Which bag for a Mamiya C3 + some more stuff?

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by kraker, Jun 29, 2007.

  1. kraker

    kraker Subscriber

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    Hi all,

    I'm looking for a better bag for my MF gear. The problem of the "digital age" is that most -if not all- info I can find on bags lists how many small digital bodies and lenses you can fit inside. There's no way to know whether the Mamiya brick will fit. Well, if the manufacturer lists some internal sizes, that might give me an idea. Trouble is, all shops have some bags, no shop has all bags, so although I've tried, "just bringing your gear along and trying a bag" doesn't really work. Besides, then you can only choose from what the local shop has in stock, and I may miss a nice bag just because the shop doesn't have it.

    I'm sure APUG is a good place to ask as well...

    So, what I want to take with me is:

    - Mamiya C3,
    - 1 extra lens (or should I say: 2 extra lenses?); maybe another one in the future (the lenses aren't that big, though...),
    - Zero2000 pinhole camera (always nice to bring that as a second camera),
    - "Some stuff" (some filters, some rollfim (5-10 rolls), notebook, ... you know, just "some stuff"),
    - Nice to have: enough space in there to fit a Metz 45 CT1, although I will not take this with me very often.

    I'm not 100% sure whether I'm looking for a backpack or a reporter-style bag. Because of the weight, a backpack might be a better choice, but to have the camera "at the ready", I much prefer a reporter-style bag.

    I was looking at the Packington from Billingham yesterday. Still need to measure the size of my equipment... Seems like a very nice bag, if it's big enough.

    If any of you has some advice, either on backpacks or reporter-style bags, I'd be happy to hear (read) it.

    Open for suggestions!
     
  2. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    This would be a good choice, I use Mamiya TLR gear and Billingham bags, and it can fulfil both functions, if you want to carry it as a backpack you can buy the backpack harness that just clips on at three points.
     
  3. kraker

    kraker Subscriber

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    Really? I didn't have a good look at the Billingham accessories yet, but that certainly sounds interesting! :smile:
     
  4. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    I have almost your precise outfit in a rolling backpack

    I run a c330f, with 65,80, and 180, pentax spot meter, filters, collapsible bounce circle, notes, business cards, release forms, grey card, DOF cards, Filter factors cheat sheet, cable release (i.e the usual camera bag clutter) I also cary a Metz 60 and battery.

    I use a rehabilititated and modified heavy duty nylon rolling school bag type backpack. I have fitted it with internal padding from a recycled 1/2" thick closed blue cell foam sleeping pad.

    The internal space I have divided up with 1/4" foam core board and clear plastic tape. There is room at the top centre for the camera, so with the front unzipped a bit the camera comes out easily. One side of the centre is the 180 lens compartment. The other side of the centre at the top is a continuation of a lower level, and houses the Metz with its head tilted straight up.

    The bottom row of the divided space has four slots , one for the bottom half of the flash (handle part), the battery pack, a 65lens comparmnt, and a spare compartent that usually houses a backup rangefinder camera, and a small 4x5" sample portfolio.

    Between the front padding and the front pockets I slip the collapsed bounce panel, and a bouce card for the flash.

    The outside has a number of pockets, the largest of witch, at topo center holds the spot meter. The pack ahs different straps to suppliment the zippers, through whih I can buckle on my tripod

    It works well for getting out with this heavy camera rig. On smooth surfaces, its collapsing handle pulls up and it is wheeled. Over rough trials the handle stows, and the backpad straps are revealed and to rig is carried. I have added a supplimentary hip belt that stows under, and attaches to a padded flap to spread some of the weight off of my shoulders.


    I used this rig for a 10 day trip to New York City last December, and it worked very well.
     
  5. Lee Shively

    Lee Shively Member

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    I used one of the large Lowepro Nova bags (sorry, don't remember the model number) for my C330 outfit. It easily held two bodies, 55mm, 80mm, 135mm lenses plus filters, adapter rings, hoods, lightmeter and film. The bags are fairly well-made and not very expensive here in the USA. Don't know if they're available in your country, however.
     
  6. RossJarvis

    RossJarvis Member

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    I don't know how big the pin-hole camera is, but I found the Lowepro Mini trekker easily ample for a C220, extra lens, Voigtlander R2 plus two spare lenses, filters, films, flash etc. You just need to play around with the dividers to get your optimum fit. In fact with these types of bag I think you're best to fill the thing with equipment (or styrofoam blocks) to stop anything jiggling about. Currently I carry an RB67 with three backs, flash and extension tube in the same pack. I could get a compact or rangefinder in too. Spare C-series lenses are much easier to pack in than RB ones!.

