Dec 012014
 

Cyber Monday Deals (Things I would Buy) – Sony, Cosyspeed and more!

Hey guys! It’s “Cyber Monday” and while every year stores and manufacturers try to get me to push their deals on things I would not personally ever buy, every year I do not post 95% of those deals simply because as I said…I would never buy or use these products. But sometimes there are deals that come along that I feel are special, or well worth the cost and sometimes, a downright NO BRAINER. Things I WOULD buy! Last week I posted a couple of deals..one on the Hasselblad Stellar SE at 70% off (and I ordered one myself), the deal on the Sigma DP Quattro, which is almost half off from $999 to $599. The Sigma is a unique camera and was not tempting to me at $999 but at $599 it is something that some will want for its unique IQ and capabilities for certain subjects.

Below are a few more deals on things that I feel are a great bang for the buck…

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Sony also has some AWESOME deals on the A6000 camera (which is FANTASTIC, see my review HERE)..

Sony A6000 with 16-50 Power Zoom lens – $598!

Sony A6000 Body only – $448!

CAMSLINGER 160 Paris Gray

CosySpeed has a great deal on their Camslinger bags at $69 each! THIS BAG IS A STEAL FOR $69 and is one of the most useful camera carrying cases I have ever used. See my video on it HERE.

Buy the Cosyspeed Camslinger in BLACK for $69 HERE at B&H Photo. A $50 SAVINGS.

Their finger strap is something I actually prefer to a wrist strap, and it can be had for only $12.90. See it here. (Also used in the video at the above link) 

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How about a deal on the Fuji X100S?

$899 in black!

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Also, do not forget Leica has some cool discounts right now. $750 of an M 240 and $250 off of most lenses. You can buy Leica from Ken Hansen, PopFlash.com, The Pro Shop or Leica Store Miami.

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NIKON!

There is a great Nikon Df deal over at Amazon (Through ONECALL) where you can get a Nikon Df and 50 1.8 for $600 off (in black) for a total of $2396 (20% off). Check it out HERE.

Nov 252014
 

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The NEW Wotancraft THOR and Ryker Brown Camera Bags!

I love Wotancraft bags. Today, at the end of 2014, I have tested and tried bags from so many companies. Many have been reviewed here, some were used and not reviewed (when I did not care for the item) and a few were used and given away to readers on my Facebook page.

One company that NEVER EVER fails to impress me 100% of the time is Wotancraft. When it comes to QUALITY and FUNCTIONAL and FASHIONABLE bags, Wotancraft is #1 in my book. Sure, there are some mighty fine bag companies out there making beautiful bags today. Artisan & Artist, ONA, Billingham and Hold Fast Gear. Sure, there are bags that are basic and cheaper and VERY functional. Bags like Think Tank are #1 when it comes to function but stylish they are usually not.

Some people could care less about style, and others MUST have style along with the function. For me, the best I have seen EVER for this kind of bag (style and function) is from WOTANCRAFT, without question. This is what makes them my #1 favorite bag company ever. In my last review of their Ryker (black) I was so excited about this bag that they sold out quickly after my review. Many waited 2-3 months for their Ryker as they are produced in limited runs. Many asked me “do they make this beautiful bag in Brown leather as well as black”?

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Well, I am happy to announce that yes, the Ryker is NOW available in Brown as well as black. The brown and black are both here sitting next to me at my desk and I can say that both are just BEAUTIFUL. I feel the brown will wear in better over the years and develop a rich patina but both are equally as impressive in the looks, build quality and materials used as well as FUNCTION, the #1 reason we need a camera bag. This brown would look SO SO good with a silver chrome Leica M housed inside, or even a Fuji X100 or X-T1, Leica TOlympus E-M1 or a Sony A7 series camera. Have a Leica X, that will work as well :)

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In fact, I find for my use that the Ryker is the most functional bag I have owned when using a Leica M or mirrorless system. It’s really that good. 

The new Brown Ryker can be seen in my review video below where I talk about it and the new Thor bag (which is a beautiful beast of a bag). Both are beautiful as well as the best constructed bags I have ever used, tested or owned.

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The new Thor is very interesting as it comes in at a VERY high price tag of $849 USD. Yes, just $150 less than a cool grand. EXPENSIVE? HELL YES. Worth it? Well, that depends in YOU and how m much you are comfortable with when buying a bag of this quality. These are high end bags and are made to a very high standard as well. If you want quality, as in, lifetime quality, these bags will stand the test of time without questions. When you buy a bag such as the Thor ($849 USD) or Ryker ($379 USD) you can expect to own it for the rest of your life. It will travel with you everywhere and only develop character scars from your own use. Patina will develop over time and in 20-30 years the bag will be rich in history and beauty. That is the kind of bag you can expect from Wotancraft. One thing I have learned in my 45+ years on this earth. Buying quality 1st saves you money later as you do not have to replace your items when you buy the good stuff up front. ;)

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I have nothing but high praise for Wotancraft. Premium materials, premium construction and build and super function. These pieces are as good as it gets for me. Highly Recommended.

You can see more about these bags or order them at WOTANCRAFT direct using THIS LINK. You can also see more of what they offer by clicking HERE. 

Wotancraft is also having a special for the Christmas Season. Anyone who buys a bag will receive a very nice travel pouch with their order!

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Nov 192014
 

Steve Huff in Las Vegas (10)

Testing the new CosySpeed Camslinger Bag for Street Shooting (Video)

A month or two ago I was out in Las Vegas with the Head Honcho of CosySpeed (Thomas Ludwig) who travelled all the way from Germany to let me see his newest bag as well as shoot some video of me street shooting while using it and putting it to the test. I also did an interview where I answered quite a few questions about photography as well as discussing things I enjoy, my style and what drives me. It was a great time and I enjoyed it as I was doing what I love to do in a city I enjoy for its vast amount of photographic subjects.

Here I am using the new “Paris Grey” Camslinger in Las Vegas NV a few weeks ago. See how I prefer to shoot on the street…

I talked about the CosySpeed Camslinger bags when they were launched and I actually really enjoyed them. I even used on my recent Southwest Road Trip workshop during the Antelope Canyon portion of the event. It worked out VERY well as it allowed me to carry my Sony A7s without even realizing I was carrying it. Much lighter than a backpack, less noticeable on my body than a strap and a great fast way to get your mirrorless camera ready for action.

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In Vegas I used the new Grey model which I thought was pretty nice, especially when compared to the Green and Black original. The grey was classy and looked great. As I walked I even had a couple of people ask me what bag it was. The whole concept of the bag came to CosySpeed owner, Thomas Ludwig while he watched two of his favorite movies. One was a Clint Eastwood western, which insider him to make a holster style case that was a bit different from the typical “Fanny Pack” we see today. The Camslinger does not sit on your waist like a fanny pack, it sites more like a holster for your camera…slightly lower on one side for easy access to the camera inside.

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As I walked the streets of Las Vegas with the Camslinger I found that I never even noticed I was carrying a thing, until I went to grab my Camera. It is that light and un-obtrusive. After that shooting session I was sort of hooked on the holster bag. It was functional, it was attractive and when it was on me, I did not even realize it. Thomas told me they also were releasing an all black version MINUS the green, which is also killer for those who want their case/bag/holster to be all black and stealthy.

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The belt is adjustable, the bag is adjustable and can be made wider depending on your needs and they come in a couple of sizes. They also do not and wilt break the bank. These bags are well worth the cost at $99 for both the special edition Camslinger 160 in Paris Grey and the 160 Street Edition in al black.

In this world of $400-$600 camera bags, getting a simple, functional and very lightweight holster for your camera at $99 seems like a bargain of the year.

Don’t be put off by the looks, in use it is fantastic. You can buy these Camslinger Bags at B&H Photo HERE.  I now own the Paris Grey version I used in the video above and love it. When I need to take one camera with me, the 160 Camslinger goes with me and it is like not even bringing a camera as you really do not realize it is on!

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PRESS RELEASE BELOW:

New CAMSLINGER bags from COSYSPEED.

Just in time for the Christmas season, COSYSPEED introduces two new color editions of its CAMSLINGER camera bag for compact system cameras: the CAMSLINGER 160 Street Edition and the CAMSLINGER 160 Paris Gray. Both versions of the bag will be available by mid-November for a special price of 79.99 Euro / US-$ 99.00.”

AD Steve NOV14

A quick word about Street Photography

A week or two ago I posted a video I whipped up about how I GO ABOUT shooting images on the “street” and a few of you (only a few) chimed in saying “taking portraits in not street photography” – well…who defined what street photography is? Those who like to shoot the backs of heads or sniping shots of unaware people? To me, that is just random shooting.

For example, Vivian Maier is one person I consider to be an amazing “street photographer”. In fact, I prefer her work to any of the old masters many rave about. She did a mix of “decisive moment” shooting as well as “street portraits” and she is now known as a great street photographer, as she should be. That is what she did and she was fantastic at it. But saying portraits of strangers is NOT a form of street is incorrect, as it is.

Steve Huff in Las Vegas (6)

I do not and have never posed anyone though sometimes they pose themselves if I am doing that sort of street portrait. I like to mix it up and get people without me telling them up front and I also like to chat it up with others, and then ask them for a photo. It works both ways but I do not “pose”  – I just go out, walk around, look for interesting people to meet and try to be as social as possible as this approach usually yields some great results, more so than sneaking shots of people walking by or “decisive moments” of someone walking out of a shadow in front of a building which is so overdone it is quite boring to look at today.

I find people interesting and in a place like Las Vegas, most are willing and excited to talk with you. It’s a fun time and shooting strangers is something I have always enjoyed. Its therapeutic and feels great and yes, this is indeed a form..a version..a variant of “Street Photography”.

