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THE best photography carrying system?


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  • #1272672
    Ismail Faruqi
    Member

    @ismailfaruqi

    Hi,

    I tried to search thread above but didnt find it… so lets talk about your photog carrying system and share your bag/pack/lumbar/etc combination… satisfied or not!

    0) What is your photography interest while backpacking? (travel, people, landscape, macro, anything, etc)
    1) What is your current backpacking photography kit? (cameras, lenses, tripods, ballheads, filters, etc)
    2) What is your carrying setup? (photography bag? hiking bag? Aarn frontpack? lumbar pack? DIY? mention it all… photos are welcome of course!)
    3) Are you satisfied? What do you plan to improve?

    #1727855
    Ismail Faruqi
    Member

    @ismailfaruqi

    Let me start.

    0) Landscape, macro
    1) Olympus E-PL1 (334gr) x2, Panasonic 7-14mm (300 gr), Olympus M.ZD 40-150mm (190gr), Horusbennu 988x Tripod (800gr), Arca Swiss Monoball P0 (300 gr), QR Plate (100 gr)
    2) Camera 1: Small top loading pack, attached to hipbelt, Camera 2: let wife lugs it
    3) No! (that's why this thread was created :D). What is the best way to carry them all? I don't know where to improve, please advise!

    #1727861
    Bob Gross
    BPL Member

    @b-g-2-2

    Locale: Silicon Valley

    I suspect that the average backpacker here carries a compact digital camera to shoot the standard "I was here" shots at scenic places. Just about any compact digital camera can do that, and it can be transported in a very simple padded case.

    Some of us are a little more into photography, so a full size DSLR body is called for. I've spent years combing the Sierra Nevada trails in search of wildflowers and all that. However, now my targets are wildlife in general, and mammals in particular, so a long lens is called for. Not only do I have to carry the long lens, but it has to be mounted and ready for action with only a couple of seconds of warning. So, I carry a LowePro T1ZAW case with the DSLR body and 100-400mm lens mounted, switched on, continuous firing. That has done the bulk of the work for me. Then for the occasional wildflower or scenic panorama, I carry a short 18-200mm lens in that case, so I can put it on when necessary, and it has a polarizer. Additionally, I have a flimsy 17-ounce tripod about 50 inches tall, so that serves to support the camera for the "I was there" shot, although those are few and far between. Only one huge compact flash memory card, the battery, and one spare battery for a week. That case gets carried over my neck and around one shoulder so that it does not block my view of my feet on the trail. I think that adds up to 10.56 pounds, give or take a few grams, but who is counting?

    I've arrived at this rig from lots of trail miles, broken cameras and frozen cameras.

    The serious photo gear stays locked in the car trunk, and it is booby-trapped with a bear spray dispenser.

    –B.G.–

    #1727863
    Fred eric
    BPL Member

    @fre49

    Locale: France, vallée de la Loire

    1- lightest : LX3
    when the landscape wont be that great and/or if hiking with friends way fitter than me.

    2- m4/3 : EP2( could be improved by buying an EPL2 but ill wait next generation at the very least ) and m4/3 14-150
    not a photo oriented hike, but i want to be able to take decents shot, but in low light i can forget about photographying my 4 year old son.

    3- m4/3 : EP2 + 20 mm 1.7
    i love this combo and used it 95% of the time for 6 months.
    great results and surprisingly you dont feel that restricted by the fixed focal.
    only problem is my son starts to recent being photographied from that close , and i have better results, when he isnt aware of the camera so 2)

    4 – m4/3 : EP2 + m4/3 14-150 + 20mm 1.7 just started using that combo , when i do i usualy have the 14-150 on camera and switch to 20 mm when needed , and not the other way.

    5 – m4/3 : EP2 , 14-150, 20mm 1.7 + benro c068 + arcaswiss p0
    that is for a photo oriented trip , day hike , i never yet carried this tripod on a multiday hike.

    bags :
    when hiking an OMM chest pouch, trimmed down
    when visiting cities : a maxped remora ( err BPL isnt surely the place to confess using that lol…)

    When i expect to do some low light photos i add an ultrapod ( about 40g from memory )

    edit :
    Bob I just looked at your website, wow !!!

    #1727864
    Ismail Faruqi
    Member

    @ismailfaruqi

    Thanks Bob… 100-400mm is indispensable for wildlife indeed… I bet the pictures taken with it are worth of every ounces you carry… but don't your neck get hurt carrying that way?

