New Hardware: Think Tank Photo BackStory 13 and 15 Camera Backpacks – Commentary

https://www.thinktankphoto.com/collections/backstory-series-backpacks

“With every good story, there’s often a better backstory. The same is true with the BackStory series of camera backpacks. At Think Tank, we spend many hours researching, discussing benefits, developing prototypes, reviewing, redoing… and then we do it again. The end result is a truly innovative and full-featured backpack that serves your needs as an expert photographer.

The BackStory’s rear-panel opening offers complete access to your gear while a top panel provides quick access to your camera and speeds your workflow. A deep front compartment with zippered mesh pockets has ample room for personal gear, including a 10” tablet and 13″ or 16″ laptop. And with its plush shoulder harness and removable waist belt, the BackStory is comfortable enough to wear all day.”

Specifications, BackStory 13

  • Internal Dimensions: 25 x 36 x 15 cm (9.8” W x 14.2” H x 5.9” D)
  • Exterior Dimensions: 26 x 43 x 18 cm (10.2” W x 16.9” H x 7.1” D)
  • Laptop Pocket (fits up to 13” laptop): 23 x 34 x 2.5 cm (9.1” W x 13.4” H x 1.0” D)
  • Weight: 1.3 kg (3.0 lbs)

Specifications, BackStory 15

  • Internal Dimensions: 27 x 43 x 15 cm (11.4” W x 14.6” H x 5.9” D)
  • Exterior Dimensions: 28 x 50 x 19 cm (13.4” W x 20.4” H x 7.5” D)
  • Laptop Pocket (fits up to 16″ laptop): 26 x 40 x 2.5 cm (10.2” W x 15.7” H x 1.0” D)
  • Weight: 1.6 kg (3.6 lbs)

Commentary

Just when you think that innovation in camera backpacks has surely reached its zenith, along comes another innovative backpack concept from Think Tank Photo in the form of the BackStory 13 and 15.

Then, thinking back on the backpack collection in my storage room, not one of them perfectly satisfies all the many and different needs when transporting endless combinations of cinematography or photography equipment, accessories, personal items and other camera carrying gear such as speed belts and waist packs.

I have been forced to rethink, yet again, how I carry gear on a daily basis given the resurgence this year of back and shoulder problems leading to headaches and nausea, and one possible answer lies in combining waist packs with backpacks.

Can the BackStory backpacks be used in combination with these other carrying solutions?

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Cosyspeed Camslinger Outdoor in Olive.

I ask this question as I have tried using other backpacks along with belt-mounted camera pouches and waist-packs including Cosyspeed’s Camslinger Streetomatic+ and Outdoor models and there have been problems and a few compromises.

So far the best combination is a Think Tank Photo/MindShift Gear Rotation180º Travel Away 22L in Twilight Blue with the rotating belt pack removed altogether and replaced by a Cosyspeed Streetomatic+ with a StuffIt! on the Streetomatic’s belt and a Little StuffIt! secured by a Think Tank Photo Red Whip on one shoulder strap.

The Travel Away carries personal items, rain cover and one or two smaller lenses in the two internal pockets, and it is a brilliant solution for traveling really light as a photographer or as a journalist needing just a compact camera for note taking, a role I have played in the past.

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MindShift Gear Rotation180º Travel Away backpack by Think Tank Photo, apparently now discontinued.

The Streetomatic+ is a great solution for small stills cameras but after some experience shooting during dust storms the newer Camslinger Outdoor model may offer better weather protection.

I like the Olive version but as my old secondary school art teacher was often prone to chant, “blue and green must not be seen”… no, I don’t think so.

When needing to carry a couple of cameras, a few lenses and plenty of accessories and personal items as well as a RotoLight Neo LED light, I currently prefer a Think Tank Photo/MindShift Gear BackLight 26L though its own waist belt can clash with other waist belts and belt packs if they cannot be attached to the backpack’s waist belt side rails.

For even more gear I have currently have a big aluminium-framed f-stop gear backpack but am seriously considering retiring it when I find a replacement that does not exacerbate my back and shoulder problems.

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Think Tank Photo/MindShift Gear Backlight 26L camera backpack in Woodland Green.

Perhaps the answer lies in Think Tank Photo’s Rolling Cases or SKB Hard Cases collections, avoiding carrying big sets of gear on my back altogether.

