What do you use for a case - for the camera & for equipment??

Discussion in '35mm Cameras' started by Ken, Nov 18, 2003.

  1. Ken

    Ken Guest

    I'm trying to figure out what amateurs - not professionals - use to carry
    their camera and related equipment in "the field". Most of my picture taking
    is outdoors (on vacations, hikes, camping etc..), though some will be
    indoors at family get-togethers, school activities, etc..

    I have had a Canon A-1 for a long time. I always had an everready case on
    it, and then a bag to carry the 80-200mm-ish zoom and 28mm wide-angle
    lenses, the flash unit, and other misc (filters, lens cleaning supplies,
    film -- the camera itself never really fit in the case with all the other

    Now the everready case has essentially disintegrated and the larger case is
    old enough that I don't trust the vinyl. So I'm in the market for a new
    "case system".

    I've read others who say they really don't like the everready cases, but
    mine has kept my A-1 in mint condition. Hardly a scratch and I've found it
    pretty easy to use as long as I can stuff the removed cover in a bag or
    pack. I've never had a problem with removing the base of the case to replace
    film (I don't blow through a roll that fast anyway).

    I've read some who like the backpacks, but I wonder if that is overkill.

    I bought a small Tamrac zoom "drop-in" to replace the everready (for
    camera+50mm lens), but it seems awkward and I have to fiddle with folding
    the camera strap every time I close the drop-in. I just can't see using the
    camera without a neck strap. I know some like wrist straps, but that would
    leave me with just one hand all the time.

    Maybe I should have gotten the drop-in sized for the zoom lens??

    Any thoughts on the matter from your experience?? What do you use "in the
    Ken, Nov 18, 2003
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  2. Ken

    Ed E. Guest

    I like using the Lowepro bags with one of their belts that looks like
    something from Batman. I have had a Zoom Toploader 2 for a number of years
    and recently got the Topload Zoom AW Pro to accomodate a vertical grip
    attached to the camera body. The AW Pro very nicely holds an EOS body with
    attached 70-200mm lens, so I'm sure it would hold practically any bigger
    zoom you may have.
    Ed E., Nov 18, 2003
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  3. Ken

    S. Cargo Guest

    I use the Lowepro Omni Traveler.


    It holds my camera body, external flash and 3 lenses. (The largest is a Canon
    100-300 Zoom). There is also lots of space for film and small accessories
    (Cable release, filters, lens cleaning kit etc).

    I like the soft padded separators. They're held in place by velcro, so you can
    configure the inside compartments the way you want..

    The nylon bag comes out of the case and has a nice padded shoulder strap..
    (With a sticky spongy rubber pad on the top of the strap to keep it from
    slipping off your shoulder). I've carried it for hours on end without

    I honestly can't think of anything I don't like about the kit.
    S. Cargo, Nov 18, 2003
  4. Ken

    parv Guest

    I have two bags: Lowe Pro Street & Field 85 (black/dark grey) (>= USD
    30) overgrown hostler type bag & baby diaper bag (blue) (~ $10).

    The S/F 85, comes w/ shoulder strap & big belt loop to go w/ LowePro
    belt, is kind of unwieldy. It is quite heavy by itself to take
    photos when being carried on the shoulder. It would either pull
    down the shoulder, or slip. So, it need to be carried across the

    The diaper bag is much easier to use. It is quite easy to take
    photos while carrying it on body. It is quite light by itself.
    I have lined w/ bubble wrap. The main
    compartment can have...

    - The bottom layer (lens is placed on belly) ...
    - Minolta 70-100mm f/4 or 100-300mm f/4.5-5.6 lens laid parallel
    to the length
    - Minolta 50mm f/1.7
    - Minolta 24-50mm f/4 or Tamron 90mm f/2.8

    - Top layer
    - Minolta XTsi camera mounted w/ any of the above lenses.
    Some space remains subject to lens length and hood position.

    Currently, on the bottom layer, i keep two of the lenses on their
    rear, parallel to the width, so that i can carry Minolta 5400HS
    flash when needed w/o disturbing much. When i do not carry the
    flash, i put the included milk bottle bag (also blue; carries the
    long remote cable and one roll of film) on the bottom layer to fill
    the gap. On bottom i also have a small (belt) camera bag.