    #1727865
    Ismail Faruqi
    Member

    @ismailfaruqi

    don't forget to mention your bag! :)

    #1727869
    Bob Gross
    BPL Member

    @b-g-2-2

    Locale: Silicon Valley

    For wildlife, the 100-400mm lens is my short lens. The big one occupies its own backpack.

    I've gotten rather used to that camera load. It just causes me to keep the rest of my conventional load as light as is reasonable. For one trip this summer, I plan to have about 11 pounds of base load, about 11 pounds of food and consumables, and 10.56 pounds of camera gear. When the whole mission is photographic, that weight is warranted.

    –B.G.–

    #1727875
    James Marco
    BPL Member

    @jamesdmarco

    Locale: Finger Lakes

    Well, I wish I could say. I cannot bring every thing that is kicking around. Soo, things get sort of short suited to what I can carry. Mostly, I wrap lenses in a 1/2" neoprene foam, then duct tape around them. More what the wife is into.

    0) Mostly Animals, birds and scenery…some macro shots.
    1) I have a few camera's. For hiking I bring a couple Pentax DSLRs when I am out for good shots. For quick on the fly shots, I use a CoolPix and/or an Olympus. These are pretty water resistant. I have an extra lens for the CoolPix but it is not that great, so, I do not often bring it. It sort'a depends on if I will be canoing. Generally I shoot in raw mode and sort it out later when I get back. It takes a couple, three days of sorting, cropping, touching up for each day of shooting. A couple cards, 3-2G, 1-4G is about all I ever bring. I have never had one go bad, but one of the 2G cards is a spare. Weight is a problem. It weighs about 14 pounds when I go hiking for pictures. Trouble is, I remember most shots fairly well, but a very few are better than what I see. Often, I use a Manfroto tripod and ball head with a line/weight bag, remote trigger, 80-300zoom, 2x extender, some smaller lenses, and the all important polorizer…about all I can carry. It gets a bit hairy at much beyond 400x with the zoom, so, I need the good tripod.
    2) Delicate stuff is all foam/duct tape wrapped. The tripod generally slings over my pack. I also have a front pouch(backwards fanny pack) that opens backwards…makes a nice tray for changing lenses, holding covers, etc. I forget who makes it. I generally use the old Trek for this. The pads make for good cushions and the volume is quite large for a 2lb pack.
    3) No improvements planned. The old Yashica used to go, but later I converted to digital, then upgraded. Now my stuff is 4-5 years old. I will keep this as is replacing what is needed. Often on macro shots, I miss the fill light, so, I was thinking I might bring a well crinkled space blanket to try that.

    #1727896
    carl becker
    Member

    @carlbecker

    Locale: Northern Virginia

    0) Landscape in great light.
    1) Nikon D700 with what ever lens I take, 17mm to 400mm, primes or zooms. Tripod is a Gitzo GT 921 chopped ext with ballhead at 20 ounces. Short but stiff and light for long exposures. CP and GND filters. Maybe 5-6 pounds total.
    2)I have done what Bob does over the neck and shoulder. I now have a Aarn Marathon Magic 33 with one ft pocket diveder removed. I can fit the D700 and a couple of primes in the pocket.
    3) Until I find something better this is it. I have tried smaller P&S and DSLR cameras and thought about MF rangefinders but so far I stick with what I have. I plan to be in Yosemite late this Aug. Not prime photo time but family vacation. I will get to spend some time for a 4 day hike probably taking a 24mm and 35mm prime with the D700. Maybe just a 28-75mm zoom when with the family. I tend to make images early then hike, setup camp and wait for evening image making.

    #1727916
    T kawa
    Member

    @kitsune

    1. landscapes and anything (although the "anything" part doesn't consist of much, got a pic of squirel with it's head ripped off and entrails pulled out last time..=)

    2. Samsung NX-10, 30mm, has replaced my pentax km, 21mm, and 43mm.

    3. lenscoat neoprene sleeve, with the camera strap. anything more adds too much weight for the protection. If I'm scrambling, or climbing awkard terrain I'll put it in the pack wrapped in my shell.

    4. IQ seems better than the KM, neither of which are up to par with my GF's new K-r, but the small size and low wieght make is joyful to hike with. Would like a wide angle and a longer lens, but I don't want to carry them, so…. fairly satisfied with the comprimises.

    #1727925
    Sarah Kirkconnell
    BPL Member

    @sarbar

    Locale: Homesteading On An Island In The PNW

    My husband carries a pretty big DSLR setup and he wears a Cotton Carrier rig. http://www.cottoncarrier.com/

    #1727930
    Daniel Fosse
    Member

    @magillagorilla

    Locale: Southwest Ohio

    I'm very interested in the OPs original question. How to pack and or carry my DSLR. I finally got a new camera so I am comfortable bringing my old DSLR on the trail. I'll be taking an 18-55mm and a 55-300mm lens.

