MindShift Gear PhotoCross 15 Backpack Review (Podcast 665)

MindShift Gear PhotoCross 15 Backpack Review (Podcast 665)

Today we take a look at the MindShift Gear PhotoCross 15 Backpack from ThinkTank Photo, as this was the bag I used for my recent trip to Namibia, where I really put it through its paces, to find that this relatively little bag is more than up to the big job that I asked of it.

I’ll start my travelogue series next week but wanted to talk about this great new bag before we got started, as I was able to shoot a number of images of the gear it held while packing my stuff away over the weekend, while I caught up with business. I also shot a number of images of the bag in the field, and as you can see from the clay on the bottom of the bag in this first shot, I gave it a bit of a hammering in the conditions that we work in but had no issues.

MindShift PhotoCross 15 Backpack in Deadvlei Namibia
MindShift PhotoCross 15 Backpack in Deadvlei Namibia

The bag is built well, with weatherproof zippers and materials, and is resistant to abrasion. I scuffed the bag on dirt, sand and against the doors in the deserted diamond mine town of Kolmanskop, and there was no damage to the bag. Although it was pretty dirty by the end of the trip, the majority of the marks came off easily by giving the bag a scrub with a damp cloth.

Holds Up to 15″ Laptops

The 15 in the name is to show that this bag can hold up to a 15-inch laptop in the compartment that you can just see the flap of below the camera in the middle of the bag in the following image. I didn’t travel with my laptop in this bag for this trip, as I flew with an airline that doesn’t force me to have only one carry-on bag, but I would be fine carrying my laptop in that back compartment if necessary. The actual volume of the bag is 20 liters, although you wouldn’t think it by looking at the bag. It seems smaller than this until you actually start to put your gear in, and I’ll share a photo of everything that I got into this bag a little later.

MindShift PhotoCross 15 Backpack Travel Mode
MindShift PhotoCross 15 Backpack Travel Mode

Remove Bodies from Long Lenses

I’ve included this photo of the bag for another reason too, which is to tell you that I generally remove my camera from long lenses when I travel, especially when it’s at the bottom of the bag, which is the left side of this photo (above). With this bag, I put two padded dividers between the camera body and the 100-400mm lens that sits in that space behind the dividers. If you leave the camera on the lens and it gets a good knock, it can damage the mount on the camera body or the lens. We also travel on some very bumpy roads in Namibia, and because the bag sits on the floor of our vehicle, I really wanted to avoid it getting constantly knocked, so for my flights to and from Namibia, and whenever we were going to drive for very long on bumpy roads, as a precautionary measure, I split the body and lens like this.

Regular Shooting Configuration

Once on location though, I attached my 100-400mm lens to the Canon EOS R camera body, as you can see in this next image. This is basically the configuration that I used for most of my 17 day Namibia tour, with my 100-400mm lens on the bottom, which is the left in this photo, and my RF 24-105mm lens attached to a second EOS R in the middle compartment. At the bottom of that middle compartment, I have a flap-style divider with my Canon RF 50 mm f/1.2 lens, which I used for the first time on this trip and am absolutely blown away by. We’ll talk about that in the coming weeks too, as I share some photos shot with it.

MindShift PhotoCross 15 Backpack Shooting Mode
MindShift PhotoCross 15 Backpack Shooting Mode

In the second compartment from the right, I had my 11-24mm lens and a camera strap and sometimes put a second strap in there too. In the top, or the right-most compartment that you see in this photo, I keep my 1.4X and 2X Extenders, and when not in use, the Control Ring Mount Adapter that I use to mount my EF lenses to the EOS R bodies.

MindShift PhotoCross 15 Backpack Contents Out

What’s in the Bag?

Because I currently only own these two EOS R bodies, I shot these photos with my iPhone, including this next shot, which shows all of the stuff that I had in this bag out on the table, then I gave everything a wipe to get the dust and sand off of it before putting my gear into my humidity controlled camera cabinet. It was a bit of a shock to come back from Namibia which is really dry, to Tokyo in the rainy season, with humidity up at around 80%, so I wanted to get my gear packed away relatively quickly.

