The urban lifestyle (of da camera)
It’s that time of the month!…Kinda. Here’s to another fun-filled??? not terribly late (as usual) post. =D (And yes, I’m pretty deprecating.) One day I will have to look up whether I can post smiley faces on here. I’m sure you can. Just haven’t really thought to look it up really.
So, the past few days, I’ve been thinking about how to write this post for the month and tonight, decided to write about something else entirely. Since I’ve been hemming and hawing about the other topic, this one I’m about to write would get to your screens much faster!
My current dilemma (of many, actually,) is finding a proper camera backpack to tote around the city. After moving back to NYC, I was using a small shoulder bag. This bag is big enough to carry the camera with two lenses and some accessories. Then I added a small notebook and strapped my tripod to the top of it. With the tripod, it’s a bit inconvenient on the subway. And because I needed to carry more things (and even more things as the months go by), I began using my backpack.
Carrying the tripod inside the backpack is actually pretty convenient, except when I’m trying to pack and repack the camera/lens bags, notebook, and whatnots with the tripod. My straps and zipper are starting to go. Is my bag really that heavy? When I’m tired, walking around all day, YES!
I feel like I’ve been looking at camera backpacks forever now, off and on. When I was at Photo Plus Expo in October last year, I was roaming around the exhibition hall and came across Lowepro’s Rover Pro AW bags. It’s supposed to allow you and your equipment to get out into the backcountry. I suppose it reminds me of my days in AmeriCorps, more specifically Utah Conservation Corps. I got excited because, 1) it looked like it would help distribute the weight well like my own backpacks from Kelty. Not the one now, the camping one. And 2) it would be hard for someone to steal something from the pack. But now that I’m looking at it again, it won’t make sense in an urban setting. It has units for you to place your gear in, which is great. But since I take my equipment in and out of the bag quite a number of times a day, that’s just going to be inconvenient. This morning, I saw Lowepro’s DryZone Rover bag. I got excited because it was waterproof. Not only would I not have to break out a rain cover for the bag, it would be an option to take with me for when I go sea kayaking in the future.
I’ve been looking at Vanguard bags as well. I like the fact that they look compact, without a lot of fuss that people unknown to you might want to mess with. I still need to review their line of backpacks again.
I just happen to be one of those people who have to research things to death. Which, incidentally, takes me forever to make up my mind and buy something. Ideally, I would get to try it out before buying it, but the camera stores may or may not carry a display for me to look at. So coming down to it, the following factors are what are important to me in choosing a bag:
1. Carry a camera body and up to four lenses. Don’t think I really need more lenses than that. Of course, carrying two lenses and a tripod is heavy enough, I don’t know what I would do with four lenses, plus other gear I only carry when I need it, i.e., for portrait work.
2. Have room for all the accessories. Maybe flashes in the future?
3. I love having a gazillion pockets, which also equates to carrying more stuff. Want at least one pocket big enough for a book. I wasn’t planning on carrying a book around town since I now read on my phone. But, the phone goes through battery so fast that it’s nice to be able to have something tangible to read if the phone does die. And to answer your question/comment, can’t always charge my phone during the day.
3. Have the bag open from the back, more of a security issue for me. And maybe an OCD clean issue too where my bag that touched the ground won’t touch my back.
4. Be inconspicuous. Not really wanting a screaming orange.
5. Tripod placement. I’ve noticed some bags have the tripod on the side. I kind of wonder how lopsided the weight distribution would be. There are some that you can strap to the middle which seems better for my center of gravity. (Can you tell I’ve been backpacking?) But I think I would want to put a rain cover over it like I do now just to keep the tripod out of sight. However, since the tripod is outside the bag, I will have to see how much harder it is to cover it. I’ve already poked a number of holes through the one I have at the top where it goes over the tripod head.
6. Also, I’ve been thinking about how to carry the backpack and tripod/stand bag (for whenever I get one. Yep, still researching.) together. I may have to settle for carrying the tripod/stand bag in my hand but I’d rather not.
7. Ooooo, something that I really like, and it’s a throwback to the camping backpacks–having a hydration reservoir. Yes, I think I’ll look weird sucking on a hydration tube, but they are so convenient!
I think those are the most important points for me in choosing a bag, though I’ll probably remember some more once I publish this. =) With this potential traveling studio, I think I need to bring a mule with me to my shoots. Wonder if it would need a metrocard?
Til next month! Take care!