Photo Bag and Travel Photography Advice Needed...

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by rymack, Oct 19, 2011.

  1. rymack macrumors regular

    rymack

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2010
    Location:
    Thunder Bay, Ontario
    #1
    Hello everyone,

    I'm looking for some advice on a good camera bag for a trip I'm taking next summer to France and Italy. I was asked to shoot a friend's wedding (it's a very informal style wedding on property his family owns in the south of France), and then I'm going to visit some family in Rome.

    What my plan is, is to carry on my photo gear in a Pelican case or travel-type photo equipment carrier (that is small enough for international carry-on limits), and then carry on my walk-around photo bag as my second piece of carry-on, except without the photo inserts so I can carry on other items (books, headphones, sunglasses, wallet, etc.) When in France and Italy, I would then use the carry on bag as my walk-around bag (I will pack the photo inserts in my checked luggage). My gear is in my sig: I am leaving the 70-300 at home. For walking around Paris, Rome, etc. I would most likely only bring my 16-85 attached, and maybe the 50 prime, so I have room in the bag for other items (I don't want to walk around with a stuffed photo bag...) [Hopefully this makes sense...]

    I currently use a brown Crumpler 7 Million Dollar Home, but even with the inserts out I find the bag to be a bit too bulky. I am not interested in photo backpacks or sling bags either; I prefer the satchel/messenger style bags. Right now I am thinking of a Tenba Large Laptop Messenger (I don't have a laptop but will probably have an iPad and some travel books with me), a Domke, or a ThinkTank Retrospective 30. I am interested in muted, unassuming colours so as not to draw attention. The other option is to buy a Tenba photo insert and convert a messenger/satchel of my choosing. Either way I need reccomendations and advice!

    Thank you in advance, and I look forward to hearing your ideas!
     
  2. DW58 macrumors regular

    DW58

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2011
    Location:
    Scotland
    #2
    I've travelled pretty extensively around Europe with Canon SLR/DSLR outfits over the past twenty years or so. I don't understand why you feel the need for the Pelican case, you're just setting yourself up for extra weight and bulk when a good camera bag/rucksack will do the job perfectly well.

    I favour Lowepro bags, having owned about a dozen different ones over the past twenty years or so. I'll be travelling pretty extensively in Europe again next Spring travelling by plane/train/hire-car/bus and will do as I always have and use a Lowepro bag for DSLR/4 lenses/MBP/iPad/iPhone and accessories.
     
  3. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2001
    Location:
    Sendai, Japan
    #3
    I don't think a Pelican case is necessary. I don't even think it's necessary to leave some of your equipment at home … unless it doesn't fit into your existing bag.

    Here is what I do: I travel quite a bit (about 2-2.5 months per year) and it's exceedingly rare that I travel without computer and camera gear. I have a LowePro Nova 5 AW which holds all of my gear and a backpack (a sturdy Deuter mountain bike backpack). I have always taken two pieces of handheld luggage with me and so far I haven't heard any objections. Some airlines mention explicitly that passengers are allowed to take notebook cases and camera bags in addition to one piece of handheld luggage.

    I use the LowePro to transport my camera gear safely while my backpack holds books, travel papers, info, etc. etc. When I go out on a photo safari, I select two lenses and decide whether or not I should take the flash with me. I mount one lens to my body (a D7000) and store the second lens goes in one of the nets on the side and the flash on the other. Even my 80-200 mm fits in there. Most of the time, I carry the camera around my shoulder anyway, so I can keep it safe from harm. (I can pack more gear, but in my experience, I tend to use only two lenses anyway. Plus, you travel lighter.)

    This way, I can change lenses extremely quickly without having to take off my backpack and open it. That saves a lot of time. I can take stuff for trips (additional clothes, towels, water, food, etc.), other equipment (e. g. a tripod) and don't have to pack an extra bag.* The only time I »damaged« a piece of my photo equipment when I put down my backpack in the sand on the beach of Tel Aviv and sand got into the inner workings of my 50 mm. I took it apart, cleaned it thoroughly and it is back in perfect working order.

    In the past, I used my Nova 2 AW, but it became a pain and I usually had to take my backpack with me anyway (e. g. if I went hiking or so). Eventually, I just decided against taking the second camera bag. I only take my big camera bag with me to events if I am sure that I will need all my gear, e. g. for my best friends wedding.


    * To avoid a mess, I pack food and other things into plastic bags. In case **** happens, it at least stays in a plastic bag.
     