The two cameras, four lenses and two extenders, as well as the black pouch with the lenses caps on top were all inside the main compartment of the bag along with one of the camera straps in the earlier photos. The rest was in the pockets in the side flap and the large pocket with the word MindShift printed on it in this photograph.

The black pouch at the front of this photo between my lens blower and the flashlight is the rain cover that comes with the PhotoCross 15 Backpack. Although I’m sure the construction of the bag will protect my gear from light rain, if it starts to pour, it’s nice to have a separate cover to put over the bag.

I should mention though that the cover is a perfect fit for the bag, and does not take into account that I might have a large tripod attached to the side of the bag. If there was a chance of having to carry this bag for long distances in the rain with a tripod attached, as I’ve done in Iceland, I would need to buy a larger rain cover.

As you can see though, this bag really does hold quite a lot of gear, and I found it perfect for use with my new mirrorless Canon EOS R bodies, which are lighter and smaller than my old 5Ds R bodies with the battery grips attached.

Despite its capacity though, I really like how narrow this bag is. I was able to squeeze through the bottom panel in a broken wooden door in Kolmanskop with this pack on my back, and I could never do that with my 18L Bataflae bag from Gura Gear. I loved that bag, but it’s much wider than this bag. I also think it looks much more like a camera bag than this. I’m finding that international travel with lots of camera gear is getting more and more difficult, so the lighter and less conspicuous my bag looks, the easier it is to travel with.

With my new mirrorless cameras, I was actually only slightly over the weight limit for my carry-on bag, but I was never even asked about it. With my bulkier looking bags it was often weighed, and then we had to go through the rigmarole of moving lenses to my vest pockets, etc.

Removed the Belt

I should also mention that I removed the waist belt that comes with this bag, as it was just not heavy enough to warrant using a belt in my opinion. If I was going to be trekking long distances, I’d be sure to take it, but the most I walked with this bag was an hour or so, as we approached a distant sand dune in Sossusvlei. Removing the belt is easy, and reduces the overall footprint of the bag, again, making it less conspicuous, so I’m happy to have removed it, and it can be refitted easily should I need it in the future.

The MindShift PhotoCross 15 Backpack with Tripod Attached

Side Opening

OK, so let’s take a look at some of the other things that I like about the PhotoCross 15 Backpack from MindShift Gear. In addition to its large capacity in a relatively small form factor, I like the side opening configuration, which means if necessary I can swing the bag around from my shoulder and open up the side flap to change my camera or lens without putting the bag down.

Tripod Straps

The bag comes with two straps, and I configured it so that I could attach my tripod to the side of the bag, as you can see in this image (right). You can see that I also put a strap on the back of the bag, which I often used to attach a jacket that I wore at dawn most days, but then didn’t need as it started to warm up during the day.

Even a tripod as big as the one I use sits well on the side of this bag, and you can also attach the second strap to the bottom of the back, and attach the tripod to the back instead.

Only One Side Pocket

A number of times I did find myself having to attach my water bottle to this strap on the back when carrying my tripod attached to the bag, as there is only one side pocket, because of the flap on the right side to get into the bag.

No Huge Demerits

There really are no huge demerits that I can point out about this bag, but in addition to the rain cover not being large enough to cover my tripod and the fact that the bag can only have one side pocket, I do find the bag a little awkward to pack because it leans over when rested on its side, due to the angle of the sides of the bag. If you look at the photos you’ll see that the front of the back is narrower than the back, so when you put it on its side on a flat surface to load your gear into it, the bag leans over at quite an angle. I actually just got used to laying the bag down flat on its bag to pack it though, so this is really a very minor issue, as are the other two things I mentioned.

Thumbs-Up!

So, all in all, I give this bag a big thumbs-up! It is perfect for my current gear, including four lenses and two camera bodies, along with extenders, adapters and a whole slew of other stuff that we looked at earlier. I am really happy that ThinkTank Photo, under their MindShift Gear brand has brought this bag to market just at a time when I felt like I needed a change as I downsize my gear with the EOS R mirrorless system. It was a pleasure to travel with and use.

