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Wow! This Cooper Slim is a Great Bag!

Wow! This Cooper Slim is a Great Bag!

I know. I know! I've only had the darn thing a few days and have only taken it out packed for two days, so how can I make such a claim with so little time with it? Well, because it's a great bag! Seriously, though, if you're a photographer with a bag problem like me, you can tell pretty quickly if a bag is going work, to really fit 'most' of your needs (no bag can meet 'all' of one's needs) or is just going to be okay.

Yet Another Bag! The Tenba Cooper Slim 13

Yet Another Bag! The Tenba Cooper Slim 13

Yes, you read that correctly. Alas, I caved yet again. I've wanted this bag for a long time but didn't order it for two reasons: price (retail: $230!) and uncertainty about whether it was big enough. Well, as I often do, I did a search to check the bag out again and found it on Amazon for $175 new.

Germany: My Image Storage Solutions on the Road

Germany: My Image Storage Solutions on the Road

When I go on a trip for two weeks that involves sightseeing and exploring new areas, I typically shoot 1,600 images or more. I used to use only 4GB memory cards but then began switching to 8GB cards. I subscribe to the "don't put all of your eggs in one basket" philosophy and have always preferred the smaller cards.

Holding Up Your Camera - Camera Support Systems I Use

Holding Up Your Camera - Camera Support Systems I Use

Over the years I have tried a lot of ways to hold my camera stable. Only recently have I invested in sturdy tripods that cost more than I ever thought I'd pay but are are still inexpensive compared to what many photographers use. I opted, instead, for the lighter, less expensive alternatives. And, for as much as I used them, that was okay. I've tried monopods and gone through two or more of them. I've gotten and used various GorillaPod tripods, too. I still carry around with me a little tripod my brother-in-law gave me some thirty years ago. Add to these a variety of other things to hold my camera upright and I have quite a collection of tripod-like devices.

Out of Chicago: Reflections on Carrying One's "Stuff"

Out of Chicago: Reflections on Carrying One's "Stuff"

I spent this past Friday through Sunday at a photography conference plus a day to get there and yesterday to get home. The Out of Chicago (URL) conference is a wonderful opportunity to learn about photographic techniques and practice them. The latter, perhaps, is what sets this conference apart. Not only do you have the opportunity to learn more about photography-related things in which you're interested, but you also can choose to go out shooting...

Using the Olympus BCL on the Panasonic GM-5

Panasonic GM-5 with body cap lens attached.
Panasonic GM-5 with body cap lens attached.

The Panasonic GM-5 camera is already small, but I thought how great to use my Olympus 15mm, f/8 body cap lens (BCL) on it! So, to test my theory out, I removed the 12-32mm and attached the BCL. When I pressed the shutter button, the camera displayed the message, “Lens not found, or shoot w/o lens in Custom menu is set to off.” Hmmmm? A bit confusing, especially when I went to the ‘Wrench’ custom menu and this feature was set to “Off!”

Thin BCL
Thin BCL

However, in an experimental frame of mind, I switched it to “On” and the BCLworked fine. So all is good and the Panasonic GM-5 with this lens that is, in fact, like a camera body cap works fine. And, attaching this tiny lens to this tiny camera does, indeed, make a tiny package that will slide easily into almost any pocket!

If you would be interested in virtual tutoring sessions using either Skype or Google Hangouts, please drop me and e-mail or leave a private message to me on Facebook or Google+.

Please leave me questions or comments on my Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/billbooz) or on Google+ (http://plus.google.com/+BillBooz). I look forward to interacting with you!

Custom Menu
Custom Menu

Please follow my Photography Learning Center videos on my YouTube Channel!

Check out my free eBook on Mastering Your Camera's Priority Modes: http://www.infotor.com/ebooks. Download and enjoy!

Custom Menu
Custom Menu

I am available to do one-on-one tutoring or small group lessons designed to meet YOUR needs and what you want to learn in the area of photography, using flashes, or the use of Apple products and software. Give yourself the gift of learning: http://www.infotor.com/photoclasses! And check out my tutoring bundle: http://www.infotor.com/photoclasses/tutoringbundle.php as well. A PDF of my brochure is at http://www.infotor.com/photoclasses/brochures/WHBI_2015-16Brochure.pdf.