I enjoy it and in the grand scheme of things, that is ALL that matters ;)

 

Sep 252014
 

wotancraft

The New Upgraded Wotancraft Scout and Ranger bags 2014

“With signature elements of rugged authentic leather and distressed hardware,
new City Explorer integrated WotanCraft’s latest developed exclusive “WAL canvas spec.1.6”
a composite waxed fabric material never seen in camera bag creations,
combining 3 crucial features of a protective bag:

WATERPROOF, ABRASION-RESISTANT, LIGHTWEIGHT”

Hey guys! I have a new video review of two new upgraded bags from Wotancraft, the new SCOUT & RANGER bags from their City Explorer line. If you remember my last Wotancraft review it was for the Ryker, which is my #1 fave every day bag ever. I use it every day and it has been with me everywhere, been rained on, been in the swamps and has been sitting in the 110 degree heat in the AZ desert. It is only getting better and better. The only issue with the Ryker is that it is too small for traveling and carrying larger things like camera gear, laptop, chargers, etc.

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The new 2014 Ranger AND Scout have a new material that is 50% lighter, waterproof and abrasion proof. They are attractive, feel great on and look great as well. THEY LOOK RUGGED and feel rugged. They are not as fancy as the Leather Ryker but they are just as beautiful and many will prefer this look over the Ryker for their personal use.

The entire City Explorer line has received the new material treatment, which is pretty fantastic.

Check out my look at these two bags in my video review below:

When the Ranger arrived to me I was VERY impressed. The bag arrived in a nice cloth outer bag to protect it and WOW..the construction is just off the charts. The hardware, the function, the features and the style..love it all. After the Ryker I became a huge Wotancraft fan. After the Ranger and Scout, I am even more of a fan. I also started to check out the other goods they sell and am impressed with what I see on their website as they have some pretty cool and beautiful accessories, even watch straps!

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For traveling the Ranger will be a good bag to choose. For every day, the Ryker or Scout is the one for me. 

You can read much more and see more and order these bags over at Wotancraft by using the direct link HERE

  

Sep 152014
 

holdfast

HoldFast Gear: The Roamographer Bag and Money Maker strap

To see all of these goodies in more detail, check out HOLDFASTGEAR.COM!

A couple of weeks back I received a message from Matthew Swaggart, the owner of HoldFast Gear. He asked if I would like to review their Roamographer bag, small lens pouch and Money Maker strap system. I knew of HoldFast and knew that they sold only uber high quality and functional gear that also looked fantastic. All leather, all quality hardware and based right here in the USA.

I told Matthew to send me whatever he wanted me to  take a look at and a few days later I received a package containing the new Roamographer bag in Great American Bison Leather, a Navy lens pouch bag and the Money Maker strap in Water Buffalo Tan. When I took everything out of the box I was in awe of the quality. The last time I was this pleased with the quality of an accessory was when I wrote about the Wotancraft bags recently. Like the Wotancraft bag, the HoldFast Roamographer just oozes quality and workmanship.

BUT beware! It is a LARGE bag. This is not a tiny mirrorless system bag, not at all. This is a full-fledged large carry all bag, or what I like to call a “travel bag” as it is one I would personally use for traveling or large jobs, just like the one I did yesterday. It even has a super nice hang tag called the “luggage tag wallet” that can hold your phone, cards, ID, etc that can be added to it (or it can be used alone). When I say it oozes quality, I really mean it. This is up there with the best I have seen, even equaling bags I in the $1200 range. So if you are someone who loves function and style and quality craftsmanship, I am telling you now that you MUST take a look over at the HoldFast site because they offers some of the most unique accessories for photographers that I have ever seen. Gear for pros such as wedding shooters, sports shooters, portrait shooters and even things for enthusiasts who just want the best quality they can get a hold of, all while being very fashionable.

In other words, the HoldFast Gear products all have a certain kind of SWAGGER so it is no surprise that the owners last name is “Swaggart”, lol. Just yesterday Debby told me “I am stealing this bag for our trips”! I told her, “sure thing, just take out the camera insert and you can use it as a normal travel bag”. It’s very versatile.

The Roamograoher is a gorgeous bag my friends but be prepared to pay the fee for that beauty, quality and usefulness. The Roamograoher comes in at $535, but in all reality, it is worth it because this is one of those bags that stay with you for life, and can even be passed down for generations. It will age well and develop a natural patina and softness over the years. This is a bag I have already been complimented on SIX times while out and about with it, people asking me “where did you buy that bag”??

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We have all seen those old classic leather bags from 20-30-4-50 years ago. They usually have a uniqueness to them, a very cool vibe that tells a story. THIS will be one of those bags in 20-30 years. Of all of the bags I have tried, tested, reviewed and used, this is up there with my other favorite, the Wotancraft Ryker.  The Ryker is my go to mirrorless bag that is already breaking in so so well. The Roamographer will be my #1 goto for travel, big treks, jobs and times when I need to carry more such as my macbook air, chargers, lenses, and 2 or 3 bodies. It is perfect for those with a DSLR system as well. Walk into the job with this bag and the money maker strap system and you will look the part and feel it.

