Old 10-31-2011, 07:57 PM   #1
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Default camera bag for railfanning?

Any thoughts on this? I'm looking for something that might hold a couple of SLRs and a few lenses, filters, and assorted oddities. Maybe something that would be comfortable to walk a few miles with. Right now I just use my old backpack which works OK, but then an old pillow case would work ok too.
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Old 10-31-2011, 08:31 PM   #2
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I would browse the LowePro or Tamrac lines. Both companies have websites that describe their bags and provide photos and dimensions. I have looked at other lines, but not found any that provide the variety at a reasonable price. The B&H website has a ton of camera bags from many manufacturers and their prices are generally as good as you'll find outside of fire sales.

I personally use a LowePro Pro Mag 2 AW. It's discontinued now, but I like how much it holds for the size. This bag holds 2 DSLRs with long zooms attached, along with a flash and a spare lens or two, depending on size. It has one inside and one outside pocket for doo-dads and the combination of the two hold a lot of stuff. There are also external loops for attaching lens pouches, etc. It also has a waterproof rain jacket. The bag fits under my seat on an airplane, so as long as I get on, it does too. It can get heavy, so I usually down-load it when I am chasing or doing a charter.

My needs may be different from yours. I like to store the cameras with the lenses mounted, so I am ready to "draw and fire" on short notice. For that type of need, backpacks are just not useful at all.

Two other bags that I like are the LowePro Classified 200 AW and the Tamrac Velocity 9x. I have played with the former in a camera store and like it a lot. The latter is a favorite of one of my NJ friends, who has a pair of Canon 5Ds. I've been at plenty of events with him and it seems to serve him well. He's another quick-draw type of shooter.
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Old 10-31-2011, 08:36 PM   #3
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You would be absolutely SHOCKED by what you could fit inside of this thing:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...=REG&A=details

2 camera bodies, 7 lenses (100-400, 70-200, 50, 24, 17-40, 28-105, 85), 2 chargers + a couple extra batteries, my filters, hoods, misc other stuff. I could fit a flash in there too just barely if I needed to. It fits nicely in a airplane luggage compartment too, which is key if you travel, and since it's a backpack, you never get asked to weigh it (or at least I have not).
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Old 10-31-2011, 08:43 PM   #4
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I hate camera bags! I've got a bad back so I can only use a backpack comfortably but never found one that suited my purposes. Last year i got myself one of these Cotton Carrier rigs for Christmas. With it I can leave the bag at home (or in the car) and comfortably carrry two bodies complete with two lenses (my 100-400L and 24-105L) all day long. If I need to bring along my wide angle it goes in a little pouch on my belt. Best thing is, I can shoot an oncoming train with my long zoom then just let go of it and grab the other in a half a second! The cameras are tethered, so they won't hit the ground when you drop them. There's nothin' more aggravating than having to root around in a bag with a train comin' at ya. And if the weather's crappy, I can just zip my jacket up over the whole thing.
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Old 10-31-2011, 09:58 PM   #5
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I've been really happy with the Tamrac Velocity 9 for several years now:





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Old 10-31-2011, 11:07 PM   #6
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I use a Lowepro Vertex 300 AW. It's loaded up with a pair of Canon 5D Mark II's, 40D (spare body), 17-40 f/4.0L, 24-70 f/2.8L, 70-200 f/2.8L, EX 580 II, along with enough memory cards and accessories to open a small camera shop.

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Old 10-31-2011, 11:30 PM   #7
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wow! a bunch of great suggestions. Thanks guys! I'll study this stuff on B&H's website.
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Old 10-31-2011, 11:55 PM   #8
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The thing I really like about mine is it has these cargo pockets on the side of it, where you can put sturdy things like chargers, batteries, flashes, etc, lots of zipper pockets.
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Old 11-01-2011, 01:20 AM   #9
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Jim, how is that Velocity 9 on your shoulder, does it get irritatingly heavy being on one shoulder? How easily can you switch to the other shoulder, just take it off and on or do you have to relocate the strap? Hmm, the lesser comfort may be worth the handling, especially, say, if snowing or raining, and one doesn't want to have the camera out in between shot opportunities.

