Photographers, Bring Yer Own Bag

Okay look, I’m serious about this one my fellow photo friends, there are tons of threats out there in the world. I can only name a handful:

  • First-world problems
  • Not being able to play through fields of wheat
  • Having a camera bag with expensive gear

Today, we concentrate on the 3rd point as the 1st one is self-explanatory and the 2nd is too intense and mentally straining for me to even attempt to cover.

As convenient as camera bags can be with the quick access zippers, the customisable inserts and the general feeling of having a solid, reliable camera bag on you. But there’s a couple of issues with having a bag solely made to hold your camera.

And I mean, if you do have a bag which completely fits the criteria below that I think are lacking in most bags, please do share what bag you use in the comments and just uh… ignore everything I said.

Once again, I’ll try to explain this in a way in which (hopefully) doesn’t turn into a rant.

1. those damn thieves.

There are some anti-theft camera bags, but boy are those expensive. Most CBs, however, aren’t, and they look quite theft-worthy. I mean there are some that are subtle, but their looks and branding can give it away too; it’s worse when the branding is obnoxious as hell.

This is a robber’s thought process (or I would assume it’s like this):

*sees a nice bag – which is a “subtle” bag holding tons of camera gear* 

“mmmm dat bag looks gud, if they got a nice bag they must have nice things”

*proceeds to snatch your bag*

And bam, there goes camera gear worth more than your life taken by an outlaw who thought your bag “looks gud”.

I can give examples here too, camera bags like the Tenba DNA series, Peak Design’s bags and anything from ONA bags can prove deadly as they’re too beautiful for today’s society. Sorry folks.

2. Your bag packs cameras, yes… what else can it hold?

Well? From my experiences, not very much. After 7 months of using the Lowepro D100AW and some other camera bags, I’d say that camera bags can’t do very much beyond holding camera. Maybe your keys, phone, boarding tickets, ID card… then?

Companies have been trying FOR YEARS to integrate an all-rounder bag which can serve for camera gear and for other extra stuff, like and WANDRD, but I honestly do not think anything revolutionary is being made here.

Now don’t get me wrong here, such bags bring forward a whole new level of organisation.

It’s absolute genius but it isn’t a stable solution, only the thought process of something big that is soon to come.

SIDENOTE ABOUT PEAK DESIGN I JUST WANNA QUICKLY THROW IN:
Peak Design uses every single inch of their bag for something useful, except for the interior. Those FlexFold Dividers are damn convenient, but it doesn’t utilise all the space you find in the main compartment of the Everyday Backpack – nothing fits nice and snug.

I can throw a camera body, a couple of lenses here and there and some accessories too big for the side pouches, and I still can’t put my lunch there. It’s either because I’m afraid my camera is gonna smell like pasta sauce or my gear is gonna bounce around as I walk.

But hey, that’s just a nitpick. I won’t be surprised if I see that they do make a bag which improves on that and shuts me up as a result.

SOLUTION

Just use a normal bag dude, one that is quite popular (Hershel’s Supply and Co or even a casual Adidas backpack if you want to stay that safe) and use an insert. There are really good inserts by Tenba’s BYOB series which I definitely suggest you look at. If you’re traveling, this is great to keep your camera gear safe and remain low profile to thieves.

If you can’t live without the quick access, just get yourself a Capture Clip from Peak Design and feel free to slap your camera there because I bet you that no one knows how to steal it. Slightly inconvenient but still, it works I guess \_(ツ)_/

If you’re a mirrorless user or just someone who doesn’t bring a whole lot around you, you can always try out Tenba’s Tool Box series (I swear I’m not sponsored or paid by them in any way), it’s just a smaller padded insert to put in whatever your heart desires.

I mean… your heart’s desires must be within reasonable size as the Tool Box can’t hol- I’ll stop.

But it does save space and your non-camera-specialised bag can fit more now.

And scene

I hope this kinda brought awareness over how much of a vulnerable position your camera gear is in, and how crappy having a camera bag can be too due to a waste of space.

But I wouldn’t totally mind if you had Peak Design’s Everyday Backpack, though my only concern is if someone thinks it unsubtle enough to rob it.

#MakeFlickrGreatAgain

Ever since March 2016, Flickr’s greatest features were only available if you paid. The incredible Auto-Uploadr is gone, and I still damn miss it.

This certainly was a business move, to accentuate the portrayal of Flickr being a photographer’s hipster social network, not a backup to dump memes in. I see their point, but a hobbyist like me and my brother just can’t be bothered to spend £57.72 (during time of writing this blog) annually. And if you’re giving us 1TB of free storage, I’m sure people will still be committed to upload junk there – whatever clears up their phone at least.

Auto-Uploadr was such a huge convenience to us, and even though we have fast internet, the web upload tool is such a pain in the *** and it’s almost as if they purposefully did this to entice us to pay.

That’s why I’m enraged, because I’m trying to put up some of my best work and this uploader is screwing things up for me. It’s either the photos timing out, or the upload bar not moving a single inch for hours.

I’ve literally waited a whole weekend for just 1 batch to upload. I’M SICK OF THESE DAMN STRATEGIC MONEY-MAKING MOVES ON THIS DAMN WEBSITE. Get it together Flickr.

Photography = time + money

Photography is a really expensive hobby that you have to invest tons of hours into. I feel that people underestimate that, and aren’t prepared to go through those hardships. But then again, I don’t blame them. There is work, school, family basically life smacking you in the face. It sucks, and I don’t think you could ever claim yourself to be a true photographer because there are no standards like that (in my opinion).

