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Traveling with an SLR

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Jan 27th, 2009, 03:30 PM
  #1
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Traveling with an SLR

I have been traveling my whole life and my one and only biggest problem is my camera. I have an SLR with 2 lenses that I like to carry with me. (One lens is telephoto) My problem always comes down to carrying it. I need my telephoto becuase there are many shots that are better with it, but my shorter 28-80 lens is good for close up...I always feel I need them both. I've done a backpack, but spend more time worrying that I will get pickpocketed, but if I carry around my neck I feel like a major tourist. Anybody have any ideas on how to carry both lenses? Thanks
Lvs2Trvl is offline  
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Jan 27th, 2009, 09:27 PM
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Switch to digital.... I have a 12x zoom, 36mm to 432mm equivalent, on my somewhat out-of-date digital, you can maybe do even better today.
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Jan 28th, 2009, 06:11 AM
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I took my SLR years ago on a multi country trip around Asia. DW and I traveled with a friend from college and his DW. My friend carried an all in one pocket sized Canon.

I lugged my camera, lenses, tripod, filters and bag all over Asia.

When I got home, I was really happy with my pictures until I saw my friends. His pictures were for all practical purposes as good as mine and he didn't have the hassle.

Since then I carry a small all in one from a good company. I burrow a neck strap from a thumb drive and keep it tucked in either my shirt or jacket when I'm not actually taking pictures.

It has limitations of course but is better for candid shots which are often my favorite pictures.
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Jan 28th, 2009, 02:54 PM
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I have a DSLR and usually carry two lenses. I have a Crumpler shoulder bag that usually works well . I feel more secure with it than I do with a backpack. I can easily move it to my front when sitting, standing in line etc. And I don't have to take it off to get into it.

This is the one I have, but there's many different brands/styles:

https://www.crumpler.ca/Lite/English...e-MD0504A.html

However, for my upcoming spring trip I'm planning something different. I still want to use a shoulder bag, but not a camera specific one. I want more pockets for non-camera stuff (tour books, tickets, etc.) that camera bag manufacturers just don't seem to give you. I'm planning on making lens cases (similar to this: http://www.optechusa.com/product/detail/?PRODUCT_ID=26) so that I can just drop them into any bag I feel like taking/carrying but it will probably be this one:

http://tinyurl.com/d2sy3l
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Feb 11th, 2009, 10:40 AM
  #5
 
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I have several sizes of great leather backpacks that I bought in Paraguay depending on which cameras/lenses I am taking. They are much more compact than most backpacks and unusual enough that somebody just can't walk off with it and not be noticed. I've seen similar ones in shops that sell Mexican leather. Years ago my MIL gave me camera straps that had my name woven on them in large letters that you can't miss.
Although I am back to using 33 mm. film (that I have developed and put onto DVD), I have to say that our little 6x zoom Olympus and Panasonic digitals do take some great shots. MY now-broken JVC video camera was small but had a great optic zoom that took pics to a separate card from the tape.
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Feb 11th, 2009, 07:59 PM
  #6
 
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Up until this year, I traveled with the following:

dSLR (Rebel XT/350)
Tamron 28-75mm
Canon 18-55mm
Canon 75-300mm non-IS
PSD

I used a beltpack that was an older version of this one: http://tinyurl.com/beltpack

I loved it! I could switch lenses while I walked and never had to set the bag on the ground, etc. when I sat on public transit or a restaurant. It was also accepted as a "purse" on my flights, so I didn't give up my carry-on space.

I don't use it on a daily basis anymore since I added the Tamron 200-500mm lens as well as a bunch of accessories. However, I do slip it into my suitcase and use it at times when the wheeled case doesn't work or I don't need the 200-500mm. This past vacation, I used the beltpack on a whale watching cruise and on a hike that ended with a stairway of about 200 steps.

