It is tempting to pack all your gear and take it with you. Then you won't miss out on anything and are prepared for every situation. Unfortunately I often stay in cheap hotels or travel to places where you simply cannot leave any valuables in a car. I don't have an extra insurance for my equipment. Just because such insurances cost a lot and they don't help me at all, because a stolen camera means I cannot do my production. And the loss of gear is only a fraction of the financial loss of a photo production. Not being able to complete a photo shooting or even having data stolen would be a severe problem for me.
This is why I carry my camera bag with me all the time when being abroad. It sleeps next to me in the bed and I basically walk around like a turtle when I am going to have breakfast, sometimes even during a shooting on the beach. I know, this might sound paranoid, but a good friend of mine had his backpack stolen during a shooting in Tenerife. It was only 10 meters away from him and suddenly someone took it. Such a nightmare.
For my old Canon camera, I had a sling bag. It was handy, because you could access your gear without putting the bag down in the sand. But trust me, carrying a weight of 14 kg on just one shoulder is not a good idea. At least nothing, I want to make a habit of.
So, I was looking for a regular backpack, resting on both shoulders and the ability to put a computer inside as well. At GM Foto I found a large selection of camera bags. As I was very much satisfied with the quality of the Lowepro Slingbag I had before, I decided to stick with that brand. I decided to buy the Lowepro ProTactic 350 AW.
I really like that you can open the back completely to access your gear. This is how I use it most of the time. I never use the side pockets and would even prefer if they weren't there as you always have to take care, no one tries to steal things through them.
But the other characteristics convinced me. I can easily fit my Macbook Air (13 inch) in the back pocket, together with all my papers. And the top of the backpack has some hard plastic shield inside.
This is very good when you put your bag in the storage compartment on the plane. There's never enough space there and people tend to act very strangely on board of a plane, pushing their own stuff in the compartment with brutal force, not giving a damn about other people.
At least, that's my experience. With my new bag, I don't have to worry about this anymore. It is so small and well protected. What a relief. And if all space is already taken up, it even fits under the seat in front of me. That is really handy.
Besides my laptop, I also carry the Sony A7RII as my main camera, the Sony A6300 as a backup camera or additional film camera for behind the scenes shots. I have mounted the Sony 55mm 1.8 lens and the Sony 35mm 2.8 lens on those cameras and take the Zeiss Batis 85mm 1.8 additionally. Remember to always carry a rubber bellow with you, when working with a mirrorless camera. No matter how careful you are, dust can fly onto the sensor when changing lenses so easily.
For charging I use the regular Sony charger plus a flat dual charger from Patona. As they don't have it on their website, I cannot link it. You can also load the GoPro with it through USB which is nice. Even though I take 6 extra batteries with me, I never needed more than 3 on one day. But you never know...
For my GoPro Hero I use the Feiyu Gimbal for stabilization. Works like a charme. And I even was a bit lucky: The box it comes with, perfectly fits into the camera backpack.
In the little black sac, I carry the wireless microphone from Sony that for whatever reason is not available in Germany. I bought it in Japan and it works very well for my needs.
I use the super flat portable SSD from Sandisk with 480 GB for my backups.
Besides that, I have a pack of chewing gum in the side pocket that I thought doesn't necessarily have to be on the photo.
If I was to mention any downsides of the camera backpack, well, maybe it looks a bit too much like valuables are inside. But with so many positive attributes I hope it will be my companion for a long time.
Simon Bolz, Frankfurt
Tel.: +49 (69) 95 82 02 12
Mob.: +49 (172) 620 55 18