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  1. #1
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    Best bag or arrangement for carrying photography gear?

    Just wondering if there is any new upcoming TB photo dedicated bag or insert. I have an old TB Brain Bag (circa 2000!) that is still going strong, and despite other bags, is often my go to bag for work and even travel (along with my Aeronaut). I have a dedicated Think Tank for hauling lots of photo gear if I'm going to photo shoot, but it isn't ideal for mixed travel - such as attending a conference - in which I might want to alternate carrying some photo gear and a laptop and other items.

    I did get the I/O but honestly, it didn't quite work as a I thought, so I got an Ape-style insert from Amazon and stuck it in my Brain Bag for a photo expedition to France and it worked pretty well but again, wasn't ideal since it was a bit of a pain to access my gear easily on the go.

    I've been toying with the idea of trying out the newer generation of hybrid photo packs like the Wandrd Prvke or the LowePro Freeline in which there is a laptop compartment, side (quick) access for a camera, and a space for other things. I also note that when my Brain Bag gets weighed down, the bottom droops, unlike the other bags which hold their overall shapes better.

    But for sheer versatility, it's still hard to beat the Brain Bag, so I've been thinking if a Synapse might work better, or maybe some other option I hadn't considered. Those of you into photography know that it's a never ending search for the "right" bag.

    As a side note, I also occasionally use my old but now discontinued TB messenger bag if I'm not carrying too much camera gear but it's not the easiest to access when I need to grab gear quickly, although the setup with both a zipper and buckle flap does make it less theft prone than the usual photo messenger bag.

    Any advice appreciated.
    Last edited by ozone; 04-25-2019 at 03:45 PM.

  2. #2
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    In my opinion, the synapse would not be a good camera bag because it just doesn't seem like a bag designed for people who are going to constantly open and take things in and out.

    It's relatively thin and tall. That means a camera with a grip isn't going to fit well. Conversely, a small camera would get lost in the bottom of the main compartment.

    In my experience, the synapse does not want to stand upright, either with or without the internal frame. So it's not a bag you can put down, open, pull a camera out, and have the bag remain in place.

    The synapse has really beefy zippers. If you are going to constantly open and close the bag, the zippers would get very annoying.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by NClens View Post
    In my opinion, the synapse would not be a good camera bag because it just doesn't seem like a bag designed for people who are going to constantly open and take things in and out.

    It's relatively thin and tall. That means a camera with a grip isn't going to fit well. Conversely, a small camera would get lost in the bottom of the main compartment.

    In my experience, the synapse does not want to stand upright, either with or without the internal frame. So it's not a bag you can put down, open, pull a camera out, and have the bag remain in place.

    The synapse has really beefy zippers. If you are going to constantly open and close the bag, the zippers would get very annoying.
    Thanks for the comments: I guess I'll make do with my Brain Bag or until a new camera solution from Tom Bihn is available.

  4. #4
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    Can I ask what gear you use and what you would normally bring in a mixed travel situation?

    When I was using a DSLR I did try using it with an insert in the main compartment as my S25, but as NClens mentioned, I didn't find that worked well for me. It usually sits at the bottom of the bag and you have to dig through whatever else you're carrying.

    These days with a mirrorless plus extra lens, I can put them in a small neoprene bag that fits in the bottom front pocket, with relatively easy access by keeping the bag on one shoulder and swinging it around to the front when I need to take it out. It's not as elegant as a proper camera sling/backpack with quick side access, but works well enough for me.

    Sometimes if just using a single prime lens, I can wrap my camera in a scarf or camera wrap and put it in the water bottle pocket. Otherwise I also use Op-Tech backpack strap attachments so if I need frequent access I'll just have my camera hanging in front of me while walking around.

  5. #5
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    On a side note, the S25 does have a loop on its strap into which I put a carabiner. I have a Really Right Stuff plate on my camera that has a quick detach (QD) hole. Into this hole you can insert a QD with a loop (see below). The loop can hook into the carabiner. What this means it you can basically clip a camera onto a S25 strap and detach it very easily (the QD loop operates with a button) whenever you need the camera.

    https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ..._swivel_d.html

  6. #6
    Volunteer Moderator bartleby's Avatar
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    Location: Germany / Hobbies: Photography & Guitars
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    Some folks have used the S25 as a camera bag. There is a quite old video on youtube showing that and a thread on an edc page. I have also used the S25 in a similar fashion: My Nikon D800 in the main compartment protected by a simple neoprene wrap along with some other non-photographic stuff. My 70-200 zoom lens went into the water-bottle compartment and two smaller lenses in the side pockets. I liked this arrangement because I had quick access to the lenses when I had to change them. And having the heavy zoom lens in the center of the bag was great for the carrying comfort. What is missing on the S25 is some padding on the bottom but I think this can be worked around if necessary.
    ...spread joy in your neighbourhood Smilie Rainbow Cheers
    current bags: Smart Alec, Guide's Pack, Guide's Edition S25, Luminary 15, Daylight Backpack, Aeronaut 45, Tri-Star, Road Buddy 36, Daylight Briefcase, Small Yeoman Duffel, bits and pieces

  7. #7
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    If the camera setup you are using fits in one of the exterior pockets of the Synapse it works pretty well. My E-M10iii fitted with a pancake fits in one of the side pockets of my S19 and the other side pocket fits the telephoto in a foam cover nicely. If I switch lenses, I of course have to switch back before putting the camera away.

    If your camera is bigger than that, then it probably won't work out for you. I also wish that there was a good photography-focused bag or sling from TB since nobody does travel bags better.

  8. #8
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    OP here... I shoot two main systems depending on what I'm doing: full frame Nikon if I'm doing portraits on site or sports photography, or Fuji if I'm traveling and might be doing a mix of photography (portrait, landscape, etc.). So, if I can, I take two bodies with me, and maybe 3 or 4 lens. The Fuji does allow me to save some weight and space. However, when I add in strobes, remote triggers, etc. it all starts to add up, especially if I have to bring along light stands and light modifiers.

    I also use Olympus/Panasonic if I'm just traveling and don't have plans on shooting portraits etc. (although I have done it). Even then, there's an assortment of things to bring.

    It's the mix use that I wish there was a TB camera solution. I'm on a trip right now and am hoping to do some on location portraiture, but for the rest of the trip, which includes family and a conference, it would be nice to use the Brain Bag for other purposes. However, I left it behind because the Think Tank allows me to pack everything safely, eventhough it's pretty much useless as an EDC bag when I'm not shooting.

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