My gear : bags and cases for storage, air travel, protection and transportation of camera equipment (part 2)

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Additional lens protection :

Before I purchased the iM2600 Peli Storm hard case for storing and transporting both of my long lenses, I used to use a Think Tank ‘Glass Taxi’ lens bag. Although this particular bag is now rarely used it is still very useful on occasions if, for whatever reason, I just want to protect one lens. It comfortably takes either my 300mm f/2.8 lens fitted with the TC-20E III attached to a D810, or the 500mm f/4 on its own.

Manufacturer’s link : https://www.thinktankphoto.com/collections/long-glass-backpacks

Another Think Tank bag that I have and still use from time to time is the 'Digital Holster 30' v2, which is actually part of the belt system range mentioned further down, albeit I use it on its own rather than on the belt. It’s an extendable camera and lens bag that I use to carry and protect my 70-200mm f/2.8 lens. With the bottom zipped up it will store the camera and lens with the hood reversed, but with it unzipped and extended you can mount the hood so that the camera is ready for use. I like using the 70-200mm lens on a second body when I’m on safari, so I pack it accordingly into my main bag for the flight and then when I’m at the camp I fit the hood and extend the bag. I find it convenient both for protection and carrying the camera and lens to the vehicle but, also inside the vehicle when I put it in the seat pocket in front of me, as I then re-zip the bottom and fold back the zipped lid such that the camera body now extends, thereby giving me a quick-draw holster.

Manufacturer’s link : https://www.thinktankphoto.com/collections/digital-holsters

PHOTOS (both side by side)


Other bags :

By now you’ve probably realised that I’m a bit of a Think Tank fan, so it’s going to be no surprise to see that I have another two of their bags that each have their own particular use. The first is the ‘Urban Disguise 70' v2 that I bought many years ago for travelling. At that time, I could pack it with my D300, 70-200mm lens and all the extra bits and pieces I wanted and still have room to spare. It’s certainly not a big bag, but it is surprisingly spacious, plus it has a pocket on the front that I used to put my iPad in. Today it spends most of its life stuck at the back of the cupboard, but it does come out now and again if I’m going to a destination such as the Danube Delta when we were travelling BA with a generous overall weight limit and an allowance for a second carry on-bag. It will then be used to take my second camera body, additional shorter lenses such as the 70-200mm and/or 24-120mm, spare batteries, charger, cards etc, and my MacAir in the front pocket.

Manufacturer’s link : https://www.thinktankphoto.com/collections/urban-disguise-shoulder-bags-1

PHOTO

The other is the Think Tank ‘Retrospective' 5 shoulder bag, which I’d use for days out if I just needed a small bag for bits and pieces. It was originally purchased for city breaks as it was the most suitable shoulder bag I could find to take my camera and 24-120mm lens, plus wallet, iPhone, sunglasses etc. Again it’s a bag that rarely gets used these days, but if we’re out and about and going to be mobile it’s a bag that I might decide to take with me instead of a backpack.

Manufacturer’s link : https://www.thinktankphoto.com/collections/retrospective-series

It all depends on where we are and what needs to be carried. As I said way back at the start of this (unintentionally long) section, you need different styles and sizes of bags for different situations. Used bags have relatively low resale value, so if you have the space hang on to them, because at some point you’ll be pleased you have. I haven’t specifically mentioned it, but I have another 'Lowepro Nova’ bag that I use to store smaller items of clothing such as a cagoule, waterproof trousers, gaiters, gloves (which I rarely wear), hats, neck buff, mosquito hat net etc., which is convenient as I can just grab it and chuck it in the bag of the car knowing that if I need something it’s in there.

PHOTOS (Retrospective 5 and rucksack)


The waist belt option :

I rarely see other wildlife photographers using this option, which is an approach sometimes adopted by sports and street photographers, or even wedding photographers if they want a second camera, but don’t want it on a strap. But, from my point of view it’s a very useful option if you’re out and about walking and don’t want, or indeed need, to take a backpack. Obviously there are occasions when a daypack is essential, particularly if you’re taking food, rainwear or anything else that needs a bit more space but, if possible, I'd prefer wearing a belt rather than having something on my back or hanging off my shoulder. The Think Tank 'Pro-Speed’ v2 belt system is well padded, secure and comfortable. It can be a bit awkward and cumbersome though if loaded up with too much weight or too many accessories, but personally I find it to be a good option if you just need one small pouch to carry a few bits (teleconverter, spare battery, memory cards, cleaning cloth, wallet, iPhone etc) rather than trying to put those items in your pockets. I like having the pouch on the left towards the back with a water bottle in front. This keeps the right side clear, which makes it easier when I’m walking and carrying a camera in my right hand. And, after some experimenting, I found that if I want to carry a second camera it needs to be on my right side, not on the left. This is why I have a SpiderPro holster permanently mounted in exactly the place I want it on the belt. It’s fitted directly to the belt without the hip pad, which I found to be both uncomfortable and a nuisance when the holster wasn’t being used, particularly if you wanted to kneel down to take a shot.

Having said that, I rarely want, or actually have a need, to take a second camera and lens out with me when I’m walking. But, there have been a couple of places where I’ve found this arrangement very useful - Galapagos and the Pantanal. In both situations we were going on a hike where I needed to take my long lens, but where there would be occasions where I would want to photograph something at closer range. On Galapagos I was using my D810 with the 300mm f/2.8 lens as my main set up, either with or without a teleconverter (I had both the TC-14E and the TC-20E in my belt pouch) but, at the same time, also wanted to have my D800 and 24-120mm f/4 lens readily available. Having this second camera hooked securely in the SpiderPro holster worked well and kept my hands free. The only time I had a problem was if I was using the main camera handheld rather than on a tripod, as obviously I would then have to carefully lay the main camera down on the ground to be able to use the shorter lens. In the circumstances the arrangement worked okay, but it's something you need to think about if you want quick access to both cameras. I used a similar arrangement once in the Pantanal when we took a long walk one day, but on that occasion I had my second camera set up with my 70-200mm f/2.8 lens, which worked okay, but was a bit heavy to wear. The final point that’s worth mentioning for anybody that is considering using a belt system, is that the 'Pro-Speed’ is more comfortable to wear and easier to put on and adjust, if effectively it’s put on the wrong way round, such that the buckle is at the back. This sounds strange, but a lot of people who use this belt do the same as it really does make a difference. If you’re going to wear a belt it has to be comfortable and secure, and you need to have the accessories fitted to it in the position that suits you.

Manufacturer’s links : https://www.thinktankphoto.com/collections/camera-belts/products/pro-speed-belt-v2 and
http://spiderholster.com/thinktank-prospeed-kit/