Below is a video overview of the bag I did while on location shooting in the Domes of Casa Grande, AZ. It was 106 degrees, I was hot and Brandon was shooting (sorry for the audio dropout part of the video). As you can see it is a gorgeous bag:

One thing I love just as much if not more than the bag though is the Money Maker Strap system. I have known about this for a long while now but never thought I would need it. HOW WRONG WAS I! Man, after getting it all figured out, which took me all of 3 minutes, I started to appreciate the usefulness and versatility of this amazing strap system. The Money Maker is just that, a strap that pros will be able to take serious advantage of. They will gain speed, comfort and will have access to 1, 2, or 3 cameras instantly without fuddling around for a bag, or adjusting a shoulder strap. It is quite the amazing design.

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The MM strap fits around your body comfortably as it is 100% adjustable to your body size. A camera can sit to your left, waist level, to your right and in front of you. It is absolutely comfortable. Many wedding pros use this strap and swear by it. They would not use anything else. If I shot weddings, concerts, or anything where I used more than one camera, this would be my #1 go to accessory. It really is that amazing.

I am wearing the strap below with all options ON, set up for three cameras. Image below shot with the A7s and 15mm Voigtlander.

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The quality is so so good and my strap is the Water Buffalo version. The feel, the coloring and the wrinkles in the leather all make it appear to be a really high quality and fashionable product. It looks awesome on and feels just as good as it looks.

You guys who follow me know that when I REALLY love something I REALLY like to let that be known. This is one of those occasions.

 Below is a video from Matthew Swaggart explaining his Money Maker Strap system. 1, 2, or 3 cameras!

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You can read MUCH more about the Money Maker Strap system here and see it in all of the available leather colors by clicking HERE. Prices start at $200 and for me, this is very fairly prices at $200. Really. I have seen straps for $175 that were just plain old little leather straps for one camera. THIS is a SYSTEM for carrying your cameras that allow you to carry up to THREE of them without the cameras even being close to each other. They stay in place at your side and when you need one of them you slide it up to your eye in a natural movement. For pros with multiple cameras, this is a must own IMO! I wish I had this when I shot those Seal tours as it would have come in handy and stopped me from banging up my Leica’s at the time.

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I also was sent a cool little lens pouch that will strap on to the Money Maker Strap system so if you are shooting with 1-2 cameras you could use this pouch to hold a couple of lenses or even a mirrorless camera. It is gorgeous and the one I was sent is made of blue canvas with a sheep skin interior. It has the softest most protective interior I have ever seen in a camera bag, period. This little guy is called the Explorer Lens Pouch.

You can read more about the pouch here. For me it helps to complete this as a system. You can carry cameras, lenses and some accessories without even realizing you are doing it.

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Bravo to HoldFast Gear. These are some super cool products for enthusiasts and pros and I was so thrilled with the quality and versatility that I asked Matthew if he would like to be a site sponsor and he took me up on that. When I see quality gear that is made with passion and superb workmanship I really want people to know about it. Hopefully some of you can go checkout the site at HoldFastGear.com and browse what he has to offer. Thank you Matthew for letting me experience what you are all about, love your products!

Aug 062014
 

Locho Camera Bag review

By Justin Heyes

Camera bags come in all shapes and sizes from little pocket pouches to heavy-duty rolling rigs and for the most part they can be pretty ugly. Would you ever walk around carrying your belongings in something that resembles a heavily padded diaper bag? No. Then why would you want to carry your camera, a tool for your creativity, in something like that? Style should matter to you when it comes your photographic life – enter Locho.

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Usually fashionable camera bags cost you as much as much as you paid for the camera itself. You justify the cost by telling yourself that everyone else has that bag so it must be good. Locho is a new comer to the seemingly overcrowded camera bag world. Jeremiah Robison Kickstart-ed the Locho DSRL Satchel in December of 2012. After a month the campaign was unsuccessful, but that didn’t stop the bag from coming to market.

The Locho Satchel is modeled after the Cambridge style satchel and can either be worn on the shoulder or as a backpack with the set of included straps (3 straps: 1 shoulder, 2 backpack). Measuring 16.5” x 6” x 11.5” the Locho Satchel is by no means a small fry. The exterior is made from top quality water resistant vegan leather (polyurethane) and the interior is a soft felt material. It comes in four colors: black, blue, brown and red. It has a subtle distressed look like it had already been well-worn. The side of the satchel was stiff and a touch boxy. The main flap is not floppy like a messenger bag and kept its shape when folded back.

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It has ample room with pockets for a 13 inch laptop and tablet. It also provides a padded interior pocket and magnetic side pockets. The pockets are described “for phone storage” and seem a bit small with the dimensions able to hold something the sized of an iPhone 4. The satchel comes with 3 adjustable Velcro dividers that almost are the full depth of the bag. Two dividers can be laid on their side to crate a bottom compartment. Locho’s logo is embossed on each side pocket flap and on the front pocket with their stylized “locho” underneath.

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Locho uses a tuck-lock closure instead of hidden magnets or traditional buckles. This give the bag an old world style. The closures are attached by a non-adjustable buckle and don’t have satisfying click when closed, but they held strong when needed. On the back there is a zippered pocket that can be open to slide over the handles of your luggage; it can also be used to store the set of straps that are not in use.