Never having had the pleasure of using rolling cases before, I need to get some serious hands-on time with some examples and may need to consider other brands such as HPRC given the lack of a local equivalent to B&H Photo with its amazingly well-stocked displays of almost every brand one could hope to see.

And now, back to backpacks.

Both MindShift Gear backpacks extend far down the back to waist level, 51cm (20.3″) in both the BackLight 26L and the Rotation180º while the BackStory 13 extends down to 43cm (16.9″) and the BackStory 15 to 50cm (20.4″).

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Best of both worlds? Think Tank Photo Airport TakeOff V2.0 rolling bag with shoulder straps to also act as a backpack.

I wonder if that difference of 43cm to 50cm/51cm might enable using a BackStory 13 in conjunction with Pro Speed Belt and an assortment of pouches without clashing?

Think Tank Photo used to photograph their products on a showroom dummy and sometimes a live model, as I recall, and that helped considerably in working out which version of their products might work best for me.

Pity they don’t do that now as I would really like to know how such combinations may work over the course of a long and challenging day in the field, especially now that I must limit what I carry in my remaining shoulder bags if not rule them out altogether.

More Think Tank Photo BackStory 13

Finding the right kit for transporting your camera gear is a serious business given what is at stake with being able to do your job right and maintaining good health while doing so.

Given we are stuck with even fewer camera stores now with even less stock to enable try-before-buy and more of us are purchasing online and unseen in real life than ever before, it is imperative that we have good enough information about the gear we are considering investing even harder-earned, even scarcer cash in.

Look in any photography or video production practitioner’s storage room and you will find an array of camera bags, backpacks and hard cases, none of which are the universal answer to all transportation needs.

Consider any professional or dedicated photographers’ or videographers’ physical health and ponder how much damage has been done by the rigours of long, hard days in the field and issues with suboptimal gear.

Congratulations to Think Tank Photo for coming up with a new camera backpack design that may not be revolutionary or radically different to all that came before it, but innovative the BackStory 13 and BackStory 15 most certainly are and I very much look forward to learning more about them, especially the BackStory 13, and I hope that I may lay eyes upon one someday in order to see if it fits my very specific needs as outlined above.

Links

New Hardware: Think Tank Photo Rotation Camera Backpack Series

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/think-tank-photo-rotation-camera-backpack#/

“How many times have you passed up a photo opportunity because you didn’t want to stop and take off your backpack to get your camera out?

With the Rotation backpack, you can access your camera gear in seconds ­— without taking off the backpack.

The original Rotation180® Backpack has proven itself in the field, earning the accolades and awards to prove it. Now, this next generation Rotation backpack series features improved features and functionality, making it the most amazing photo-centric adventure pack on the market today.”

thinktankphoto_rotation_camera_backpack
Rotation Backpack Series by MindShift Gear, from Think Tank Photo. Image courtesy of Think Tank Photo.

Links

Fujifilm Australia’s People with Cameras, Darling Island Wharf, Sydney, September 7, 2019

I always try to attend Fujifilm’s annual People with Cameras in Sydney each year and was able to be there for much of this year’s event held at Doltone House on Darling Island Wharf in Pyrmont on Saturday the 7th September 2019. 

More female photographers seem to attend each year, a welcome trend given the low numbers of female photographers and moviemakers who manage to make it professionally in Australia in particular and globally in general. 

Those low numbers are not from want of talent but from systemic issues favouring male practitioners and thus the peculiarities of the male gaze and the male power structure, but I am hopeful that female representation in all aspects of photography and moviemaking will continue increasing to the point of parity, rapidly rather than slowly. 

Gentleman behind the Fujifilm Australia table, photographed with Fujifilm X-H1 and Fujifilm XF 50-140mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR telephoto zoom lens as raw file processed with Adobe Photoshop and Alien Skin Exposure X4 using a modified Polaroid Type 55 preset. I borrowed the lens to make this shot then returned it, but would love to try it out extensively before considering buying one.
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Attendee trying out Fujifilm GFX 100 medium format camera, photographed with Fujifilm X-T3 and Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4 R OIS WR standard zoom lens.


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Fujifilm X-H1 with Fujinon XF 50-140mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR Red Badge professional zoom lens.

