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12-15-2010, 06:39 PM   #1
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Backpack upgrade and small bag advice needed...

I have a Kata 3N1-20 backpack which worked great for me, but now my gear collection is outgrowing it. So I've considered moving over to the DR-467i. I really don't find the laptop compartment useful as I don't think I'd ever carry a laptop in it. However, considering what lenses I do have (refer to signature) would this bag offer much growth? And/or should I be looking at a different brand???

More importantly, I'm in a real dilemma... When I go for a walk I don't really want to carry a backpack, and I don't like carrying my camera around my neck where it bangs around in front of me, so most of the time I don't take it as it's too big of a hassle. Bad deal because I've missed so many good shots it's not even funny. So I need to remedy the unhandiness. What do you recommend? Most of the time I only need one lens along (hey that's better than none), so is a holster a good way to go? Or a messenger type bag? Basically I need absolutely minimalist design--just big enough to fit my camera + grip and one lens (DA* 16-50mm with hood on)...

12-15-2010, 08:03 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ubuntu_user Quote
More importantly, I'm in a real dilemma... When I go for a walk I don't really want to carry a backpack, and I don't like carrying my camera around my neck where it bangs around in front of me, so most of the time I don't take it as it's too big of a hassle. Bad deal because I've missed so many good shots it's not even funny. So I need to remedy the unhandiness. What do you recommend? Most of the time I only need one lens along (hey that's better than none), so is a holster a good way to go? Or a messenger type bag? Basically I need absolutely minimalist design--just big enough to fit my camera + grip and one lens (DA* 16-50mm with hood on)...
For a walk with a camera and a lens, I prefer a top-loader bag. I have myself a Lowepro TLZ1 that fits my K-7 and DA18-250mm. It is excellent for casual walk as well as bushwalking. It can also hold the battery charger, UBB cable and extension.

In rare situations when I would need a 2nd lens, it is typically a small fast prime that fits easly in my jacket pocket.

Hope that the comment will be useful...
12-15-2010, 11:38 PM   #3
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Sounds like a small messenger bag will fit you needs. I've got a LowePro Midtown 160 that I like but it may not be deep enough for your K7 + Grip.


My wife's got this LowePro messenger and she likes:


May I ask - have you considered acquiring some of the compact DA Limited primes and building a small but high-quality kit? With the grip removed, the K-7 + DA21/DA40/DA70 is a formidable combo...
12-16-2010, 01:29 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by johnmflores Quote
May I ask - have you considered acquiring some of the compact DA Limited primes and building a small but high-quality kit? With the grip removed, the K-7 + DA21/DA40/DA70 is a formidable combo...
Yes, eventually this is where I'm headed. Right now that would cost a whole lot more than my DA* 16-50mm so I can't justify just swapping things out. And I need a K-5 much more than I need primes at this time, so once I get that then I'll be able to work towards a prime kit.

12-16-2010, 01:32 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by johnmflores Quote
Sounds like a small messenger bag will fit you needs. I've got a LowePro Midtown 160 that I like but it may not be deep enough for your K7 + Grip.
I guess I should ask, does a messenger bag handle activity very well? For example, does it swing around if you're very active? Because I'm a pretty active guy and something that is banging and swinging around on my body won't work.
12-16-2010, 01:49 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ubuntu_user Quote
I guess I should ask, does a messenger bag handle activity very well? For example, does it swing around if you're very active? Because I'm a pretty active guy and something that is banging and swinging around on my body won't work.
I cannot comment on the messenger bag, but I have first hand experience with the Lowepro top loader (TLZ1). I can take it for jogging with the K-7+ A18-250mm (no grip). I jog often 8-10 km each morning and I took every so often my K-7 with me for sunrise shooting. The top loader bag does not bang nor swing. Excellent fit.
12-16-2010, 02:08 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by hcc Quote
I cannot comment on the messenger bag, but I have first hand experience with the Lowepro top loader (TLZ1). I can take it for jogging with the K-7+ A18-250mm (no grip). I jog often 8-10 km each morning and I took every so often my K-7 with me for sunrise shooting. The top loader bag does not bang nor swing. Excellent fit.
Would it fit the K-7 and grip? Also where is it's position? In front? Beside?
12-16-2010, 02:37 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by johnmflores Quote
Sounds like a small messenger bag will fit you needs. I've got a LowePro Midtown 160 that I like but it may not be deep enough for your K7 + Grip.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=piC3gIVo2YQ

My wife's got this LowePro messenger and she likes:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SBC-HziYGGk&feature=related

May I ask - have you considered acquiring some of the compact DA Limited primes and building a small but high-quality kit? With the grip removed, the K-7 + DA21/DA40/DA70 is a formidable combo...
I have the Midtown bag and can fit a k-7 with grip in it. A word of caution on that bag however. I learned the hard way that it's not real well padded. I opened it one day and found my 50-135 busted nearly in half. I still don't know how it happened but it happened in the bag.

I'm currently reviewing and writing up reviews on the Kata Bug 205PL backpack and the Light Tri 317 PL torso pack that can also be a sling (although I find I prefer to carry it under one arm instead of on my bag). These two bags also connect together to be carried at one time. The backpack does however have a laptop compartment.

