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SportsShooter.com: Member Message Board

Photo backpack suggestions
Max Gersh, Photographer
Rockford | IL | USA | Posted: 1:37 PM on 09.17.13
->> I know this has been discussed before but I'm bringing it back to the surface thinking that new products may be out there.

I'm looking for a good camera backpack for daily use. It doesn't need to carry the entire gear closet. Just a basic daily kit.

It should be able to carry:
1D series body
16-35
24-70
70-200
Flash
teleconverter
15" MBP w/charger
Various cables/batteries/etc

I'm looking at the ThinkTank Streetwalker HardDrive (
http://tinyurl.com/ydonj4m) and the ThinkTank Shape Shifter (http://tinyurl.com/l5y345).

What are the thoughts between these two models? What other backpacks am I overlooking?
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Michael Chang, Photographer
Mobile | AL | USA | Posted: 1:50 PM on 09.17.13
->> I have the shape shifter and like it. However, I'm not too sure if the 70-200 will fit.
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Robert Hanashiro, Photographer
Los Angeles | CA | | Posted: 2:01 PM on 09.17.13
->> Shape Shifter.

I usually have 2 bodies, 70-200 f/2.8, 24-70 f/2.8; 15-inch MBP, power supply and a pouch with card readers (2), security cable, usb and fw cords.

If you're only putting 1 pro body into it, then the third lens should fit easily.

I admit it's a tight fit and heavy, but it works well.
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Alan Look, Photographer
Bloomington - Normal | IL | United States | Posted: 2:54 PM on 09.17.13
->> I have a Lowepro that holds a ton of gear. I easily fit in 2 1DMKIV's, 70-200 2.8, 300 2.8 (mounted), 17-40 f4, 2 extra camera bodies, 4-8 sets of AA's, a teleconverter, my MB Pro 15", a tripod or two, etc.... It comes with a weather resistant zipper and a built in, pull out rain cover. Has padded straps and a padded waist belt for distance carrying. It's also wife-assistant approved.

http://store.lowepro.com/backpacks/pro-trekker-400-aw
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Max Gersh, Photographer
Rockford | IL | USA | Posted: 3:06 PM on 09.17.13
->> Alan,

That's exactly the kind of bag I'm looking to avoid. I have one of the older Lowepro backpacks. It's a great bag. However, it's WAY to big.

I'm looking for something just to carry a basic kit for daily PJ work. I usually use a ThinkTank Urban Disguise 50 or a Crumpler 7 Million Dollar Home. However, the TT UD50 isn't particularly comfortable when loaded with the gear and a computer and the Crumpler can't carry a computer at all. Thus, I think a backpack is the solution.

Thanks for the input on the ShapeShifter thus far. I like how small it is. My one concern is the time involved if you need to get into the bag to change lenses on the fly. I'm not sure that any backpack would be faster. This is where a shoulder bag or belt systems excel.
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Doug Durham, Photographer
Georgetown | IN | | Posted: 3:24 PM on 09.17.13
->> I have think tank Airport Commuter. I used it for a one week trip to Rome last year. It's a great pack and will hold everything you listed nicely because I packed it almost identically to what you're looking to carry. Let me know if you're interested in it and I'll save you some $$.

http://www.thinktankphoto.com/products/airport-commuter.aspx
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Alan Look, Photographer
Bloomington - Normal | IL | United States | Posted: 3:36 PM on 09.17.13
->> Max, it comes in three sizes.
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Andrew Nelles, Photographer
Chicago | IL | usa | Posted: 5:09 PM on 09.17.13
->> +1 for the Think Tank Shapeshifter. Variable size depending on what you're carrying, and even when filled to the brim it's very manageable. Minimal padding keeps it slim. Should carry your kit not problem.