I carried a Think Tank Photo MindShift Gear BackLight 26L backpack containing my Fujifilm X-Pro2, a borrowed Fujifilm X-H1, a Fujinon XF 16mm f/2.8 R WR and a Fujinon XF 18mm f/2.0 R lens both of which were also borrowed, and my own Fujinon XF 23mm f/1.4 R, Fujinon 27mm f/2.8 and Fujinon XF 56mm f/1.2 R lenses.

I managed to very briefly borrow a Fujinon XF 50-140mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR and a pre-production model of the Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR standard zoom lens which is due for release later this year.

I ended up swapping between my 56mm lens and the borrowed 18mm lens for this event but wondered if I might have been better served by the 50-140mm zoom lens or the 50mm f/2.0 prime in conjunction with the 16mm lens or the reportedly excellent Fujinon XF 16mm f/1.4 R WR.

Help support ‘Untitled’

slr_magic_microprime_18mm_t2.8_01_1024px
SLR Magic MicroPrime Cinema 18mm T2.8 Fujifilm X-Mount.

Clicking on the links and purchasing through them for our affiliate accounts at Adorama, Alien Skin, B&H Photo Video, SkylumSmallRig or Think Tank Photo helps us continue our work for ‘Unititled’.

  • FUJIFILM XF 16mm f/1.4 R WRB&H
  • FUJIFILM XF 16mm f/2.8 R WRB&H
  • FUJIFILM XF 18mm f/2 R LensB&H
  • FUJIFILM XF 16-80mm f/4 R OIS WR LensB&H
  • FUJIFILM XF 50mm f/2 R WR LensB&H
  • FUJIFILM XF 50-140mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR LensB&H
  • FUJIFILM XF 56mm f/1.2 R LensB&H
  • FUJIFILM X-H1 Mirrorless Digital Camera Body with Battery Grip KitB&H
  • FUJIFILM X-Pro2 Mirrorless Digital CameraB&H
  • MindShift Gear BackLight 26L BackpackB&H

MindShift Gear: MindShift Gear Updates Classic Moose Peterson Outdoor Photography Backpacks – Updated

https://www.thinktankphoto.com/blogs/news-events/mindshift-gear-updates-classic-moose-peterson-outdoor-photography-backpacks

“Working in partnership with renowned wildlife photographer Moose Peterson, MindShift designers have updated the original Moose Peterson Photopacks. Initially designed for wildlife and safari photographers, all photographers will find the three-compartment layout protects their gear from the elements.

The compartment doors are built to close automatically, keeping dust and particulates out of your bag and away from your camera sensor. As a workflow solution, the layout provides quick access to up to three camera bodies with lenses attached and at the ready….”

Moose_collection_grande.jpg
Wildlife photographer Moose Peterson with Moose Peterson Backpack made by Think Tank Photo sister company MindShift Gear.

MindShift Gear Moose Peterson Backpack Series version 2.0

Commentary

mindshift_gear_moose_peterson_mp-3_v2.0_02_1024px
Classy innovation. On the Moose Peterson Mp-1 V2.0 and MP-3 V2.0 backpacks the waist belts can be removed and the harnesses can be tucked away to safely streamline them when stowing for travel on trains, planes or automobiles.

Once upon a time I worked in some of the most adverse conditions for photography anywhere in the deserts above ground and down deep inside gold mines in Western Australia, carting my cameras, lenses, lights, light stands and tripods about in a motley collection of shoulder bags, tripod bags and Zero Halliburton hard cases.

You had to be ready to dismantle gear and pack up in seconds and failure to do so could have disastrous consequences.

Dust, particulate matter, water and chemical spray, extremes of heat and cold, giant dump trucks taking sudden dives over the edge of open cuts or swerving out of control, anything could happen and frequently did so.

US wildlife photographer Moose Peterson may well be accustomed to some of these sorts of conditions, judging by the unique features found in the second generation of his collaboration with MindShift Gear, sister company of Think Tank Photo.

Standout features of the Moose Peterson Series for me are their separation of gear into three compartments to reduce potential cross-contamination, allowance for up to three ready-rigged cameras plus lenses to reduce dust on sensors, automatically-closing compartment doors, and the choice of three different sizes from customary neck-to-coccyx long through mid-size to the not-so-long MP-7 brilliantly allowing for wearing one of Think Tank Photo’s unique modular component belt systems lower down.

MindShift Gear Moose Peterson MP-7 V2.0

Right now the short but sexy Moose Peterson MP-7 V2.0 looks very appealing for the times I want to keep a camera at my side in a waist-belt pack for rapid access but also need to have just enough and not too many lenses and other items at the ready on my back.

Think Tank Photo belt system plus MindShift Gear Moose Peterson backpack may just be exactly the right solution for documentary photographers always on the go, especially in the hot, dusty and windy conditions we have been experiencing in this country just lately, thanks to extreme weather conditions making their way across to the south-east of this continent all the way from my old stamping ground in northern Western Australia.

Links:

Help support ‘Untitled’

Clicking on these affiliate links and purchasing through them helps us continue our work for ‘Untitled: Stories of Creativity, Innovation, Success’.

  • MindShift Gear Moose Peterson MP-1 V2.0 Three-Compartment Backpack (Black)B&H
  • MindShift Gear Moose Peterson MP-3 V2.0 Three-Compartment Backpack (Black)B&H
  • MindShift Gear Moose Peterson MP-7 V2.0 Three-Compartment Backpack (Black)B&H
  • Think Tank Photo – please use this affiliate account link when browsing the Think Tank Photo and MindShift gear websites and if purchasing direct from them.

MindShift Gear: MindShift Gear’s “Exposure” Shoulder Bags Offer the Ultimate in Durability and Weather Protection for Outdoor Photographers

https://www.thinktankphoto.com/blogs/news-events/mindshift-gear-s-exposure-shoulder-bags-offer-the-ultimate-in-durability-and-weather-protection-for-outdoor-photographers

“There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad gear. MindShift Gear’s new Exposure shoulder bags are storm-resistant carrying solutions for the active photographer in virtually any outdoor environment. Built with high performance waterproof sailcloth panels, strategically placed storm flaps, water-repellent DWR fabric, and a sturdy Tarpaulin bottom; the Exposure protects camera gear from the elements and withstands the rigors of adventure photography. And, with its cross-body stabilizer strap, the Exposure moves with you while you’re active or is removable for more causal environments.  A waterproof rain cover is included when it’s time to put the camera away and hunker down….”

mindshift_gear_exposure_13_15_group_header_01_1024px_60pc
MindShift Gear Exposure 13 and Exposure 15 storm-resistant shoulder bags for outdoor photographers and moviemakers using mirrorless and DSLR gear.

MindShift Gear Exposure 15

Commentary

blackmagic_pocket_cinema_camera_front_lens_01_1024px_60pc
Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K (BMPCC 4K) with Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro zoom lens with manual clutch focus, great for manual focussing. I like the longer image-stabilized Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-100mm f/4.0 IS Pro travel zoom for available light daytime walkabout for video and stills supplemented with faster M.Zuiko Pro f/1.2 prime lenses for available darkness work.

Just when I was contemplating what lenses and accessories might be needed to effectively carry and operate the amazing new Blackmagic Design Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K aka BMPCC 4K, this press release arrived from camera bag and backpack maker Think Tank Photo.

Think Tank’s MindShift Gear brand is specially intended for outdoor adventurers who photograph and make movies in all sorts of weather and all kinds of locations, through thick or thin, whether in natural or in my case urban environments.

The game-changing, to use an already overused cliché, BMPCC 4K portable cinema camera does not appear to be weather-resistant so may need transporting in the field in weather-resistant, storm-resistant bags and backpacks along with the equally sensitive equipment needed to make the most of its high end video production capabilities.

rode_microphones_ntsf1_ambisonics_soundfield_01_1024px_60pc
Røde NT-SF1 Soundfield microphone, core of Røde’s ambisonic hardware and software system and potentially great supplementary audio-recording and post-production solution for shooting video with the BMPCC 4K. Will the final version of this microphone be mountable on top of the BMPCC 4K?

Shooting and carrying out initial post-production or DIT (digital imaging technician) duties on BMPCC 4K video footage in the field has certain workflow and hardware demands, and if choosing a shoulder bag rather than backpack then the bag itself should be large enough and protective enough for 15-inch portable computer, SSD or HDD drives and other media, audio recorders and microphones, lenses, color checker or grey card for white balance, small grip items and a portable video tripod as needed.