    On the second & top layer, i keep only the camera mounted w/ one of
    the lenses.

    The zippered side pocket can easily accommodate 4 pairs of AA
    batteries, one or two filters, small voice recorder, pen, and such.
    The other elasticized pocket os used for 20oz water bottle.

    There is also an open pocket on rear, lengthwise, & a front pocket
    w/ flap and velcro closure.

    S/F 85's main reconfigurable compartment can store...

    - Minolta 70-210
    - Minolta 50mm along w/ a small zoom (say, 24-50mm or Tamron
    28-105mm f/3.5-4.5)
    - Minolta 100-300mm or Tamron 90mm
    - 5400 HS flash,
    - Minolta XTsi camera w/ a lens mounted, stored facing downward

    ....to make for a very tight fit. The remaining space can accommodate
    remote cable, off camera flash cable and shoe, 1-3 three rolls of

    The front pocket can easily store two-three filters, more than
    5-6 pairs of AA batteries, & other small things.

    - parv
    parv, Nov 18, 2003

  5. Everything in belt-packs. Tamrac zoom-holster, able to hold the
    medium tele-zoom or the macro lens mounted, as well as strobe and spare
    batteries. LowePro gadget bag, opposite side to keep balance (my lower back
    appreciates this). Couple of lens pouches and a film bag (two-sided, only
    way to go). Thick heavy padded Tamrac belt, though LowePro also makes a
    similar system which is probably better quality. I can (and have) hiked for
    miles with this, hands totally free, camera ready for use within four
    seconds - well, as long as I want to use the mounted lens ;-). Have even
    climbed trees and ladders and jumped streams.

    Tripod, a heavy one, on my back on two straps, hanging straight down
    my spine. You'd be amazed how much difference weight-distribution makes. I
    can't stand one-shoulder bags anymore, even though I use one for weddings.

    Camera strap? Detest 'em, always in the way. I have a camera with a
    decent gripping surface, though, and an additional battery pack, so my hand
    has a firm grip. Never had any mishaps while the camera was in hand.

    - Al.
    Al Denelsbeck, Nov 18, 2003
  6. Ken

    T P Guest

    Amateurs use Lowepro. Professionals use Domke. Go figure.

    T P, Nov 18, 2003
  7. Ken

    Doug Payne Guest

    I likewise use a Lowepro toploader (Street and Field, but essentially
    same design as Zoom 2). But I use the "reverse-backpack" (frontpack?)
    straps so I can carry it on my chest. Works for hiking, skiing, with
    another backpack, etc. 1 or 2 lens cases can be added, although that
    makes it bulky. The lid opens hinged away from your body, making for
    easy access. No issues with durability; that thing has been all over
    with me, including lots of backcountry travel in the far North. Looks
    pretty much like new when I clean the dirt off. Holds either a D100 or
    F80 or FM2n (depending on my mood), with attached 24-85 or 70-300 (or
    whatever, not 400) lens, and the usual assortment of a few rolls of
    film, batteries, CF cards, cleaning junk, cable release, couple of
    filters, small reflector, couple of tools, probably more. Has a foldout
    raincover that I use rarely, but works OK. I have the big Batman waist
    belt for it too, but rarely, if ever, use it.
    Doug Payne, Nov 18, 2003
  8. Ken wrote:


    I'm curious: Does anyone use a vest?

    Bill Tallman
    William D. Tallman, Nov 19, 2003
  9. Ken

    Alan Browne Guest

    LowePro 5, holds 2 TC's, 20mm, 50mm, 100mm f/2.8, 28-70 f/2.8, 80-200
    f/2.8, large 35mm camera body, two large flashes (5400/5600), meter and
    the usual clutter of bits and pieces. I have a harness for it that
    turns it into a half-assed back pack, but haven't used it in over a
    year. I'd like a bag that was maybe 1/3 larger by volume to replace it.
    It's a nice bag that protects the equipment well and is convenient, if
    not perfectly so. (lens changes standing up w/o a convenient surface
    for the swap can be a bit risky). It would be nice if it had a simple
    way to clip on my small tripod.

