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What I Decided To Take and Thoughts on Bags
Old 09-13-2010   #1
wgerrard
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What I Decided To Take and Thoughts on Bags

For the sake of closure, here's what I decided to take on an upcoming trip, after my almost total indecisiveness was chronicled in this thread.

I'm taking my M2, the Nokton 35/1.2 and the Zeiss Planar ZM 50/2. They fit snugly in my Evans Walker bag, along with my new Sekonic L-398A meter. I'll very likely take the Sekonic instead of the little VC II meter that usually adorns the M2. Why should having almost zero experience using a meter like the Sekonic get in my way, eh?

The Sigma DP2-S I'd been planning on taking doesn't fit in the bag.

This seems a nice almost minimal kit that won't weigh me down. (The Bessa R4M weighs even less, and paired with the Nokton is arguably easier to handle, but the M2 has larger framelines for the 35 and 50.

In this process, I looked at a lot of camera bags, both online and in retail shops. I have a few things, then, to say about camera bags:

1. Straps should always be detachable. A healthy little aftermarket seems to exist for straps. That would not be the case if everyone was happy with the original strap on their bag. I've never been fond of the strap on the Evans Walker. It doesn't conform to my shoulder and it falls off with the slightest provocation. I bought an Op-Tech Mini strap to replace it. More comfortable and it stays put.

2. Padding may be optional for a bag you use around home, but it is a Good Thing for trips that involve air travel, trains, subways, and such. Overhead bins and the space under the seat can be dangerous places on an airliner. Padding also comes in handy when you are in crowds.

3. Getting stuff in and out of your bag needs to be dead simple, quick and easy. The Evans Walker uses a zipper running the length of the bag. Getting stuff into and out of the bag while it is still draped on your shoulder is not a problem. On the other hand, the Domke F2 I bought, thinking I'd use it on this trip, uses a big Velcro'ed flap and a pair of metal buckles. It's decidedly less convenient to use when it's on your shoulder.

4. Few companies other than a handful of specialists seem to be making bags for RF users. They are making bags for DSLR users and laptop owners. Putting an RF or its lenses in a pocket that's 10-12 inches deeps seems like overkill to me. Maybe the m4/3 market will prompt some new and more accommodating bags.

5. Even if it all fits, think twice before you take it all with you. When I got the F2 home, I packed it with two cameras and 4 lenses. Other folks probably would not have noticed, but i quickly decided there's no way I'm going to spend two weeks with that stuff hanging on my shoulder.

6. The lighter, the better. I've seen some good looking bags that weigh in at six and seven pounds empty. A pound or so is a better idea.
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Old 09-13-2010   #2
keepright
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wgerrard View Post
5. Even if it all fits, think twice before you take it all with you. When I got the F2 home, I packed it with two cameras and 4 lenses. Other folks probably would not have noticed, but i quickly decided there's no way I'm going to spend two weeks with that stuff hanging on my shoulder.
That's an excellent point that I've taken a couple of trips to learn. Last time I went out, I kept my total bag weight below ten pounds, and next time I'll be trying to drop a couple of pounds from that, as well.

(Of course, now I have a camera that weighs more than that...)
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Old 09-13-2010   #3
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I always take one digital camera and 1 film camera with me. The digital body is either a P&S or shares the same lenses as the film body.

For general travel, this means my Zi and 21-35-50 and my NEX5 with 16mm lens (plus M-NEX adapter). This gear plus film and some accessories all fit nicely in a Thinktank UD30, which I then stuff into a large backpack (with clothes, books, other stuff) for use when I'm in transit to a destination.

There are times, however, when I need a DSLR, a film SLR and 2-3 lenses. On those trips, the UD30 is too small.
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