The bags are indestructible too. Mine has survived 4+ years of heavy use, including two embeds in Afghanistan. Still looks new.
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Dan Powers, Photographer
Appleton | WI | USA | Posted: 5:51 PM on 09.17.13
->> I have been using a Kata Bumble Bee 210DL for a little over a month and its been great ... Dan.
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Doug Strickland, Photographer
Chattanooga | TN | USA | Posted: 5:55 PM on 09.17.13
->> I like the Shapeshifter a lot when it isn't on my back. Whenever I need to carry two bodies, a 70-200, 16-35, 85mm, my laptop, and accessories, it is my go-to bag, but all that gear is heavy, so the bag stays in the trunk of my car and I try to work without wearing it whenever possible. As far as photo backpacks go, though, it is one of the more comfortable I've tried if you do need to lug it around.
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Les Stukenberg, Photographer, Photo Editor
Prescott Valley | AZ | USA | Posted: 6:00 PM on 09.17.13
->> Max,
What about a Think Tank Urban Disguise 60 with the shoulder straps? I went to that and I love it. It can be a shoulder bag or a backpack depending on what I need for the assignment.
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Kent Nishimura, Student/Intern, Photographer
Colorado Springs | CO | USA | Posted: 6:38 PM on 09.17.13
->> Max,

what will you be doing while using the bag? that is primarily what i'd like to know.

i use the shapeshifter, it holds everything i carry with me. 2x 5D3, 24mm 50mm 135mm, macbook air and sometimes even a 300mm.

however, 90% of the time im using it, the 2 5Ds, 24mm and 50mm are outside hanging from the thinktank harness that attaches to the backpack straps. (used in conjunction with the thinktank camera straps)

i use this bag along with a thinktank belt and pouches. so it makes it easy for me to change lenses if i need to.

recently i've taken the approach of pacsafing the bag with the gear i dont need for whatever assignment im shooting in the car and i'll just take what i need, which usually ends up being a 24,50,135 (or 70-200)

hope this helps. Cheers!

//K
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Kent Nishimura, Student/Intern, Photographer
Colorado Springs | CO | USA | Posted: 7:04 PM on 09.17.13
->> Max, I forgot to include this link:

http://kentnishimura.com/2013/09/17/in-my-bag/

I used this bag heavily during the 2012 RNC and DNC. Carried just about everything i needed. Cheers (Again) // K
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Steven Limentani, Photographer
Charlotte | NC | United States | Posted: 9:26 PM on 09.17.13
->> One other bag to consider is the Gura Gear Kiboko 22L:

http://www.guragear.com/kiboko-22l/

I like the way it is set up with separate compartments and I think it is about the same size as the shape shifter.
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Max Gersh, Photographer
Rockford | IL | USA | Posted: 11:20 PM on 09.17.13
->> Les,
That's an interesting idea. I'll look into that. Versatility is always a plus.

Kent,
I am a daily newspaper staffer. I shoot everything and in turn, would use the bag for every type of work. I want something to carry my basic kit (listed above) with comfort and ease in a variety of environments.

I think to downside to any backpack systems is that you have to remove it before accessing the contents of the bag. This can slow me down if I need to switch a lens quickly. However, I often will have the camera/lens combos that I'm using out already so it may not matter.

I like the idea of pairing the ShapeShifter with a belt pack for quick access to things I may need to grab on the fly.

Thanks for all the suggestions so far. I'm definitely looking at all the options posted.
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Corey Perrine, Photographer
Naples | FL | USA | Posted: 6:43 AM on 09.18.13
->> The Shape Shifter IMHO is not on-the-fly friendly. There are so many compartments, it tries to be so much, has so many compartments, you lose track of where you put stuff. You also spend more time fumbling with it's bungee cords, it gets in the way shooting, it's quite baffling. (This bag is my only gripe with ThinkTank, proud owner of the modular system and International Roller). I can't speak for the other bag you listed.

I'd suggest the SlingShot Lowepro 350 AW.

http://www.amazon.com/Lowepro-SlingShot-350-AW--Black/dp/B001E07NY6/ref=sr_...+SlingShot+350+AW

I use this bag when I want to travel light. It fits all you asked for in the smallest bag possible. And you can use it on-the-fly because of it's sling design.

I will say in a tight scrum it's not ideal because you have to whip it around so just be aware. It's kinda bulgy design-wise. Otherwise, it's a great daily bag.

My two cents.
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Doug Strickland, Photographer
Chattanooga | TN | USA | Posted: 8:29 AM on 09.18.13
->> Corey is absolutely right. The Shape Shifter is not friendly if you need quick access or need to switch lenses. It's more of a "Carry everything where you need it to be and then forget about it" bag.
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Joe Ahlquist, Photographer
Sioux Falls | SD | USA | Posted: 9:39 AM on 09.18.13
->> I just ordered Think Tank's Turnstyle 20 sling bag yesterday from Adorama.

http://www.adorama.com/TTTS20CH.html

I wont get it until tomorrow or Friday, but it seemed like a good choice.

I had a Lowepro AW 350 backpack and felt that it wasn't easy to get stuff out of on-the-fly, so I switched to a messenger bag, which was kind of hard on my shoulders and back, and now I'm trying a sling bag.

Another bonus to it is that it can be used as a belt pack, according to Think Tank anyways. We'll see how well it works.

I'm hoping to put it through its paces at the Huskers vs. SDSU football game on Saturday.
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Juerg Schreiter, Photographer
Fort Lauderdale | FL | USA | Posted: 11:56 AM on 09.18.13
->> Army 3-day assault pack. you can find them from 55-100 bucks.

holds a ton of gear, has all kinds of attachment possibilities, comes in black, tan, camo.... you save about 300 bucks :-)

e.g.
http://www.sportsmansguide.com/net/cb/military-style-3-day-assault-pack.asp...
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Mark Peters, Photographer
Highland | IL | USA | Posted: 12:27 PM on 09.18.13
->> I sold off several different bags and now use an SOC 3 day pack as Juerg suggests, with a domke insert. http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/712148-REG/Domke_720_418_Insert_for_P...

It provides a lot of flexibility, is comfortable to carry and certainly does not scream "camera bag". Downside is that it is likely larger than you are looking for.
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Chris Palermo, Photographer
Norwalk | CT | United States | Posted: 2:59 PM on 09.18.13
->> The Tamrac 3385 Aero Speed Pack works well for me for everyday use. Fits everything you mentioned, and then some.

http://www.amazon.com/Tamrac-Speed-Access-Laptop-Backpack/dp/B001L5U16G/ref...+aero
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Nik Habicht, Photographer
Levittown | PA | USA | Posted: 8:40 PM on 09.18.13
->> The Shape Shifter is a good pack for traveling with gear, so it seems to give up some capacity to the unfortunately discontinued LowePro Stealth backpack.

Then again, on my next trip to Europe, I might leave a laptop behind, and just grab an iPad -- so the space would equal out....

For working out of a bag, I can't recommend either one. Best approach would be to tuck TT Skin Pouches and Belt inside to use at the destination. That's pretty much what I did when taking a train into Philadelphia to cover the Penn Relays. Carry the pack in Franklin Field, pull out a belt and pouches, load those with gear, and shoot away....

Think Tank's and LowePro's other backpacks make fine trunk bags. Need something to work out of? It's either going to be a shoulder bag, a belt system, or possible a sling type bag...
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Joe Ahlquist, Photographer
Sioux Falls | SD | USA | Posted: 6:47 PM on 09.19.13
->> I got my Think Tank Turnstyle 20 sling bag today and used it on one assignment. It definitely wont hold the kit you described above, but for going light it works perfectly.

It's easy to get stuff out of, and it's small enough to keep me from filling it with too much stuff.

If you plan to keep your camera out of the bag most of the time and just need something to carry your lenses and other small things around in, I think this bag will be great.
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Scott Morgan, Photographer
Des Moines | IA | United States | Posted: 12:33 PM on 09.20.13
->> Max,
I have the Streetwalker Harddrive backpack, and it is definitely NOT what you are after. I like the bag, but for me it is goes from the car to the trunk or to the media room. I would not carry it all day, ever. It's just too big for that sort of thing. Plus, when loaded down it gets damn heavy.
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Kevin Johnston, Photographer
Oden | MI | USA | Posted: 2:08 PM on 09.20.13
->> http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/884039-REG/ruggard_pbb_145b_outrigger...
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Thread Title: Photo backpack suggestions
Thread Started By: Max Gersh
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