    I prefer a back-pack for landscapes as it's easy to do long walks with one of these. A shoulder bag is much more tiring and less stable. However the trade-off is that you need to take the back pack off and leave it on the floor to access all the bits. However, if you put a back pack on someone else, It's much easier on your back and legs and can be accessed whilst attached to the back!. If you want constant access to the bag whilst shooting and need it handy, the shoulder style is better.

    I think whichever type of photography majors in your style may be the most influential over choice. If you do wild and isolated landscapes, go for a backpack. Weddings and street photography, go for a shoulder bag.
     
  7. focalintent

    focalintent Member

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    I've been very happy alternating between a domke f-804 super satchel (for when i'm carrying various combinations of 5d & lenses and c220 and lenses and 645 and lenses - i can get two camera bodies and extra lenses in there easily) and the domke f-803 - which is a smaller bag, but i can still get a camera and a couple of lenses in there.

    Now if only the f-804 were just a little bit wider for my new laptop :sad:
     
  8. kraker

    kraker Subscriber

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    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and suggestions so far. You've all given me some ideas; I'll have a look at the suggested bags, on the internet, or -if I can find them- in a real shop.

    As to backpack versus shoulder bag... One of the bags I currently use is a 'normal' backpack ('normal' in the sense that it's not a photobag, no extra padding or anything like that). After giving it all some more thought, I think I would opt for a serious shoulder bag and keep my current backpack (a "Trunk & Co" "Ridesize" by Samsonite, for those interested) as a second option. Or, as Ross noted, use the backpack for the outdoors and the (to-be-purchased) shoulder bag for the city shooting.
     
  9. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    It's amazing what will fit in a Lowepro S&F Rover Light - I use mine for everything from 35mm SLR with five lenses to 5x7" with six lenses and ten film holders. I haven't tried putting my Mamiya C3 with three lenses in it yet, mostly because I know it would fit with room to spare. And what would I use that spare space for? ...
     
  10. TimH

    TimH Member

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    Like Mike, I use a regular (non-photo) backpack for outdoor use. I removed the laptop insert from a large Eastpak backpack and replaced it with a home-made insert for my C330 + three lenses + Metz 40mz. When I go street shooting (without most of the extra "stuff"), I prefer my Domke F2. It's a bit pricey, but very heavy duty. Excellent bag.
     
  11. jovo

    jovo Membership Council Council

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    Wanting a small backpack for my C220 with prism finder, three lenses, spot meter and ancillary stuff for the kit, I bought a Lowepro Micro Trekker 100 not realizing that it was a smaller bag than the 200 which my wife has. (I hadn't even noticed there were 2 numbered models....I just thought a Micro Trekker was a Micro Trekker.. doh!!) At first I was disappointed; I never thought the gear would fit, but after trying a number of different configurations I got it to work. Now I'm really pleased with the thing. It's by far the lightest and easiest to carry of my three outfits (PhotoTrekker for the 4x5, and Mini Trekker for the P67), and everything I need fits very comfortably. When schlepping MF and a 'pod on a hot day up a steep hill, this little array is just terrific.
     
  12. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    Speaking of the Lowepro bags, does anyone use any of the SlingShot bags?
    Especially for a boxy medium format sort of camera?
     
  13. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

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    Funny you should ask: I ordered a SlingShot 100AW and it should arrive later today according to tracking. It sounds ideal for city shooting: we shall see. I actually bought it for my 35mm gear but I'll try my Bronica SQA gear also and see how much of it fits. The 100AW is the smallest of the three sizes so I suspect it will be a tight fit for the MF gear.

    I can fit my SQA gear (camera, 3 lenses, spotmeter, filters, film, cable releases, notebook, etc, etc, etc) into a Lowepro Nova 5 shoulder bag. It's a bit heavy for comfort with that lot in so I prefer my Photo Trekker backpack if I'm going more than a few hundred yards. The SQA gear fits the Trekker with perhaps a 1/3rd space to spare (it normally houses my 5x4 gear) so I suspect a slightly smaller backpack would better address the original question.

    Good luck, Bob.
     
  14. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    Cool, I'd like to hear (read) your opinion of it. I'd like something I could carry in a more balanced way than my shoulder bags. But to me, the backpacks look like they would be cumbersome if you have reason to have the camera in and out of the case. The SlingShot looks like a good compromise.
     