By the diagram, that looks like a small bag, but I can see it being useful. Mine is somewhat larger, but it doesn't do two bodies when both have lenses mounted. Well, maybe it can, I've never looked into rearranging the dividers for that. But not long enough to put the cameras lens-to-lens as in the picture above.

It is a Canon backpack, which Amazon tells me I bought over 4 years ago. I'm happy with it, and it is quite affordable. I carry body/17-55/10-22/55-250/70-200/50/batteries and other goodies. When I need it I put a flash in one of the outside pockets. The two external mesh pockets take a scanner and a water bottle easily.

(Yeah, why both the 55-250 and the 70-200? I know, I know. But sometimes I like to handhold with the IS, sometimes I take my time with the 70-200 or use a tripod. The 55-250 is small and light so not a big deal and I don't have anything else I need put in that compartment anyway.)

http://www.amazon.com/Canon-Deluxe-B.../dp/B00009R6TA
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Old 11-01-2011, 01:37 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JRMDC View Post
Jim, how is that Velocity 9 on your shoulder, does it get irritatingly heavy being on one shoulder? How easily can you switch to the other shoulder, just take it off and on or do you have to relocate the strap? Hmm, the lesser comfort may be worth the handling, especially, say, if snowing or raining, and one doesn't want to have the camera out in between shot opportunities.

By the diagram, that looks like a small bag, but I can see it being useful. Mine is somewhat larger, but it doesn't do two bodies when both have lenses mounted. Well, maybe it can, I've never looked into rearranging the dividers for that. But not long enough to put the cameras lens-to-lens as in the picture above.

It is a Canon backpack, which Amazon tells me I bought over 4 years ago. I'm happy with it, and it is quite affordable. I carry body/17-55/10-22/55-250/70-200/50/batteries and other goodies. When I need it I put a flash in one of the outside pockets. The two external mesh pockets take a scanner and a water bottle easily.

(Yeah, why both the 55-250 and the 70-200? I know, I know. But sometimes I like to handhold with the IS, sometimes I take my time with the 70-200 or use a tripod. The 55-250 is small and light so not a big deal and I don't have anything else I need put in that compartment anyway.)

http://www.amazon.com/Canon-Deluxe-B.../dp/B00009R6TA
You have the same backpack as me. I guess the only complaint I have is when you use it on hot days, and walk/hike long distances, it can get very, very hot on your back, it does not breathe AT ALL.
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Old 11-01-2011, 08:17 AM   #11
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If I don't want to drag it all with me I stuff what I think I will need in this holds a 50D 24-105 and my 70-200 F4L http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...ack_Black.html
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Old 11-01-2011, 12:54 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Hawkins View Post
I use a Lowepro Vertex 300 AW. It's loaded up with a pair of Canon 5D Mark II's, 40D (spare body), 17-40 f/4.0L, 24-70 f/2.8L, 70-200 f/2.8L, EX 580 II, along with enough memory cards and accessories to open a small camera shop.

Jeff Hawkins
I have a Lowepro that is a similar size to Jeff's - could even be the same model. Yes, you can fit a lot in, but you won't want to go huge distances with it as full as illustrated - camera bodies don't weigh much, but add in 2 or 3 L lenses, accessories and maybe your sandwich box in the outside compartment and it is HEAVY
A couple of weeks ago I went to a motor racing meeting at Silverstone in the UK - I was very glad that I took out my 24-105 F4L, 2 palm size videocams, the beanbag I use to sometimes balance them on and a bunch of accessories. By the time I'd finished walking round the circuit, what was left in there felt like a ton. Don't think my shoulders would have coped with the full load.
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Old 11-01-2011, 01:57 PM   #13
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I've two primary bags, both are backpacks. One is a Lowepro Slingshot 300AW sling bag the other a Nikon D-SLR Knapsack backpack. You tailor the size to your equipment, but I strongly suggest you get a backpack (two shoulder straps) over a sling bag (one strap). I don't suffer from any back problems... unless I've gone for a walk with the sling bag. It's nice for short trips from the vehicle to the front door, but any distance and the sling starts to work on you in a bad way as the weight isn't distributed well. And that is when the waist belt is use which is supposed to distribute the weight.