My Ideal Camera Bag

My recent bag experience on our cross country (plane) trip to Seattle, Washington, has made me think seriously about what my ideal camera bag would look like. On this trip, as I described in detail in my post on Sunday, I transported all the gear I thought I would need in my new Think Tank Retrospective 30 bag. While in Seattle, I offloaded most of that gear to my Lowepro Passport Sling (which I'd packed in my checked bag) and left it in our hotel room. Expandable front pockets on my Think Tank Retrospective 30. How about ones on the ends too?

Though my main camera, an Olympus OM-D E-M1 with the 12-40mm lens, and my smaller E-PL6 with a 25mm lens would fit in the bag, I usually carried the E-M1 on a sling strap and the E-PL6 in a large coat pocket. This meant I could slim the Retrospective 30 down some. To accomplish this in warmer weather when I'm not wearing a coat with big pockets, I guess I'd either have to use a second strap for the E-PL6 or keep it in the bag. Both are viable options.

So, my ideal camera bag would be flexible. It would be big enough to comfortably hold everything I want to take on a trip yet small enough to be taken on a plane as a carry on. Then, it would collapse to serve as a day bag, holding just what I need when sightseeing. I guess the closest I've gotten to this is using my old, soft material Eagle Creek shoulder bag by packing it in my checked bag (though, now, I could probably roll it up and fit it into the Retrospective 30!) and using it as my day bag. The fact that the two front pockets of my Retrospective 30 are so large that they can, actually, each hold a full sized camera body with no lens yet, then, be flatten so they reduce the bag's profile size significantly gave me the idea for a "convertible bag."

A sketch of what I am describing with expandable pockets on both ends as well as in front.

Why couldn't the bag be shorter in length from end to end and each end have similarly expandable pockets with covers that hold them flat to the bag when the pockets are empty and compressed. Likewise, the bag's width front to back could be expandable as it is on my little Lowepro Slingshot 250. When you don't need the width, you zip up the expansion material to make the bag slimmer, more narrow.

As I envision this bag, I'm betting it already exists. Because it seems so logical, I can't believe I'm the first to have the idea. Additionally, I would like the bag to be under $200 (US) in cost. So, if you know of a bag that fits the specs I describe, give me a shout!

I found one bag that is somewhat expandable and also compressable and but a bit larger than my Retrospective 30:

Here’s an interesting concept for a suitcase/garment bag - could something along these lines work for a camera bag? Let me know what you think in comments on Facebook or Google+ - I look forward to reading your ideas.

If you would be interested in virtual tutoring sessions using either Skype or Google Hangouts, please drop me and e-mail or leave a private message to me on Facebook or Google+.

Please leave me questions or comments on my Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/billbooz) or on Google+ (http://plus.google.com/+BillBooz). I look forward to interacting with you!

Please follow my Photography Learning Center videos on my YouTube Channel!

Check out my free eBook on Mastering Your Camera's Priority Modes: http://www.infotor.com/ebooks. Download and enjoy!

I am available to do one-on-one tutoring or small group lessons designed to meet YOUR needs and what you want to learn in the area of photography, using flashes, or the use of Apple products and software. Give yourself the gift of learning: http://www.infotor.com/photoclasses! And check out my tutoring bundle: http://www.infotor.com/photoclasses/tutoringbundle.php as well. A PDF of my brochure is at http://www.infotor.com/photoclasses/brochures/WHBI_2015-16Brochure.pdf.

Still Looking for the Right Camera Bag!

Retrospective 30 Bag
Retrospective 30 Bag

Finding just the right camera bag is a never ending quest for most photographers. I have tried many different bags: backpacks, tactical gear bags, sling bags, messenger bags, shoulder bags, repurposed computer bags, even a couple "man" purses. (http://www.infotor.com/blog/tag/bags/) There is always something that makes the bag fall short. This becomes for me especially problematic when I'm going on a 10-14 day trip and flying. I want all of my camera gear with me on the plane and I want the other things I like to have on my person such as an iPad, iPhone, a book, water bottle, and other miscellaneous personal items. One bag didn't do it!

