It was a while since I posted to this blog. Last half a year proved to be extremely busy for me, and I had to go travelling a few times. Therefore I did quite a few travel blog posts – but not this one. However, my recent travels actually contributed to this post in a way – today I want to share with you comments on my favourite camera bag and couple other such things.
Over the years I tried many camera bags and went through several manufacturers. Unfortunately – I never was really happy with my choices. Some bags were heavy, some not really designed smartly enough, they tended to slip-off from my arm, making walking around with them real pain. I say, Lowe Pro was one of my most decent experiences. But it was no thrill either. One Nikon bag I had looked promising as it was very light and slim. However – it did not give enough protection, and just walking around – I damaged a filter attached to my lens. Yes, it was packed in my bag, and I possibly did slightly hit something. Nothing so strong to remember it as an accident – but damage was done. That was the last time I used that Nikon bag – if it can’t protect my gear from a little impact, it has no use for my travels.
Then I heard from a friend about that Australian brand Crumpler. The company – I was told – was created by a guy sooo fed up with insufficiently and poorly designed courier and carrying bags and the discomfort they created to their owners, that he decided to change the way bags work – forever. Quite amazing story, I thought. And – I tried their largest camera bag called Seven Million Dollar Home. (Oh, you need to go to their Web site and see names of their products – quite fun!) Smallest from this series is called One Million Dollar Home, then – Two, and it goes up in size of bags to Seven Million.
I use my Seven Million Dollar bag long enough to say with confidence – I love it. It is super smartly designed. You can quickly grab your camera for unexpected quick shots. All is handy inside, and you can fit there plenty of stuff. It offers great protection, as it has really sufficient cushioning. In fact it is so soft that on couple of occasions I used my bag full of stuff as a cushion for a nap on my travels. It is made of very durable, water-resistant fabric, and it is not heavy at all. You can open your bag very quickly, but you can also protect it against easy opening with extra clamps (pick-pockets)?
And another interesting thing – it does NOT look like a pro photography gear bag. It is not calling for full attention of potential thieves, looking like typical camera bag with stuff of big value. It is just a bag…
I like my Seven Million Dollar Home bag so much that I did two more purchases of Crumpler products. A backpack – Karachi. It is a very smart backpack of a really decent size. You can put there all necessary gear including small laptop, tripod – and still you have some room for a snack or drink. It sits on your back amazingly well, does not feel heavy or give you any balance problems when you walk even on rough hikes. And – what is also great – it opens from your back side! This way it is totally pickpocket-proof, as there is no way to get inside without you knowing it. Super smart solution, if you travel to places where thieving is a problem.
And last of the items I bought from Crumpler is perhaps the smallest, but most loved piece of such equipment I have. It is a neck strap for my heavy Nikon D700. D700 and a tele zoom can weight together about 3 kilograms, it is like handling a brick. Do you like these straps manufacturers include with their cameras? Do you think they are adequate? Sometimes I think that the only purpose of these straps is advertizing the brand with big logos printed on them. These straps are so narrow, inflexible, uncomfortable. You can do same well using a shoelace. Walking around all day with camera hanging on that original strap around my neck sent me many times to see a chiropractor. It made me overly tired, with headache, and simply jeopardized quality of my work.
A camera costing $2,500 or more with a $0.25 strap – a real industry disgrace. Would you say so? Well, Crumpler did! And, they named their superbly designed neck strap “Industry Disgrace”! How appropriate! They shame Nikon, Canon and other big names in the most obvious way.
Now I can walk with my camera for hours. The nicely cushioned strap distributes weight in such way that your neck is pain free. The strap is breathable and has an amazing grip – it won’t fall off your arm. It is just a marvel, proving once again that thinking and experience can improve many products we think are good.
All these three Crumpler items help me do my job better, with more comfort and pleasure. I bet most other items by this company are similarly great. Go, Crumpler, Go!
And while Crumpler is now available through many camera stores and e-bay – you need to visit their web site, just for the fun of it!
Until next time, cheers!
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Written by Derek Galon – photographer behind award-winning books Tropical Homes of the Eastern Caribbean, and Exotic Gardens of the Eastern Caribbean.
You can see his travel/location blogs here.