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  1. #1
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    Which bag for a photographer?

    Hi

    I'm a professional photographer who often travels to developing nations as part of my work.

    Travelling with professional cameras is a challenge. One rule is never check them in.

    At present I use a Red Oxx PR5. It's huge and very heavy when loaded. My cameras and electronic devices go in my Think Tank Shape Shifter.

    The bag I am wanting to replace is the RO. This year I have 3 weeks in Vietnam and Cambodia, a week in Australia and then 3 weeks in India. I need to carry a CPAP machine which is about 10" x 10” x 7" when cased. Other than that, 3 pairs convertible travel trousers, 5 pairs underwear and socks, 6 t shirts, one pair shoes, wash kit, razor, a pair of swimming shorts and various sundry items.

    I'm thinking either the larger Aeronaut or the TriStar. Probably ballistic but would consider the Halcyon option.

    Plane, train, bus, tuktuk and taxi are the usual transport methods.

    The bag will usually have to be checked as my cameras get the carry on slot.

    Your help and advice appreciated as I can't decide!
    Last edited by Kiwimac99; 05-26-2017 at 11:58 PM. Reason: Spell check error

  2. #2
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    I think it will just depend on your actual loadout needs and just how much stuff you want to carry in the bag?

    The TS will be better if you also will be using it for a Computer I think while the A45 is just bigger and more spacious overall.

    I love my Shapeshifter too and find it the most capable and protective bag that I have tried all while making a huge gear load pretty easy to carry too!
    The security for the gear and the expansion are pretty unique qualities in a pro shooters bag and I will never get rid of mine!

    I used mine with a Gura Chobe for a while and while it worked well there is a lot more space in the TS or A45 in the end.

    I think either Bihn will be a decent choice if you can live out of them for the time you need to.

    Of course they will also need to be shoulder carried too which can affect your choice as well.

    I have both bags and they are each amazing bags for sure,you can not make a wrong choice as long as your things will fit.

  3. #3
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    Hi. Thanks. I agree re the Shape Shifter. A very underrated camera travel option. I usually stick the laptop in that tbh.

    I like the organisation of the TS. I like many pockets for phones, papers etc. Perhaps a TS Plus would be ideal!
    Would the CPAP fit the TS ok?
    Do you have any thoughts re Halcyon v Ballistic?

  4. #4
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    I have no idea about the CPAP but it does seem rather huge,is it a smaller one?
    Maybe it could go into a lens pocket in the ShapeShifter instead,though again it seems pretty big and I have neither of these bags with me right now either.

    I am a Ballistic guy every time really and though I am impressed with the newer Halycon looks I just have no real interest in trying them when Ballistic works so well for me already and if its not broken why fix it!

    I have long wanted to try a Red Oxx bag too but I am just not a fan of the zipper & steel latch closures at all.

    The TS is great for organization for sure but you already have that too in the ShapeShifter while the A45 is no slouch organizing itself and just does cary more stuff.
    Whether that will give you space you need or just make you carry more stuff is a question that only you can really answer.

    I AM astounded at the way the A45 carries my big honking shoes too!There is a lot more room there than it seems before you start stuffing it but the same is true for the TS and pretty much every Bihn bag that I have tried.....somehow?

  5. #5
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    No spare pockets on the SS. 2 bodies and 3 lenses, laptop, chargers, batteries, portable hard drives, Bose headphones, Kindle etc use all of that.

    The CPAP is a pretty small one, yes.

    I'm slightly reluctantly thinking the Aeronaut as I think the smaller, more circumscribed packing compartments of the TS may not work for the longer trips.

    OTOH the TS would be great for domestic trips here in New Zealand where the cheapest flight tickets never include checked bags.

    Perhaps someone will read and offer further enlightenment! ��

  6. #6
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    I do similar work and I carried my gear in the Brain bag. I sure wish I got that camera insert for the BB but I did get the brain cell. This year I am going to try the Tristar and the Night Flight travel duffel. A lot of my gear is computer equipment and backup gear so I think that will ride better in the Tristar. We shall see!

    The Night Flight Travel Duffel will tote my DSLR.

    I mainly do video but I also do some photography. So what I am doing may not work for you.

    Stoked to have a Gimbal this year!

    Good luck on your trip!