  4. firestarter macrumors 603

    firestarter

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2002
    Location:
    Green and pleasant land
    #4
    The Pelican is a bad idea as a carry-on. Pelicans are great for checked luggage - as they're very hard wearing, and you don't care so much about the weight and bulk. You don't need that protection for hand luggage, and the weight/bulk will be unhelpful.

    I regularly travel in Europe and I've got a selection of camera bags that I choose from depending on the trip (I have a couple of LowePro bags, two different Billingham bags, a Redoxx 'Gator' (good bag) and a Domke bag).

    My suggestions are:
    • Consider wrapping lenses in protective wrap, and flying with them in a regular bag. I hate checking luggage, so I usually travel with a single main carry on bag - and a small camera satchel. I use Calumet's lens wraps to keep stuff protected, and then just pack along with everything else.
    • European cities are best explored on foot, and lightweight is best if you don't want to get tired. I don't like to go out for a day with more than two lenses - and I prefer a satchel type bag, rather than a backpack in order to have easy access.
    • My favourite two bags for city use are my Billingham Hadley and my Domke F-802. Neither of them scream 'expensive cameras', so that helps with security. I prefer the Domke over the Billingham, as the sprung metal clasp on the Domke would be much more difficult for a theif to open undetected. Your bag needs to be secure enough to wear on public transport without fearing that someone will be able to reach in and grab something (putting lenses in net pockets on a backpack sounds like a really bad idea IMHO).
    • Lens-wise, think wide, not long. I think you're correct in leaving that 70-300 at home. It's often difficult backing up enough, or getting a wide enough lens to 'fit everything in' if you're shooting on cramped streets. Personally I don't know what I'd use a long lens like that for.
    • Get a large carabiner and secure it to your bag. Whenever you sit down (lunch etc), you can use the carabiner to clip the bag to your chair, table etc. I might sound paranoid when it comes to security, but I strongly believe in taking consistent preventative measures to avoid theft. I haven't had anything stolen during any of my travelling in Africa, Asia and Europe.
    • On the subject of theft, I really like the Pacsafe wallets (on a chain).
     
  5. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2001
    Location:
    Sendai, Japan
    #5
    Seconded, although that's true for any city in my experience.
    That's a good recommendation. I put the should strap around my leg or the leg of my chair or use the clips to bind my backpack to a leg of the table or chair. If I have more than two bags (e. g. backpack and camera bag) I connect them as well.
     
  6. steveash macrumors 6502

    steveash

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    #6
    I'd agree with the things being said here. There is no need for an expensive hard case unless you it is going in the hold or being kicked around by hotel staff etc. Do have some padding though and take care as people often cram their bags into the overhead lockers without thinking what they are breaking.

    Read your flight baggage allowances very carefully, particularly if you are taking cheap internal flights. The low cost airlines are the strictest on hand luggage. For long haul they aren't too fussy. Most will allow hand baggage plus a small camera bag - I take advantage of this by spreading my camera gear between the two.

    I took a short European flight on the infamous Ryan-Air earlier this year and they were ridiculously strict. If hand luggage was at all over their (already smaller than average) size or weight restrictions it had to go in the hold and you pay for excess luggage (and trashed gear).
     
  7. DW58 macrumors regular

    DW58

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2011
    Location:
    Scotland
    #7
    Rumour has it that RyanAir even charge for use of the steps these days - otherwise you jump :p

    To be honest I wouldn't fly with them on principle - rip-off merchants with weird, out-of-the-way destination airports. I've never had any problem with Easyjet however.
     
  8. rymack thread starter macrumors regular

    rymack

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2010
    Location:
    Thunder Bay, Ontario
    #8
    Thanks for all the awesome advice, everyone! A lot of what's being said is stuff that i wouldn't have considered, so I'm glad i asked! I'm going to google the reccomended bags and wraps, etc. Thanks everyone!
     
  9. rymack thread starter macrumors regular

    rymack

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2010
    Location:
    Thunder Bay, Ontario
    #9
    Does anyone have any good satchel/messenger reccomendations that I could convert to a phot bag with a Tenba (or similiar) insert?
     
  10. firestarter macrumors 603

    firestarter

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2002
    Location:
    Green and pleasant land
    #11
  11. rymack thread starter macrumors regular

    rymack

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2010
    Location:
    Thunder Bay, Ontario
    #12
    My girlfriend got me an Ona Union Street Messenger for Christmas. Very nice, but not worth the nearly $300 price tag (not including tax, shipping, duty, etc.) We sent it back and I opted for the Tenba Large Laptop Messenger in olive. Amazing bag! it was on sale for $77 on vistek.ca and is so functional and doesn't look too bad either. Thanks for all your help!
     

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