Accordingly, it would appear that the MindShift Gear 15 may be the best choice of the two MindShift Gear Exposure shoulder bags when using the BMPCC 4K.

blackmagic_pocket_cinema_camera_4k_bmpcc4k_imperial_dimensions_01_1024px_60pc
Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K (BMPCC 4K) dimensions, imperial, camera only.

At 7 inches wide and with a sloping 5-inch rear touchscreen display, the BMPCC 4K has an unusual shape and size as well as accessory demands, so I will be putting that hypothesis to the test in another article where I look at its actual dimensions as well as an ideal kit of accessories, supplies and lenses for mobile indie documentary work in the field.

Links

Help support ‘Untitled’

Clicking on these affiliate links and purchasing through them helps us continue our work for ‘Untitled: Stories of Creativity, Innovation, Success’.

  • Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 4KB&H
  • MindShift Gear Exposure 15 Shoulder BagB&H
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Think Tank Photo: Modular Belt System V3.0 Improves Photography Gear Access Speed While Sized to Accommodate Today’s Gear

https://www.thinktankphoto.com/blogs/news-events/modular-belt-system-v3-0-improves-photography-gear-access-speed-while-sized-to-accommodate-today-s-gear

“We have just released Version 3.0 of our popular Modular Belt System, with improved access speed and ease while accommodating for today’s gear. The Modular Belt System moves weight from your shoulders to your waists for more comfortable all-day carry. Many of the new pouches are expandable to fit pro-sized lenses with hoods in the shooting position….”

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Camera Clip Adapter v3.0, the new essential accessory in Think Tank Photo’s new Modular Belt System V3.0.

Commentary

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Think Tank Photo’s radically innovative though sadly now long-discontinued Multimedia Wired Up belt and bag system was my practical introduction into the many benefits of modular belt and bag solutions for carrying photography and video equipment in the field. I bought every Multimedia Wired Up product over several years after the system was discontinued from retailers all over the world, so useful is this system even today.

The news earlier this month that Think Tank Photo has updated its Modular Belt System to version 3.0 is welcome indeed here at ‘Untitled: Stories of Creativity, Innovation, Success’ as we are in the throes of refining our equipment carrying system for transporting gear in the field and on planes, trains and automobiles.

I chose Think Tank Photo products some years ago on discovering its Wired Up Multimedia system when getting back into photography and video production while needing an integrated system for carrying audio equipment, cameras, lenses and accessories of all sorts and sizes.

I went on a quest to buy every bag in the Wired Up Multimedia system after it suddenly vanished from Think Tank Photo’s website and the retailers stocking it here, and use its components still, but I have long needed to expand it with newer offerings better designed for more contemporary mirrorless cameras, lenses, audio equipment and other many and various accessories by other equally innovative brands such as 3 Legged Thing, Fujifilm, Olympus, Panasonic, Peak Design, Røde Microphones, Rotolight, Tascam, Zoom and more.

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 seeking to combine elements from Think Tank Photo’s new Modular Belt System V3.0 with elements from the Wired Up Multimedia system in order to make on-location photography and videography easier, faster and more productive.

The core of the broader integrated production system I am putting together for my documentary photography and video work now may well be Think Tank Photo’s Modular Belt System V3.0 along with the company’s Naked Shape Shifter 17 V2.0 (or its possible V3.0 successor).

Integration seems to be name of the game as production gear makers in different countries partner with each other in making their gear work together in ways that never occurred before.

I will be poring over the components within Think Tank Photo’s Modular Belt System V3.0 via its PDF and website in order to work out the best combination for me, in the absence of a local stockist with plenty of Think Tank Photo product on its shelves for a good try before you buy now that professional suppliers L&P Photographics in Artarmon and Foto Riesel in Sydney are sadly no more.

Think Tank Photo Modular Belt System V3.0 and related items

Links

Help support ‘Untitled’

Clicking on and purchasing through these affiliate links helps us continue our work for ‘Untitled: Stories of Creativity, Innovation, Success’.

  • MindShift GearB&H – Think Tank Photo’s range of outdoor adventure backpacks and accessories. Items in both ranges can be used with each other.
  • Peak DesignB&H – The entire range of Peak Design camera clip, strap and Everyday bag products at B&H.
  • Think Tank Photo – Click on this link to purchase direct from Think Tank Photo via my affiliate account.
  • Think Tank PhotoB&H – The entire range of Think Tank Photo products at B&H.