    Alan Browne, Nov 19, 2003
  10. Ken

    Slingblade Guest

    You picked the right company...Tamrac. But the wrong product. Buy
    one of their shoulder bags with the lens bridge system. They make a
    plethora of camera bags, for 1 camera body, 2 bodies and more, with as
    many lenses, flashes and accessories as you like.

    go to www.tamrac.com

    look over all their selection. They make small bags all the way up to
    huge ones.

    I've always carried my gear in a Tamrac bag. Originally I had a 612,
    but I stored my gear in a damp place for awhile, and my bag (and
    equipment) got a foul smell to them. I suppose some kind of mold or
    fungus. I cleaned up my gear, but couldn't get the smell out of the
    bag, so I had to trash it. I wound up buying the 5608 to replace it,
    but I'm going to have to get a bigger bag, because I can't fit all my
    gear in the new one.

    Don't know how much gear you have...but something like their 603 might
    be what you'd need.
    Slingblade, Nov 19, 2003
  11. Ken

    Slingblade Guest

    I've looked at both, and have always preferred Tamrac.
    Slingblade, Nov 19, 2003
  12. Ken

    T P Guest

    Then you are neither an amateur nor a professional.

    T P, Nov 19, 2003
  13. Ken

    Gordon Moat Guest

    I have several bags, though only two are dedicated photo gear bags. I also have
    one dedicated lighting gear bag. The other items are backpacks, waist packs,
    and small holster packs. Depending upon location and work requirements, I can
    often use several bags to get everything on site.
    Reminds me that I should do an inventory one of these days . . . largest lens
    is a 180 mm f2.8, but I really have little need for long lenses.
    Never really liked "never ready" cases, except the old classic looking ones
    found on some vintage gear. They seem more like fashion, than good equipment.
    The problem with the photo backpacks is that the amount of gear you can load in
    them can make them quite heavy. Of course, this is also true of the larger
    shoulder bags.
    I rigged up a wrist strap and neck strap one one of my 35 mm cameras. The
    set-up works fairly nicely, though it looks a bit busy. With the neck straps,
    the OpTech straps with the quick release buckles work very nicely, since the
    padded part can easily be removed.
    I tried one of the holster type belt drop-in bags before. I did not really like
    the location, since it was too easy to bump into things/people. Usually once I
    get on location, I always have a waist pack for items that I need to change, or
    the extra camera body and lenses. I got one from Eagle Creek, though the photo
    dedicated types may be just as good, if not better.
    Other than my lighting gear bag, the largest bag I use is a LowePro Nova 4.
    This bag can get quite heavy when fully loaded, though the shoulder sling is
    comfortable. Something slightly smaller might be easier to walk around with.


    Gordon Moat
    Alliance Graphique Studio
    Gordon Moat, Nov 19, 2003
  14. For storing gear in the house or for transporting gear in the car I use an
    alumin{i}um case that was used to store unexposed X-ray negs - I got it from
    an old girlfriend who was a radiology nurse in the Western Infirmary in
    Glasgow. It's built like a tank (the case, not the girlfriend -
    although.....). With some foam inserts (scrounged from when computer gear
    was packaged in foam) - it's perfect. The case is peppered with Castrol,
    STP, Shell, and Champion stickers on the outside and looks like a tool-box.

    Unfortunately this case does not have a carry strap so I transfer gear to a
    Tamrac 5612 for walking about (it used to be an old Miranda gadget bag that
    that I got from my late dad - it was around 30 years old when it started
    leaking last winter).

    This setup works for me - gives my gear the protection I want and comfort
    and flexibility I like.


    John Cuthbertson, Nov 19, 2003
  15. Ken

    Leicaddict Guest

    T.P., like you would know, you phoney piece of crap.
    Leicaddict, Nov 20, 2003
  16. Ken

    Slingblade Guest

    Do you like the 5612?

    I used to own a 612, but I stored it for a long time in a damp area
    and it developed a moldy musty smell that I couldn't get rid of. I
    almost bought a 5612 because it was virtually the same dimensions of
    my 612, but instead I got the 5608. At the time, it worked fine,
    because I only had two bodies, one zoom, a 50 and a 28. But since
    then I've found some good deals on several other lenses, plus was
    given a good Sunpak flash. Now I sure do miss the room of my old 612.
    I have considered getting another 612, but the best prices I can find
    are 208.95. The 5612 can be bought many places for about 108.95.