Full Disclosure

In the spirit of full disclosure, I’d like to mention that this bag was provided to me free of charge from ThinkTank Photo, with the help of Ginichi, ThinkTank’s distributor for Japan and my go-to store for studio gear here in Tokyo. This, of course, did not affect my opinion or review of the bag in any way. As with any gear I receive for review, I only accept things that I feel I would probably buy anyway, and I always take gear with the understanding that if it sucks, I am free to say what I feel, or even decide to abandon the review if I find that the gear wasn’t for me after all. That was obviously not the case with the PhotoCross 15 Backpack from MindShift Gear.

Links

You can buy the PhotoCross 15 or any of the MindShift Gear bags via the ThinkTank Photo website, or if you’d like to support this blog and website, you can use these links to my friends at B&H, for the PhotoCross 15 in Orange Ember or the one I have, which is Carbon Gray. You can also get these two colors on Amazon, with this link for Carbon Gray, and this link for Orange Ember.

Purchasing using our affiliate links costs you no more than if you went directly to these online stores, but the small payments that we get do help keep the lights on at Martin Bailey Photography, and so it’s very much appreciated.

OK, so we’ll wrap it up there for this week, and I’ll be back next week as we start our series of travelogue-style episodes to walk you through this year’s amazing Complete Namibia Tour and Workshop. Stay tuned!


Show Notes

See all products from MindShift Gear and ThinkTank Photo here: https://www.thinktankphoto.com

Use the affiliate links above for B&H and Amazon to support this blog and website.

Music by Martin Bailey


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Traveling Smart with Tenba Messenger Camera Bags (Podcast 551)

Traveling Smart with Tenba Messenger Camera Bags (Podcast 551)

I gave some thought to my travel strategy recently and made a few purchase decisions—one of which indicates a firm thumbs-up for the Tenba Messenger line of camera bags—so today I am going to talk about the reason for my decisions along with a review of my Tenba bags.

Most of my purchases are based on trying to solve a problem, and the problem I was facing is that it’s becoming more and more difficult to board flights with a second bag, in addition to my camera gear. Some airlines don’t even allow a second bag for a laptop now, so I ended up traveling to Namibia last year with my 15″ MacBook Pro sticking out of my photography vest pocket. We also had a really hard time taking second bags on helicopter flights in Greenland this year, so I figured it was time to totally rethink my travel strategy.

Smaller Laptop

My 15 inch MacBook Pro is three years old in January (2017) which means from a business perspective, the value of my current laptop is fully depreciated in the next couple of months. With that, I decided to pick up a new 2016 13″ MacBook Pro, which will fit nicely in the laptop compartment of my 18L Bataflae camera backpack.

Since I’ve been able to downsize most of my camera gear to three lenses and two bodies, I’m now traveling with the 18L Bataflae most of the time, and when I have to use my larger Bataflae bags, when necessary I can put the MacBook Pro under the front flap. I always put a plastic cover on my laptop when I travel, so it won’t be damaged by doing this, and the covers are like ten bucks, so I can replace it easily when it gets too scratched.

Rearrange After Flights

I don’t necessarily want to keep my laptop in my camera bag for the duration of my journey though, so I figured that most of the time I can take a messenger style bag with me in my luggage, and put the laptop in the messenger after I arrive at my destination. It’s also nice to be able to keep card readers and other cables with the laptop, so having a dedicated bag once on location is nice.

I started to look around for a good messenger style bag that was a good fit for the new 13″ MacBook Pro, and no matter how hard I looked, I kept coming back to the Tenba Messenger Mini. The reason for my attachment to this bag is because I have been using a Tenba Messenger Large for my 17″ then 15″ MacBook Pros for much of the last five years, and I absolutely love the design. I actually didn’t even know that Tenba made a Messenger Mini until I started looking, but once I knew it existed, I couldn’t get away from it.

Comparison of Small and Mini

Here’s a photo of both my old Messenger Large along with the Mini (below) so that you can see the size difference. You’ll also notice that the design is pretty much the same, although as you explore the bags the Mini has a few less pockets than the Large.

Tenba Messenger Large and Mini

Tenba Messenger Large and Mini

The Large version comes with a removable photo gear insert that can be quickly pulled out to convert the messenger to a regular bag. The Mini version comes with partitions that can easily be removed as well. In this photo (below) I’ve removed the photo insert from the Large Messenger and laid the Mini down so that you can see the partitions inside.

