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Photo vest: Do you wear one?
Old 06-06-2018   #1
Vincent.G
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Photo vest: Do you wear one?

Hi folks

Does anyone here own and wear a photo vest?

For those who wears one, what do you recommend?

For those who dont, why not?
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Old 06-06-2018   #2
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No - way too dorky! And unnecessary! Also screams, “I’m carrying valuable stuff, mug me!”

The relatively few items I may need easy access to fit in my pockets - batteries, SD cards, perhaps a lens aor lightmeter. Other stuff goes in a bag - size depends on the stuff I need for a shoot (shoulder or bum bag up to a rucksack if I require lights).

Though I have ordered the black hoodie version of this!
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Old 06-06-2018   #3
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I use a photo vest. It's one I got in a trade, so I haven't compared it with others.

I normally carry my camera, mounted on a tripod, slung over my shoulder. This works for walking relatively short distances; I don't go on long hikes carrying the camera in this manner. Anything else I want to carry normally fits in the pockets of the vest. I prefer this to having a camera bag hanging from my shoulder and swinging around.

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Old 06-06-2018   #4
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Right up there with suspenders and white socks in sandals.
I'm waaay too good looking for that kind of visual harrassment
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Old 06-06-2018   #5
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I've had one for ten or fifteen years. It seemed like a good idea at the time of purchase but I've never used it.
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Old 06-06-2018   #6
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I often wear one. I don't give a **** what anyone thinks of my appearance. If that mattered, I'd cut my hair and shave my duck dynasty beard and wear stylish clothes.

For a documentary photographer, a photo vest is very useful. If I want to work without a bag, I can fit a few lenses, a meter, and my tablet in the pockets of my vest.

I use a Nikon Vestrap. I have a closet full of them, and I buy them anytime I find one in unused condition in my size. They were discontinued 20 yrs ago, but a lot of them are still floating around with the tags still on them!

I Prefer the Vestrap because I have found that it carries gear better than any other I have tried. Others often make the weight fall on my neck, which is painful. The Nikon Vestrap carried the weight of my gear to my shoulders.
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Old 06-06-2018   #7
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My employer used to hand them out to staff deployed in the 'deep field'. I've had one for years: a good way to keep your stuff together and your hands free.
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Old 06-06-2018   #8
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I kinda think they are Cool
loved Tom A in his ~

they certainly serve a purpose
It's a 'Look' ... all depends on how you accessorize it

wonder if I can find one petite enough ...
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Old 06-06-2018   #9
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I think they are quite practical though I'd never wear one personally ... no real need. I'm happy with my butterfly net and my pith helmet ... that's enough style for me!
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Old 06-06-2018   #10
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I'm sartorially challenged - so a photo vest would be far too stylish for me.

One day I'm hoping to match Keith with his butterfly net and pith helmet......

John

P.S. I'm serious too - and definitely not taking the pith!
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Old 06-06-2018   #11
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When I was a working newspaper shooter, I always wore a Domke photo vest. It is what worked for me. Plenty of pockets, a pocket velcro holder for my press creds.
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Old 06-06-2018   #12
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Same goes for the Tilley hat. Not for the vainglorious but these hats are indestructible -I've had mine for +20 years, and they keep your head cool.
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Old 06-06-2018   #13
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Yes. I have an old Banana Republic one. I use it when I am traveling. Put wallet and keys in the zip pockets and just take that off when going through security. I don't wear it all the time when I'm working but I do wear it some.
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Old 06-06-2018   #14
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Occasionally I wear a vest for all-day event coverage, as it helps to distribute the weight on my shoulders. I have two old Banana Republic vests.
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Old 06-06-2018   #15
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I'm with Chris Crawford on this one. Although generally I'm a "clean old man" with a fresh shave and neatly trimmed hair, I still like a cargo vest and prefer it to any camera bag for walk-around picture taking. It not even like I'm carrying a lot of stuff or it is very heavy or bulky, just that for access I find a vest more convenient as usually there is a space for each item with nothing sitting on top of other stuff.
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Old 06-06-2018   #16
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Not a photo vest, but I'll occasionally wear one of those fluorescent yellow safety vests if I'm shooting in some place where I'm not really supposed to be. Like in or around an abandoned building. No one even looks twice; they just assume I'm with the city or the utility company or something. I become invisible.
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Old 06-06-2018   #17
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I'm with Chris Crawford on this one as well. The opinions of others holds no sway over me, never has. I have used Domke vests and jackets for years, for their utility, but I don't think they're being made any longer. I hate a bag on my shoulder, and vests and jackets hold spare lenses, notepads, meters, and other necessities for a day out.
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Old 06-06-2018   #18
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If I had a vest I would wear it for sure! I never have enough pockets.
I am usually on a bicycle on my photo outings, a shoulder bag is not a great thing, though workable.