Vanquish and Eagle Creek Bags
Vanquish and Eagle Creek Bags

I usually end up taking a larger bag and a smaller, purse-like bag on these occasions. Recently, I have been on a quest to find one bag that will serve me when traveling but also for when I am at home. My Lowepro Passport Sling almost filled the bill, but I still had to hang some things on outside of it. So, I began looking again. I had a chance to hold and see the Peak Design Everyday Messenger bag that is so popular, but I felt it was too big. An alternative, the Tenba Cooper Slim 13, looked as though it might be a better choice, though it is almost the same price as the Everyday Messenger. Then someone suggested the Think Tank Retrospective 30 to me.

My small, expandable Vanquest pouch fits nicely on strap at either end of the bag.
My small, expandable Vanquest pouch fits nicely on strap at either end of the bag.

Having no place close that carries any of these bags, I decided to order the Retrospective 30 and try it myself with the idea that I would return it if it didn't seem to be the right choice and then do the same with the Tenba Cooper Slim 13. Yesterday the bag arrived so I made the video embedded below in this article to show how I am thinking about using a new bag to replace my Passport Sling.

I had been warned that the Retrospective 30 is much “thicker” (“wider?”) than the Cooper Slim 13, so I was somewhat prepared for what I took out of the box. I ordered the bag in the Blue Slate color because it was $80 compared to its “cousins) in Pinestone and Black at $195! Guess the Blue Slate color has not been so popular so they are clearing inventory. Otherwise, the bags are all alike. As I began figuring out how I would pack it, I did find it to be a very roomy bag. I think it will hold everything I want to carry. For one, I am able to get my little Nissin i40 flash in comfortably and things that I had hanging off the Passport Sling are now in this bag. I use a “small bag distribution system” () to organize all my cables, batteries, memory cards, and other miscellaneous things one must carry in this electronic and digital age, so I just stuffed in my four little Eagle Creek bags without reassessing what is in them.

Lots of dividers. Lots of space. Two front pockets are huge!
Lots of dividers. Lots of space. Two front pockets are huge!

I have to revisit that and can, perhaps eliminate one of those bags. That will make space for my Tascam DR-40 voice recorder, a proper audio recorder instead of my little Olympus number. Since I am now hoping to do more video on trips, I want to be able to carry my “L” bracket for holding iPhone and the Rode VideoMicro microphone, as well as, naturally, the microphone itself.

End result? Well, when packed as I have it, it is much bigger than I thought I wanted. However, it does hold the gear I feel I want to have with me when traveling, so it wins points there. Will I keep it? Yes, I think I will. Through this exercise, I have come to realize that, yes, I can get one bag that will work as my traveling bag, my point A to point B bag, to get all of my gear safely to my destination. However, any bag that will let me do that is going to be too big for everyday use in most cases.

Pockets on either side of the bag are tight, but I am able slide a lie of my MeFoto DayTrip tripod in it and secure tripod with a bungee cord.
Pockets on either side of the bag are tight, but I am able slide a lie of my MeFoto DayTrip tripod in it and secure tripod with a bungee cord.

Now, if your “kit” is limited, you can get away with a bag of the Passport Sling or Cooper Slim 13 variety and it will serve double duty. I’m not that guy. I have a lot of “toys” and I want to have most of them with me “just in case” when I am on a once in a lifetime trip. So, I will flatten my Lowepro Passport Sling bag and pack it in my checked luggage. That will, then be the bag I use every day when on a trip.

If you would be interested in virtual tutoring sessions using either Skype or Google Hangouts, please drop me and e-mail or leave a private message to me on Facebook or Google+.

Please leave me questions or comments on my Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/billbooz) or on Google+ (http://plus.google.com/+BillBooz). I look forward to interacting with you!

Please follow my Photography Learning Center videos on my YouTube Channel!

Check out my free eBook on Mastering Your Camera's Priority Modes: http://www.infotor.com/ebooks. Download and enjoy!

I am available to do one-on-one tutoring or small group lessons designed to meet YOUR needs and what you want to learn in the area of photography, using flashes, or the use of Apple products and software. Give yourself the gift of learning: http://www.infotor.com/photoclasses! And check out my tutoring bundle: http://www.infotor.com/photoclasses/tutoringbundle.php as well. A PDF of my brochure is at http://www.infotor.com/photoclasses/brochures/WHBI_2015-16Brochure.pdf.