When I chose to carry my tripod with me, I used the backpack straps to attach it to the bottom of the satchel. The straps attach to D-rings around the satchel. There are two on the sides for the shoulder strap and three in a V-shaped pattern on the back. Neither set of straps include padding. Wearing the back as a backpack doesn’t cause any strain or fatigue on the neck or shoulders, but the body strap will dig into the shoulders a little when the bag is fully loaded.  When the satchel was shipped to me it was in a plain cardboard box. It was wrapped inside a dust bag with Locho logo printed across the front. There was a subtle smell of leather not as strong as a normal leather bag, but not overbearing.

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My initial feelings toward the bag were not very good. I thought it was big and boxy. It was much different from most soft sided bags I have used, not at all what I was expecting. I was informed what the difference between Cambridge style satchel and a messenger style bag were. It is a different style and required a different approach.

With any traditional soft-sided camera bag I have had, placing it on the ground I would make sure it wouldn’t get bumped or get knocked over. The Locho Satchel has proved time and again that it is rugged and tough. I have placed it on the muddy and rocky ground with out damage to my glass inside. I just wiped it off and continued on my way.

I always wonder why only few people care about the weight of the camera bag, albeit many seem to care about the weight of the camera. Camera manufactures are also crazy about reducing the weight of the camera, but bag manufactures aren’t. Bag weight only reflects it’s construction and padding or lack of.

The recommended capacity from Locho is one DSLR and three lenses. It can handle the 5D Mk IIIs and D800s out in the world without a problem. What I got into my satchel was a Fuji X-E1, a fist full of lenses, two flashes, a flash recorder, external drive, my tablet and notebook and miscellaneous cables and extra batteries with room to spare.

The use of vegan leather (polyurethane) as the external material may be a problem for some, but it has its benefits. It’s waterproof and socially conscious. It won’t age, become discolored, or stretch out over time. Leather is nice for occasional carry but is susceptible to damage from abrasion and stains. While genuine leather is great, it is costly and needs regular maintenance.

I gave the bag to another photographer and a local artist an this is what the had to say about the bag.

Few things to say about Locho Satchel:

Let me start by pointing out the obvious but also my favorite thing about this satchel; the color! I’m a really big fan of vibrant colors and this bag nails it. The 4 colors available really appeal to my sense of aesthetics. Its got an old style feel to it (with its design and clasps), a leather look to it, soft interior, and eye-catching colors with a handle and strap (very functional).

Now to move beyond the eye candy, the other aspect of this satchel that I like is the SPACE. I personally did not give the dividers a chance because most of my art supplies I keep in their own containers, but I was able to fit so much into the bag. I could fit my tablet, sketch book(s), 2 containers of markers, and 2 separate pencil cases. I never felt my stuff was crowed or worried the I would crush anything. Re-arranging things I bit, my 15 inch laptop, charger, small sketch book, and more were able to be fit in the main compartment. This isn’t even with me taking advantage of all the extra side/back/interior pockets.

My only real complaint for this bag it that its bigger then what I personally would need for my supplies. It’s large and very block-y. It’s a very rigid bag. But I’m also not using it for camera gear were I assuming the need for dividers and space to keep fragile equipment would come in handy. The plus-side to a bag design like this is that with wear I believe it would hold up and it would give you a really nice worn in look and with colors that would last.

Include in the box with the Locho Satchel was their DSLR strap. It is a nice little strap with a woven wool exterior and rubberized backing. The nylon attachment straps are a little too thick to easily thread on the plastic slide. The padded rubberized backing was nice when used on the shoulder and didn’t slip off nearly as much as a stock strap; when used on the neck it grabs the skin and can be uncomfortable. I would have liked this if it were padding on the satchel strap. Locho offers the straps in colors to match their satchel so you can mix or match.

 

Jun 122014
 

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How much gear can you squeeze into an ONA Bowery bag for a trip to Japan?

By Pierre Aden

You can order the Bowery HERE

When it comes to camera gear I am constantly searching for the perfect combination of compactness, quality and convenience – like many of you do for sure. For my latest trip to Japan in May 2014 I neither wanted to bother myself nor my girlfriend with big bags of equipment and heavy tripods,
including lengthy sessions of swapping lenses. Vacation should be fun after all.

After I came back I thought my experiences using my current setup could be interesting for other people facing the same challenge, so I asked Steve to publish my report and thanks to him I can share my results with you now.

Many people avoid the problems mentioned above for good reasons, they use one camera and a superzoom lens and that’s it – and this is perfectly fine! Unfortunately I’m a big fan of extreme short focal lengths so given this fact I am forced to bring at least two additional lenses – an ultra-wide
lens and a fisheye. Furthermore I don’t like tripods (well, at least I don’t like carrying them and spending too much time with long exposures – again, my girlfriend doesn’t like this either, he he). I have a small tripod that fits in my jacket but I don’t use it on a daily basis, during my 14 days of
vacation I only used it on two evenings. This means that I need a camera with a good stabilizer for handheld shots and prime lenses with a large aperture. Finally I like a variety of focal lengths on my pictures, so a couple of primes need to be in the bag.

