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Camera Bag Options

Carol Kozak left a comment this week asking, “Can you recommend a “safe/secure” camera bag for an slr?  [I’m] looking for a main bag for all my gear + a “day” bag.” With all the those post-christmas, mid-credit-crunch sales going on now is the time to be shopping for such things so below are a few suggestions for portable camera storage. Keep in mind that no bag is a completely safe/secure way of storing a camera and Photodoto recommends you treat your camera with the love and respect it so clearly deserves! That said here are a few bags that will do their best to keep your camera safe & dry in 2009:

The Green Option.
Get the new year off to an environmentally friendly start with the Primus AW or the Primus Minimus AW from Lowe Alpine. Both are rugged, abrasion resistant, water resistant, and made from recycled materials.  The Primus is designed to hold a DSLR with an attached lens (up to 70-200mm), 1-2 extra lenses, accessories, & some outdoor gear (e.g. a light jacket). The Primus Minimus takes a DSLR with a medium zoom lens attached, plus 1-2 extra lenses, and accessories (charger, extra memory cards, flash, etc). Or if you want to throw your laptop in too try the CompuPrimus AW ($189.95 from Amazon) which holds a DSLR with lens (up to 70-200mm), 3-5 extra lenses, accessories, & a 15.4″ notebook. All the Primus bags have a loop system on the front to hold a tripod. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of all three bags goes to Polar Bears International (PBI).

The BIG Option.
If you need to take everything but the kitchen sink check out the K5 from Naneu Pro. An 85 litre hybrid photo bag/hiking bag this looks like an ideal bag for outdoor photographers, adventurers, or travelers. It’s definitely on my wish list!  Basically it’s a top notch hiking backpack with a removable camera “pod” (meaning you could easily take out the camera section of the bag & carry just that, for example as hand luggage for a flight, and then stick it back into the main bag for a hike) which fits a pro DSLR with a lens up to 70-200mm attached & 3-4 additional lenses. There’s a tripod “carrying system” on the front of the pack  and the whole thing is water resistant & comes with a rain cover. Costs $369.99 direct from Naneu Pro.

The Waterproof Option. If you want to convert your regular DSLR into an underwater camera you might like this case from Aquapac which will transform your ordinary camera into a waterproof (to 15 feet), dustproof, sandproof camera! Although I’ve never used one of these for it’s waterproof features I did use one to protect my camera against sand when I was working in Namibia, it was simple to use & worked very well. That was almost 6 years ago so there have been a few improvements since then too. Including, this year, PVC-free material.

The Flying Option. If, like my mother, you spend several days before a flight worrying about whether your bag will pass the airline’s hand luggage size regulations then the Airport Antidote V 2.0 from Think Tank Photo is worth a look. Carry-on size, even for smaller planes, it holds a pro DSLR with up to 400mm lens, extra lenses & accessories, & a 15″ laptop. The laptop case is removable, there’s a top pocket for the little extras you need in-flight, & the bag comes with a security cable and lock and a rain cover.

The Lightweight Option. If you’re just looking to hold your SLR & an extra lens then a beltpack or a shoulder bag are good choices. The Speed Freak from Think Tank Photo holds an SLR & a 70 or 80 -200mm lens, and includes side mesh pockets, a small front pocket, and a reporter’s pad pocket. Costs $160 from Amazon.com. The Lima from Naneu Pro holds a DSLR with up to 5″ lens attached plus two smaller lenses & a flash. Naneu claims it will “withstand almost anything you put it through” & with eight pockets it’ll please organised photographers too.

The Hardcase Option. For waterproof-ness & the ability to take a hard knock Lowe Pro’s Omni Sport Extreme ticks all the boxes. It consists of a convertable beltpack/shoulderbag that slips into a waterproof hardcasing. The whole thing can be taken as airline carry-on & holds an SLR, 2-3 lenses & accessories. Costs $99.95 from Amazon.

The Cheap Option. Spending money hurts me so while I drool over some of the above-mention bags on the companies’ websites in the real world I’ve taken a bit more of a do-it-yourself approach. I use my regular all-purpose backpack (similar to this one) & pack it with a fleece or other bit of spare clothing on the bottom & simply throw my camera in on top. My DSLR astounds me with it’s ruggedness & although it’s taken a few knocks and bumps inside the bag it’s never seemed to mind. I usually have the front pocket stuffed full of junk like tissues, a book, keys, etc. which add a little extra padding between the camera and the outside world. My extra lenses lived in North Face base camp travel canisters which I lined with some bits of foam padding from the box one of the lenses was delivered in. This keeps them waterproof & padded and I just throw whichever ones I think I’ll need into the backpack with the camera. Although I wouldn’t recommend it I have flown this whole set up on a short-haul flight in the hold (checked-in) luggage with the camera packed in the middle surrounded by clothes & it all survived without a scratch.

Note that the lens sizes quoted above are all referring to an f2.8 lens. Don’t forget to shop around for the best deal, as well as online retailers many high street shops have sales on at the moment so there are some bargains to be had! And, of course, if you’ve got a great camera case to recommend or a terrible one to warn us against let us know in the comments.