  15. eunkefer

    eunkefer Subscriber

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    www.cambags.com has reviews and specifications on hundreds of camera bags, slant toward SLR/digital but it has pictures sizes etc.
    Regards, Ed
     
  16. kraker

    kraker Subscriber

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    I've found out that it's not that easy to find the right bag... I very much appreciate all the suggestions still coming in, but I notice it's just much more than getting the dimensions right. Just googled for the Nova 5 you suggested, but... I don't like the looks. Too "square", too "boxy" for my liking... :surprised:

    The Photo Tracker... well, that's a real backpack. I would prefer easier access to my gear. In that respect, the slingshot you mentioned looks promising! Keep us posted, if you will... :munch:
     
  17. FrankB

    FrankB Member

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    For comparison, I have a C330S with an 80mm, 55mm and 180mm plus a Westonmaster, a paramender and a Pentax analogue Spotmeter V which all fits neatly into the main compartment of a Lowepro Nova 4 AW. Plenty of space left in the front pocket for other odds and ends, plus side pockets for film, a flap pocket for... ...erm, something or other and a comfy shoulder strap.
     
  18. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    I have found the "Tamrac Model 752 Super Photo Daypack" very comfortable. The shoulder straps keep the pack high on the back. The shoulder straps are padded and there is a cross strap high on the chest to keep the shoulder straps from sliding off. There is a waist strap that keeps the bottom of the pack from bouncing up and down against the lower back. I am able to use the waist strap to transfer the weight to the hips.

    It has plenty of storage space which temps one to throw in even more equipment - like I need the extra weight. There is room for food or other non-photographic supplies.

    I wrap each unused lens in a padded lens wrap with velco strips.

    The upside is that the weight is evenly distributed and my back is not thrown off like a shoulder bag would do with MF equipment.
    The downside is that it is more fuss and bother to take off a pack than a shoulder bag. This solution works for me. YMMV.

    I cannot give you a direct URL.

    Go to tamrac.com
    Select Backpacks
    Select search by "model number, name"
    Look for model "752, Super Photo Daypack"
    That will bring you to the description and photos

    Steve
     
  19. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

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    The SlingShot 100AW arrived. My Eos + two zoom lenses, filters and film etc fit nicely as expected and the bag itself is nice and light. Also as expected, my SQA gear does not fit, but if I were to restrict myself to two lenses (oh, the horror!) and leave some rarely used bits behind, it could be squeezed in.

    The main compartment is around 9.5" wide x 7.25" x 4.25" deep - slightly smaller than claimed on the Lowepro web site, but there is half an inch or so stretch available if one dimension is a bit small. There is room for more than ten rolls of 35mm in the top compartment and there is a front pocket of reasonable size for cable release, spare batteries, notebook etc.

    In operation, it works pretty much as advertised. Worn on the back, it's comfortable (I wore it for about two hours today with the Eos installed) and, with the stabilizing strap, it does not shift about. I was a bit surprised how comfortable it was. I expected it to be much the same as carrying a normal camera bag with the strap diagonally across the chest but it is closer to the comfort of a normal backpack than that. It is right-handed only - in the sense that it is designed to go over the right shoulder only which is generally the dominant/stronger shoulder for right-handed people.

    The straps use the usual type of plastic quick-release buckles. Once the stabilizing strap is released (optional in use and has a built-in pocket to stow it in when not required) the whole pack slides easily around in front of you where you can get at the zippered flap to access the camera. Unzipping it half-way allows access to the camera and unzipping a bit more allows access to the whole compartment to get at other lenses etc. Sliding it on to your lap would work nicely when sitting down on public transport. The rain cover fits well; a far better design than the cover on my Trekker, which is total Pants.

    If I was intending to use one with my MF gear I would definitely look at getting the 200AW version (allegedly 11.8" x 8.7" x 5.9") or 300AW (11.8" x 11.8" x 6.5") but I'm 99% landscape and a tripod with MF so I'll stick with my Nova 5 or Trekker for that (and I suspect the 300AW might be a bit unwieldy at that size).

    Cheers, Bob.
     
  20. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    Very informative, thank you Bob.
     
  21. kraker

    kraker Subscriber

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    200AW it is!

    Thanks for posting all this info.

    As it happens, I had the opportunity to compare the 100, 200 and 300 just this afternoon (actually *before* I read your review), and I decided to go ahead and buy the 200AW. 100 would have been too small for a C3 + more stuff, the 300 just looked too big. The 200 fits: in the main compartment: my C3 with 80 mm, 65mm lens in 180mm case, a Zero2000 pinhole camera, 2 light meters, 2 cable releases, a mini tripod (for the pinhole; far too flimsy for the heavy Mamiya); in the front compartment: notebook, pen, some papers; in the top compartment: about 7 filters and probably between 8 and 10 rolls of film. OR, if I can put my film elsewhere, it will even fit my Bronica RF645 with 65mm, wow, a 3-camera bag :smile:

    So, my quest has ended with a successful purchase. :smile:
    Glad I went for the backpack solution after all... My back and shoulders will thank me later :wink: