ThinkTank Photo : BackPack or Roller? YES!

When going to a local shoot, what do you feel is the best way to carry your gear?
For speed, a backpack usually is the ticket. When the shoot is done, and you’re packed and on the move, a roller would be sweet.
ThinkTank Photo has now upgraded my favorite StreetWalker BackPack, with wheels!

Here’s a situation: Went to cover one of my favorite events, Roller Derby, and with a full pack on my back, went into the same old entrance, mid block.
OK, now there was a special event also at the same venue, and I was told to go around the corner, and enter in the middle of that block. It’s summmer and didn’t want to show up all sweaty, and hustling with a heavy backpack. would make that a certainty.
Popped open the top, brought out the handle, and beetled around the corner.
Back still intact.
After a few hours of shooting slamming action, I was ready to pack away the 2 bodies, speedlights, batteries, and empty my pockets of extras, to get on the road.
Yes, the Black Rapid straps helped save the back, but the thought of strapping on a very full backpack, and walking the 12 blocks I needed to go, was not an appetizing thought. And I was in less of a hurry.(of course, still had a night of editing ahead!)

It was a pleasure to then be able to fold in the backpack straps, pop up the handle and get on my way. Even rolled my way into a local pizza place for a fast slice.
Point being, the walk home was an easier deal, thanks to some wheels.

When shooting local, the Street Walker has been my bag of choice: holds enough gear, and sits right on my back.
The addition of wheels, sent it over the top.

What’s in the bag? 2 bodies, 4 lenses, including a 50-140 2.8, 2 speedlights, battery pack for speedlights, cables, cam batteries, smartphone ext battery, etc.

So, what are the differences between the 2 versions? (other than wheels, and a handle? And money?)

Some minor bits. here you can see a height difference:

Top down, same good stuff: window for ID, great zippers ( you’ll know when you have bad ones) comfy handle, great construction.And of course a zippered compartment to hide away the handle. Good touch. Wider.

Wheeled:
Great design on the backpack straps ability to fold away.
Different design in the inside of the top flap. Now there is a slot for a 15″ Laptop, so it’s contained internally.
Slightly diff strap layout for your tripod.
Added smartphone pocket in one of the side pockets
Larger side pockets for bigger water bottles, snacks, and stuff

Non-Wheeled:
allows for a larger laptop 17″, with a side zippered outside access, only.
It also has a velcro strap on the back to allow you to securely add a gear belt, and further customize your rig.
Slightly less room inside, yet lighter overall.

Specs for those that like em:

STREETWALKER® ROLLING BACKPACK V2.0 SPECIFICATIONS-

Internal Dimensions:
11.8” W x 19.7” H x 6.3–7.1” D (30 x 50 x 16–18 cm)
Exterior Dimensions:
12.6” W x 21.9” H x 9” D (32 x 55.5 x 22.9 cm)
Laptop Compartment:
9.8” W x 14.5” H x 0.9” D (25 x 36.8 x 2.3 cm)
Phone Pocket:
3.9” W x 7.5” H x 0.6” D (10 x 19 x 1.5 cm)
Weight:
8.2 lbs. (3.7 kg)

STREETWALKER® HARDDRIVE SPECIFICATIONS-

Internal Dimensions:
11” W x 19” H x 6–7” D (28 x 48.3 x 15–18 cm)
Exterior Dimensions:
11.5” W x 19.8” H x 8.5” D (29 x 50.3 x 22 cm)

Laptop Compartment:
11.3″ W x 13.5″ H x 1.5″ D OR 15.3″ H when not using the bag with a gripped DSLR (28.6 W x 34.3 H / 38.72 H x 3.8 D cm)
Weight:
3.8–4.6 lbs (1.7–2.1 kg)

Basically the same great bag, with the advantage of wheels. If you work trade shows, as I do, it’s perfect! backpack to get out fast, rolling to go booth to booth.
Another fine addition to the ThinkTank line. Designed by photographers, for photographers. Highly recommended!

Yes, I still use the SKB hard case, with the ThinkTank backpack, when I fly. Can’t wait for that new TSA deal to kick in. Still no word about lenses. Time to get pre-check, if you don’t already have it!
Dang!

Epson FastFoto : Bulk Scan Precious Family Photos Without Sending Overseas

I love to scan old photos.
Seriously, being able to scan negatives and slide from my archives is one of my favorite evening pastimes. Set it up, scan and store. It almost becomes a treasure hunt, especially with the negatives.
One thing I was not scanning much were all of the 4×6 photos in my storage boxes. You know, we all have them. The personal records of our lives.
The neg sleeves from the commercial labs, like Fromex, had a short cut to the strips, and was, honestly a bit of a pain to deal with.
There are services where you pack all of your precious family photos into a box, and send them overseas to be scanned. Scared the heck out of me, so never did it.
The I saw a demo of the Epson FastFoto 640

When I first saw the Epson FastFoto last year, I had a feeling that this was a breakthrough product. Being able to bulk scan my family snaps, with speed, AND scan front and back for the older ones (people used to put notes on the back) was a win. And sitting on a small bit of a desktop? Worked for me!
Until I get to try these things out myself, I can’t truly comment.
After having one to test for a bit. I’m convinced.

