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12-29-2010, 01:22 PM   #1
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Santa was good to me this year!

I hope I am posting this in the right place. I plan on somewhat reviewing two camera bags, but mostly just kinda show my very amateur set up to those who may be interested.

I was fortunate enough to pick up a Kx a few months back, and have loved every minute of it since. With Tamrons holiday rebates this year, and a unexpected increase in overtime, I was able to pick up a few lenses as well. Granted they are not the best glass out there, they are more than enough for my learning abilities.

Santa was good enough to bring me two very nice camera bags to house all my goodies. The case crown sling bag, and the Amazon Basics book bag (Amazon Brand)

Although I guess its somewhat redundant to have two bags. I have already found it very useful. Its nice having the larger bag to house all my items come vacation time, or for a long day trip. That way i can take some of the items that I normally wouldnt bring in the smaller bag. Its also very useful for putting everything in when the wife starts cleaning and things start disappearing. The smaller bag is great for quick trips, family parties and such. Throw one or two lenses in that you want to use, and maybe a flash and your set. No need to bring all your lens hoods, or soft carry cases, or any of that extra stuff.

Anyway, here are a few pics. Please excuse how horrible they are. I have been banished to the basement as not to make a mess before our holiday party tonight.

Amazon Basics backpack.
$36 off Amazon.com
Amazon.com: AmazonBasics Backpack for SLR Cameras and Accessories (Black): Camera & Photo
This is really a superb bag for the money. For $36 you cant go wrong. There are alot of things I like about it, and a few I don't. I do like how large it is, there seems to be more than enough room for anything you could possibly need. it seems highly durable, and the straps feel great, even when heavily loaded down. The only little details I do not like about it... The zippers dont have a loop for a lock, and there are not very many small zippered pockets for little items that get lost in bigger pockets. Other than that its great!



It was hard to get a good shot of the layered pockets.

All the items i squeeze into the bag, as you can see there is plenty of room for a few more goodies.



And here is the smaller bag,
Case Crown Sling bag.
$25 on Amazon.com
Amazon.com: CaseCrown Rugged Travel Sling-Back All-Purpose DSLR Camera/Lens/Accessories Backpack for the Nikon D90 Digital SLR Camera Carrying: Camera & Photo
This is a great bag as well. For the price its a super budget bag. Its enough to house 3-4 lens, one body, a flash unit, and various batteries and memory sticks. As well has having a strap to carry a bipod/mono pod.




All in all, I think santa treated me pretty good, 2 new bags, couple of nice cleaning tools, extra memory sticks, and a 8 pack of Eneloops!

So what does everyone think? anything I am missing? anything i really dont need thats just taking up space?

Your thoughts are appreciated.

12-29-2010, 03:33 PM   #2
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Thanks for sharing.

QuoteOriginally posted by SlickYamaha Quote
anything I am missing?
Quick charger (you may have it already), flash gel (for color correction or color shifting), a flash clam, pt04 radio trigger/receiver (for off camera flash), cpl filter (for landscape/water/reflections), nd8 filter (for long exp, DOF and synch speed). These things are relatively cheap to get, but very useful and won't take much space in your bag.

Happy shooting.
12-29-2010, 05:27 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply, what's a flash clam?
12-30-2010, 06:00 AM   #4
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I mean 'clamp', search for 'flash clamp' in BHphoto. I have 2 types: spring clamp and 'super/power clamp' which looks like this:
Photek Grip Clamp with Stud for SB84 SB-84GCS B&H Photo Video

Later, you may need light modifiers, more flash units, and... light stands, umbrellas, flash mounts (kit 2 pcs for $100) if you go for portraiture. Light stands won't fit in your bag, and I was reserved to add in the list of missing thing. These equipments, especially off-camera flash, are as addicted as LBA for someone. ;-)


BTW, I saw your thread regarding flash power/cord/hotshoe. Maybe your flash is malfunctioning or maybe it's just not compatible with the pentax body. You should try to find out, for example in manual mode in camera and in flash. There are several way to 'debug', just be systematically. I haven't look through the trouble shooting threads. However it's a good thing to do in order to know your gear.

Happy shooting new year...


Last edited by hoanpham; 12-30-2010 at 06:36 AM.
12-30-2010, 09:18 AM   #5
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How DARE you!!!

12-30-2010, 09:26 AM   #6
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Here is another item to use with remote flash:

Flash Mount/Holder/Br?acket/Stand For Speedlite Flash bei eBay.de: Flash Accessories (endet 20.01.11 07:14:34 MEZ)

El-Very-Cheapo, but useful, even has 1/4" thread on the bottom. Turns out these are the same as supplied with the YN-560.

