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Follow Your Heart...And Use the Guide

March 28, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

Let me start this entry by explicitly stating that I have not been paid or otherwise compensated for what I'm about to say.  All opinions expressed herein are my own. 

This entry is about gear.  Not the body of the camera itself, but what I use to carry it.  Again, this is what I use, and what I have found helpful.  I refuse to get into a debate about camera bodies and which manufacturer is "better."  Some use Canon, some use Nikon, others use Fuji, etc.  Use what is comfortable to you.  Not just in your hands, but for your pocketbook as well.  I've gotten flack before about not having a "Professional Grade Camera," and all I can think is that my "cheap" (trust me...my wife often tells me that my camera was not cheap), has far more options than what my grandfather and uncle used when they were the most active.  I've always felt that while the right lens/body combination can help you achieve what the look that you're going for in your photography, if you don't know how to put it together, or what each lens and body can do then it doesn't matter.

This entry though is going to be about the gear I use to carry it.  When I first bought my DSLR, I realized that I would need a case to hold it.  My first one was a small case from Lowepro , which is often mispronounced as Lower Pro (even I do it more than half the time without realizing), that I picked up at Best Buy (a Rezo 110 AW if I remember correctly).  It was exactly what I needed.  It fit my camera body (a Nikon D5000 that had been on sale at the time) and the 18-55mm kit lens separately.  It also had room for the cables, extra battery, and SD cards that I had purchased.  It had the option of a shoulder strap or a belt loop which I enjoyed and would often switch based on what I was doing that day.  The thing that made me fall in love with it thought was the All-Weather Cover (AWC).  At the time I bought my camera I was living in Buffalo and working at the Buffalo Museum of Science.  I often brought my camera in and would take pictures during my lunch breaks.  As a courtesy to our customers we as employees would park at the end of the parking area (roughly 1/4 mile away from the entrance), and for those of you that don't know, Buffalo weather is not very nice between the months of September to about April or May.  If it's not snowing it's probably raining.

The AWC on the Lowepro bags are sewn onto the bag and get nestled into a pouch on the bag itself.  They're fairly waterproof (I've never had problems with leakage), and they dry off fairly quickly.  Usually to be safe I would just wipe them down with a paper towel when I got in.

About a year or so after that purchase, I got a new lens.  That meant I had to upgrade my bag, so I had gone back to Best Buy and had looked at the bags.  Of all the ones I looked at, I kept going back to the Lowepro bags.  I decided to hold off on a purchase and went to the website when I got home.   The website (http://www.lowepro.com) is easy to navigate, and my favorite feature is the bagfinder page of the website (http://bagfinder.lowepro.com/lp/choose-profile) which allows you to enter the information on your gear including body/bodies, lens(es), flash(es), cables, cords, SD Cards, etc. and then narrow your search via your preference for styles of bags, whether or not they have AWCs, are carry-on compliant, etc.  One of the other features that Lowepro offers is their patented slip-lock system which allows you to interlock some of the bags together, special pouches, etc.  I personally have not utilized the slip-lock system, but I like having the option to do so and as the amount of my gear grows I have a feeling that it will come in handy.

I've had the idea for this entry in my head for awhile, but I purchased my most recent bag a few months ago in preparation for my trip to Tucson and wanted to give myself at least a few months of use before I wrote a review on it.  My most recent bag is the Slingshot 202 AW, which is carry on compliant, has room for me to put the camera with a lens attached, an extra lens, my flash, business cards, cords, cables, battery, charger, etc.  As I went to Tucson to do a training video I also had a small handheld camcorder that was on loan from the company I was hired by in there along with all of it's cords and cables. 

Being a Stay-at-Home dad I'm used to sling bags, so that was my first option.  The only feature that didn't live up to my expectation was that although there is a tripod/monopod holder on the bag, the tripod I bought is too large for it.  As I purchased the new tripod at the same time I ordered the new bag online in preparation for the same trip I was unable to compare sizes, but I still blame myself for that one.  I do however have a monopod that goes nicely into the aforementioned spot so it is certainly not wasted space.

As I mentioned in the beginning of this post, this is what I use.  It's what I've fallen in love with and will continue to use in the future.  If it helps someone find a good bag to carry their gear then so much the better, but it is certainly not the only one out there.

Edit: A pic of my current bag...


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