Carry System for Smaller Cameras
I'm going to be needing to work out a better system for carrying my cameras while I'm out.
Currently, I'm using both a Canonet and an FM2n, the Canonet is just barely pocketable in a jacket, but it's by no means comfortable, or easy to get in and out of that pocket when needed, and the FM2n must simply be carried by hand the entire time. This is a somewhat cumbersome and risky (for dropping) solution for both cameras, so I'm looking to rectify that with straps or bags. I think a bag would be a bit of overkill for a fixed-lens rangefinder, so I was thinking a small, lightweight, narrow strap for it, either some sort of woven material (hemp?) or maybe leather (though I'm not sure how nice that'd be in the heat of summer).
For the FM2n, the jury is still out. I would probably only have the lens that's on it, but it might be nice to have a 3 prime kit on hand...I was thinking a small Domke bag might be perfect for the body and 2 additional lenses, plus film. Not sure what model though, so any experience in that regard would be appreciated also.
I bought an Incognito Mini, with extra divider, so there's three padded compartments. It fits my Zeiss Ikon ZI, two lens kit, light meter, filters, film, etc. The bag is one of the smallest I could find, but still fit my gear. I'm not sure how big your FM2n is but it might fit your needs. They have larger bags as well.
I'm sure you will get a variety of opinions so here is mine. I use MF and LF so weight is a concern but after trying different types of bags and straps I settled on a camera backpack. I suggest getting one that is larger than you think you need since it can also hold rain gear or other stuff. The nice thing about the backpack is that it is easy to carry more weight and both hands are free. if you bend or twist you don't have to worry about a strap sliding off your shoulder. You do have to remove it to get things out though. My photography usually involves having the camera on a tripod so that is no big deal. They usually have adjustable padded compartments so it can be configured as desired. A good one has sturdy, water resistant or waterproof material and high quality zippers. The one I have is from Tamrac and has been in use for seventeen years and remains in excellent condition while having been in rain, dust, heat and cold, in and out of car trunks and overhead airplane bins.
A small padded bag with no frills, attached to your belt.
Originally Posted by AgX
When out in remote areas (hiking, skiing) I often use a Nikon F or F3 with a short 45mm lens (about 1 inch long), which is all similar to a 35-mm rangefinder in size.
I carry it in an Army surplus canteen holder attached to a waist belt. In a backpack I carry the lenses etc. that I think I would need for the day beyond the 45mm.
The challenge is during cold weather (< 10 F) . I have tried keeping it in an inner jacket pocket, but condensation fogged the viewfinder. I use a lithium battery in the F3, and this provides good metering and shutter speeds when exposed to the elements. I guess and bracket more with the F.
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That's exactly what I'm hoping for. Photographers, if nothing else, are an opinionated bunch. While it sometimes leads to ruffled feathers, more often, it leads to a lot of great ideas coming together.
I'm sure you will get a variety of opinions so here is mine.
I used to have one of the Kata backpacks, and I got it for many of the very (really good) reasons you put forward. Unfortunately, that backpack was stolen from my car a few months ago (along with the dSLR & lens inside and another Canonet w/ a pouch), and I'm not really keen on replacing it with another backpack, simply because the inaccessibility made me far less inclined to take off my backpack to get to what I needed, where, when I have easy access, though it may be more cumbersome, I get the shot.
I use MF and LF so weight is a concern but after trying different types of bags and straps I settled on a camera backpack.
While I still need to find a solution for my digital kit, that's a different problem that I'm working out separately (instead of 1 body only, or a body and handful of small primes, theres a big digital body, 3-4 lenses, flash unit, etc.).
Hmm, that's exactly what I'd done with my other canonet (before it was swiped), and while a touch awkward on my belt, it *did* work, and the pouch fit like a glove around a Canonet...maybe I'll just get another of those for this one...
A small padded bag with no frills, attached to your belt.
Thanks for the replies so far, everyone!
Domke F3-X. It's reasonably compact and simple to use, and will hold a camera and a couple of extra lenses plus film and other jetsam. I have more bags and backpacks than I want to admit, but the F3-X is about the best day bag and quick on the draw.
"It’s more important for a photographer to have very good shoes than to have a very good camera."
A good bag or other carrying device is extremely important. I was a press photographer in Manhattan, New York years ago and went places by taxi, bus or shoe leather a lot of the time. A bag that held everything but was as small as possible was very necessary. But you need to find something that works for you, not the next guy. My personal opinion is that a backpack is useless because of the problem of having to take it off to get into it and you've got too much stuff for a belt-carried thingamabob. Get a bag, put the equipment in it, and envision how it would be bettel. More compartments? A bigger front compartment for the Canon? You get the idea.
For smaller kit, I like the sling bags, because they do permit easy accessibility.
“Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”
Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2
Thanks for the advice.
Barry, that F3-X looks just about perfect for what I'm after. I may well go exactly that route.
desertratt, I completely agree with your thoughts on the matter. I'm a fisherman more than a photographer, and I've lost count of how many packs, vests, boxes, etc. I've tried over the years. It's even to the point where I prefer different systems for different fishing situations (large or small fish, streams, big rivers, etc.). With this experience in mind, I'm just hoping to gather as much information as I can, and hope that I have a bit more luck in my search for the perfect system with cameras.
MattKing, I actually use and love a sling bag for fishing...I'll have to explore my options in them...