Pure winner.
There is one downside that I’ll broach later. Continue Reading »

Focus & Filter : Great Deal to Step Up Your Photography – Under $15!

You have the new camera, and have figured out that the upgrade in your photographs is massive. How do you take the next steps? Want to crush it in the photo contests, and social media? Or maybe you just want to be the master of your photo domain?
The camera manual has some good info, now it’s time to expand the horizons.
Andrew Darlow, photo book writer, has come out with a new tome which is geared to the intermediate and advanced photographer titled : “Focus & Filter, Professional techniques for Mastering Photography and capturing the Perfect Shot”

Almost 200 pages, with 50 assignments you can try after walking through the lessons, to prove the technique. Worth $15? Continue Reading »

Nikon Starts the Summer Going Wet & Wide

It’s official! Summertime has begun.
Nikon has introduced an update to their excellent outdoor camera, newly named COOLPIX W300.

It’s waterproof, shockproof, dustproof. Oh yeah, and freeze proof for your wintry excursions.
16 megapixels, and 4K UHD video.
With Wi-Fi, it’s a pretty easy share to your phone, via an app, and posting all over the dang place.
Basically, when you don’t want to put your smart phone in danger, and the go-pro menus still infuriate you, this is their perfect catchall, do everything you need camera, in a nice small package.
Continue Reading »

Maybe The Best Photojournalist Traveling Bag!

I’m definitely a problem v. solution person. Need starts the search for the right gear solution.
And like many of us (all of us?) have a plethora of camera bags. the most fickle of gear options.
So, when my well planned flight from an event, went awry and I couldn’t put my ThinkTank Airport International in the overhead, and had to give it to the Flight Attendants who assured me that the bag would be in the hold and awaiting me at the gate. It wasn’t, then did, but that is another story.
Point being that the experience made me change things up. I needed a hard case, just in case I have to check my camera bag.
First solution was a Pelican 1510, with Trek Pak dividers, and then a ThinkTank backpack in my luggage, empty, then transfer once I got to a hotel/location. A bit funky, but it worked.
After 4 travelling shoots, I am ready to share this perfect solution from SKB.
They combined a great hard case, with a ThinkTank backpack, designed to fit perfectly inside the case!
Now, this is what it looks like:

I have packed it with a few different configurations-A mirrorless system with 2 bodies, and a plethora of lenses,& another with a mirrorless camera and a 4K video camera, broadcast handheld mic, lav, mic, etc. (this photo is just a sample image from SKB. Mine is all covered in stickers from events and cities)

It all depends on what the event will be.
An extra added beauty to this rig, is that there is enough space around the bag to add my many, many, many, lithium batteries. Seems we should be carrying them in the cabin now, and not checked. Thanks, exploding hoverboards and Samsung phones! I do keep them in mesh Muji bags so they are not flopping around. these have 2 compartments so I put used, and fresh batts in appropriate sides.

Plus, I always put a few TSA approved locks in that space, in case I do have to check the bag
The SKB outer case has a red button for raising and lowering the external handle, and is nicely places on one side of the top of the handle. This way you won’t accidentally lower it as you are rolling in with your hand in the middle of the grip.

The combination of a hard, waterproof case, with a ThinkTank quality backpack, has been a perfect combo.
Yes, the size is the same as a Pelican 1510, so you know what will fit.
Diving into the backpack a bit, you have a the adjustable dividers, and zippered see though compartments on the lid.

You can add a laptop or table to the outside, and the compartments for cards, easy to reach cables, pens, etc, are right where you need them.
One things.
There is a side pocket that I add a Gitzo traveler tripod into, secured by ThinkTank straps from some other bags. The tripod does get packed into my luggage. I could put a monopod with a ball head into the case, but I packed that into luggage as well.

What’s the downside? The only design flaw I saw was a zipper on the bag that had a tendency to catch on the weather resistance zipper cover. They are looking into that.

So. will it work with DSLR rigs? Of course it will! 2 bodies, the holy trinity of lenses (15-25, 24-70, 70-200 all f/2.8) tighter and heavier.

Cost is about $290 .Definite recco for purchase!
Yes, I have added another bag with some extra gear onto the handle. Full transparency, I brought my Nikon DSLR and lenses in addition to the mirrorless rig, to SXSW, in the additional bag. Yep, was still not sure the mirrorless could handle the speed of shooting live music.
And if you order via this link, you will get a bonus gift!

OK, here is what mine actually looks like, with the 4K Canon video cam, and Fuji X-T2 in there: