shoulder bag's weight.
How many sets of batteries do you take along with you? I haven't ran my flash batteries down once yet, but haven't shot a crazy amount for several days at cons either.

I did look at the Slingshot 200AW a few times in the stores, but I didn't think it was quite accessible as I'd like. It was great for taking the camera out and putting it back in, but I was worried that my lenses and stuff would start falling out if I opened the flap up even more.

I use this backpack now, the Orion Trekker II.
I also saw your Kyo pics today - pretty cool!

I did like the Lowepro trekker bags. Two of my friends that I do a lot of shooting with have them. Still, I was looking for more a bag that was quick to get gear in and out of, without having to put anything down. Thus, I bought another shoulder bag.

So really, I'm looking to how to make my bag better, not spend more money on another =P

I mentioned earlier that I'm a climber. I'm thinking of getting one of these:
Adjustable Gear Sling (http://www.mec.ca/Products/product_detail.jsp?PRODUCT%3C%3Eprd_id=84552444209 4855&FOLDER%3C%3Efolder_id=2534374302691525&bmUID=1144282458260) to substitute for my current strap. What do you guys think?

ZiggyB
04-05-2006, 07:36 PM
Yah, the disadvantage of that backpack is that you do have to put your stuff down to get things in and out. Oh well, compromises...

Thanks, I had a lot of fun with that Kyo shoot. :)

Good look with lightening your load. :)

skypirate
04-05-2006, 10:24 PM
How many sets of batteries do you take along with you? I haven't ran my flash batteries down once yet, but haven't shot a crazy amount for several days at cons either.

Generally, I carry two sets of four AA NiMHs and a spare of whatever the DSLR needs 'on' me.

I use a LowePro Nova 4 AW and carry two cameras in it. I stopped carrying the camera bag because I got tired to the weight and bulk (pulled a muscle or pinched a nerve lifting the bag across the passenger seat back in October and it has never completely healed). Besides, the conventions in Texas tend to get crowded. People bumping into you, you bumping into them. No matter where you set your bag down, somebody manages to trip over it.

SolarTempest
04-08-2006, 01:05 PM
No matter where you set your bag down, somebody manages to trip over it.
I think "somebody" includes myself tripping over my own gear =P

I made a trip to the local camping/outdoors store, but they don't have anything that could work for me, unfortunately. Next stop is going to be the army surplus or other stores out of town I think. :untrust:

gmontem
04-08-2006, 01:16 PM
Get yourself a slave to carry your bag and fetch the items you are about to use. You feel as if you're not carrying anything! Have your slave bang two half coconuts together if you fear your slave will run off with the goods. ;)

staereo
04-08-2006, 04:33 PM
african swallows?

SolarTempest
04-10-2006, 01:43 AM
Get yourself a slave to carry your bag and fetch the items you are about to use.
My last photo assistant cost me ~$290 to have for just an evening. She was awesome and couldn't have done the job without her, but I think need to find cheaper labour or something :bigtu: .

Slaves though... not only illegal but very economical! Hmmm...

I've also taken to modifying my new bag now. I've sewn the top zipper flap to the side so it's easier to remove gear through the zippered top opening. Also moved one zipper pull to the inside pocket that didn't have one for easier opening. Removed supplementary side compression straps as well (useless?)

Next step is to sew in a little pocket for my camera remote. And to find other things to add onto my bag, making it much less screaming CAMERA BAG and much more WHOA COOL BAG. (I'm ordering metal spike studs :toothy: )

staereo
04-10-2006, 03:38 PM
300 for an evening? For an evening? O.O holy geebus! top fashion photographers pay about the same to their assistants; these assistants being some of the best up and coming photographers in the industry! WOW.

Who charged you so much? O.o

Even the white house press photographers, the elite team that follows the pres. everywhere, get paid between 30-35k per year.

Need to find cheaper assistants!

SolarTempest
04-10-2006, 04:07 PM
Hehehe, it was a good photographer friend of mine. She has mad discounts on prints + frames (about 300 5"x7" shots printed for the job), as well as studio lighting equipment rental. Plus, she invaluable in posing the people, tweaking the lighting, and helping getting everything set up.

Some stuff is just too much for one person to handle and, for what we made on the job, she was well worth the money!

jtnishi
04-11-2006, 10:46 AM
For what it's worth, the suggestions here led me to make my new bag to a slingover style too, a Tamrac Velocity 9 (http://www.tamrac.com/5749.htm), and it does seem to work very nicely for making quick switches to equipment while freeing up the arms to shoot well. This is the largest of the bags, and it is a bit heavy with all my equipment loaded, but it does fit it all.

staereo
04-11-2006, 11:10 AM
I *hate* that sling style, for my own personal reasons. I much prefer the security of backpack style. HOWEVER, I nearly bought this exact pack for how convenient and quick it seemed to be. Is it able to be accessed with one hand, as it appears to be?

jtnishi
04-12-2006, 01:05 AM
I *hate* that sling style, for my own personal reasons. I much prefer the security of backpack style. HOWEVER, I nearly bought this exact pack for how convenient and quick it seemed to be. Is it able to be accessed with one hand, as it appears to be?
It is, but it is admittedly a bit awkward to do so. The top is held closed using 3 snap buckles. They can be opened one handed, but as anyone who handles these things knows, it's slow doing so. Then again, I'm not exactly known for having nimble fingers. ;) It's also still not as fast as dealing with a shoulder bag, since you don't sling bags around in that situation, from my short experience with it. However, it does appear to be a nice balance between the backpack and shoulder bag, which works for me.

As far as security is concerned, it feels pretty secure to me, especially compared to using a shoulder bag like I had before. I'm pretty sure a backpack would be relatively secure too, though. I just needed a good size bag to allow me to carry a new lens that was too big for my old bag.

MrFreeman
04-12-2006, 06:30 AM
Wow all you guys have such HI-Tech camera bags and such. All i use is a small sony bag from futureshop which fits my canon somewhat. There are some problems with it though. Lik for example when i try to put the camera in the camera strap always wants to not go in with it. Overall I think its all i really need.

SolarTempest
04-12-2006, 09:06 AM
It is, but it is admittedly a bit awkward to do so. The top is held closed using 3 snap buckles. They can be opened one handed, but as anyone who handles these things knows, it's slow doing so.
I remember working with the three buckles when I was looking at bags in stores. I definitely like them better than having one big zipper. I think of all the bags I tried, the velocity bags were the easiest to pull a camera in and out of.

What's the security issue with sling bags vs backpack?

@MrFreeman, I suppose that I'm a bit of an organization freak. One girl I shot with just tosses her lenses and gear all in her big backpack, among with all her other random clothes, books, and stuff in it. Of course she has lens cases for all her stuff, but it would just drive me nuts! That's why I've got the bag I do.

With my Pentax digital compact, I've got the smallest Lowepro bag which fits the camera and an extra battery - perfect size! I never found that I needed anything else.

staereo
04-12-2006, 10:17 AM
Security, as in just how securely the bag stays in place on your body. Thats all.

jtnishi
04-12-2006, 10:26 AM
Security, as in just how securely the bag stays in place on your body. Thats all.
Ahh, that. Well, once the strap is well adjusted, it seems to stay correctly on my body just fine, since gravity plus the texture of the strap keeps the bag in the right place. Then again, it should also be noted that I'm not the most fit of people by a long shot, so that could theoretically vary. It works for me, though. I should get a good idea of how well I can handle it once I get a chance to wear it for longer periods at Anizona this weekend.

Wow all you guys have such HI-Tech camera bags and such. All i use is a small sony bag from futureshop which fits my canon somewhat. There are some problems with it though. Lik for example when i try to put the camera in the camera strap always wants to not go in with it. Overall I think its all i really need.
A number of us have more unusual bags because we carry a lot of pieces for our equipment. Simpler is definitely better when the equipment carrying needs aren't bad. Once you get a lot or heavier stuff, though, ergonomics start to matter, because you end up carrying this stuff for long periods of time, and sometimes, you need to change out equipment fast. Needs dictate choice.

staereo
04-12-2006, 11:48 AM
OOOO, please do report back after this weekend and let me know how it works for you on extended wear. If it works well enough for you, I may get myself one. I REALLY think it would be nice for trail riding if it doesnt slide all around.

So yeah, I'm very interested in a mini review when you're back! ^^

MrFreeman
04-12-2006, 02:31 PM
Well i understand now why you would need such a big and hitech camera bag. I guess mines good enough for what i bring along with me but it would be nice to have a full sized bag where you could carry your camera safely and other belongings

TomodachiFriend
04-12-2006, 06:06 PM
A climber eh? Wicked. My fave sport!
How big is your backpack?

I've got a Deuter Aircomfort 28L (http://www.deuter.com/cms/front_content.php?client=1&lang=1&parent=&subid=&idcat=60&idart=147&idside=&webgrab_path=http://www.deuter.com/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=3_10&products_id=67) for climbing and school, but my new photo bag is actually 24L so it doesn't fit =(


A 24l bag that doesn't fit in a 28l one? From the picture of your bag, what I can tell is that your bag is wider than it is tall, unlike mine, and backpacks are taller than they are wide. So my solution won't work for you.

SolarTempest
04-12-2006, 06:26 PM
Heheheh, the volumes may work out, but the dimensions sure don't. My backpack is an ergonomic big teardrop shape unlike my "brickish" photo bag.

My backpack also has the aircomfort futura system. I tried explaining it on here, but it's better just to check the site out, haha. It's far too confusing in words. Her's a pic:
http://www.deuter.com/cms/upload/bilder/Systeme/aircomfort_futura.gif (http://www.deuter.com/cms/front_content.php?client=1&lang=1&parent=&subid=&idcat=60&idart=147&idside=&webgrab_path=http://www.deuter.com/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=3_10&products_id=261&showsystem=1)

MrFreeman
04-12-2006, 08:05 PM
Look at that, they are now putting research in to develop better more comfortable bags. That must be really comfortable since its not jabbing into your back all the time like my school bag.

jtnishi
04-17-2006, 11:57 PM
OOOO, please do report back after this weekend and let me know how it works for you on extended wear. If it works well enough for you, I may get myself one. I REALLY think it would be nice for trail riding if it doesnt slide all around.

So yeah, I'm very interested in a mini review when you're back! ^^
After using it this weekend, I still do like the bag, but it does have some things that could be issues.

The bag does quickly swing over forward as advertised, and it is relatively easy to deal with. Not quite as easy as a side-carried bag, but still pretty quick. The cover sometimes doesn't quite close correctly over the bag outside (it's fabric), but usually, it closes well enough. In any case, the latch fasteners keep the top closed. It's also nice to have both hands free and not to have a bag sticking out the side of my body to hit people with ^^;;.

Now the bad: while the bag was fairly comfortable for the most part, after wearing it for 3 days, I did notice a little bit of pain on my left shoulder near my neck at the strap point, and a little bit of pain around the chest center, where the strap crosses over my breastbone. It's probably a result of the weight in the bag, but it does bring about a key point: proper adjustment of the bag is pretty important. It didn't do a lot of shifting while walking about, but on occasion, it did shift into a position that wasn't quite comfortable. However, the bag adjusted relatively easily. I kinda wish there was a little more padding where the strap crosses across the centerline of the chest, but it's hardly a dealbreaker.

Still, this is definitely a lot better than that old sidebag of mine. And while a backpack probably would eliminate those last few bits of pain, it would probably be unusually inconvenient to deal with.