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|| SportsShooter.com: News Item: Posted 2000-08-28

Are You Ready for Some Football (and the Olympics)?
Suggestions on how to spend some $$$!

By Robert Hanashiro

With the football season starting this week and the Summer Olympics just two weeks away, The Bagman takes a look at some cool items to make life a little easier and impress those other Sports Shooters!

Though it's still warm weather season, before you know it you'll be shooting somewhere like (deep, booming voice) "the frozen tundra that is Lambeau Field". Ian Halperin passed along a line of gloves that could be perfect for those cold weather days.

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Iron Clad (http://www.iclad.com/) makes a line of work gloves made out of Spandex, synthetic suede and terry cloth. One model, the "Framer" has two fingertips and the thumb cut out to make camera handling easier.

Says Ian: "The one that really caught my eye was the "Framer". It has the thumb and two fingers cut out. They are lightweight, sturdy and grip anything. And they come in Nikon black and yellow! They run about $25 bucks. I don't need gloves too often in Texas, but my northern brothers might like them."

For digital shooters, the new LowePro Stealth 600 and 650 shoulder bags are something new to check out. LowePro has had a backpack version of the Stealth, which combines a camera bag and computer case in one, for some time.

The Stealth shoulder bags continue this concept but add a bit more versatility. The shoulder bags come it two sizes, with the larger 650, able to hold a 300mm 2.8.

However unlike the backpack version, the padded laptop case is not removable.

During the Democratic National Convention we had to walk about 5 blocks from the parking lot to the Staples Center. I was able to use a rolling case for my long lenses and piggybacked the Stealth shoulder bag with my PowerBook and accessories, two digital camera bodies and two short zoom lenses.

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The Stealth bags can be configured to what your needs are by changing the Velcro partitions to fit the equipment you're hauling at that time. To ease the load when the bag is over-stuffed (as photographers are known to do from time-to-time) the Stealth shoulder bag can be hooked to the Street and Field Deluxe Waistbelt. This distributes the weight more evenly across your body.

Larry Frank at LowePro also pointed out that photographers leaving gear around venues and pressrooms can secure them with the Pacsafe (http://www.pac-safe.com).

The Pacsafe is a steel collapsible mesh bag that can be secured with a built in cable. For those who have to leave a camera bag or computer case while covering a game or event, this is something you should consider getting. (At the recent U.S. Track and Field Olympic Team Trials, several laptops and some short glass were stolen.)

A new version of the Pacsafe, the Travel 200, that will hold a laptop was recently introduced and Larry has indicated that news and sports photographers will get the first opportunity to buy these.

The Pacsafe can be folded up and fits into a small pouch. It comes with a padlock with three keys. I tend to loose small things, like padlock keys, so I've replaced that lock with a large luggage lock with a settable combination from Master (http://www.masterlock.com).

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The Travel Safe 200 is made of woven aircraft stainless steel mesh and laminated in-between two tough skins of opaque nylon, this secure envelope can be lashed to any immovable object in a hotel room, press room, photo position or vehicle.

Mark Duncan from the Associated Press has teamed up with Larry Nolan of Versa-Flex (http://versa-flex.com/) to design a smart looking pouch that will hold memory cards and spare batteries that usually flop around in the bottom of digi-shooters' camera bags.

Says Mark, "It holds two spare batteries and four Type II memory cards with a Velcro flap and Velcro belt loop." Nikon shooters don't fret, Mark indicates that Larry is designing a version of this digital pouch to fit D1 accessories as well.

(Mark dropped us a note after using the Versa-Flex pouches this weekend at NEC Invitational: "The digital pouch worked great the five days I covered golf at Firestone. Mostly I used it on a Lightware belt but went light and used just the digital pouch on my pants belt when we needed to get a "quickie" out from the rain-delayed final round. You want to place it around to the front rather than the side if you have to kneel or sit to cover an event. It's really easy to just reach down and blindly grab a fresh disk one-handed or battery.")

Larry Nolan from Versa-Flex also reminds us he can design and make custom cases for any equipment. So shooters who can't find the exact case for their needs or not quiet satisfied with what's out there, give Versa-Flex a call, 1-800-837-7235.

A while back we reviewed a great long lens case from Kinesis (http://www.KinesisGear.com/default.htm). For those hauling a 400mm or 600mm around the Olympic venues at Homebush Bay or through some stadium on a Sunday afternoon, the accessory backpack harness makes this case easy to carry.

There are four different models and are constructed of 500 denier Dupont Cordura® Plus nylon fabric. The bottom has a double layer of this fabric sewn-in for extra durablibilty. The bottom of all Kinesis long lens cases has a thick 19mm layer of PolyCore. These case are not only made to last but protect your glass as well.

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A small, neat accessory for cleaning lenses and that hard to get at anti-aliasing filter on digital cameras is the LensPen (http://www.lenspen.com/home.html). They come in two sizes, the large ideal for lenses and the small for that AA filter.

The LensPen has a soft tip with a clean compound on one end and on the other a soft retractable brush.

Note: Don't yell at me about cleaning the AA filter. If you're careful, the LensPen is perfect for this task.

I saw something the other day for those who are tired of promoting a camera manufacturer on your (freebee) monopod pad. At any sporting good store (I got mine at the sporting goods section of Target) you can find barbell pads. They come in assorted colors (yes, including "photographer black") and run about $6-9.

The barbell pad is much thicker and offers a lot more cushion when you lug that camera and 400mm over you shoulder.

I can't stress the importance of securing your equipment and laptops when you're out in the field. The stories of gear thefts have been increasing, so please spend a few dollars and buy a security chain and lock. I know that someone with a decent pair of bolt cutters can swipe that bag even though you had chained down in the dugout at Candlestick Park. These security measures are a visual deterrent and meant to dissuade the "casual" non-professional thief.

(Check out http://www.targus.com/accessories_security.asp for securing that laptop and http://www.lowepro.com/pages/AccsIndx.htm for a look at how the PacSafe works.)

One final note, the Lightware Digital Backpack that I reviewed last month is available right now directly from the company in a special deal for Sports Shooter readers. The final production model of the Digital Backpack has several minor changes from the pre-production model I saw, the most significant, the addition of rings for a strap on the removable laptop insert. Also, the laptop insert is now black instead of white.

If you're looking for a combination camera bag/computer backpack, the Lightware is the best and most padded one available. It protects your gear and still fits through the airport template.

To order one, call Lightware directly at: 800- 455-6556 and tell them Sports Shooter sent you. Check out their full line of cases at: http://www.lightwareinc.com/.

The "Bag Man" is always on the look out for new (or maybe not new, but forgotten) tips on making a photographer's life a little easier. If you have a suggestion or product, just email me at: rhanashiro@earthlink.net.


Related Links:
www.iclad.com
www.pac-safe.com
www.masterlock.com
versa-flex.com
www.KinesisGear.com

Related Email Addresses: 
Robert Hanashiro: rhanashiro@earthlink.net

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