Saturday Grab Bag


Ten Thousand Pictures of You from Robin King on Vimeo.

But if shooting 26,000 photos with your 350D for a stop-motion film isn’t your thing…

Most popular posts of 2008

Firework Display - Hogmanay Street Party, Dornoch, Scotland

Photo by: foxypar4 (cc-by)

Happy new year! I hope you had a great holiday and got to spend some quality time, as I did, with the people you love. I thought a quick look back at some of the most popular posts of 2008 would be a great way to start Photodoto.com’s third year.

As you can see, our posts run the gamut from quick tips, core photography instruction, and reviews…to software, image editing, and fun projects. And we’ll have a lot more in 2009. So thanks for reading, tell your friends, and stick around—it’s going to be a great year!

Quick Fix for Cluttered Backgrounds
Despite all that has been written about keeping the background of your photos simple, that goal is not always achievable. Sometimes your subject is in a place with a busy background everywhere. Or perhaps the subject is doing something that you don’t want to interrupt by walking around the person or requesting that she or he move to a different location.

The importance of focus and quick tips on how to get it right
Focus in photography is about a lot more than simply sharpness or being able to see what you are looking at. Focus can enhance a subject by making it stand out from or blend into its surroundings, focus can draw you in, and the right focus can create an emotional connection with the viewer. No matter what style of photography you enjoy, focus can work for you or against you.

Black and White with a Splash of Colour
One of the techniques people most often ask me to teach them is making a photograph like the one on the right that is black and white with one other colour. There are a few ways to achieve this effect but here is the one I find easiest for Photoshop users.

Review: Nikon Coolpix S550
Before you even take it out of the box the Nikon Coolpix S550 looks cool (mine looks especially cool being “cool blue” coloured). But while looking good is nice the important thing is how it performs.

Big and Tasty Food Photography Tips Roundup
I’ve got a nice roundup here of food photography sources with a ton of great tips, tutorials, and videos for making food look tasty on camera. How seriously you take this probably depends to some extent on whether you’ve ever heard the term “food stylist.”

Basic Travel Photography
I’ve just returned from a little jaunt to Portugal and I have to say there is little else that gets me as eager to get my camera out as wandering around a city I’ve never seen before. And of course, in the age of the compact digital camera pretty much everyone takes a camera with them when they travel these days. But how do you come back with photographs your friends and family won’t have to feign interest in?

Take better flash photos in one easy step
Many people shy away from flash photography because it makes people look bad. Photographs taken with a flash can leave harsh shadows that highlight every wrinkle, turn skin blue, shine a flood light at thinning hair, create hot spots on the forehead, nose and cheeks, and generally make subjects look unattractive. But when there isn’t enough light, sometimes your only choice is to use a flash or not take photos at all.

Review: The Flip Mino HD  Video Camera
I really like the Flip video cameras. I reviewed the original Flip Mino back in June and recommended it for anyone who wanted to shoot more than a couple of minutes of video at a time or who wanted to reserve the space on their camera’s memory card just for pictures. The Flip Mino is a handy, compact, easy to use video recorder. And the Flip Mino HD is virtually identical in every way except one.

Free noise reduction plugin for the GIMP
But one thing my stock GIMP install didn’t have was a decent noise removal filter. That is, until I downloaded and installed the GREYCstoration plugin. Installing it is as simple as downloading and dropping the plugin into the GIMP plugins directory. Restart GIMP and you’ll find a new menu under Filters | Enhance | GREYCstoration.

Screencast: Curves color enhancement tutorial
This 2.5 minute screencast shows a simple and fast technique using multiple layers to enhance the colors in a photograph.

Buying a digital camera for your kids
My kids are naturally curious about photography having a shutterbug for a dad. I started them out tentatively with some disposable film models but those were unsatisfying. Too slow. No LCD screens. Kids aren’t known for their patience. Digital was made for them.

Learning Composition: The Rule of Thirds
Whether you’re feeling artistic or not, good composition is important for making images that resonate with viewers. Everything else being equal, poor composition can create an itch in a viewer—a subconscious and annoying one that can’t be scratched.

Tethered shooting on Ubuntu Linux using gPhoto2
My D70, like most digital cameras, has a USB port that allows me to connect it to my computer and download photos. Many cameras also allow you to control them using your computer when they are connected. This is called tethered shooting.

Introducing Your Little One to Photography
One of my day jobs involves working with special needs children and children in hospital. I do a lot of work with children on the autistic spectrum and children with learning difficulties, as well as with at-risk youth and kids with chronic illnesses. One of my absolute favourite things to do is introduce these children to photography. Not only do I enjoy sharing my passion but for a lot of the children I work with it is a unique way for them to express some creativity.

Video: Christmas bokeh in 60 seconds

(Video content may not be visible in feed readers. Click through to view.)

You’ve all seen the photos of the beautiful out of focus highlights behind some object of interest. Now you too can participate in this irresistable photographic cliché! It’s all just a simple matter of position and focus.

To achieve the effect in this video, the only thing I changed was to move the model away from the background (closer to the camera) and refocus.

For more in-depth information about depth of field and how you can control it and use its awesome power to triumph over evil, check out these articles from the Photodoto archives:

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