You see, it’s getting complicated and the superzoom lens is disqualified based on my personal requirements. So let me show you my approach of having a small bag, minimizing lens swapping and having all the focal lengths that I like with me all the time.

Equipment:
– ONA Bowery bag
– Sony Alpha 6000 E-Mount
– Sony SEL1018 UWA zoom
– Olympus OMD-EM-1
– Olympus PEN E-PL5
– Rokinon 7.5mm F3.5 Fisheye
– Olympus M.Zuiko 17mm F1.8
– Olympus M.Zuiko 45mm F1.8
– Olympus M.Zuiko 75mm F1.8
– Remote Control for the Sony A6000
– 3 extra batteries
– USB stick for backup
– lens pen
– hand wrist strap
– extra memory cards
– cleaning tissue

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.. and this is what it looks like on me…

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Pretty small, isn’t it? It’s neither heavy nor big and I was able to carry it all day without getting problems with my shoulder / back. The daily “start setup” was usually the A6000 with the SEL1018, The OM-D EM-1 with the 75mm F1.8 and the Olympus PEN E-PL5 with the 17mm F1.8 attached. In addition the Rokinon Fisheye and the 45mm F1.8 lens for MFT were in the bag and if required I attached these lenses to the PEN and stored the detached lens in the bag. While walking down the streets / parks / temples etc. I just grabbed the combination I “needed” for the individual moment and took the picture. Often I used more than one camera to have some different views of the scene I was shooting. So lens swapping was very rare because in many situations one or more of the combinations I was carrying were already fine.

The longest focal length is 75mm which means 150mm in terms of 35mm equivalent. Personally I don’t need more than that and use the 2x digital teleconverter on the EM-1 if required, sacrificing some quality. Since I don’t need it in 99% of the cases I can live with that and don’t carry an
extra lens.

I have a lens hood attached to the SEL1018 and sometimes I had two cheap JJC lens hoods for the 17mm / 45mm lenses with me when the sun was very bright but I didn’t use one for the 75mm. In my experience it’s not mandatory and it makes the lens much bigger, no room for that in my bag ;).

Let’s see some results – I will start with shortest focal length (Rokinon Fisheye 7.5mm) )and will end with the longest one (M.Zuiko 75mm). I’m using the Fisheye mostly for fun and because it brings some unique perspectives that I’m not able to see with my pure eyes. Only by looking through the viewfinder / on the screen I can see the world through the fisheye. Even though I don’t make many pictures with it I would definitely miss it in my bag. The Rokinon for MFT is also special because of the minimum focus distance of 9cm – this makes it nearly a wide-angle macro lens. Furthermore the short focal lengths makes low light handheld shots possible in many cases, especially using the EM-1 with the 5-axis stabilizer.

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The next lens which is slightly longer is the SEL1018 on the Sony A6000 – this is also my tripod combination in many cases. I like the APS-C sensor a little more than MFT for long exposures because it gives me some better results and I can go down to ISO 100. Since the SEL1018 is stabilized the lack of a stabilizer in the Sony A6000 is no issue. This combination is my main architecture / landscape lens and I like to use it a lot for some dramatic views. It’s also a good option for handheld in-camera HDR JPGs. For my trip I shot in JPG about 95% of the time, simply because I wanted to share pictures with my friends and family on a daily basis without spending
time on processing and because of the huge amount of data. Most of the time I didn’t really miss the lack of post-production possibilities but for long exposures I usually switch to RAW and process the pictures later at home using Lightroom and Photoshop.

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The 17mm lens for MFT is great for indoor shots due to the large aperture of 1.8. Nevertheless, in Japan it was the lens I used the least because the focal length is not one of my personal favorites and because on the PEN E-PL5 it was hard for me to guess if the resulting pictures were sharp due
to the not really great screen, at least compared to my other cameras. This is the reason why I switched to the PEN E-P5 after my vacation. It still fits in my bag perfectly and has a much better screen / stabilizer while being more expensive though. I used the 17mm primarily for some indoor pictures of “the small things” but also for some low light handheld shots .

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The M.Zuiko 45mm lens is a classic – cheap and sharp, great bang for the buck. Some might consider it too long for street photography but for me it was just fine. Using the very fast autofocus of the MFT cameras made it fun using this lens on the street. I thought it couldn’t get any better but the 75mm I bought during my vacation in Japan is even more impressive. This lens is of course much more expensive but I was able to get it rather cheap in Japan so I couldn’t resist. But let’s start with some pictures using the
45mm first:

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Last but not least, the M.Zuiko 75mm lens. Razor sharp with an awesome bokeh, a real pleasure to use on the Olympus EM-1. Using the great 5-axis stabilizer it’s no problem using this lens even in low light without a tripod, really impressive. It instantly became my favorite lens and I used it on the street as well as for landscape pictures.