Think Tank Photo: Award-Winning Shape Shifter® Expandable Backpack Updated and “Naked” Option Added – UPDATED with COMMENTARY

https://www.thinktankphoto.com/blogs/news-events/award-winning-shape-shifter-expandable-backpack-updated-and-naked-option-added

“A revolution in backpack design when it first released, the Shape Shifter expanded and contracted to hold gripped camera bodies and a laptop. In response to input from professional photographers, we have  released the Shape Shifter in three new configurations. The Shape Shifter 15 V2.0 is designed to hold a 15” laptop and the Shape Shifter 17 is designed to hold a 17” laptop. The new Naked Shape Shifter 17 allows photographers to attach Skin Pouches or Lens Changers inside to create a totally customized modular backpack….

… Shape Shifter® 15 V2.0 Gear Capacity

  • Holds a 15” laptop, tablet up to a 12” or 13”, plus one DSLR (gripped or un-gripped) and three lenses (detached) and personal items

Shape Shifter® 17 V2.0 Gear Capacity

  • Holds a 17” laptop, tablet up to a 12” or 13”, plus one to two DSLRs (gripped or un-gripped) and three to four lenses (detached) and personal items

Naked Shape Shifter 17 V2.0 Gear Capacity

  • Holds a 17” laptop, tablet up to a 12” or 13”, plus four to seven modular pouches or lens changers and personal items…”

Commentary:

As a longtime owner of all of Think Tank Photo’s highly innovative Multimedia Wired Up belt packs and belt system components series for hybrid stills and video production, I am already half-persuaded of the utility of waist-belt-mounted camera carrying systems when shooting intensive documentary stills and video on location.

The Multimedia Wired Up series is now sadly long defunct despite mirrorless hybrid stills/video cameras like those from Fujifilm, Olympus, Panasonic and Sony really hitting their stride in recent years, so I have supplemented my kit of seven Wired Up modular components with a couple of Think Tank StuffIt! belt touches for personal items.

The only thing preventing me from adding even more pouches and upgrading to a Pro Speed Belt V2.0 or Steroid Speed Belt V2.0 is that I have been at a loss as to how best to carry them all on a typical day’s outing.

The last thing I want to do, after all, is chuck them into a bulky gym bag or the like in order to carry them onto the location.

Think Tank Photo’s Naked Shape Shifter 17 V2.0 might just be the answer to this long-perplexing question.

I have yet to see one turn up in any of our local camera stores though so have not had a chance to put the concept to the test – the one camera store in this neck of the woods that had a reasonable cross-section of Think Tank Photo gear has now gone into liquidation.

There are questions. Can a backpack like this one really hold a speed belt plus a stack of pouches to carry everything I have need of on a typical all-day documentary stills or video shoot?

Will the Naked Shape Shifter hold the specific pouches that I need? Or should I consider Think Tank Photo’s Modular Component Set V2.0 or Modular Skin Set V2.0?

Do I need to add the intriguingly named Hubba Hubba Hiney to either of the above to carry much of my APS-C/Super 35 kit or M43/Super 16 kit and will it fit into the Naked Shape Shifter?

Or will one or two Speed Changer V2.0 or Slim Changer pouches do the job and fit better inside the Naked Shape Shifter?

How fast can everything be placed inside The Naked Shape Shifter then removed as needed while travelling about suburb, town and city and suddenly spotting photo opportunities?

Is the Naked Shape Shifter capable of carrying the personal items I also need to go along with my cameras, lenses, accessories, tripod and more?

Plenty of questions that can only be answered with a see-and-try-out of the backpack and a selection of old and new pouches and modular belt system components.

I hope we will see another camera store step up and stock a good cross-section of Think Tank Photo and MindShift Gear products now that L&P Digital has closed its doors and Paxtons has shut down its local branch as well as its big Sydney city store.

Links:

Think Tank Photo: Spectral™ Series Shoulder Bags – with COMMENTARY

https://www.thinktankphoto.com/collections/spectral-series-shoulder-bags

“Remain inconspicuous while shooting with Think Tank’s new Spectral Shoulder Bag. A magnetic Fidlock clasp enables quiet, one-handed access your gear — then locks automatically when closing the flap. An additional zippered closure gives you piece of mind while traveling and can be tucked away when you’re actively shooting. Constructed with durable yet stylish materials, the Spectral Shoulder Bag offers Think Tank quality and ingenuity at a reasonable price.”