Only drawback to my backpack is that it is small, which was intentional, so I must leave a few lenses and a body behind. In the sling I can fit my D300 and D200 bodies (both with battery packs), and a 28mm, 50mm, 85mm, 105mm, 135mm, 180mm, 200mm, and 300mm lenses, my P-O-S 18-135mm lens, a scanner, 8 or 9 CF cards, a few spare lens caps (I lose the odd one here and there), spare lens hood, and a sandwich. The knapsack will only hold one body and all lenses except the 180mm, 300mm, and the crappy zoom. Oh, the scanner and a few CF cards fit as well, but no sandwich.
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Old 11-01-2011, 02:27 PM   #14
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I had trouble with my sling bacg, too. My back would hurt after going out for a day with it. So I got the Canon bag linked above (though I paid more for mine, dangit!) and immediately loaded it down with as much of my gear as I could. That didn't last long. First, an awful thought occured to me. What if it was stolen? Then all of my gear would be gone. Or if it were droppedinto the Congaree or what have you. I never really use two bodies much anymore anyway and just leave the other stuff in a smaller sling bag that I take out with me but usually leave in my car until I know I need it.

Just watch ow you zip up a bookbag. The one in question was zipped in such a way once that the camera fell out of it. I for some reason thought it smart to zip it up to meet at the top. Now I am always sure to zip it up all the way to the side of the bag that would be higher than the other side if I have it on one shoulder, which is always my left shoulder.
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Old 11-01-2011, 11:13 PM   #15
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http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc..._Backpack.html

I have one of these and like it a lot. Only thing I will say it is hot in the summer time walking around in the 115 or so weather. It has a lot of room and many pockets to store stuff. I do not have all the fancy stuff that a lot of you have (at least not yet, but someday) but I still have some room to "grow into it."
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Old 11-02-2011, 12:04 AM   #16
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I've been pretty happy with this bag since I bought it last spring. It's a great little backpack for light hiking and bike riding. Lowepro Flipside 300

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Old 11-02-2011, 12:07 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JRMDC View Post
Jim, how is that Velocity 9 on your shoulder, does it get irritatingly heavy being on one shoulder? How easily can you switch to the other shoulder, just take it off and on or do you have to relocate the strap? Hmm, the lesser comfort may be worth the handling, especially, say, if snowing or raining, and one doesn't want to have the camera out in between shot opportunities.

By the diagram, that looks like a small bag, but I can see it being useful. Mine is somewhat larger, but it doesn't do two bodies when both have lenses mounted. Well, maybe it can, I've never looked into rearranging the dividers for that. But not long enough to put the cameras lens-to-lens as in the picture above.
The bag is nice if you're taking one body and three lenses (or a fourth small lens). After a long hike, the weight can start nagging on your shoulder a little bit, but I usually avoid that by swinging it around to the front of me, which shifts the weight off my shoulder a bit. It's primarily made for left shoulder slinging, but it can be used on the right shoulder, although it feels a little odd to me.
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Old 11-02-2011, 12:43 AM   #18
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Thanks, Jim.
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Old 11-02-2011, 03:57 AM   #19
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The Lowepro line is very well designed. Their Fastpack is a backpack that can sling.

Check out the Kata line. Very well designed and very, very light yet reinforced for strength. One thing I really like is the orange interior. Why? Well, we all have had the fun of trying to find a little black thing in a black bag in the back seat at night with no flashlight.

Yet I use the ThinkTank brand. I have the Streetwalker. it's perfect for me. It is very well designed and very well made for two cameras, 2 zooms, 4 primes, flash, filters, cards, battery, and a tripod carrier.

Lastly, I use the Think Tank Modular bags on a belt when I in the hot action. I have my two zooms, couple of primes, cards, batteries, flash, and a water bottle=total six bags. If I need anything, it's on my waist. You see the press and paparazzi use this stuff.

The belt system works for me. But I am little weird and doubt anyone else would ever use it.

http://www.thinktankphoto.com/
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