Ryu: Inside Bag Porn

A typical conversation with my cousin who lives in America:

Me: Hey, I’m thinking about getting another bag.

My Cousin: Really, didn’t you get one recently?

Me: Yeah, but that was for the Ricoh GXR.  I need another one just so I can carry my monopod.

My Cousin: What?  You can get one for your monopod?  Awesome.  No problem, I’ll get it for you.  Do you know there is a bag for stools?  It’s awesome.

Me: Really?  Throw that in for me and I will Paypal you.  Make sure you mark it as “Gift” and make sure the value is “30 bucks”.

Not exactly, but close enough.  My cousin does all the equipment trafficking for me and has been doing it for some time.  Thus, I don’t want to reveal his identity as the feds are probably already after him.  He’s a good man, I’m just a bad one.  By the way, there is a bag for a monopod here.

Bags, we love them and we cannot have enough of them.  We buy one like women buy their shoes, bags, and yet another black shirt.  Honestly, I have no idea how many black shirts my wife owns, but apparently they are all different thus “it’s not the same”.  Therefore when she asks me why I’m getting a new bag, I just tell her that “it’s not the same”.   Eye for an eye, dumb argument for a dumber one.  This week, I thought I take this rather contentious subject and give everyone a chance to show off their bags.  It’s not camera porn, rather inside your bag porn.  This also is dedicated to a poster in our BLFS flickr group who wanted to know which bag is the best for carrying lots of equipment.  I have tried the rolling kind and the backpack kind and below are the pros and cons.

1. Rollers
There are lots of rollers from lots of different companies, but I and other sports photographers keep on going back to the one and only Think Tank rollers.  Why?  Because they are the best.  Top quality construction, amazing life time warranty, and endless supplies of wheels.  If you want a roller, you won’t be disappointed if you go with theirs.  Although everyone says that their whimsical handles are quite sucky, I for one thinks they damper lots of undesirable vibrations to your arms.  The bad thing about rollers is that A) You have to roll them and rolling things through narrow corridors, crowded trains, aisles of airplanes, and over unsuspecting civillians’ toes are not good for karma B) Vibrations are not good for your equipment.  I’m sure you understand A) so let’s goto B).  Apparently, there is a myth in the sports photography biz that rolling bags which cause undue vibrations can ruin and loosen stuff inside your expensive camera equipment.  Some are such believers that they opt for the backpack option, even though all these equipment can easily weigh over 20kg. Anyway, some roller rangers you want to consider are:

Think Tank Rolling Camera Bags

Lowepro Rolling Cases

Tenba Rolling Cases

Tamrac Rolling Cases

and Crumpler Cork and Fork

By the way, I have purposefully not included any of those plastic water proof Pelican cases as they have the crappiest wheels and are not made for long distance rolling.  If you are going to just go from here to there and not way over there, go for the pelican.  Meaning, if you use your car more than your feet, you can go Pelican.  If not, just stay with the list above and you won’t go wrong.

2. Backpacks
If you want to break your back, knees, and everything you’d want to keep using after you retire as a sports photographer, I won’t go with this option.  As I have said earlier, some swear by their backpacks because they really believe that saving some loose screws will give them a hall pass to Valhalla albeit on bended spines.  In any case, I don’t recommend it, but if you don’t carry anything too heavy, meaning if it’s less than 10kg, going backpack is a much better option than rolling.  I’d list all the bags that are out there, but as long as they are not one of those messenger bags, you should be fine.  You’ll look dumber, but your shoulders will send you a thank you card 10 years down the line.

Now that I put some logic into that tired brain of yours, here’s what’s inside my bag.

Bag: Think Tank Airport International


1. 400mm f2.8 AFS with Aquatech hood
2. Modded Radio Poppers
3. 2 x SB800
4. D3
5. D3
6. 16-35mm f4 VR or 100 f2.0 DC
7. 16mm fisheye
8. SU800
9. 24mm f3.5 PC-E
10. 70-200mm f2.8 VRII
13 MBP goes on top of all this stuff.  Newsgear rain thing for rainy days and various cords, card readers, and spare batteries.

Here’s what Mr. Cohen carries around

Bag: Think Tank Airport Security


1: Nikon D3S
2: Nikon D3
3: Gitzo GM2942 Monopod (4 section/Basalt)
4: AF-S VR Zoom-NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G IF-ED
5: Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E II
6: AF NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4D
7: AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8G ED
8: AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED
9: Nikon HK-27 hood
10: AF-S Nikkor 400mm f/2.8D IF-ED II

Top front pouch: Think Tank Pixel Pocket Rocket card wallet with extra cards, Extra EN-EL4a battery for cameras
Bottom front pouch: Think Tank Skin belt system, Think Tank Hydrophobia rain covers

I’d like for you to show us all and leave nothing to the imagination.  I’ve created a topic in the BLFS flickr group to show off your bits.

Inside Bag Porn – Flickr group

Don’t be afraid, we won’t judge. :)

Ryu

*Please Read Below*

Big Lens Fast Shutter is funded solely from the pockets of Ryu Voelkel and Matt Cohen. If you think the information we give you about sports photography is making you a better sports photographer and as a result a well balanced human being, please show us your appreciation by supporting us on Patreon and send some of your hard earned dollars/euros/Brixton pounds our way. People who donate will be mentioned on our next show unless you want to remain anonymous. Thank you for supporting us and may the force of sports photography be with you, always.

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4 thoughts on “Ryu: Inside Bag Porn

  1. Ryu,

    I heard that “strategy” a few years ago actually, so it’s not the first time I’ve heard of it. Seems like there might be some truth to it potentially.

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