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So in a nutshell that’s my experience using my gear during the last vacation. Is it perfect? No, I already identified some room for optimization (like replacing the PEN E-PL5 with the PEN E-P5) but for me it was real close to a perfect compromise. On the other hand, our hobby wouldn’t be fun if we were not able to find improvements and get new gear on a regular basis, right ;)?

If you have comments, suggestions or simply would like to get in touch with me I will be more than happy if you contact me via the following channels:

Pictures (including the remaining ones from my trip to Japan)
www.ultraweit-verwinkelt.net

Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/ultraweitverwinkelt

Google+
https://plus.google.com/110027262868810382651/posts
Thanks for your time!

Pierre

Jun 022014
 

I welcome a new Site Sponsor, COSYSPEED!

You can buy the COSYSPEED Camslinger HERE. My video review of the Camslinger is HERE.

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Hello to all! Just wanted to chime in and welcome the newest (and last for at least a year, no more room!) site sponsor, COSYSPEED! They are the ones who make the very interesting and cool Camslinger bag that is really not like a bag at all. In fact, when I wear mine I do not even feel like I have anything on at all (though it does look fannypack-ish) I reviewed the Camslinger a short time ago HERE and to this day I still use it from time to time when I do not need to carry a full large bag, In other words, if I run to do some street shooting it is perfect as the bag is around the waist and I do not even feel it on me. When my camera is needed I just pull it from my side, holster style. This was especially useful when I was out downtown one day street shooting. I walked and had zero weight on my shoulder and I forgot that I was even carrying my camera. I my review I spoke about how it could be tricky to unlatch..well, that went away after a couple of uses. The bag is actually quite different from other carrying systems out there. Very original and if I were to change anything it would be to make an all black version to be more stealthy. As it is they have bright green accents and it sort of sticks out when trying to be stealthy.

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The Camslinger bags come in two sizes with one being small and one being medium-sized. The Camslinger 105 is perfect for mirror less cameras and the 160 is better for larger cameras. Both have the same quality build and materials and is made to withstand the elements. The prices range from $109-$119 so the price is reasonable. The bags are also available at B&H Photo for those who want to order in the USA.

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COSYSPEED recently did a video with Thomas Leuthard, who I met in Ireland at Castle Leslie a few months back. Thomas is a fantastic street shooter and shoots in B&W using a Olympus OM-D camera. His photos are fantastic and the video below shows him in action doing his thing.


I grabbed a shot of Thomas while in Ireland and he was always looking for a shot, even when we were all just hanging out as a group. Great guy and spectacular street shooter. Good to see he enjoyed the Camslinger as well.

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So I thank CosySpeed for becoming a site sponsor as they are helping to keep this site going AND growing! Be sure to visit them HERE and if you want to purchase a Camslinger bag or just read more about it, check it all out HERE. 

May 222014
 

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The Wotancraft Ryker Camera Bag Review

This is mainly a video review of the beautiful Wotancraft Ryker bag. I will add some words after the video below:

Not everyone is a camera bag kind of person. Many just prefer to take their camera and one lens out on the street with them and roll. Others like to have choices and bring a bag with a lens or two just in case they want to change it up while they are out. There are hundreds, if not thousands of bags manufactured in the camera world. Some are cheap but functional, some are mid priced and functional and some are high priced and built more for fashion then actual use. I have seen them all from Domke to Crumpler to Fogg to Billingham to Artisan and Artist. I have probably had 60 bags through my house in the past 5 years as many get sent to me for review. Many times they do not even get reviewed (if they stink) and they get thrown to the side and sent back.

Occasionally a bag comes along that I really like. For example, there have been bags from Tenba, Artisan & Artist, Think Tank, Fogg and Ona that I adored. I even enjoyed the Camslinger bag and still do from time to time. But never has a bag come through that spoke to me in the way this Wotancraft Ryker does. In fact, it is the most beautiful, well made, useful and overall nice bag I have ever come across in my life. I prefer it to the Fogg bag that I owned (that was more expensive), I prefer it to the ONA bags I have had (and still own) and I prefer it to just about ANY bag, ever. Why? Well, there are many reasons and I go over them in the video above. What it boils down to is that this is just about as perfect as a camera bag can get for those who want a nice looking, well made leather bag. It is stylish, it is durable and it is comfortable. It holds a Leica and 2-3 lenses as well as an iPad mini and accessories. It feels good across the shoulder and the inside is well padded and protective as well as being pretty snazzy with the purple microfiber lining. The leather is soft and pliable not hard and stiff.

Wotancraft has a reputation for making super high quality hand crafted bags and leather goods. They are not a cheap fly by night operation and this bag is my perfect bag, end of story. I even use it for a video rig I carry around sometimes with a digital recorder and other items. Makes me want a undone in brown, one for my camera and one for my video setup.

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The leather is durable but soft as you can tell just by looking at the image above. The protective zipper leather flap protects your goods inside in the event of rain or snow. I have had this bag all over with me and even took it to New Orleans for the last Olympus media trip I went on. The bag still looks brand new. It has so far survived rain, water splashes and being set down on concrete several times. It looks and feels brand new. There was even one point when a beer was spilled on the bag (about 1/4 of a beer). No cloth to stain, no worry of water getting inside, no worry of your camera getting scratched up while inside. There really has not been anything left behind. The iPad pocket is inside and is nice and protected as well with a pocket and all.