Last edited by jolepp; 12-30-2010 at 11:09 AM.
12-30-2010, 09:52 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ira Quote
How DARE you!!!
Lol. I know I have the full nikon cleaning kit. Hey if pentax made one id be all over it!
12-30-2010, 10:16 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by hoanpham Quote
I mean 'clamp',
Lol, i hope you didnt think i was trying to be smart, i actually googled "flash clam", thinking it was slang for something, it actually came up a photo clam... which is like a ball head.
Photo Clam Ballheads Review - Video a bit pricy at ~$250

QuoteQuote:
BTW, I saw your thread regarding flash power/cord/hotshoe. Maybe your flash is malfunctioning or maybe it's just not compatible with the pentax body. You should try to find out, for example in manual mode in camera and in flash. There are several way to 'debug', just be systematically. I haven't look through the trouble shooting threads. However it's a good thing to do in order to know your gear.

Happy shooting new year...
Thanks for remembering my other post. Actually after taking some pictures at the Christmas party last night, out of about 100 i would say 5-8 still shot in full flash mode. Even when directly attached to the camera, no sync cord. The strange thing is that they go in spurts, i will shoot like 30 photos, then the next 3 or 4 will come out full flash, then back to being perfect again. Now when i used the sync cord, it was the opposite, there would be 30 horrible shots, followed by 2 ok ones. I actually looked at some reviews for the cord, and everyone seemed to have that problem. But still, the flash should never be doing that right? or is that somewhat normal? I am completely new to DSLR's especially off camera flash units. I dont really know what the norm is...

I mainly shoot in manual mode. (im a glutton for punishment i guess, like how I learned to drive on a manual car) But it seems like when in manual mode, even with a low ISO it still shoots full flash, (you can hear that distinct pop and then charging of it in full mode) But in Auto mode, it will shoot with like a 1600 ISO, when it really only needs a 400 or tops 800.

Im just worried its my camera thats the problem. When the cord was the only thing doing it, i was ok with replacing a $30 cord... but now its doing it directly attached, which either means bad flash, or bad camera hotshoe... The flash is a Bell and Howell z680, which isnt the best, but its still a $100 flash unit...

12-30-2010, 10:50 AM   #9
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Where did you get the small containers for the batteries?
12-30-2010, 10:56 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by rockmaster1964 Quote
Where did you get the small containers for the batteries?
The ones i have,
4 x Hard Plastic Case Holder Storage Box AA AAA Battery - eBay (item 180564056911 end time Jan-18-11 22:38:48 PST)

General search,

aa battery case items - Get great deals on Electronics, Business Industrial items on eBay.com!

They come out to about $.50 a piece depending on how many you get. I would get extra, they seem a little on the cheap, but for that price, buy plenty, store the rest. I think i got like 8 for like $3. Be prepared though, they come from china, it took about a month for mine to get to Maryland...
12-30-2010, 11:01 AM   #11
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Thanks for the info.
12-30-2010, 11:06 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by rockmaster1964 Quote
Thanks for the info.
No problem. Like i said, for less than the price of a perfume coffee you can pick up a dozen if you want, the nice thing is they lock together, (notice the two green ones) so storage is great.
12-30-2010, 11:09 AM   #13
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I don't have z680, but all other with adjustable head/manual zoom/manual power should be usable. My pt04 trigger came with double hotshoe receiver, $15 each, it has only center pin synch. I just wonder if some of the p-ttl pins cause the defect communication with your flash. Try to borrow a regular synch cord (with center pin), and set the flash to manual mode, and retest.

As for simple manual flashes, I rather go for YN560 ($90) or LP160 ($150) or second choice YN460 ($40) or YN460m2 ($50). I do have 3-4 powerful units, but I still need smaller units for fill, effects, and rim lights, or simply setup multiple units to 'overflod' the sunlight with nd8 filter(s). My point is if the z680 may have problem, exchange it for YN560 or 2 x YN460. It's allways flexible to have more than one.
12-31-2010, 12:32 AM   #14
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For the Amazon Basics backpack....

I have a Canon backpack, which is similar to yours. I added two straps with quick release buckles. In addition to acting as compression straps, they provide additional security measure. When out on the street, I close the zippers below the straps, making it more difficult for a thief to open the zippers. In a safe place, I close the zippers just above the straps (as in the photo), allowing me to open one zipper to quickly pull the camera (on top of the bag) out. The strap will keep the front flap from zipping wide open and spill everything .

Also, I make sure never to close the zippers with the zipper tabs on top. Otherwise, with a light tug at the top, the front flap will be fully opened.

If you don't have the straps and the buckles already, they are available from sport stores (e.g. REI) for a few $.


Last edited by SOldBear; 02-08-2011 at 06:00 PM.
12-31-2010, 09:04 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by SOldBear Quote
Also, I make sure never to close the zippers with the zipper tabs on top. Otherwise, with a light tug at the top, the front flap will be fully opened.
Good idea. I never close any backpack zippers on the top. I ride with a bookback on my motorcycle alot and i have seen far too many people loose all their belongings out of their book back due to the zippers either A: catching wind and opening right up, or B: the vibration or bumps causing them to slowly open until everything falls out.

The other thing i may do for the lock situation is to put a little keyring on each zipper, and lock to that. It wont hold anyone off for long, but longer than no lock at all.


PS, What is a good use for the elastic straps on the front? mine have them as well but I cant think of any reason to use them other than to just tighten things up a bit... Is that all they are good for?
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