Sunday, February 5, 2012

My New DSLR Backpack:)

Hey there,
Hope you not done going through my recent posts. Well if you are, here's something for you to get hooked to.
Let me take the long way round to share this story of mine. Those who know me can tell I am not *exactly* a brand fetish person, BUT I do prefer some manufacturer over others due to the sheer quality and the thoughts they put into while making the products. How would I get to know about 'the thoughts' ?!! Well it shows on the products. May it be Lamborghini among cars or ThinkTankPhoto in camera bags, they are built with passion. What's apparently does not catch my fancy is like gucci backpacks (if there were any!). No offence if you love Gucci though, but I believe it would never be for functionality sake for sure!!!
Now hoping that you got my point, let's move on to the topic of this very post. Today I got myself a camera bag (yep! The much awaited one) and would love to share a summarised version of my experience. Read on..
Being a 'SLR camera user' (also known as photographer:P), a time comes when you can't do without a specialised bag to carry your gear. Till I had a single kit lens I never bothered about buying a separate bag, as I used to stuff the cam with lens attached, in my clothes in the regular backpack or wrap is with soft cloth and dump it in a messenger bag. But when I invested in a prime and a telephoto zoom lens, I was literally struggling with handling the lenses and got close to scratching them while on a shoot near a cathedral in Bath(UK). That's when I realised it's high time, I get myself a camera bag.
All these while I was checking out options available on the market, but was never keen on buying one anytime soon. Well this time I started looking forward to a purchase, so I short-listed the features I wanted to have in my camera bag. Features I was looking for were more or less like this:

  1. Highly Customisable - I like customisation, the more options the better!)
  2. Not flashy - I love travelling and while at it, drawing attention to my gear would be the last thing I would like to worry about.
  3. Features - Again the more the features the better, but not for the sake of it. Rather it should be well thought of and more practical.
  4. Water resistant/proof - Yep being an outdoor person doing cycling/hiking/Motorcycle-touring I 'DO' get a drizzle every now and then. I keep moving and so should my gear:-)
  5. Space for clothes - For weekend getaways, best is a pair of jeans n tee or be my biking gloves or raincoat or a sandwich and a can of redbull.
  6. Tripod carrying option - Those who know the value of tripods would also know what a pain it is to carry one. I am currently using a light and small Hama Traveller series tripod and would like some option for it to be hooked to the bag.
  7. Backpack - Good for Hiking/Biking/Motorcycling. However Messenger bags are just awesome to carry camera around the city non-conspicuously. I still use my leather messenger bag when I shoot in the city and don't need much lenses.
  8. Exclusivity - Anything but Lowepro. Lowepro bags are great, but they are everywhere. Kata, naah..ThinkTankPhoto is great, but due to a large catalogue, they are more specialised and I can't afford to have 10 bags from them for 10 different occasions. May be if I go pro someday;-) or if I have specific need, I know which brands to look for.
  9. Comfy to carry all day - It should be well padded and comfortable for hikes with a completely filled bag. Chest harness is a must and waist harness and water bottle holders would be like brownie points.
  10. Rugged - Yeah! I may move this requirement to the top of my list. What I mean is something built for outdoors. I tend to use the bags to test by putting them through the terrains and situations I go through. So they better be good!
  11. 'EXTRA' Pockets - Extra battery, memory card, filter, keys, map, wallet,my blackberry, half eaten chocolate bar, a cookie, some papers, bus/train/flight ticket, pen, small diary, manual, guide book, etc etc etc. You got an idea, right!!
  12. Laptop compartment - I carry my lappy sometime, not for shoots though, but for watching movie, surfing net or even to get some work done while on the move. Having this option is a life saver, for the times when you may need it.
So here is what I got today:
Calumet Pro Series BP935 (Small) Backpack:

Good build quality and materials, thoughtful design(as I said earlier every bit of an improvement you could think of is already there!),Not too big to carry around,lots of pockets, chest and waist harness, hand-rest clips, highly configurable velcro partitions, padded laptop compartment, water bottle holder, waist pouches, monopod loops(I can hold a tripod I feel), ykk self-sealing zippers (good protection during drizzle or snowfall),good base construction for keeping the bag on rough ground and the list goes on and on into very minute but thoughtful features, out of which many am yet to explore/use. I am yet to put this bag to test and as I do, I will be sharing the feedback here. Few more pics I took while stuffing the bag (shifting to a new place, so this purchase came handy!):

(the lens case section at the bottom will usually be empty)

(Half-open feature - Just to stack in the cam without completely opening the main compartment)

(Need a sturdier strap to hold the tripod. Currently supplied elastic strings are meant for a monopod.)

Calumet are my favourite store right now, due to the price they offer, location of the store here in Bristol and the huge range of brands and gear they deal with.
While returning from the store I witnessed the first snowfall of this winter in Bristol. I enjoyed it thoroughly while walking on the streets towards the city center and was also happy to realise that my gear was safe:)

Now this is a looong post in years(I feel). I have been a bit lazy with blogging, so most of the time I just post my pics and nothing more. But here I am now, typing it all on my lovely li'l BB and hoping it helps others in finding the kinda gear they're looking for. Hope you liked reading this post and would be back here soon for more pictures and experiences.
Till then,
Keep shooting..
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