Even the simplest of things can spiral out of control, like getting a good camera bag.

sees a really nice bag, finds out it’s £140. oh well. nevermind.

The Photographer’s Pouch from Photojojo: a nifty little thing but is it worth it?

The Photographer’s Pouch is made by Photojojo in the US of A. But it can get shipped internationally for quite a bit of a fee. It was designed by Will Kortum to make life a little easier for us. Let’s get into the nitty gritty.

The pros? It’s fits a lot of accessories. The size is perfect and wasn’t expected, so that was a pleasant surprise. It’s flexible enough to hold a lot without bulking up your bag, making it as light and compact as they claimed. I was able to fit 2 batteries (NP-FW50), a Hoya UV Filter, a Spudz microfibre cloth, a 2GB SanDisk (biggest mistake I ever made) and a compact flash for the NEX with enough space to include a filter.

Sourced from: Photojojo

Surprisingly enough, it left quite a small footprint with a little effort. You even have enough space to slide in a lens cap between the strap and boom, never lose them again.

The cons? The velcro at the back was one of the main selling points, but only works with certain camera bags. One of such would be the Billingham Hadley Pro, which already comes at a hefty price. Also, it’s $15. There are some alternatives out there on Amazon which can also serve the same function.

I recommend still buying this as it’s supplied by a trustworthy company. It’s true when they say you shouldn’t invest in gear that is sold by 1st parties as that only bumps up the price, but Photojojo is based on accessories and aren’t really like that.

it’s like the smiggle of photography

They’re a company based off of California and are dedicated towards photography, they have their own blog too! But it’s a really nice community that they’ve established. I even got a little “Stow-away-a-saurus” along with the package.

So at the end of the day, it is something that you should get once you’ve got your gear down. It’s compact, light and a nifty little thing.

Bobby by XD Designs: the only backpack I’d ever have

I’m a messenger bag type of person. If you’ve seen my previous post, you know I am looking for a cheap one to hold my camera and lunch without looking like I want to get mugged. I spoke to wedding/event photographer Eric Rossi (awesome dude by the way) and he recommended to me the AmazonBasics camera bag.

I thought, “yeah, that’ll do.” Then I saw this during those procrastination breaks I have.

It looks like a backpack that had the shape of a sports car. Bobby look damn beautiful, and I think it’s everything I wanted. Xd Designs nailed it on the head with this one, combining looks and functionality together, as not only is it aesthetically pleasing, it’s theft-proof. I keep gushing over perfect it is but I hope it delivers when it comes out.

The three main selling points it claims to deliver on is night safety, anti-theft and cut proof. From what they’ve shown us, it looks like it ticks all the boxes there. It serves its ability with light bars that can be spotted from 100 metres away. Plus, the zipper is neatly tucked in so your average pickpocket dude is stumped as well as marvelled at the beauty of this thing.

On the inside, it’s got nice compartments to put your laptop, tablet and other tech necessities. It’s padded well enough for you to sneak in a camera and lens. Bobby is great for everyone, not just the minimalist tech YouTuber, like students and commuters due to the space left in between the sections for books or lunch!

For travel, it’s simple. There’s a channel to plug-in your battery pack from inside the bag and charge your devices from the outside. You have your quick access pockets to reach things easily, like a little space to hide your phone and even invisible slots in your strap to place your travel card or credit card.

But my God, this is only a small, vague section. There’s a buttload more features that Xd Designs included, check that out in their Kickstarter. It’s actually genius, and it’s the only bag that fits the bill.

You see, I’ve had the endless struggle of finding a bag that is anti-theft, waterproof, has dividers for camera-related schtuff and has space for me to improvise all in a good-looking, cheap bag that has a small form factor. Do you know how damn hard that is? This is the one. Best YouTube video that I’ve stumbled on by accident.

As I type up this blog, Bobby is only £56 and available for pre-order on Kickstarter. Yes, it will be out by November but hey, there are no risks or scams in buying this. What’s even better is that it’s 30% off from it’s retail price of 80%. Production is already under way, and I think you should absolutely go for it, no matter who you are. I know I am!

Making a cheap, DIY mini photo studio

I’m currently in the middle of making a review for a product. Being me, I thought it would be fun to make my own professional shots with a little handiwork and Photoshop. It’s really nice to do things with your own hands for once, so I suggest you try it as well.

I would do a step-by-step tutorial, but I suck at that stuff. So just watch this section from Buzzfeed. You don’t need to get a clamp light or an X-Acto knife thingy, just get your everyday fluorescent light/torch and a box knife.

Start from 0:51 seconds in and then enjoy.

 

 

Newmowa Battery Charger Review: An absolute necessity

Cameras require batteries to run, if you hadn’t noticed. Unfortunately, not many battery chargers are supplied, like Sony and their mirrorless series. I found the perfect solution, and perfect upgrade.

The Newmowa Dual Battery Charger consists of a 2-port station with a long Micro-USB. It’s a simple as a plug-and-play onto your laptop or powerbank. Probably one of my favourite features is the subtle light that shines green when it’s filled up to 100%. But it’s SO EASY, even the click of inserting 2 camera batteries is satisfying.

way too simple for us complex beings.

The only problem would be that it takes a few seconds for the lights appear and show that it’s charging up. Though I don’t have any exact measurements, it charges up quick from my experience. Do you know what’s even better? It’s available for several batteries (I picked up the NP-FW50) and it’s only £7.99!

Overall, it’s a great addition to your photography gear. It’s nothing flashy but it’s the unsung hero that got yo’ back. A true lifesaver for the everyday photographer, a robbery in broad daylight.