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  1. #1
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    Travel and the (D)SLR

    One thing that always bothers me when trying to travel light is my DSLR. I don't own many lenses and the ones I have are light and small (prime), but even taking just the body and a single lens really seems to throw all packing benefits out the window. I want to keep things protected but trying to have a multitasking bag that protects and doesn't take up much space seems pretty hard. For example, the Imago doesn't work well at all for something bulky like a DSLR in my opinion so it doesn't make the trip.

    Now I could pack the DSLR in with my clothes in something like the Aeronaut, but then I'd still need a way to carry the camera around upon reaching my destination. Perhaps this is the problem as I don't have a good system to carry the camera around normally, for example, walking around during shopping or sight seeing.

    Any ideas or experiences to share?

  2. #2
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    Not sure how big/protective of a bag/case you're looking for, but if all you want is a slim cover for your camera with an attached lens to prevent scratches, scuffs and other minor stuff, you might want to try a Soft Pouch (SLR/Rangefinder Series or Digital D-Series) from Optech. It's a neoprene case that won't add too much bulk and can be attached to the camera in a few different ways so it's always with the camera. It can be used while the camera strap is attached, so I find it very convenient. For me, it's always gonna be inside another bag for additional protection or around my neck, so I find the minimal bulk to outweigh it's lack of maximum padding. Hope that helps.
    Last edited by judge; 04-07-2008 at 08:01 PM.

  3. #3
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    I'm not sure what I want. I've considered those covers before but I typically don't carry the camera around my next for long periods of time. Maybe I am approaching the question the wrong way.

    Let's say you're on a trip and want to take the DSLR with you. You're either going on a hike or sight seeing or something like that. How do you carry the DSLR? I see plenty of people who have them around their neck as they shop and walk but that never seemed comfortable to me. But I have yet to but a special neck strap. Even if it was comfortable I never liked the way a camera would swing when you turned or bounced on your chest as you walked. If you are hiking it's a real pain and a danger as it could take some serious bumps as you climb or jump. You can hold it to your chest but then you end up doing that nearly all the time. Finally, I never liked advertising that I had a DSLR even though I'm surrounded these days by others with them. So a bag of some sort seemed like a good alternative but if you're traveling that can be an issue. Plus, most bags aren't comfortable.

    Perhaps I need to look at a good neck strap and maybe a strap to keep the camera tight to my chest.

  4. #4
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    pretzlb, go to the op/Tech site (http://www.optechusa.com/) and look for the stabilizer and harness. (Warning, this post will sound like I'm an op/Tech salesman!)

    Stabilizer
    http://www.optechusa.com/product/det...RODUCT_SUB_ID=
    Harness
    http://www.optechusa.com/product/det...&CATEGORY_ID=4

    I have both and have a Canon 400D. Both systems work great. I like to use the harness when I'm hiking as my camera remains quickly available for a picture, while keeping the camera mostly safe from bouncing around and hitting branches or rocks. You still need to be careful: If you're trying to climb up something your lens still protrudes and can get scraped or whatever. The downside to the harness is when you're carrying a backpack and you want to take the harness off. I still prefer the harness, though.

    If you do get the harness, get the model with the elastic band, it's more flexible and helps stabilize your arms when shooting. One more point: My 440D + 18-55 zoom is not heavy as far as DSLRs go. I don't know how the harness would work with a 1D and a heavy zoom, for example.

    I haven't used the stabilizer that much but the advantage to it is you can use the strap you prefer. I have an op/Tech strap (surprise...) and the strap is excellent, very comfortable.

    For carrying around in a bag, I got one of their soft pouches sized for the 400D body and a zoom lens + a lens pouch.

    An alternative I considered before was the Ortlieb camera harness bag. This is excellent if there's risk of rain or wet. It weighs more undoubtedly. It's probably an excellent option for bike treks or for a hike in wet areas. Since it's a bag you can pack it as well.
    http://www.ortliebusa.com/cartgenie/prod-44.htm

    I didn't find any other good options when I researched this a couple of years ago.