    I was thinking about just wraping it up in my down bag. My initial thought was to get to my camp site unload then go day hiking with camera in hand. But this packing method makes it hard to get the camera out while walking with my full kit.

    Bulk is my main concern. I like to use a small pack if possible. I feel I can be carefull enough not to bang the camera up, droping my pack ect…, so all the padding I need is to keep the camera gear safe from banging against other gear in my bag.

    Furthermore, I was thinking about packing my hard materials like my pot on the outside of my pack. The camera in the pack would have nothing but fabric gear and food to knock against.

    Maybe neoprene tubes for the lenses? Anyone make these. I guess they would be easy to make.

    #1727943
    Rakesh Malik
    Member

    @tamerlin

    Locale: Cascadia

    Main specialties: Landscapes, macros

    1) Kit:
    Arca-Swiss F-Field monorail
    80mm Scheider-Kreuznach Super-Symmar XL
    135mm Rodenstock Sironar-S
    300mm Fujinon-C
    Gitzo Series 3 Systematic tripod (carbon fiber)
    Arca-Swiss monoball P0
    Black Jacket dark cloth
    Sekonic L-558R light meter
    Ebony loupe
    Lee filter holder system
    B+W 195mm Kaesman linear polarizer
    Lee ND grad set
    1 Schneider glass ND grad
    4 cut-sheet film holders
    film changing bag
    spare film boxes, extra film
    Sony Nex-5 digital camera
    Sony e-mount 16mm f/2.8 pancake lens
    Sony e-mount 18-200mm superzoom

    2) I have a very large custom-made McHale SuperSARC 2 (I think) in Dyneema. The 4×5 rides in the top compartment, the Nex rides in either a Simblissity unSlackPack attached to a shoulder strap (works fine with the 16mm lens), or around my shoulder and neck if I have the more versatile superzoom mounted

    3) Mostly.
    The dark cloth is too heavy (18 oz), so I'm planning on replacing that, probably with an Ebony all-weather dark cloth (which is about 3 oz, made of rubberized silk) once I figure out a way to attach the clip to the Arca's front standard. The Gitzo Series 3 Systematic tripod is huge; I'm planning on saving some bux so that I can purchase a Series 1 Mountaineer 4-section 'pod (also in carbon fiber), which will make for a MUCH more compact tripod while also saving around 2 pounds.

    I carry the lenses in a Gnass Gear lens pouch which is only lightly padded, so it's not adding much weight. Fortunately, LF lense aren't very big, and I don't carry my Nikkor T*ED 720/500mm lens with me anymore, at least not on longer trips, even though I sometimes miss the extra magnification.

    The McHale packs carries phenomenally, as one would expect for a custom-made Dyneema pack. It's not designed as a photography pack obviously, but I took my gear with me to Dan's shop and got his help figuring out how to optimize the pack. The two compartment approach works out very nicely; the camera gear sits along the back, so it rides close to me, and I usually stuff my shelter atop the camera stuff (so the camera gear rides between my back and the shelter), since the shelters I use now (thanks to info gleaned on this forum) are so compact and light.

    #1727945
    Rakesh Malik
    Member

    @tamerlin

    Locale: Cascadia

    > Maybe neoprene tubes for the lenses? Anyone make these. I guess they would be easy to make.

    http://www.LensCoat.com

    #1727948
    James Marco
    BPL Member

    @jamesdmarco

    Locale: Finger Lakes

    "Maybe neoprene tubes for the lenses? Anyone make these. I guess they would be easy to make."

    Yeah, but that is a bit thin. The stuff that GG sells for the NightLite pads, "Closed cell cross-linked EVA polyolefin foam" according to their web site, is a bit thicker. I took some pieces from a pad roled it around each piece of gear, body, and, lenses. Then duct taped around them. Caps were just cut to fit and stuffed in. A bit heavy, but better'n destroying a $400 lens on a stumble step. Fairly water tight is what you are shooting for, as well as shock resistant. Take a good gallon ziplock to slip them in. Then a medium sized dry-bag. The dry bag I blow up, to insure that it has some positive air pressure…it wants to expell water, not suck it in. A bit of a compromise between shock and water. Always fighting both with a camera… I usually have a pair of these on a picture taking trip. Just in case one gets broken…tears don't count as water…

    #1727958
    nanook ofthenorth
    BPL Member

    @nanookofthenorth

    I really like a Chest harness, fits a D200, pro lenses and its totally accessible on the trail. The LowePro even has a rain cover

    #1727960
    Daniel Fosse
    Member

    @magillagorilla

    Locale: Southwest Ohio

    For me, the ziplock will be good enough for dryness. None of the creeks in my area are any deeper than knee high and I haven't taken a dunk yet. Plus you'd be supprised at how tolerant some DSLR equipment can be to moisture.

