I then took out two Peak Design Everyday Messenger bags out into the light to find that they, too, are infected with mould.
None of the Think Tank Photo, MindShift Gear, Cosyspeed, and F-Stop Gear bags and backpacks appear to have been infected with mould.
For safety’s sake I had no choice but to immediately throw out all three Peak Design camera bags and backpack and luckily there was a trash collection tomorrow morning in order to get them out of the building.
I was saddened by having to do so as I applaud the creativity and innovation inherent in Peak Design’s products and have enjoyed using all three in the way for which they are designed, for daily carrying of the more mundane items of life and work along with camera, a lens or two and other smaller photographic items.
I have a large collection of Peak Design camera straps but almost all of them are stored attached to cameras in reasonably well-sealed plastic boxes with silica gel packs inside, and so far I have not found evidence of mould on any of them.
None of the Peak Design bags and straps had leather trim on them; they were all in the Charcoal colourway that is trimmed with synthetic materials whereas the Ash colourway is trimmed with leather.
As soon as I threw out the Peak Design bags I checked the straps on my cameras as well as two other boxes containing several spare straps and accessories.
Ever since the climate here in Sydney started becoming progressively more subtropical several years ago I have been conscious of the possibility of mould infection in leather products after discovering mould on a leather jacket, leather boots and leather-trimmed shoes.
I tried out several brands of anti-mould sprays on them but the mould eventually returned so the jacket and footwear had to be thrown out.
Then I discovered that certain types of plastics can also become infected with mould, most notably several Hedgren shoulder bags made from synthetics.
I have been progressively swapping over to shoes and other products made from synthetics rather than leather but it is clear that certain synthetic materials can also be a threat.
Mould infection on two Peak Design Everyday Messenger Bags and one Everyday Backpack
Camera bag maker Cosyspeed has released the black version of its largest hip bag, the Camslinger Streetomatic+. The Camslinger line is, in effect, a distant descendant of a pair of belt packs I relied on during the analog era to protect my beloved Leica rangefinder cameras and lenses but that, in the end, badly let them down. Cosyspeed’s modern styling, anti-cruelty artificial leather, internal and external pockets, and integrated waist belt, go far beyond those now mouldy trad-style leather-trimmed hip bags in the realms of safety and comfort.
While previous Streetomatic bags have looked promising from their images and descriptions online, the Streetomatic+ looks to be the first large enough to carry my mirrorless still and video bare essentials while still being smaller than my currently smallest cross-shoulder bag, the Peak Design Everyday Messenger 13.
I chose the smaller Everyday Messenger as I must be careful not to over-stress neck and spine permanently damaged by a lifetime of carrying movie and photography equipment starting with the big Zero Halliburton cases I carted about the deserts of Western Australia as a corporate photographer with mining company clients.
Despite the EM13’s small size as a messenger bag, and the small load I carry in it, I still experience shoulder pain in the middle of a long day shooting. A belt pack would be a welcome relief but the only one I have now in two sizes, Think Tank Photo’s innovative Multimedia Wired Up 10 and Multimedia Wired Up 20 proved it wasn’t quite up to the job.
The Multimedia Wired Up Collection was a brilliant response to the needs of the pioneers of DSLR-based multimedia stills and video production but it predated the mirrorless revolution that cemented the hybrid stills/video camera concept. It was a radically new concept released before its time.
Had Think Tank Photo continued developing the collection well into the mirrorless era then it would have had an enduring winner. When the writing was on the wall and Multimedia Wired Up Collection bags began vanishing from foreign online retailers, I set out to collect them all and continue to use some of them to this day.
The Multimedia collection’s centrepieces were the two Wired Up belt packs. Each has a waist belt and each bag’s internal carrying capacity can be enhanced by attaching further bags from the collection or other packs in Think Tank Photo’s Belt Systems.
I like to assume that the two Wired Up bags might have evolved by gaining more dimensional stability, trading too much softness and collapsibility for a much sturdier frame.
As ProVideo Coalition’s review of the Multimedia Wired Up 20 indicates, both belt bags need to be supplemented with one or both of the crossover shoulder straps that come with them. Neither works as a pure belt bag and adding one or two shoulder straps makes my spine and shoulder problems worse.
Cosyspeed Camslinger Steetomatic+
So on to Cosypeed’s Camslinger Streetomatic+. Is it the waist bag I had hoped my two Multimedia Wired Up belt bags might have been, apart from the wired-up cable integration aspect of Think Tank Photo’s underlying concept?
It is hard to tell from the online evidence alone: only a good hands-on tryout can put that possibility to the test. From the photographs above, the Camslinger Streetomatic+ can carry mirrorless and DSLR cameras minus battery grips, with a zoom lens attached or two smaller prime lenses, and I am hoping that a small external microphone like Røde’s VideoMicro with windshield or even its amazing Stereo VideoMic X may fit instead of the second prime lens illustrated above.
Multimedia Wired Up Bags and StuffIt! to supplement the Streetomatic+?
I still use many of the component belt bags in the Multimedia Wired Up belt bag system to supplement bags and backpacks made by other manufacturers.
Think Tank Photo’s innovative Multimedia Wired Up belt bag system was innovative and released before its time, then was tragically discontinued with no replacement or successor system in sight.
I am also hoping that the Streetomatic+ permits attaching other belt bags from the Multimedia Wired Up collection or contemporary belt bags like Think Tank Photo’s Stuff It! (I have two, as they are so handy for personal items) or either or both of Cosyspeed’s own supplemental belt bags, the LensBag 80 and StuffBag 30.
Despite the uniqueness and utility of its bags, Cosyspeed has yet to find a distributor in Australia so I have not had the chance to examine any of its products and thus my questions remain unanswered for now.
One thing is for certain, the arrival of advanced stills/video cameras like the Panasonic Lumix GH5, the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II, the Fujifilm X-Pro, X-T2 and X-T20, the Sony Alpha 9, the rest of the Alpha series and other mirrorless hybrids, has shifted the photography and moviemaking landscapes for those of us needing to work alone and light on our feet.
I look forward to camera bag makers keeping pace with camera makers and am hoping that the Cosyspeed Camslinger Streetomatic+ may prove to be a suitable centrepiece for a lightweight carrying solution that other bags and belt systems I have owned or tried out have not.