Jul 232012

I’ve been really bad with posting consistency recently; I finally got to a backlog of things I had meant to mention a month ago, and haven’t posted anything since.  Though like last time, that’s meant there’s a queue of things I’ve been meaning to share, after which I should really try and be more consistent!

The first thing I wanted to mention is a new camera/laptop bag I picked up. I already had quite an assortment of bags:

  • Think Tank Digital Holster 40 – great for walking around with the D90/D7000 or D700/D800 with a single lens attached.  I use this the most, but when traveling with more than one lens it’s not ideal.
  • Lowepro Rezo 180AW – small/medium shoulder back that was great with the D90/D7000 and most DX lenses, but too small for the full frame stuff I use now.
  • Lowepro Classified 250AW – huge shoulder bag that also takes a laptop. Great for transporting a bunch of equipment (camera + laptop) from A to B, but  is too big to lug around during the day.
  • Lowepro Flipside 300 – medium backpack that holds lots of photo stuff, but doesn’t provide quick access to your camera.

I’d tried quite a few different approaches to travel, but nothing really worked well.  The Classified 250AW held everything I needed, but it was just too big; most airlines limit you to one carry-on bag (up to 9″ deep) and one personal item – a laptop bag, purse, briefcase, camera bag, or other such item (up to 6″ deep).  The 250AW was well over the personal item depth – in fact, it was pretty much 9″ deep if you brought much stuff!  Other configurations, like just bringing the holster and sticking my laptop/lenses in a regular rollaboard worked but weren’t great. Before a combined work/personal trip to New York back in May, I went looking for a solution to this issue, and decided to try out the Tamrac Rally 7 bag (aka Tamrac 3447).  It’s been great!

It’s form factor is about as minimal as you can get when carrying a laptop + camera + lenses, and while it’s technically a tad over the 6″ limit, it looks and feels like a personal item and stows easily under airplane seats. Despite this, it holds a good amount of actual equipment; I just got back from Toronto, and packed it with the following:

  • 15″ Macbook Pro (which fits easily but snugly)
  • Nikon D800 with a 24/1.4 lens attached (the 24-70 2.8 would also fit)
  • Nikon 70-200/2.8 lens (though this wouldn’t fit if attached to the camera)
  • Nikon 50/1.4 lens
  • Nikon SB-800 flash
  • Chargers for both the camera and laptop, mouse, keys, wallet, etc.

The shot above is with all of the above in the bag; it’s a great fit for a configuration like that. With the top flap open, it looks like this:

It’s easy to pull out the camera whenever you need it, and having done several outings with the bag now, I’m pretty happy with the purchase – especially since it was just $90 on amazon.com, which is well below what I spent on the 250AW.  The bag isn’t perfect, though; the following are things I wish were done better:

  • The strap is non-replaceable and the plastic ring you see on the left constantly causes the strap itself to bunch up; there’s no freely rotating rings that allow you to straighten the strap out while on your shoulder.
  • There’s a thin pouch (e.g. for a magazine) on the rear, but you can’t put a rollaboard handle through that area to walk securely with this bag atop a rollaboard.
  • The top handle you see in the first picture is really dinky and isn’t suitable for lifting the bag if there’s anything in it.

Despite this, the bag works really well and I’m happy with the purchase!

 Posted by at 5:27 am

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