  5. #5
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    pretzelb, have you looked at the Kata 212? It's a pouch that straps on in front of you for easy access, but provides pretty heavy (some would say ballistic!) protection for your camera. Granted you said you don't want to advertise having an SLR, but usually protection != low-key. Pick one, but not both. At least that's the conclusion I reached after a few months of searching for my solution.

    These days if I only plan to carry around my usual travel setup (body and two primes) I just use some Domke wraps and the Medium Cafe Bag.

    For longer walks which ask for a light jacket and water, I have a Imago-sized bag that I also throw my camera + lens in wraps into.

    For hiking/rugged terrain, I have a backpack, and either use a P&S or make frequent stops to break out the camera to snap photos and stuff it back when I'm done.

    I'm of the mind that my DSLR can take some slight abuse. If I'm doing something that can break it through several layers of felt and cloth while it's attached to my body, then I'm doing something wrong.

  6. #6
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    I have looked at the Op/Tech stuff before and actually found it in a local store. I mostly haven't tried it yet because it seems very "dorky". Functional for sure but I'm not sure I'd like to carry it while shopping on a trip. For hiking it appear to work great.

    Regarding the Kata bag, I haven't seen it yet but if the bag only serves the purpose of carrying the camera then I can't use it much on a trip. I'm trying to travel light and get the most out of the bags I take.

    I did pick up some Domke wraps and they are just amazing little things. What a great yet simple invention. I use them with my Red Oxx Gator bag and with the padding in the bag and the wrap everything is very secure. But the last trip I took with the Gator it got very uncomfortable to me so my old favorite may be history.

    Regarding using a Cafe or Imago, I just can't see that with a DSLR. I use the Imago everywhere we go with the dog and whenever I try to put something solid yet bulky in it, it ends up jabbing me in the back or sliding all over. The Imago works well for staying close and having quick access when I use the QAM strap, but bulky items seem to be a problem.

    Maybe I should consider the Op/Tech straps (packed away) and a regular bag like the Gator for carry on.

  7. #7
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    I have struggled with this, and what I've done is (sometimes) is to get a Lowepro "Slingshot" -- which is a sling/backpack camera bag, which I stuff with other stuff besides my camera, and a second lens (I think I got the middle of the three sizes). The design of the bag makes it easy to access the camera quickly, the bag doesn't (hopefully) scream "camera bag", and it gives me some extra room/packing flexibility while also protecting the camera/lens very well.

    That said, it's probably not the lightest way to travel (there's some wasted space as compared to putting the camera in luggage). When I really want to travel light, I end up just taking a small point and shoot camera instead....

  8. #8
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    good info as I just treated myself to a Canon 40D with a couple zooms. So I am in the market for a bag. My first thought was a Buzz to use as a carry with me sort of bag. My better half has one she wears everywhere and I love the functionality.

    However I think the Lowepro Slingshot might be a better option as it's built with the camera in mind. Problem with the Buzz that I could see is the lens and hood might be a problem to get in and out of the bag quickly or at all on the spur of the moment.

    Pretty much I will carry no more than two lenses whenever we travel or just go for a hike so a huge bag is not something I need. I am thinking (well, hoping really) I might be able to fit the camera w/lens & hood into the Buzz as well as the other lens in a lens case. My main concern is the lack of padding when setting the bag down. Worried about the lens not the camera body.

    But, after watching the video for the Lowepro Slingshot it is exactly what I had in mind. But it just does not look as comfy as the Buzz. I am going to wait and see how everything fits once all the camera bits get delivered over the next 10-days or so...

    I just would sooo rather use a Bihn bag...the Buzz is one of the most comfortable bags I have used.

  9. #9
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    I own the Lowepro Slingshot and you're right, it's not nearly as comfortable or as good looking as a Bihn. But it is a very protective, purpose-designed camera bag, and for those reasons it's what I use when traveling with my serious cameras. I would love a Bihn bag did what the Slingshot does, but so far it doesn't exist.

    The Lowepro is comfortable enough for long trips. It's just not a "love it" bag like the Bihns.

    Quote Originally Posted by grumpy3b View Post
    good info as I just treated myself to a Canon 40D with a couple zooms. So I am in the market for a bag. My first thought was a Buzz to use as a carry with me sort of bag. My better half has one she wears everywhere and I love the functionality.