Tenba Messenger Large and Mini Camera Inserts

Tenba Messenger Large and Mini Camera Inserts

A Camera and Laptop Bag

Both bags will fit a camera with lens attached pointing downwards and a couple of other lenses. As you can see in this next image (below) I can actually fit my 5Ds R camera without the battery grip, attached to a 24-105 or 24-70mm lens, my 11-24mm lens, and my 100-400mm lens. The 13″ MacBook Pro is also nice and snug there in the back laptop compartment.

Tenba Messenger Mini with Gear and MacBook Pro 13" (2016)

Tenba Messenger Mini with Gear and MacBook Pro 13″ (2016)

You can also see the business card holder in the back there, for owner identification. I will put a business card inside that holder, in the hope that if I was to leave the bag somewhere, it might help someone to return the bag to me. Believe it or not, there is actually a good chance of that here in Japan. Some bags have these card holders on the outside, which I don’t like, because people sitting on a train for example could see your personal details, and that’s not good, especially when you look like you’re traveling to the airport and going to be away from home for a few days.

Messenger Mini Padding Stops it Going Flat

As you can see in this photo (below) when you remove the camera inserts from the Messenger Large, it becomes quite flat, so it can easily be packed into my check-in luggage. One of the problems with buying online though, is that I couldn’t tell that the Mini is actually padded, to provide protection for camera gear, because it comes with partition dividers and not a modular camera insert. This means that it doesn’t go as flat as the Large.

Tenba Messenger Large and Mini Without Photo Inserts

Tenba Messenger Large and Mini Without Photo Inserts

For this photo, I put a camera on top of the Mini to hold it as flat as it will go, and it’s still about twice as wide as the Large. The upside to this though, is that because the camera inserts for the Mini are so light at just 50 grams, I will probably just pack them as well, and that way I can still use the Messenger Mini as a camera bag if necessary. Say if I get the opportunity to do a bit of street photography while I’m traveling. It’s much less conspicuous than a full blown camera backpack.

With the photo gear inserts inside the Messenger Large weighs 2.97 lbs (1,035 g) and the Mini weighs just 2.4 lb (1,016 g). Note that the published weight for the Mini is just 800 grams, so I don’t know where that came from. Mine’s certainly heavier.

Why the Tenba Messenger?

Let me explain the main reasons that I really like the Tenba Messenger bags. First of all, the design is just really appealing to me. I think the bag just suits me. I’m not overly concerned about how I look, but I do like to use items that I think suit me as a person. I also like the fact that this bag doesn’t scream laptop bag, or camera bag for that matter. It just looks like a regular bag, so that makes it less of a target.

I also really like the feel of the carrying handle. It is padded, and coated with the same fabric as the rest of the bag, so it is really comfortable to carry. The shoulder strap is also really well designed and has great padding for comfort, and it doesn’t slip off your shoulders easily.

Pockets that Make Sense

The number and arrangement of pockets on the Messengers make a lot of sense. I like the two pockets in the front flap for keeping my business cards and other things that I need quick access to. The pockets on the front of the bag, underneath the the front flap, as you can see in this photo (below) are great for keeping things in that you don’t necessarily need hyper-quick access too, but don’t want to put away in the internal zipped pockets.

Tenba Messenger as Laptop Bag

Tenba Messenger as Laptop Bag

To be totally honest, I actually wouldn’t put a hard disk in these front pockets, as I’ve done here for illustration. With the top flap fastened down securely they would probably be fine, but I prefer to keep items that are as important as a hard disk further down in the main compartment, or zipped into the inside pockets.

The laptop section is inside the bag, as you can see, and I really like this. It is well padded on all sides for protection, and has a flap over the top to stop the laptop slipping out if the bag should get flipped over without the top flap fastened down. You do have to open the top flap to get the laptop out, unless you want to drag the laptop along the top zipper, but I like that added security.

There is also a large pocket on the back of the bag which is useful for carrying travel documents etc. as you can see in this photo (below). That’s a page of A4 paper here for illustration, but of course a US Letter sized document would also fit in this back pocket.