For me, not bringing my gear is not an option. Taking a point & shoot instead of my dSLR defeats the entire purpose why I GOT the dSLR in the first place - to get better shots. I had a top of the line prosumer and I went to the dSLR because I had hit the prosumer's limitations. I'd rather lug my 22+lb wheeled bag around everywhere than miss shots because the camera couldn't handle the situation.
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Feb 18th, 2009, 06:18 AM
  #7
 
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I have a Nikon D80 DSLR and a couple of lenses. It was a pain in the butt to carry them, but in the end I'm happy I took them with me. I even brought a travel size tripod, which I used just a couple of times. I'd rather lug it than miss out on a photo op. Heading to Paris and Provence in 78 days and I'm taking all of it!

Monica
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Feb 18th, 2009, 07:45 PM
  #8
 
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Monica - is there a specific bag you use to carry your gear?

Before I got the Tamron 200-500mm lens, I rarely used my tripod. Now, I use it a lot more as the 200-500mm gets pretty heavy after a while. Now that I'm using the tripod more and not ignoring it, I'm finding I'm using it more all around and not just with the 200-500mm. It's becoming more of a "must have" instead of a "I might need it" item.
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Feb 20th, 2009, 03:52 AM
  #9
 
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I have a Lowepro bag (and talked Monica into buying the same one ) and LOVE IT. It's a slingshot bag - i.e. not quite backpack but close - almost a cross between a messenger bag and a backpack.

It carries more than just my camera, I load it with all equipment for the transportation part and when I get to my hotel I unload it but for the necessities for the day (camera wise). It also carries a guidebook, my blackberry, etc etc. It has tons of pockets and little places to tuck things. In fact I can go out for the day without a purse if I want because I can just tuck the various things I need into it.

I also find I like that when you have the bag itself in front of you (like carrying a baby in a slingshot) you have EVERYTHING right there at your fingertips, almost like it's on a platform - plus it's a little bit of a buffer for your lenses that you are carrying out in front. When I'm in full
"photo mode" I wear it like that to walk around and just shoot at will.

I also have a small Canon P&S - The SD800IS. I love this camera - it takes great photos, fits easily into my purse and is great for going out in the evening or when I just cannot bear lugging my "big guns" around all day.

I usually just take out the lens on my camera when I'm doin general sightseeing. In fact for this last short London trip I didn't take all my lenses, I just took the 24-105 F4L lens. I kinda would have liked to have had my 35mm F1.4L for the inside shots (and the fact that it was generally pretty cloudy on the trip) but I still got some great shots. Now if I had a specific target for the day and knew I'd need more than one lens but wasn't planning on being out for 8 hours with all the lenses, I'd load up what I needed, head out, take the shots, and then go back to the hotel and dump all but one.
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Feb 23rd, 2009, 08:52 PM
  #10
 
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Hi,

Kinda silly that it doesn't list the dimensions on the website. I measured mine and the main compartment is (roughly) 11" long, 9" wide and 3" deep. There's a number of smaller pouches slots on the front (covered by flip-over bit) and a full pocket on the back that I find handy for maps.
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Feb 24th, 2009, 02:11 PM
  #11
 
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toedtoes, flygirl is correct. I have the lowepro slingshot. However, unlike flygirl who likes it, I don't. I really would prefer one that's more of a backpack. I found it too firm and cumbersome to get things in/out of. Since I keep my camera out all day, I really just need to find a bag that holds my second lens and a couple of small items. It's a great bag for traveling to/from the next destination because of the support it provides inside to keep the camera and lenses secure, but for the day, I would prefer something else. Still looking for the right one.

Monica
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Feb 24th, 2009, 03:57 PM
  #12
 
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I used to have a Lowepro slingshot, but I found it poorly designed ergonomically for women. The cross strap either squished my left breast down or pushed it up into an awkward position. Neither comfortable nor stylish.
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Feb 24th, 2009, 05:04 PM
  #13
 
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I don't think there are any camera bags that would be considered stylish. Maybe a leather backpack. I prefer functional for the camera bag - stylish for the handbags!

Shellidawn - when I'm out taking photos I wear the bag in front, it's just easier that way. I can see your point when it's behind your back though.
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Feb 24th, 2009, 07:37 PM
  #14
 
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I agree about the bags not being stylish. I also agree with Flygirl that I'd rather have a functional camera bag than a stylish one.