I do like the idea of Chris's strap thing, I will have to make a decision.
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Old 06-06-2018   #19
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don't own or wear one...

In the places that I shoot, I prefer a small day pack... more flexible for the second camera, drink, possible lunch, sunglasses, accessories, what ever... my pace is such that I don't need quick access and tend to shoot one lens for long periods. I can carry the tripod strapped to the back of the day pack. I do use a belt pouch when shooting with Lee Seven5 filters.

For the most part I use public transportation, not automobile based... metro, subway, and trains plus a lot of walking so I tend to 'pack' for the day.
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Old 06-06-2018   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by css9450 View Post
Not a photo vest, but I'll occasionally wear one of those fluorescent yellow safety vests if I'm shooting in some place where I'm not really supposed to be. Like in or around an abandoned building. No one even looks twice; they just assume I'm with the city or the utility company or something. I become invisible.
Great idea Charles!

As far as the OP's question, always wear a vest when I'm working, so many little things to keep track of and that I want access to quickly, press-pass, notebook, pens, spare batteries, data cards, etc. And for the last seven years I've been using a DOMKE. It's pretty indestructible. Had a Banana Republic one for years before that.

When I'm just shooting for myself, depends on how complex the project is, sometimes the vest is handy because, again, it's about keeping things within quick reach, and sometimes I don't need it so I don't wear it.

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Old 06-06-2018   #21
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I imagine them being very useful in principle, but even on not-so-urban photo endeavors, when I'd dare wearing one, what about the many times it would be too hot or too cold or too rainy to wear one? How do the photo vest users handle this? Do you use a larger one that can fit over a coat and a smaller one for summer (otherwise it would fit very lose without coat)? A large rain parka that can go over it? Take it off and carry it in your hand when it's hot?
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Old 06-06-2018   #22
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All of the above retinax. I wear mine over a t-shirt on hot days, with a thin TNF APEX North Face jacket (like this morning when it was 47F), and at times I can fit it over the TNF and a North Face down vest if it's really cold, and when it's raining, I have a North Face Goretex shell that fits over everything.

The only time it's really not great is when it's raining and I have to have the shell over everything, then it makes it harder to get to things quickly. But then I also have Think-Tank rain jackets on the cameras and lenses, so in the rain, the whole thing is really kind of a pain in the a**.

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Old 06-06-2018   #23
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Chris Crawford's post made me think that I should break out my photo vest. I recently had my doctor as well as some older friends remind me that I'm no longer in my 20's or 30's. My hips, knees and feet were beaten by eight years of boots while I was in the Navy. So these days I have to wear orthopedic shoes. My whole spine is a work in progress with daily physical therapy exercise just to maintain some level of comfort after being injured several times during that naval service as well as a few bicycle wrecks after I rejoined the civilian world. One of those bike wrecks destroyed my left shoulder in 2009 and I still deal with loss of flexibility, movement and neuropathy on a daily basis. So yeah, in light of all that, I really need to start wearing my vest to help my shoulders and my back. What others' think of my appearance be damned. If I'm that concerned about how I look, I'm in the wrong life.

As to the original question, I used to wear it all the time when working. It's way more convenient to just reach into a pocket for a roll of film, lens, battery, CF card, reflector, flash, you name it; instead of dealing with a shoulder bag or even worse, a backpack. As a matter of fact, I may have to start wearing it on a daily basis and just carry a camera as an excuse to wear the vest. It's just too convenient for my wallet, cell phone, and the little bits of photo stuff I like to carry in a bag that currently kills one shoulder at a time if I'm out for a few hours.

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Old 06-06-2018   #24
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I have an old Banana Republic one that's been in the closet for years. I may get it out and try it again. The pockets are too small for the big DSLR zooms but it would work for my rangefinder film stuff. An ltm camera with small lens mounted would fit in the larger pockets. Thanks for the reminder.
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Old 06-06-2018   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnwolf View Post
No way. Vests are the pocket protectors of photography. Squaresville. A small backpack and camera in hand works for me.

John
"Squaresville"!? Good grief, we have a beatnik among us.
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Old 06-06-2018   #26
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I've had one for years but only used it a couple times - prefer a shoulder bag in most instances.

But...

Used to travel with a guy who wore one, and in some situations overseas this is great because you can carry a bunch of stuff in the pockets and just slip it off to go through x-ray - no digging through and dumping each and every pants pocket. Also, some airlines (especially budget, Austrailia comes to mind...) limit carry-on baggage weight to a few kilos, but the vest - as clothing - typically doesn't count. He also wore a bright orange shirt everywhere so guess he wasn't too worried about style.

The vest does spread the weight out more as well which can be more comfortable on a long day, but you can't really set it down like a camera bag. Unfortunately the vest also puts pockets everywhere for someone to pick if you're in those sorts of areas.