    I was out all day shooting in the rain last Saturday with my Nikon d7000 and Tameron 18-200. The camera got pretty wet, I was worried when the lense fogged up on the inside. This is not something I normally do but it was situational. I'm happy to report that both the camera and lense are in fine working order after drying out.

    I think on an extended trip a dry bag is a fine idea. For a weekender (like I do mostly) a ziplock will work.

    I like the GG foam idea. I need a new sleeping pad anyway, maybe I'll get 2 and cut one up for the purpose.

    #1727965
    carl becker
    Member

    @carlbecker

    Locale: Northern Virginia

    I use thick socks as a pouch to put my lenses in. I can cut a sock in two for two small primes, anything from 20mm to 105mm fits nicely. Plastic bag works for water proofing if needed.

    #1728019
    Ultra Magnus
    Member

    @ultra_magnus

    That cotton carrier looks like a pretty nice product. I'll have to look into that, as I've been trying to figure out the best way to carry my full size, gripped, dslr on hikes.

    Thanks for posting it…

    BM

    #1728061
    Sarah Kirkconnell
    BPL Member

    @sarbar

    Locale: Homesteading On An Island In The PNW

    Yltra…it is VERY nice. It is the only rig my husband has found so far that he really likes using. And it makes getting on-the-fly shots so easy – and more so no flopping camera or long lens shifting.

    #1728064
    Ultra Magnus
    Member

    @ultra_magnus

    Right now I either stuff it in the pack, and miss out on many shots, or cope with the flopping camera. I've looked at chest camera bags, that would offer some more protection over the cotton carrier system, but still, more effort deploying the camera, and more weight and bulk.

    BM

    #1728102
    Sarah Kirkconnell
    BPL Member

    @sarbar

    Locale: Homesteading On An Island In The PNW

    That is exactly what it came down to for my husband.He was missing random shots as he had to stop, get out, shoot, put back, etc. Now it is grab and shoot. He takes so many more photos now. It isn't prefect but for good weather it is near perfect.

    #1728103
    clay stewart
    Member

    @reluctantwaterhauler

    I use a lightly padded fanny pack, that has a shoulder strap, which I hook with a carabiner into my packs haul loop, which takes most of the weight off my waist. Making the switch from full frame, to a GH1 and now a GH2 and a couple of primes, keeps me well under two pounds, as long as I don't take my little one pound Slik tripod. I don't like the fanny pack system that much, but it seems to be the best I can come up with so far. Galen Rowell used to use a chest pack, but I can't seem to find one that doesn't look terribly uncomfortable.

    Sometimes I just go out with a point and shoot, which is the lightest solution and seems to work fine, specially for web based stuff, which really seems to be all I do anymore anyway.

    #1728109
    Rakesh Malik
    Member

    @tamerlin

    Locale: Cascadia

    It might not be too difficult to rig up a system using webbing straps or something similar to hang a camera off the shoulder straps of whatever backpack you're using. If you use something elastic like shock cord, it might be possible to keep it secure so that it doesn't flop around while hiking, yet without requiring any extra steps to raise the camera and shoot with it.

    Hm… I should look into this :)

    #1728122
    Steve B
    BPL Member

    @geokite

    Locale: Southern California

    0) Time Lapse (clouds, water flow changes, shadows, etc)

    1) Canon SD600 running CHDK, MYOG remote extended battery, 2.6oz ballhead, 9.1oz waterproof case, 1/4" screw installed into top of trekking pole for tripod (support with guylines)

    2) Camera in z-pack shoulder strap pocket. Everything else in the pack.

    3) Yes, remote extended battery allows me to shoot over 12 hours continuous. Tripod is adjustable the range of the trekking pole. Ballhead and trekking pole can function like a stick-pic. Waterproof case has hole drilled in bottom for extended battery cable, so as long as I protect the battery from rain, I can shoot time lapse during thunderstorms. Waterproof case has four attachment points for more guylines so I can hold the camera/tripod from twisting in the wind (can do this with one stake). I also have a MYOG reflective mylar cover for the clear waterproof case, so the greenhouse effect doesn't bake my camera in the sun. Remote extended battery can be put inside a sock, with a handwarmer, so cold temperatures don't effect the system.

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