  7. #7
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    I have to carry

    2 Sony A9 Bodies with grips
    16-35 f2.8
    24-70 f2.8
    70-200 f2.8

    Plus Windows Surface Pro 4, 2 hard drives, card reader, chargers, cords et al as well as for the plane flight - Bose headphones, Kindle, phone, phone charger, snacks, small sundries.

    That lot goes in the Shape Shifter which usually weighs in around twice the allowed 7kg limit ay 13-14kg (about 30lbs for US folk) but is deceptive enough that the airline staff have never asked me to weigh it!

    All my clothing, shoes, CPAP, first aid, wash bag etc is in my check in bag when flying with the cameras.

    Since I am often alone (except when my wife comes as a vacation) I have to be able to manage my junk getting around in-country on the train, small planes, tuk tuk etc etc and that is where I have the major issues as much as anywhere else.

    I usually have a 40lb check in and a 30lb camera bag, so you can see why I might like to reduce one of those!

    I can't reduce the camera bag - I need what I need in order to work - so it must be the other one. Here's my 'draft' packing list for that for my next trip to Vietnam & Cambodia:

    2 pr Scottevest convertible trousers
    5 pr underwear, 2 pr socks
    4 T shirts
    1 pair Teva sandals
    1 pair cotton loafing shorts
    1 pr swimming trunks
    1 lightweight sun hat
    Washkit
    Electric razor
    2 boxes (1 each L & R) disposable contacts
    CPAP machine
    Prescription meds/malaria tabs etc
    Sunscreen/insect repellant
    Leatherman Squirt
    Zebralight
    Minor misc odds & sods

    If that helps anyone with what might fit in what!

    I have a smaller Red Oxx Box Car (around 40l) which I will test pack tomorrow with that lot. If it fits there, it will fit the Aeronaut 45 I am sure - not too sure about the TS.

    The A45 is between 410g and 700g lighter than the RO Box Car, depending whether it is Halcyon or Ballistic. A big saving.

    I'd love to get the max weigh save from Halcyon: just not sure it would like the automated baggage systems. Maybe TB should do a simple zip up cover for Halcyon bags made from the Ballistic - just pop the bag in, zip shut and check it in!
    Last edited by Kiwimac99; 05-27-2017 at 09:59 PM.

  8. #8
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    So, I test packed that list into my Red Oxx Box Car and it fits comfortably and is manageable in weight terms, so anything around 40 litres will work.

    Saving between 400 and 700 grams off that by using an Aeronaut is helpful, although I am not sure that 400g is enough (when you are 6 ft and weigh 120kg) to warrant the US$65 international shipping charge. The 700g saving for the Halcyon option might be, however - if it will survive the check in process. I'm going to look for one of those cheap rucksack covers as that may be an option for covering the bag when checked as well as providing an emergency bag if needed.

  9. #9
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    I wouldn't hesitate to get the halcyon A45. Mine is black halcyon and has been checked several times with no ill effect. It's really quite rugged.

  10. #10
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    Thanks. That's sorted then!

  11. #11
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    In the end, I opted for ballistic in Navy/Wasabi. I just felt that the extra toughness of the ballistic on the road would serve me better and longer, especially given I do not live in the US, so returning the bag for repair would be a greater level of hassle and expense due to the overseas shipping etc.

    It's ordered and now just have to wait...!

  12. #12
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    I think either Bihn will be a decent choice if you can live out of them for the time you need to.

  13. #13
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    The A45 arrived after an 11 day journey to me from the USA. Should have got one last year when I spent a month there and saved the postage!

    Anyway, it's great. I think going for the ballistic was sensible, seeing what the Halcyon is like from the liner - fine if you never check the bag but not the best choice if you need to do that I think.

    I'm slowly figuring out how to fit what I need in it. A bit of trial and error with packing and re-packing on the bed in between work chores. The two outermost zipped pockets (the tight ones) are just right for those disposable slippers you get in hotels, btw.

    I could not use the bag if I was heading to somewhere like, say, Canada in winter to shoot because it simply would not take the bulky clothing, boots etc needed for that task. However, for hot places it works very well.

    Certainly the A45 was a better choice for me than the Tristar, which I think suits the packing style of business attire more than casual attire.

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