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  1. #1
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    Any recent TB bags that work well for photography?

    There's a lot going on in the world, but inbetween all that's happening... I was idly wondering if any recent (or older) TB bags are good for photography.

    Just for background... I am not a full time photographer, but I do shoot a lot of portraits and models. But what I'm looking for is more a bag that can "do it all". When I go to conferences out of town, I often carry a small kit such as a micro 4/3 or APS-C with a travel zoom, and a couple prime lens. Or when I'm out for a day trip with the kids, I usually want a better camera with me than just my smartphone. So, I have to carry other things: laptop, various small electronics, wipes/extra set of clothes for the kid, jacket, water bottle, small lunch container, etc.

    I like the quick side access a lot of dedicated camera bags offer, but I find they're often overly rigid and formed, so they're not very flexible in serving as a regular back pack (with a few exceptions like WANDRD). So, if I'm shooting intensely with lots of gear, I'll use my Think Tank or LowePro photo specific bag. When I'm doing more casual photography, I want something more flexible, so I end up just using a bunch of camera inserts or wraps and then tossing them inside my TB Brain Bag or messenger bags.

    I know I might lose a bit of quick access to my camera, but do any of the TB bags adapt well for camera gear?

    Thanks - stay safe.

    P.S. I like the Synik 30 but I don't know if the clamshell opening risks spilling my gear at odd times.

  2. #2
    Registered User cdgerston's Avatar
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    I’ve been using the front lower “chin” pocket of the Synapse 25 (and now the Synik 30) for cameras for several years now. It’s by far my all time favorite way to carry camera gear as a part of my daily carry. I’ve used two methods: at first, I just used neoprene lens cases, attached to the O-rings, with a little padding on the bottom of the pocket for the camera. This worked okay. Then, a few years ago, I ordered a couple of padded camera inserts specifically to fit in the chin-pocket from an insert maker on Etsy. That did the trick for me. I can carry a mirrorless camera (I use Fuji) and 2-3 lenses no problem, snug and safe and relatively easy to access from that pocket.
    I’ll try to post pictures later today. I recently looked again on Etsy, and the vendor I used no longer seems to be there, but I’ll bet you could find someone to do it. It makes the Synapse/Synik into the best camera bag by far.
    Curt

  3. #3
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    Fellow Fuji user here— which body are you typically putting in the front lower pocket? And what lenses? I would also appreciate some pictures of of your set up when you have the opportunity to share them.
    QUOTE=cdgerston;189696]I’ve been using the front lower “chin” pocket of the Synapse 25 (and now the Synik 30) for cameras for several years now. It’s by far my all time favorite way to carry camera gear as a part of my daily carry. I’ve used two methods: at first, I just used neoprene lens cases, attached to the O-rings, with a little padding on the bottom of the pocket for the camera. This worked okay. Then, a few years ago, I ordered a couple of padded camera inserts specifically to fit in the chin-pocket from an insert maker on Etsy. That did the trick for me. I can carry a mirrorless camera (I use Fuji) and 2-3 lenses no problem, snug and safe and relatively easy to access from that pocket.
    I’ll try to post pictures later today. I recently looked again on Etsy, and the vendor I used no longer seems to be there, but I’ll bet you could find someone to do it. It makes the Synapse/Synik into the best camera bag by far.
    Curt[/QUOTE]

  4. #4
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    I'll give you my experience with a Nikon Z7 mirrorless, which is smaller than a DSLR but larger than 4/3 or micro 4/3 mirrorless systems.

    I have a Synapse 25, which is similar to the Synik. If you are used to a Think Tank photo bag, I'm guessing you will be slightly frustrated using Synapse or Synik. The lower outside pocket is big enough for a Z7 plus small prime lens or a Z7 with a 24-70 zoom (hood has to be reversed). The problem with this pocket is that it shares space with the main compartment. If you have a lot of things in the main compartment, they tend to settle towards the bottom of the pack and consequently take space away from the bottom outside pocket. I also would note that almost all the zippers on this backpack are curved versus straight for some reason, including the bottom outside pocket. This is good for soft things but actually makes it harder to put long blocky things such as a camera in the outside bottom pocket.

    As a better solution, I have attached a large s-carbiner to the shoulder strap. On my camera I have a thin tripod plate that has a hole which accepts a quick detach sling loop (these are generally extremely sturdy as they are mostly used for military rifles). The loop connects to the s-carbiner and you can remove or detach the camera very easily without having to open my pack. I am not a gun person, so I got the metal loop from Really Right Stuff.

  5. #5
    Registered User cdgerston's Avatar
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    @ozone , So this is how it looks with the custom insert. Itís snug, and it pushes a little into the main rear section of the pack, but not a lot. Itís still easy to zip open and closed to get the camera in and out, though I definitely need to set the pack down and itís generally a two-handed job, especially if I have a larger zoom attached. @AshleyM I have the X-T2, and X-H1, and a variety of zooms and some of Fujiís lovely little primes. In the photos above, thatís the X-T2 with the 18-55 attached, alongside the 55-200 and 50 f2 prime in the insert as well. The 55-200, and the 90 f2 are about the biggest lenses I can fit in the chin pocket insert, but I have carried larger lenses, like the 50-140 f2.8, in the water bottle pocket.
    Curt


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  6. #6
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    Thanks for the pics! This is a Synik 30, yes?