Always trade offs.
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Old 06-06-2018   #27
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I have one of the original Banana Republic vests from when Banana Republic was a neat place to buy travel items. I wore it while working for a daily newspaper in the 1980's. In fact, I think several of the other photographers there followed my lead and bought vests. Even after I quit doing news photography, I wore it when on trips. It's still usable today but I've gained too much weight to wear it now.

I also have a Domke vest I bought when I got too fat for the Banana Republic one. I don't use it as much as I did the BR vest. Both were handy when shooting film--lots of pockets for unexposed rolls separate pockets for exposed film as well as places to keep filters, note pads, pens, maps, guide books and lots of etc. Today with digital I can carry a couple of spare batteries in a pocket and use my iPhone for notes, guide books and maps. If I carry around more than one camera with lens, I take a bag.

Oh, yeah, I almost forgot. Back when I first got the original Banana Republic vest I read that it was extremely popular with undercover police and government agents. You could conceal a lot of firepower under one of those vests and the pockets could carry a number of extra magazines.
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Awesome
Old 06-06-2018   #28
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Awesome

Quote:
Originally Posted by RichC View Post
No - way too dorky! And unnecessary! Also screams, Im carrying valuable stuff, mug me!

The relatively few items I may need easy access to fit in my pockets - batteries, SD cards, perhaps a lens aor lightmeter. Other stuff goes in a bag - size depends on the stuff I need for a shoot (shoulder or bum bag up to a rucksack if I require lights).

Though I have ordered the black hoodie version of this!
- That is quite a jacket, especially version 2.0, may have to get one myself!
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Old 06-06-2018   #29
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Old 06-06-2018   #30
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I've had one for ten or fifteen years. It seemed like a good idea at the time of purchase but I've never used it.

Ditto. I forgot I had and saw it hanging in my closet last week.
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Old 06-06-2018   #31
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I use a Fishpond fly fishing vest when out fly fishing and I carry my iPhone 7 plus in on of the many pockets. Don't give a rat's a** what someone thinks of how I look--especially the bohemian beatniks
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Old 06-06-2018   #32
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I have one in the closet and cannot remember the last time I wore it. However, I wore one a lot back in the late 1980's when they were the height of fashion. It worked great for concealing large handguns like a .44 Magnum Desert Eagle in a shoulder holster (carried for work as a federal agent).

And it was even useful for photography!
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Old 06-06-2018   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark A. Fisher View Post
I'm with Chris Crawford on this one as well. The opinions of others holds no sway over me, never has. I have used Domke vests and jackets for years, for their utility, but I don't think they're being made any longer.
Domke / Tiffen stopped making the vests a few years ago. I have the tan one in large and then XL to go over Winter wear, I use them often.

Applications include landscape photography when my 4x5 is on a tripod in a stream and using a bag would be a liability and other types of shoots where a bag slows me down and is again, a liability.

Other great examples of using a vest is when I covered Obama's first inauguration in 2008 and could not use a bag due to security and when I did "Photo-Moto" for a large bike race where I was photographing the race from the back of a motorcycle for 135 miles, often on dirt roads and over two 12,000 mountain passes.
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Old 06-06-2018   #34
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I've thought about it before, but never really bought one. I recently bought a fanny pack (bum bag for non-Americans) now that they're in style again (for some reason), for when I don't want to take my bigger bag. Probably as dorky as a vest, but whatever..
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Old 06-06-2018   #35
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On the topic of fanny packs, I see a lot of younger folks here in Philly wear what I like to call "hipster or punk utility belts." They seriously look like a guard belt you'd hang a revolver off of then they have a number of pouches, some homemade, sewn to the belt itself.

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Old 06-06-2018   #36
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I prefer "bohemian."

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John, I've always pictured you as a blue oxford shirt and khaki pants kinda guy
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Old 06-06-2018   #37
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Never liked vests... and never even considered one for myself. I'd rather wear cargo pants instead. Besides, whenever I travel I end up in very warm places in which wearing a photographer's vest would be kind of suicidal.
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Old 06-06-2018   #38
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They are an excellent form of birth control. If we could only get teenage kids to wear them.
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Old 06-06-2018   #39
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I have one. I wear it when I go fishing.
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Old 06-06-2018   #40
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I got a big photo vest from Fuji film, with their logo on it, for buying a load of Fuji chrome years ago. I used it, but but it had so many pockets that it was cumbersome. What I still use at times is a Royal Robins vest that, although not meant as a photo vest, is very handy. Just one large pocket on each side, and smaller pockets above them. I can get a Leica IIIc with a CV lens in each pocket and still have room for a little Digilux point and shoot, a meter, and film. And that's enough. The problem with the large vest is remembering what I put in which pockets.

I keep meaning to try a Domke vest, but never get around to it.

What was the vest that Tom A. wore? I don't think it was a photo vest, but something from an outdoor outfitter.
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