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12-12-2009, 08:21 PM   #1
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Location: N Carolina, USA
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Bag Quest - Tenba Shootout Waistpack

Bag quest...

I just received a Tenba Shootout Waistepack along with a few other new LBA/GBA items. This bag is very well made of high-quality materials.
My quest was/is for a bag to work out of when on assignment for the local paper and whoever else may come along in the near future. I want a bag to hold THE zooms (for now), flash, a prime lens or 2 and other related stuff. My next lens for this kit will be the DA* 60-250 and I will need another bag to accommodate it and maybe a helper to carry it too :-)
While I want a bag to carry a substantial amount of gear I also want the thing to be as compact, comfortable and convenient as possible.
I was, and still am, interested and attracted to the new Tenba Messenger bag. It looks like a really nice bag, well designed and big enough, but not too big.
I also looked at Kaita, Crumpler, Lowepro and, of course, Domke. I had settled on either the Tenba Messenger or the Lowepro Stealth Reporter D400.:
Tenba - Messenger: Camera Bag
Lowepro - Stealth Reporter D400 AW
But then I stumbled on the Tenba Shootout Waistpack for much less money than either of the above. I prefer the quick access top of the others, but for $40 less I took a closer look at the waistepack. It's an inch smaller in H and D, but it has a bigger width than the medium Shootout shoulder bag and is $35 cheaper as well. The clincher for me was that when used as a shoulder/sling bag the top of the Shootout Waistpack opens away from the user and allows easy access. From the claimed dimensions I judged it should fit my immediate needs.
What I want/need to carry is:
K20D w/grip & QR plate & DA*16-50 attached;
DA* 50-135;
AF280T flash (or similar);
at least a fast 50;
minimal cleaning supplies, 3 filters, 2 step up rings, extra SD cards, phone, notepad & dig recorder.

The stated dimensions of the Tenba Shootout Waistpack are:
Exterior Dimensions
16.5 x 9.0 x 8.0" (41.91 x 22.86 x 20.32cm) (WxHxD)
Interior Dimensions
12.5 x 8.0 x 7.0" (31.75 x 20.32 x 17.78cm) (WxHxD)

And here's the link to the Tenba page:
Tenba - Shootout: Waistpack

After a couple of weeks of looking and thinking I ordered the DA*50-135 and this bag from B&H.
As far as the claimed dimensions go, I think it's safe to say practically all marketing overstates the actual usable, interior capacity of camera bags. This bag in particular may actually achieve it's stated dimensions with all the padding removed and stretched to it's maximum, but as delivered it's much smaller. When I unpacked it my 1st thought was that no way would it hold this kit. Luckily for me I have been pleasantly surprised.
My 1st priority is to have the camera in a ready position and for it to be easily accessible. To me that means nose down or laying on edge back to front, so the first thing I checked was whether the K20 w/grip and 16-50 would fit pointed down and it wouldn't. I removed all the dividers and saw that the removable bottom padding is almost an inch thick. With that removed the bag has less structure and protection. but the cam w/grip and lens fit nose down. The 50-135 would still not fit upright, so I re-arranged and laid it down. With further squeezing and adjusting I am able to get the rest of the kit packed in and the cam is in the ideal position for me. The bag is definitely maxed and the top is a little difficult to zip (but more than happy to unzip), it still functions very well and when the cam is removed everything else is easily accessed. Surprisingly, the seemingly gimicky "quick access doors" on the ends are very functional and allow access to my lenses even when the cam is inside and the bag is closed. To me this means when I get a 2nd body (K7 w/prime lens over my shoulder) I can easily access the other lenses.
The additional pockets hold the rest of this kit easily. I put a microfiber cloth and small cotton towel and lens pen in the lid's mesh pocket; 77mm and 52mm filters and step-up rings in one end pocket, phone, notepad and dig recorder in the other end pocket and SD cards in the front pocket with room to spare.
I also removed the waist belt and the top handle. I may not need a waist belt at all as this bag settles well against my bod both in carrying position (above the hip) and working position (below the hip).

In the 2nd photo the camera cradle is shown w/o the cam (had to use it for the pics).

In the 3rd photo the 50-135 is on the left and an A35/2 and AF280T are on the right. Also my A50/1.4 fits on top of the 35, but makes for a very tight fit.

Also, the stock lens hoods for the 2 DA* lenses won't fit. I basically always use a lens hood and for quick action prefer a basic rubber hood anyway, so this is not an issue for me.

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In general, I'm happy to say this bag does just what I need it to do very well. It's just about as small as possible, and fairly discreet, and still functional. The price was right, @US$75, and it's very well designed and constructed.


Last edited by StevenVH; 12-12-2009 at 08:30 PM.

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