Commentary:

Think Tank Photo’s new 3-strong leather-free Spectral line of shoulder bags is a refreshing change from the leather-trimmed product revisions it has released in recent years.

Think Tank Spectral 8

The Spectral 8 model in Think Tank Photo’s Spectral shoulder bag line-up appears to be aimed at mirrorless camera users and can apparently hold one Fujifilm X-T2 or X-Pro2 camera, two fast prime lenses such as the popular Fujinon XF 23mm f/1.4 R and Fujinon XF 56mm f/1.2 R with one attached to the camera, as well as the Fujinon XF 50-140mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR Red Badge professional zoom lens.

It is unknown how many “Fujicron” f/2.0 R WR lenses and similar smaller primes the Spectral 8 accommodates, such as the Fujinon XF 23mm f/2.0 R WR, Fujinon XF 27mm f/2.8, Fujinon XF 35mm f/2.0 R WR, Fujinon XF 50mm f/2.0 R WR and the coming Fujinon 18mm f/2.0 R WR.

Based on Think Tank Photo’s information about the Spectral 8, it may prove to be a useful one-camera, several-lenses option for slow and steady documentary photography or cinematography with, say, a Røde VideoMic Pro+ in place of the 50-140mm zoom lens.

An Evolving Focus

The company’s marketing email and website product shots are increasingly featuring mirrorless cameras and lenses in addition to its tradition emphasis on DSLRs, with focus on Fujifilm APS-C and Sony digital 35mm mirrorless camera though Panasonic’s increasingly popular Lumix M43/Super 16 hybrid stills/video cameras have yet to make an appearance so far as I can tell.

Both moves are welcome and I would love to see Think Tank Photo add Panasonic’s GH5 and professional lenses for video and stills, for example, to its product shot scheduling.

I note that 3 Legged Thing’s also increasingly popular tripods are also starting to feature in TTP marketing material.

Seeing gear that one actually uses being featured in emails and web pages helps make better-informed purchasing decisions given many of us often do not live near a good bricks-and-mortar stockist where one can try-before-buy and so must rely on sight-unseen purchases at online retailers in other countries.

Not all mirrorless cameras and lenses have the same dimensions nor do they fit in the same bags, I have often discovered, so photographic evidence of good fit is incredibly useful and helps avoid purchases one soon comes to regret.

The Ever-growing Scourge of Mould

Leather, and certain plastics, are susceptible to the growing epidemics of mould infection popping up in places like Sydney with the onset of major climate change.

Although it has proven possible to chemically remove mould from the surface of leather and some synthetic materials, mould spores remain beneath the surface ready to spring into action should the weather change yet again.

As a result, we have had to throw out many leather and leather-trimmed products including camera bags to avoid the risk of mould and mould spores spreading to our photographic equipment.

We have been shocked to discover expensive bags made of synthetic fabrics infected with mould and mould spores too, though not all woven plastics are susceptible.

There are two other considerations in the use of leather in constructing and decoratively trimming camera bags, cruelty and environmental responsibility.

My Plea for Leather-Free

Industrial agriculture’s animal husbandry practices are inherently cruel, and contribute huge amounts of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, apparently to a greater extent than emission from motor cars.

I wish to see camera bag and accessories makers take up the challenge to go 100% leather-free and pro-vegan from now onwards.

Link:

MindShift Gear: rotation180° Travel Away® 22L (travel backpack)

https://www.mindshiftgear.com/products/rotation180-travel-away

“When traveling abroad, you need quick access to essential items like your camera, passport, guidebook, phone and tablet — but protecting these items is a must. With MindShift’s patented rotation180° technology, the Travel Away backpack allows you to rotate the concealed beltpack to the front of your body for instantaneous access to your travel essentials. You’ll also enjoy peace of mind knowing your most necessary and valuable items are stowed away securely and inaccessible to others….

… Large belt-wing pockets fit a large point and shoot camera…

… Backpack rear pocket provides quick access to camera, AC adapters, large sunglasses, books or other large items, passport, currency, etc….”

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