As I occasionally do on my days off, I took the train into Manhattan last week to photograph and in between the chaos that oftentimes characterizes commuting via subway into an overcrowded city, I realized how much sense it would make to own more than one camera bag.
The perfect camera bag for particular situations is just as important as the gear you have interest in taking with you. There’s literally hundreds of bags to choose from in the market and I’ve been wanting a simple on-the-go shooter bag that allows me to carry a D90-size camera with at least 2 additional lenses and some personal stuff. The 50mm is my default and primary lens but I don’t want to give up the option of having the 18-105mm or the 85mm readily available for when I need it.
I’m a self-proclaimed bag whore. I love a new computer or camera bag as much as I love a new pen especially one with excellent functionality and design. For more than 3 years, the Kata DR-465 bag has traveled with me everywhere but as snugly as it fits across my back, carrying it is not always seamless enough to eliminate the feeling that you’re lugging around a bag as if you’re going on an expedition.
For what I’m anticipating from a new bag, a sling-type style fits perfect. As an early Christmas gift, my wife gave me the Tribeca dSLR Sling from Cocoon Innovations. It retails for $100 but they were having an online special of it for $49.
It’s very well designed, it’s uniquely constructed and well padded. It holds a dSLR with lens attached (it fits in with the 18-105mm kit lens but nothing bigger) and has room for 2 more extra lenses just like I wanted. The company is known for introducing a very versatile organization system they call GRID-IT. It’s a rubberized pad that’s ideal for organizing camera accessories or to hold any item that requires to be kept in a firm place. So far, I’ve only carried an extra SD-card, a cloth and a lens cleanser spray in there.
After using it for 3 weeks, the sling capability has become invaluable at this point. Through reviews, some sling-bag owners have commented that these type of bags can be less comfortable than a backpack during extended use but I haven’t found that to be the case at all.
I’m more thrilled in being able to extract my camera without having to take off the bag to access anything. I’ve realized I put away my camera more rather than having it around my shoulder all the time because it’s now easier to get to. It’s a nice departure from a traditional camera bag.
Aesthetically the bag is weird looking. In fact, it resembles very much a “cocoon” strapped across your back but what’s significant about it is that it’s comfortable and most importantly it’s inconspicuous to a point where you don’t have to feel uneasy about people catching on that you’re carrying around expensive gear inside. The bag is ideal for days when I want to feel like a tourist in my own city and focus just on working with my camera and nothing else logistics related.
The sling-bag is not a complete replacement for the Kata but more of a companion to it. The whole concept of owning more than one camera bag is similar to the ownership of several belts. You don’t wear them all at the same time but you have the option to wearing a brown or black one for when you need them.