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Old Dec 6, 2011, 1:21 PM   #1
Mike in Wyoming's Avatar
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Default Camera Bag Recommendations

It has been some time since I posted any questions or photos.
I need to get some recommendations regarding what type of camera bag to purchase.
My wife and I are planning to visit Alaska this summer and photography will be one of my main goals, after fly fishing for salmon!!
It has been suggested to me that I not take my current camera bag and get one of the "backpack" type bags, so that can carry it easier and to store in the overhead storage on the flights.
The bag will need to accomodate the following items:
2-DSLR cameras with lens attached. It was recommended to me by people in Alaska to bring both cameras with different lens attached. Attach my 70-300 to one and my 18-135 to the other and carry them both ready to use.
Then, I will want to carry my 85mm, 17-85mm, 28-200mm, 50mm, 1.4 converter. My first question is should I leave my 17-85 and 28-200 home?
Then, I have a 430 EXII flash unit, 3 battery chargers, lens cleaning kit, remote shutter release, digital cards, various filters, and a point and shoot camera.
I would like to hear any recommendations or helpful hints from folks that have been on trips of this type, especially regarding what type and brand of bags I should be considering.
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Old Dec 6, 2011, 11:43 PM   #2
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One thing I found this past summer when I traveled from Richmond to Atlanta (On an MD88, I am sure you'll be in a much larger plane than I was) is the backpack I bought to hold my camera gear and laptop went under the seat and my rolling suitcase went in the overhead bin.

Yes I would strongly suggest a photo back-pack as it makes getting through a large airport easiler than trying to carry shoulder bag and pull a suitcase or two. When I travel this past summer the backpack went on my back and I pulled a rolling suitcase which was much easier than the previous year when I had a large shoulder bag for my photo gear. Also when I got to Atlanta I had to walk from the most distant gate to the tram and the backpack made the long haul easy. Just make sure whatever you get it well padded and airline carry-on size approved. Also look for one with a waist belt built in.

If it was me traveling to Alaska I would take 1 D-SLR and one compact camera as their will be times when you'll want to travel light or your arms and hands are tied at the end of the day and you'll want a smaller camera. I can't see carrying two D-SLRs around with you at all times, but I could see it if this was a working photo trip to carry a D_SLR as a back-up. Also if it was me I'd leave the 18-135 home and use the 28 -200. I'd actually of all the lenses you listed use the 28-200 as the walk around lens on the camera and use the 50mm for low light stuff and the 70-300 when I went whale watching or animal watching in the state park.

Also you'll need to check TSA.gov for more info but be careful how many rechargeable battery packs you carry, their is a limited as to how many lithium type batteries you can have in your camera bag, although their is no limited on AA batteries. I'd also carry every memory card you have for the camera(s) you take and carry a laptop or memory card hard drive device (such as wolverine flashpack) so you can off load your memory cards should they all fill or back them up as you go. You'll be very surprised how many photos you will end up taking. My father went to Alaska in the early 90s and took 6 rolls of film which for him is overkill and he came back with 22 rolls of film (he bought more along the way).......

For carrying 2 D-SLRs the backpack I have won't be of use to you. The one I have carries 1 D-SLR with lens attached, my flash, small waterproof pocket camera, batteries and memory cards. They is no room left for more lenses or camera bodies and even if I took out the compact camera their is not enough room for other D-SLR body.

My personal gear for such a strip would be a D-SLR body [the Pentax K-5] and lens(es) most likely the 18-250mm and a low light shorter lens for night shots, compact weatherproof camera [olympus SSW1050] with spare battery, at least 40GB of memory cards (or enough for 3,000 shots on your D-SLR at highest settings), 3 batteries for D-SLR (2 in bag, one in camera), 2 chargers -- 1 for each camera, laptop (for e-mail and photo storage if cards fill up), UV and Circle Polizier (?? Spelling) filters, lens cleaning cloth and if I have room left a hot shoe flash.....

check b&hphotovideo's website as they have a good selection of photo back-packs and lots of info on each of them.

Good luck in your preparation for this once in a life time trip and hope you find a bad that holds your gear and feels great on the shoulders and back.

Last edited by Photo 5; Dec 6, 2011 at 11:56 PM.
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Old Dec 7, 2011, 1:02 AM   #3
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Do you want 1 or 2 bags? You ran off allot of gear you are bringing. I am asking if you are going to carry all the gear or are you planning to split the load with your wife.
Super Frequent Flyer, no joke. Ex Patriot and loving it.
Canon Eos 60D, T1i/500D, Eos1, Eos 630, Olympus EPL-1, and a part time Pentax K-X shooter.
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Old Dec 7, 2011, 4:17 AM   #4
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Hi yes get a back pack so much easier to carry. as for lens choice I would take the 17-85 and the 70-300 and thats it covered, not sure if you would need a flash. remembr you have o carry this lot plus fishing gear. Have a good trip
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Old Dec 7, 2011, 11:35 PM   #5
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Default Thanks for your help

Hi Photo 5, shoturtle, and wave 01,
Thanks so much for your feedback and very helpful suggestions.
Based on your suggestions I will only take one DSLR, two lenses (maybe three), digital cards (plenty of them), probably my flash, one extra camera battery, compact camera, lens cleaning kit, charger, and some filters.
Will be using fly fishing equipment provided by the outfitter so that is good!!! Would never get all my fly fishing equipment there!!
Now, all I need to do it find the right back pack!
So, if it all comes together and we make the trip, hopefully I will have some pictures to post.
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Old Dec 8, 2011, 12:19 AM   #6
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Unless this trip is purely for photography I think you're contemplating taking far too much stuff. On a recent city trip I took my 5D & 24-105, a (powerful) flash, six 32gb memory cards, battery grip (which I like to use) containing two batteries, 2 spare camera batteries, 2 sets of batteries for the flash. I thought of taking my 100-400 but it's heavy and I decided that for a city trip I didn't need it. For a country trip I certainly would have taken it. I didn't and wouldn't have taken my ultra-wide lens as it's too specialised for a walk-around trip. Nor did or would I take any primes, except the 50mm f1.8 which is small and light enough to have in case I needed low light performance. I used the flash on just two occasions and should have left it at home.

I also took my G10 and ended up taking five times as many photos on that as I did on the DSLR. For a three week trip around the highlands of Scotland I only took the G10, in its underwater casing as it's rarely not raining there. I don't suppose there were more than 20 shots I really wanted a DSLR for, so I judged well. Another factor was that I was staying in hostels and the like and I knew that for many mountains I wouldn't want to carry a DSLR or if I took it wouldn't want to use it in the rain, and I didn't want to have to leave it where it might get stolen. I never went anywhere without the G10.

I have several bags, but the bag I took on the city trip was a Vidpro soft backpack. Ample protection against gentle knocks and virtually zero against hard ones, but it was light to fly with and carry & compact in use. I have an armoured backpack that I rarely use because it's so heavy and bulky.

I took a lens cleaning kit which I used, and a sensor cleaning kit which I didn't (I've mastered the art of changing lenses without getting loads of crud blown into the camera). I didn't take a tripod though on occasion one might have been useful; I don't own a monopod but will get one for next time - probably one that converts from a walking pole.
Canon 5D & 7D (both gripped), 24-105L, 100-400L, EF-S 15-85, 50 f1.8, Tamron 28-75, Sigma 12-24, G10, A1+10 FD lenses, tripods, lights etc
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