Tenba Messenger Mini Back Pocket

Tenba Messenger Mini Back Pocket

Waterproof Bottom

The last nice feature that I’ve found myself inadvertently relying on a lot over the years is the waterproof bottom of the bag, as you can see in this photo (below). I have used my Large Messenger a lot on my winter tours, and the snow on my boots invariably melts creating a puddle of water on the floor at my seat, and I generally have my bag down there on the floor too. I then realize later that the bottom of the bag is wet, but the water has never made it’s way into the bag to wet my gear or paperwork that I keep in the back pocket.

Tenba Messenger Mini Waterproof Bottom

Tenba Messenger Mini Waterproof Bottom

Conclusion

So, a quick episode this week, but to wrap this up, I’d just like to say once again that I really do like these little bags, as you can tell by the fact that I voted with my dollars (or Yen) to pick up a second for my new laptop, and I’m really looking forward to my upcoming flights now that I’ll be able to travel with just one carry-on. I could of course carry on both my Bataflae backpack and either of these Tenba Messenger bags on some flights, but I really just don’t want to any more.

I’ve put links to these bags on Amazon.com and B&H Photo in the show notes (below) so if you decide to pick one up yourself, please use these links to support the podcast and help to keep our weekly content coming. With the three sizes available, including the Small which I didn’t mention, you can probably find a good match for yourself, or that special significant other as a Christmas or birthday gift.


Show Notes

B&H Photo Links for Messenger: Large | Small | Mini

Amazon.com Links for Messenger: Large | Small | Mini

Music by Martin Bailey


Audio

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Gura Gear Bataflae 18L Camera Backpack Review (Podcast 482)

Gura Gear Bataflae 18L Camera Backpack Review (Podcast 482)

This week we take a look at the Gura Gear Bataflae 18L Camera Backpack, and how I’ve configured mine for my landscape, cultural and wildlife photography tour in Namibia.

Watch the video below for details, but in summary, Gura Gear’s Bataflae series of camera backpacks are the best available in my opinion. They are light yet incredible strong, comfortable to wear and designed to put your gear at your fingertips when you need it.

The Bataflae 18L has a laptop compartment that takes up to a 13″ laptop if you need to carry one, and the accessory straps and Kooh cords will keep a full-sized tripod attached firmly to the side as you walk between shooting locations. Most of all, I love my Bataflae bags because the hold a LOT of gear for their size.

NOTE: The Gura Gear range have now been merged into the Tamrac camera bag product line, as the G Elite series.

 

Anyway, here’s the video. I hope you find this useful.

 


Show Notes

NOTE: The Gura Gear range have now been merged into the Tamrac camera bag product line, as the G Elite series.

 

Music by Martin Bailey


Video

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Gura Gear Bataflae 32L Camera Backpack Review (Podcast 358)

Gura Gear Bataflae 32L Camera Backpack Review (Podcast 358)

For this week’s Podcast, I’ve put together a quick video to show you the new Gura Gear Bataflae 32L camera bag. As a long time user of the Kiboko bag, I’m happy to say that the Bataflae actually improves on perfection. Anyway, links are below, but here’s the video. Don’t forget to select the HD version under the cog-wheel in the video settings and go full screen!

NOTE: The Gura Gear range have now been merged into the Tamrac camera bag product line, as the G Elite series. We’ve removed all the product links because they are no longer valid.

 


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Podcast 309 : What’s in the (ThinkTank Airport Security V2 Rolling Camera) Bag?

Podcast 309 : What’s in the (ThinkTank Airport Security V2 Rolling Camera) Bag?

I’ve just started to use an Airport Security™ V 2.0 Rolling Camera Bag from ThinkTank Photo, and decided to do a “What’s in my Camera Bag?” style review, at the same time as talking about the bag itself. This will be a “What’s in the Bag?” for Martin Bailey the portrait photographer, not the Nature and Wildlife Photographer. I’ll follow up with an episode on what I’d take on a Nature and Wildlife shoot in the coming weeks.