    However I think the Lowepro Slingshot might be a better option as it's built with the camera in mind. Problem with the Buzz that I could see is the lens and hood might be a problem to get in and out of the bag quickly or at all on the spur of the moment.

    Pretty much I will carry no more than two lenses whenever we travel or just go for a hike so a huge bag is not something I need. I am thinking (well, hoping really) I might be able to fit the camera w/lens & hood into the Buzz as well as the other lens in a lens case. My main concern is the lack of padding when setting the bag down. Worried about the lens not the camera body.

    But, after watching the video for the Lowepro Slingshot it is exactly what I had in mind. But it just does not look as comfy as the Buzz. I am going to wait and see how everything fits once all the camera bits get delivered over the next 10-days or so...

    I just would sooo rather use a Bihn bag...the Buzz is one of the most comfortable bags I have used.

  10. #10
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    Hi jonjake:

    thanks a bunch for the feedback on the Slingshot bags. I suspected they might not be near as comfy as they Buzz. I'll just hold off until I can take a run down to the nearest retail sellers. We have a Best Buy about 30ish miles away which is supposed to have the 200 in stock, so as soon as I have a legit reason to drive over I am gonna stuff all my gear in a bag I have then go and see first hand.

    But these days at almost $4.50/gal for gas I drive even less and as it was I run about one tank every 2-3 months. I have RA an simply do not drive any distance anymore so I am not really blaming the fuel costs...but they sure don't help the matter....

  11. #11
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    Carrying a dSLR while touring...

    Sorry I'm late to this thread, but I've had the same problem for ages. I'm now at a Nikon D300, and if I have one of my big lens on, schleping this thing around my neck is a pain.

    I took a cue from what I saw the brand Think Tank do. They have special "reporter" straps that basically clip the halfway points of the neckstrap to the shoulder straps of their backpacks. OpTech has something similar I believe.

    So, I jury rigged something similar. It depends on what attachments, slots, etc. you have on your specific backpack shoulder straps and camera neckstrap. For example, halfway up my neckstrap (usually where the strap meets the softer material part), I threaded some "O" or keychain rings. Then, on my shoulder straps, I clipped on some small size carbiners. This way, I can clip/unclip the neck strap from the shoulder strap. Hint: always clip in first before you take off the neck strap, and always put the neck strap on first before you unclip!

    This way, the neck strap is always there when you need it around your neck to move around quickly to take the shot, but at least you let the backpack weight counterbalance the weight of the camera during the inbetween walking bits, and it's resting on your much stronger shoulders and back, not your neck.

    Not the most pretty solution, but arguably less "geeky" than a dedicated harness. Good luck if you give it a try.

    (And yes, I have sling bags, etc., too, but when I travel, I want my bags to do double duty.)
    Last edited by ozone; 08-25-2008 at 09:06 PM.

  12. #12
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    Although I have a proper camera bag, when I travel I like to simply fit my DSLR in my purse. I don't like to scream expensive camera equipment. Even when I go shooting around Toronto, I simply put it in my Cafe Bag. I don't tend to be rough with my bags or bang them around so my D80 is still in pretty good shape, no scratches or any noticeable scruffs.
    In our household: Black/Steel Aeronaut (with 2 large packing cubes and Absolute shoulder strap), Forest/Steel Aeronaut (1 large and 2 small packing cubes), Olive/Wasabi medium Cafe Bag, Linen/Olive Medium Cafe Bag, Cocoa/Cocoa/Wasabi Imago, Cardinal/Hemp/Steel Imago, Hemp Little Swift, Solar Shop Bag, Plum/Wasabi Side Effect, Black/Steel/Solar Smart Alec, Horizontal and Vertical Freudian Slips, TB Wallet, Hemp Little Swift, FOT pouch, Black/Olive ID

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by peregrina View Post
    Even when I go shooting around Toronto, I simply put it in my Cafe Bag.
    I tend to do that too if I'm not shooting an event. I used to use MEC bags, but I found the larger Cafe bag to be quite suitable. I also have a Crumpler SoupanSalad that works well too.

    You're in Toronto? I make a occasional trek in to the mecca that is Henry's Photography!


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