    I can tell some differences between the construction quality of my
    5608 and the 612, but I was in a Wolf Camera the other day and saw the
    5612, and it appeared to be a little better made than the 5608. I
    wish I could find someone that had both the 5612 and 612 in stock so I
    could do an outright comparison.

    I always loved my 612. It was very well made, very heavily padded,
    and I've dropped my bag many times, had it fall off chairs and so
    forth and never had any of my gear damaged. I would just like to know
    if I bought the 5612, that I wouldn't be compromising.
    Slingblade, Nov 20, 2003
  17. Ken

    Ryan, KC8PMX Guest

    (Responding late in the thread to the original poster, not the message this
    is attached to)

    Depending on a variety of status indicators, you might consider building or
    modifying an existing product already used out there.

    One friend I have used one of those "aluminum" type attache cases like you
    see in the movies handcuffed to the wrists of someone guarding it. He
    merely modified the interior to fit his particular needs with foam inserts
    to protect his equipment. This one is really nice for protection. You damn
    near could drop the thing off the roof of the average house and it would be

    Others I know have modified one of those new type of "tackle bags" now that
    looked like a duffel bag, the ones with all the extra pockets.

    And even another had actually made his own out of wooden materials, with
    proper padding etc.

    I guess it is all about what you want to do with the equipment, what type of
    photography/what type of photographer you are, and of course finances.

    I can honestly say that I am not a "pro" but definitely somewhere between
    "amateur" as the terms are commonly flung around. (Note: the definition of
    amateur is "the love of" as I believe, therefore amateur photography means
    "for the love of photography." ) I have as well as a few friends have built
    or "homebrewed" to steal a ham radio term, our own equipment in the past.
    You'd be amazed as to what one can do when they put their mind to it, and
    can save a lot of money too.

    Ryan, KC8PMX, Nov 20, 2003
  18. Hi,

    I do like the 5612. It has enough space for my gear (more than enough). Its
    comfortable to carry (at lest for me). It handles my 80-200 f/2.8 Nikkor
    without being attached to the camera (with the right configuration). When I
    get absorbed with photography I usually just throw the bag on the ground and
    I haven't had any issues (however I have used some scrounged foam to add
    extra padding to the floor). It seems to be weather proof (at least for the
    rains we get here in California) and hasn't leaked yet but I'm not usually
    out in seriously bad weather.

    From the specs on Tamracs website the internal configuration appears very
    similar to the 612. My guess is that the 612 can stand more abuse than the
    5612. I would think that the ruggedness of the 5612 and the 5608 are fairly
    similar so if the 5608 is rugged enough for you (and the 5612 is for me) and
    all you want is more space then I really don't see need to spend the extra
    $$ for the 612.

    In fact that was how I got the 5612 - I was looking for a large bag that
    seemed rugged enough for me. I never checked out the 612 as I looked at the
    5612 (actually took my gear into the local store, configured it there and
    then), checked the price, and bought it. Haven't regretted it. What's the
    saying - "you never miss what you never had".

    I also think that had I looked at the 612 I don't think I would have bought
    it. I would have thought the price was too steep especially when my more
    expensive equipment is only in a bag half of the time.

    BTW If you live in the bay area, San Jose Camera usually has the 612 and
    5612 in stock. I got my bag from Los Gatos Camera.

    Hope this helps.

    John Cuthbertson
    John Cuthbertson, Nov 20, 2003
  19. Lowepro Stealth Reporter 200 AW.

    Holds two (either my EOS 7e, 3 or Binoculars) and a few lenses, filters,
    remotes, film, TCs, batteries, books, etc. I can strap my tripod to the

    Quick and simple. And tough as nails.

    I have been really impressed.
    Robert Meyers, Nov 21, 2003
  20. Ken

    Bandicoot Guest

    Very ocassionally, yes. I only use one for the times I really need to have
    a lot of mobility or else where a bag is impractical - working up a
    scaffolding tower was the most recent example.

    Bandicoot, Nov 21, 2003
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