I tried a backpack in the early days, but found it difficult to take photos while wearing it. I tend to like to get down on my knees, etc. when taking photos, and the backpack throws my balance off a lot. I ended up having to take it off everytime I changed lenses, everytime I wanted to get low to the ground, everytime I sat down, etc. That's when I found the beltpack.

The bag I use now is a Pelican soft-sided. It has a short handle, a shoulder strap and backpack straps, and a luggage slot (to slide over handles). I have a wheeled cart from a cooler and I slip the bag onto that. It works great for most situations as the wheels are rugged and big, and I can remove it from the cart and wear it as a backpack for snow or sand.
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Feb 25th, 2009, 04:50 PM
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ShelliDawn, I know exactly what you mean by the squished breast! LOL!

toedtoes, I usually had to take my bag off to change lenses.
I agree that function is more important than style. I also believe in ease of use.

Monica
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Feb 25th, 2009, 06:53 PM
  #16
 
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Monica - that's what I love about the beltpack - it opens at the top nice and wide so I change lenses without having to take the pack off (or even stop walking). It didn't mess up my balance either when I bent down, etc.
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Feb 26th, 2009, 09:23 AM
  #17
 
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Thanks toedtoes, I'll have to check that one out.

Monica
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Mar 1st, 2009, 07:47 AM
  #18
 
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I have a Tamrac Expedition 5 back pack. I carry my Pentax K20D, and at least three lenses (the biggest being the Sigma 50-500), often more, plus flash, spare batteries, cards cleaning gear etc in it and if I'm not flying my tripod on it. If I'm flying the tripod gets packed. It is heavy when full but I accept that.
I also have a smaller shoulder bag, and am seriously considering getting a Jill-E bag as well. I often take both bags with me and transfer gear to the smaller bag for the day. I'd buy a Slingshot but the 50-500 won't fit in it.
I should cut down on the lenses I carry but it is sooooo hard to do. Last year I left the 50-500 behind, and was kicking my self on the first day for leaving it!
I may buy an 18-250 lens and leave the rest but I know I'll get frustrated.

I just stay vigilant when I am using my gear, whether at home or on holiday. Good insurance is also helpful!
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Apr 23rd, 2009, 03:34 PM
  #19
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Thanks for all the great information! I've been contemplating leaving my smaller lens at home, bringing the 70-300mm and bringing my small digital instead. But I am worried I might miss some incredible close up shots.....
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Apr 24th, 2009, 09:20 PM
  #20
 
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I carry a SLR (digital) and the number of times that I've wished I was carrying something smaller is high. Yet when I get home, the number of times I'm glad I wasn't just carrying a regular digital is even higher. I like photography, and not just getting a picture.

I've got an old topload Tamron bag just big enough to fit the camera with a lens on it and one other lens. I've never needed anything beyond a 300x, as the Nikon I has a magnification factor anyway and I haven't been out on a safari. I actually use my short Sigma 17-35mm lens a lot more often. Portraits, street shots, landscapes. This one gave me a shot good enough to be published in a coffee table photography book (Lonely Planet) I've been real happy with Sigma lenses!

Every now and then I do take a fixed 50mm lens, but it's so small, it really doesn't add any weight. It's great for portraits.

But for travel - three things. I actually do have a tiny point and shoot I take along. For when I want to go out, like just for a nice walk, and not drag the gear along. Helps me with that gnawing phobia that I'll miss the one big shot.

Second, I do have day bag that zips off my roller backpack and sometimes I throw the slr in there if I don't want to be obvious that I've got the camera. Kind of looks like a book bag or something. I've even put it in a cloth grocery bag. Not sure someone won't try to steal my produce, but it makes sense to me.

Finally, if I'm taking shots outside, in my opinion, any outside shot that's not within 2 hours after sun up or 2 hours before sunset has lousy light anyway so you might as well use a P&S. Nighttime requires thinking, a concerted effort and tripods and such to get a good shot. So that leaves me a lot of time to not bother carrying a serious camera around. When I do take it, it's because I'm going to take photos. Mind you, I don't really take the big one to a lot of the tourist attractions either. I like a phrase I read once "if you've seen the picture before, go take a picture of something else". Kind of the 'Holding Up The Leaning Tower' thing doesn't really need a SLR because there's no such thing as an exceptional version of that.
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