    Lovely set up you have there. Afraid 30L is too large for me. My Synapse19s are often too big for my frame. I do appreciate the pockets for holding lenses, though! Isn’t the 90 f/2 just incredible to shoot with? It and my 16-55 fit nicely in the outer vertical pockets—the 90 I tend to pack more carefully these days, as I once dislocated some of the glass and had to get it repaired.

    Thanks again for the pics—they give me some ideas how I could carry a smaller body and some primes if I ever size up to a Synik.
    Quote Originally Posted by cdgerston View Post




    @ozone , So this is how it looks with the custom insert. It’s snug, and it pushes a little into the main rear section of the pack, but not a lot. It’s still easy to zip open and closed to get the camera in and out, though I definitely need to set the pack down and it’s generally a two-handed job, especially if I have a larger zoom attached. @AshleyM I have the X-T2, and X-H1, and a variety of zooms and some of Fuji’s lovely little primes. In the photos above, that’s the X-T2 with the 18-55 attached, alongside the 55-200 and 50 f2 prime in the insert as well. The 55-200, and the 90 f2 are about the biggest lenses I can fit in the chin pocket insert, but I have carried larger lenses, like the 50-140 f2.8, in the water bottle pocket.
    Curt


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  7. #7
    Registered User cdgerston's Avatar
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    This is actually a Synapse 25 GE in the pictures, but I also have a Synik 30, and it works identically in that pack. I think the chin pocket is the exact same size.
    Iíve been tempted to try a Synapse19/Synik22, but with the smaller chin pocket, Iíve been reluctant, but youíre right: those side pockets would work nicely...hmmmm.
    I bought the X-H1 specifically to use with the same lens combo you have: the 16-55 and the 90...that is an incredible pair of lenses, especially with the IS and larger grip of the X-H1. Would work great on the new X-T4 as well.


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  8. #8
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    When I was working as a professional photographer and video guy, I had specific bags and cases for certain tasks. The specialization was necessary depending on the amount of gear required and the variety of roles I would be playing. Lowe backpack for two Nikons and five lenses. Hard case for three studio strobes and power pack. Specialized, form-fitting cases for the 4k video rigs, separate cases for the GoPros.

    When I retired two years ago, I shifted to my iPhone. As I was told by my mentor decades ago, "The best camera for the task is the one in your hands."

    Urban shooters must constantly choose between convenience and security when it comes to their photography gear. dEciding how much to carry at any one time is dependent on anticipated targets and destinations as well as a sense of what needs to get shot to fill in any gaps in the family's or city's visual records. The temptation to take everything all the time just I case is hard to push down.

  9. #9
    Forum Member BigBadD's Avatar
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    I have recently been using a Makerís Bag with Tenba BYOB insert for photography. This works well for me, easy to carry and access. I am using a Nikon Z6 mirrorless, and with a second lens it fits well in a Tenba BYOB 9 leaving plenty of extra room in the Makerís Bag for water bottle etc. If carrying additional lenses or flash, then a Tenba BYOB 10 also fits well in the Makerís Bag.

    Any recent TB bags that work well for photography?-534b043e-7f7c-43bb-87fd-1919c5ff5d9f-jpeg
    Any recent TB bags that work well for photography?-e81c434b-f5bf-402f-af5c-6fa5ab8bc3b8-jpeg

  10. #10
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    X Pros 1 and 2 have been my bread and butter for events and portrait work with both of those lenses. Got the Xt30 last year for a fun, travel option and now use it 99 percent of the time. My flash syncs so much better with it. Such a little work horse for what I do! I love all of Fuji’s lens line up, esp the primes, but the 16-55 stays on my camera almost all of the time. I balance my digital with quite a bit of film as well, especially medium format—but that set up requires its very own dedicated bag!
    Quote Originally Posted by cdgerston View Post
    This is actually a Synapse 25 GE in the pictures, but I also have a Synik 30, and it works identically in that pack. I think the chin pocket is the exact same size.
    I’ve been tempted to try a Synapse19/Synik22, but with the smaller chin pocket, I’ve been reluctant, but you’re right: those side pockets would work nicely...hmmmm.
    I bought the X-H1 specifically to use with the same lens combo you have: the 16-55 and the 90...that is an incredible pair of lenses, especially with the IS and larger grip of the X-H1. Would work great on the new X-T4 as well.


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  11. #11
    Registered User cdgerston's Avatar
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    The X-Pros look like marvelous cameras...as does the XT30. Lots of great gear to choose from, not enough cash :-)
    I have used the X100F, as well, when Iíve wanted to go small, and itís great, but as much as I want it to be my main carry around camera, somehow itís always either not wide enough, or not long enough, so I end up carrying a different camera with a zoom or pair of primes. Oh well...