ThinkTank - Airport Security V2.0 Rolling Camera Bag

ThinkTank – Airport Security V2.0 Rolling Camera Bag

First Impressions

When the Airport Security V2.0 bag arrived, I was initially impressed even by the packaging. I could tell even as I opened the box that ThinkTank Photo are proud of their products. The build quality of the camera bag itself confirmed this of course — it’s incredibly well built.

The materials, the zips, the TSA approved combination locks and roller wheels themselves, everything is top quality and feels great to the touch.

There’s also a metal plaque on the back with a security code to help locate the bag if it gets lost, which may or may not be of help if the bag is stolen, but if it is genuinely lost, this should help. Even just the way it is riveted on though, with a rubberized frame around the plaque seems to add to the overall feeling of quality of the bag. Very nice workmanship all round!

Security Features

It’s not called Airport Security for nothing. The bag incorporates a TSA approved combination lock, that you clip the two main compartment zips into, and there’s a steel wire attached to the inside of the front top pocket that is also fitted with a combination lock. You can use this to attach to a second bag, or any valuables you might have in the outer pockets.

There’s a third combination lock in a panel behind the shoulder straps in a compartment in the back of the bag, with a very thick and reasonably long steel cable that you can use to secure the bag to a metal pole or other immovable object, if you really have to leave your bag somewhere, like at the side of a conference room as you shoot an event.

TSA Approved Combination Lock

TSA Approved Lock

Steel Cable and Lock Built into the Frame!

Steel Cable and Lock Built into the Frame!

Obviously this is not going to totally prevent someone from stealing your bag if you leave it in public all day, but the thick rear cable is built into the framework of the bag, so coupled with engaging the zip combination lock would certainly make this a tough target for something with a mind to walk away with you gear. I also usually loop the straps of my bag around my leg even if I’m going to grab forty winks in an airport lounge, but with this cable you could literally strap the bag to the frame of a metal bench or chair that you often see in airports.

There’s also a business card holder on the top of the bag, which you can use to tell your bag from others on an airport conveyer should you have to check your bag. I think of all my camera bags, this is probably the only one that I feel I could check if I really had to. I really don’t like the idea that the people with the ability to open the TSA locks though, have been filmed systematically rifling through peoples’ bags in the past though, so I’d still be worried until I got my gear back in one piece. If I had to check it though, this would be the bag to do it with.

Emergency Shoulder Straps

As I just mentioned, there are shoulder straps in a compartment in the bag of the bag, if you end up having to carry the bag for a way, but with all the security features and solid build, the bag is relatively heavy, so you really should think of these as an emergency measure rather than a regular way to carry the bag around. This bag is a classy, solid bag that hold a lot, but it’s designed for security and to be rolled, not carried.

Emergency Shoulder Straps

Emergency Shoulder Straps

Side Pocket

Side Pocket

Rolling Handle

Rolling Handle

The front pocket has lots of compartments for your valuables when traveling, as well as pens etc. for filling out those pesky customs forms when you fly. There’s also a good sized side pocket on one side. This is the opposite side to the side carrying handle, but it’s also the side to which you attach the tripod holder, so you might not won’t to fill it with fragile objects if you intend to also attach a tripod.

There’s  a compartment on top of the bag, under the carrying handle that contains a rain cover that totally envelops the bag when used. This is very important if you should get caught in the rain, or find yourself on a speeding boat with lots of spray etc. I dare say it would keep out dust and sand if you found the need for this too.

Everything has it’s own place, and a compartment to hide it away when not in use, and the handle for when you are rolling the bag is no exception. Open the zip behind the top handle to reveal the handle, and push the button to lift it out. It’s a good solid handle, and clicks into place at various heights. The highest position is really a good height, so even if you’re on the tall side, you’ll be fine with this bag.

What’s in the Bag?

OK, so that takes care of the outside details, let’s take a look inside…

Because the bag incorporates the handle for when you roll the bag, there’s a section down most of the back that is slightly raised, but you can generally arrange the bag so that this doesn’t get in the way too much. For example, as you can see here (right) the bag is deep enough at the bottom to fit a 70-200mm F2.8 lens in without having to lay it down, which would take up more than twice the space.

As I said, this is my portraiture kit, so I’ll take you through what’s in the bag and why I lay it out this way.

What's in the Bag?

What’s in the Bag?