12-16-2010, 02:59 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ubuntu_user Quote
I guess I should ask, does a messenger bag handle activity very well? For example, does it swing around if you're very active? Because I'm a pretty active guy and something that is banging and swinging around on my body won't work.
Good messenger bags include a second, stabilizer strap that holds the bag firmly in place and prevents it from swinging around. For years I used an Oprey Torque as my camera bag. It had a stiffened shell which helped to protect the camera, which was usually in the bag with a protective sleeve. I used it dirt biking in the California desert and riding through the jungles of the Philippines and provided a great combination of easy access and stability. The only times it ever threatened to swing around was when I forgot to cinch the stabilizer strap. Even then it never came fully around, and all it took was a quick tug of the stabilizer strap and it was solid again. And we're talking speeds into the triple digits, and I never thought that the bag was unstable.

QuoteOriginally posted by mel Quote
I have the Midtown bag and can fit a k-7 with grip in it. A word of caution on that bag however. I learned the hard way that it's not real well padded. I opened it one day and found my 50-135 busted nearly in half. I still don't know how it happened but it happened in the bag.
Good point. The Midtown and Exchange bags are lightly padded, which makes them smaller but also requires more gentle handling.
12-16-2010, 03:00 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ubuntu_user Quote
More importantly, I'm in a real dilemma... When I go for a walk I don't really want to carry a backpack, and I don't like carrying my camera around my neck where it bangs around in front of me, so most of the time I don't take it as it's too big of a hassle. Bad deal because I've missed so many good shots it's not even funny. So I need to remedy the unhandiness. What do you recommend? Most of the time I only need one lens along (hey that's better than none), so is a holster a good way to go? Or a messenger type bag? Basically I need absolutely minimalist design--just big enough to fit my camera + grip and one lens (DA* 16-50mm with hood on)...
I use a lowe pro top loader zoom 1 for hiking/quick trips. I do have a couple of the small limited lenses, so I can fit a couple lenses into a holster. I like the feature that they have a belt loop on the back and you can detach the strap (messenger bags don't have that) - so if I'm hiking, I can put the camera bag on the belt loop of my hydration pack and take off the strap. I then usually put a lens pouch or two on other straps of the pack if I want to carry more than 1 lens.

I do have a nathan hydration pack that's got a pocket on each chest strap that is big enough to fit the pentax limited lense - so I can pop the 70 mm in one, the 35 mm macro in the other, and have the 21 mm on the camera, have it all be easily accessible and still have water in my backpack - that's my main problem with carrying my camera hiking, I don't use it or the lenses if I have to reach into my backpack, and I like my water on my back.
12-16-2010, 03:03 PM   #11
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Oh, I've got the lowe pro photorunner bag which has a waist belt and a shoulder strap. I don't know if they make a smaller version of that - but you might be able to just use the belt strap on a standard holster bag to stabilize it.
12-16-2010, 09:17 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ubuntu_user Quote
Would it fit the K-7 and grip? Also where is it's position? In front? Beside?
*Would it fit the K-7 and grip?
The K-7 and a lens fit. I do not think that it will fit the grip.

*where is it's position? In front? Beside?
I am not sure what you mean. Photos of the toploader TLZ1 that I use are at:
Lowepro - Topload Zoom 1
12-17-2010, 12:05 PM   #13
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Small bag advice... Timbuk2 Snoop. Perhaps the size Small one if you really want a very small bag. I opted for Medium.

I work in New Haven. I recently did single in November, and it entailed shooting every day in a city that... well... is not the safest in the world given the neighborhoods I have to traverse. Early on I hacked together an expandable briefcase with a more traditional camera bag inside for dividers. It was very low key, did not look like technology or camera gear, but rather like books. It fit in well given Yale University.

But it was a hack. So I started looking for something to replace it. I highly recommend the Timbuk2 Snoop, as it looks like a messenger bag and yet has some very nice features that are dedicated to photography. It is very low key, very function, waterproof and overall relatively bombproof. It sports tripod straps if you need them, and it looks, wears, carries, and deploys easily and well. Oh, and I just read back... as a messenger bag, it does have a stabilizer strap...

Have a look at onlineshoes.com. They have the small and the large and the promo code CHEER gets you 20% off. Free shipping. I got mine for a good deal, but this is a better one. <disclaimer - I am not affiliated with this vendor and in fact know little about them...>

woof!
12-19-2010, 08:05 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ubuntu_user Quote
When I go for a walk I don't really want to carry a backpack, and I don't like carrying my camera around my neck where it bangs around in front of me, so most of the time I don't take it as it's too big of a hassle.
Have you tried putting the camera around your neck but under one arm? You may need the neck strap longer than you are used to. If you get the length right, it should fit tight enough to not bang about so loosely. The camera should move out of the way behind you, so your front and both arms are free. Like a diagonal shoulder bag, but without the bag. You move the strap from over your arm, back to the normal loose chest position, when you want to take pictures.

Not being in a bag means the camera doesn't have any extra protection, which may be an issue. Another issue is that the camera is in the open but not in your line of sight, so if you are worried about thieves, you may want to upgrade the strap to a more secure Pacsafe one. However, you can try the position first to see if you like it without spending any extra money, and it's certainly minimalist.

Then you can fit a single lens to the camera and leave it at that, or else get some nice primes that are small enough to fit in a pocket, and you don't need anything else.
12-19-2010, 12:21 PM   #15
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Ooh! I kind of like the looks of that Timbuk2... Only problem is that the medium bag is too big and the small is too little! Hmm... If only I were shooting primes.
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