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    I thought I was going to go for the X100F but ended up with the xT30-I thought about it so long (years) that multiple product cycles passed me by!

    I feel the same: I want the ease of small, but with All The Options All The Time. I think that if I had not accidentally stumbled into film photography in the midst of my digital Canon years of big heavy equipment, I would never have known how nice small and simple can be. Loving the latitude and relative simplicity of film camera builds is what let me to the Fuji X series to begin with. My first, used X Pro 1 and one prime lens was soooooo close to shooting film. But that quickly led to my thinking that this was a system I needed to use for money making work as well. I sold the Canon stuff, downsized and am happy. Except when I can’t quite decide on what might be the perfect Tom Bihn bag for carrying gear!
    Quote Originally Posted by cdgerston View Post
    The X-Pros look like marvelous cameras...as does the XT30. Lots of great gear to choose from, not enough cash :-)
    I have used the X100F, as well, when I’ve wanted to go small, and it’s great, but as much as I want it to be my main carry around camera, somehow it’s always either not wide enough, or not long enough, so I end up carrying a different camera with a zoom or pair of primes. Oh well...


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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by cdgerston View Post
    So this is how it looks with the custom insert. It’s snug, and it pushes a little into the main rear section of the pack, but not a lot. It’s still easy to zip open and closed to get the camera in and out, though I definitely need to set the pack down and it’s generally a two-handed job, especially if I have a larger zoom attached. @AshleyM I have the X-T2, and X-H1, and a variety of zooms and some of Fuji’s lovely little primes. In the photos above, that’s the X-T2 with the 18-55 attached, alongside the 55-200 and 50 f2 prime in the insert as well. The 55-200, and the 90 f2 are about the biggest lenses I can fit in the chin pocket insert, but I have carried larger lenses, like the 50-140 f2.8, in the water bottle pocket.
    Curt


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    Wow! Great feedback - love the photos! I don't have a custom insert, but I do have similar inserts that could work. I may pursue the Synik 30 then. Not like I don't have enough TB gear. LOL

    I bought TB's photo insert (looks a bit like an oversized Brain Cell) quite a while back. It sort of worked but I found it a bit cumbersome. I recall a post saying he was working on a dedicated camera solution but with most casual images being taken via smartphone, I wonder if a custom camera solution is worth it.

    I have more cameras than I need (!), so I can choose from several kits. My Panasonic GX9 and a few lenses are pretty compact. But I never thought a Fuji could fit in the Synik's bottom outer pocket as you've shown! I could possibly bring my Fuji instead.

    Thanks to all who chimed in!

  14. #14
    Registered User cdgerston's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AshleyM View Post
    I thought I was going to go for the X100F but ended up with the xT30-I thought about it so long (years) that multiple product cycles passed me by!

    I feel the same: I want the ease of small, but with All The Options All The Time. I think that if I had not accidentally stumbled into film photography in the midst of my digital Canon years of big heavy equipment, I would never have known how nice small and simple can be. Loving the latitude and relative simplicity of film camera builds is what let me to the Fuji X series to begin with. My first, used X Pro 1 and one prime lens was soooooo close to shooting film. But that quickly led to my thinking that this was a system I needed to use for money making work as well. I sold the Canon stuff, downsized and am happy. Except when I canít quite decide on what might be the perfect Tom Bihn bag for carrying gear!
    I kinda miss film. Way back when, I used to develop my own black and white in closet darkroom. Kind of miss that, though digital sure made things (especially color) easier. How are you managing your film output? Your own darkroom, or using a lab?

    And yeah, Iím nearly as bag-obsessive as I am lens/camera obsessive. Always trying to find the perfect lens on the perfect camera, and put it in the perfect bag. The never-ending search...


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  15. #15
    Registered User cdgerston's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ozone View Post
    Wow! Great feedback - love the photos! I don't have a custom insert, but I do have similar inserts that could work. I may pursue the Synik 30 then. Not like I don't have enough TB gear. LOL

    I bought TB's photo insert (looks a bit like an oversized Brain Cell) quite a while back. It sort of worked but I found it a bit cumbersome. I recall a post saying he was working on a dedicated camera solution but with most casual images being taken via smartphone, I wonder if a custom camera solution is worth it.

    I have more cameras than I need (!), so I can choose from several kits. My Panasonic GX9 and a few lenses are pretty compact. But I never thought a Fuji could fit in the Synik's bottom outer pocket as you've shown! I could possibly bring my Fuji instead.

    Thanks to all who chimed in!
    It would be nice someday (post crisis and when all the other projects TB has on tap is done) for Tom to create a pre-made insert or two for a bag or two, but I get that thatís not a real high priority. In the meanwhile, like I said, Iíll bet you can find someone on a place like Etsy that will make one for you, if you ever want one.


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