I have it set out so that I have zooms down one side, and primes down the other, with the longer focal length at the bottom in each column. I’m showing the bag sideways in this photo though, so that you can see better.

The primes run down the left side, or the bottom, as we look at the photo, starting with the 135mm F2 at the bottom of the bag. Then we have the 85mm F1.2 above that, followed by the 50mm F1.2 and the 14mm F2.8 to finish the left bank.

These are the wide aperture primes that I really like to use for portraiture, but depending on the shoot, don’t always use them as much as I’d like. When shooting groups of people, I often have to stop down the aperture more than I usually would anyway, to ensure that I get every ones’ faces in focus, and I often need the versatility of a zoom when working at peoples’ homes, as I can’t step very far backwards or forwards to zoom with my feet, so I rely on zoom lenses more than I’d like too. They are on the right side of the bag, starting with the 70-200mm F2.8 at the bottom (or far right of this photo), followed by the 24-70mm F2.8 and the 16-35mm F2.8 above that.

Some of these lenses of course are not what you’d commonly think of as portrait lenses, but for the shoot I’m doing this coming weekend, we are hoping to get some environmental portrait shots with a number of people in a largish room, which will require some wide angles. The problem of course is that wide angles are not very flattering for portraits, so I’m also keeping the possibility of doing a multiple shot stitch using images from a slightly longer focal length, which should look a little better from a portraiture perspective. If I can get approval to share the resulting images, I’ll hopefully be able to share my experiences with you later.

Keep it Organized

I like to keep the lenses in an order like this, so that I know exactly where everything is when I reach into the bag for something. It depends on which bag I’m using, but having some sort of policy that I stick with makes life easier in a fast paced shoot.

What's in the Bag?

What’s in the Bag?

Oh, and the bodies in the middle are the 5D Mark II at the bottom, and a 1Ds Mark III above it. Two straps for the bodies are above that, and then the Black Rapid Twin-Strap at the top center. I switch between straps as makes sense during the shoot.

In the top left is a light meter, which I use when working with studio lighting, and to the right is a bunch of neutral density filters for my lenses, in case I have to darken things down a little to maintain a slow enough shutter speed for my Profoto monolights when shooting with wide apertures.

You can also see that I have a battery in the bottom pocket of the front flap, and next to that is my Angle Finder C, in case I want to get down low for a dramatic angle. I don’t have my rocket blower or lens cloths in here, as I keep them in my photographer’s vest pocket. I do have my ColorChecker Passport, some lens cleaning fluid and some other maintenance stuff in the side pocket as well. I’ll have a couple of Profoto Air Remotes to fire my monolights which I’ll attach to the top of each camera while I shoot and an Air Sync to attach to my light meter, to fire the flashes from the meter to get a reading.

I’ll try to talk more about the monolights later if possible, but for now, here’s a fun photo that I also shot yesterday when I was testing using my four Profoto D1 500 monolights with the Profoto BatPac, which is basically a large powerful battery that I can run all four monolights for a few hundred frames on a full charge. This will be the first time I use the BatPac on a job, so I’ll let you know how that goes later too.

Four Profoto D1 500 Monolights on a BatPac

Four Profoto D1 500 Monolights on a BatPac

Conclusion

In short, I give a definite thumbs up for the ThinkTank Photo Airport Security V2.0 Rolling Camera Bag. This is a work of art in terms of camera bag manufacturing, and they have spared no expense on the real security measures that could save your gear in a pinch.

Most people reading this will know that I’m also a huge fan of Gura Gear’s Kiboko bag, and I’ll continue to use that for my nature work when I tend to cover more ground off road, and a rolling camera bag wouldn’t make much sense. But from now on, when I’m working on assignments, especially when the customer is around, the Airport Security V2.0 is going to be my bag of choice. It not only gives me the ability to carry a lot of gear, but being able to roll it will keep me from getting tired, and the bag itself just wreaks of quality, so will give my clients a great impression too.


Show Notes

Details of the Airport Security Rolling Camera Bag can be found on ThinkTank Photo’s Web site here:

http://www.thinktankphoto.com/products/airport-security-v2-roller-camera-bag.aspx

Music by UniqueTracks


Audio

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