The price of the Wotancraft quality does not come cheap. At $379 it is an expensive bag, but one that will last you a lifetime. Again, for me, it surpasses any bag I have owned or come across in quality, design, usefulness, size, weight, materials, and style. Some will say it looks purse (or murse) like, but so do 90% of camera bags. When on and walking around it looks like a shoulder bag. A nice shoulder bag.

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At $379 US it is well worth the cost, especially when a Fogg bag will set you back $600+ these days. This bag is perfect for a Leica system or Mirrorless system from Sony, Olympus or Fuji. All will be great for this bag. I have had compliments on it already while traveling. What people have liked is the soft luxurious feel of the bag and the features such as the purple lining and leather flap that protects the inside.

You can order the Wotancraft Ryker HERE.

It was out of stock for over a year and most thought it would not return. It is back, but I have no idea for how long. A brown one should be coming soon as well, but not sure how long away that is. This bag is in the Urban Classic line.

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PLEASE! I NEED YOUR HELP TO KEEP THIS WEBSITE RUNNING, IT IS SO EASY AND FREEE for you to HELP OUT!

Hello to all! For the past 5 years I have been running this website and it has grown to beyond my wildest dreams. Some days this very website has over 200,000 visitors and because of this I need and use superfast web servers to host the site. Running this site costs quite a bit of cash every single month and on top of that, I work full-time 60+ hours a week on it each and every single day of the week (I received 200-300 emails a DAY). Because of this, I need YOUR help to cover my costs for this free information that is provided on a daily basis.

To help out it is simple. 

If you ever decide to make a purchase from B&H Photo or Amazon, for ANYTHING, even diapers..you can help me without spending a penny to do so. If you use my links to make your purchase (when you click a link here and it takes you to B&H or Amazon, that is using my links as once there you can buy anything and I will get a teeny small credit) you will in turn be helping this site to keep on going and keep on growing.

Not only do I spend money on fast hosting but I also spend it on cameras to buy to review, lenses to review, bags to review, gas and travel, and a slew of other things. You would be amazed at what it costs me just to maintain this website. Many times I give away these items in contests to help give back you all of YOU.

So all I ask is that if you find the free info on this website useful AND you ever need to make a purchase at B&H Photo or Amazon, just use the links below. You can even bookmark the Amazon link and use it anytime you buy something. It costs you nothing extra but will provide me and this site with a dollar or two to keep on trucking along.

AMAZON LINK (you can bookmark this one)

B&H PHOTO LINK – (not bookmark able) Can also use my search bar on the right side or links within reviews, anytime.

You can also follow me on Facebook, TwitterGoogle + or YouTube. ;)

One other way to help is by donation. If you want to donate to this site, any amount you choose, even $5, you can do so using the paypal link HERE and enter in your donation amount. All donations help to keep this site going and growing! I do not charge any member fees so your donations go a long way to keeping this site loaded with useful content. Thank you!

 

Mar 212014
 

The CosySpeed Camslinger Camera Holster Review

The new CosySpeed Camslinger series of camera bags are here and they are quite unique and different from your ordinary camera bag that slings over your shoulder or chest. The Camslinger series is designed for use on your HIP, just like in the good old wild west days when cowboys wore a six-shooter on the hip. Instead of a gun, the Camslinger bags allow you to store your mirror less camera inside, sort of like a holster, where it is ready to rock and roll at any given moment.

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There are some very cool things about these new bags and I am always a fan of “different” and even though there were a couple of small irritations, I found them to be a very enjoyable product. Basically, these bags are are pretty nice and affordable solutions to carrying around a small mirror less system without the weight on your upper body.

The Camslinger comes in two sizes. The smaller 105 and the larger 160. I was able to fit a Leica M and one lens inside of the larger 160 bag. The smaller 105 is meant for smaller cameras and lenses, much like an Olympus E-M1 or E-P5. Think “mirrorless” as this is what the bags were designed for. Small system cameras and a lens or two. For this it works very well. I took out the 160 for a couple of days and it held an E-M10 and 12-40 zoom. It held it perfectly even with the larger zoom and I had it at my hip and at the ready at any given moment.

While at a party a few asked me a question when they saw me: “since when do you wear fanny packs”?

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Yep. It does look like a fanny pack and I am not a fan of fanny packs. As useful as they are I am just not the fanny pack kind of guy. With that said, I personally did not feel like I was wearing a fanny pack because I knew what it was and I knew that my camera was there at all times without me even realizing it. The fact is that while wearing the camslinger it literally put no weight on my body. I felt like I was out without my camera but there it was the whole time, on my side. I also had a lens pouch attached holding an additional lens.

These bags are aimed at street shooters and owners of mirror less cameras. I would also aim this bag at wedding shooters as with the accessories you can add to the belt it makes for one hell of a wedding set up (if you do not use large DSLR’s of course).

Would I use these on the street? Possibly… most likely. If I were going to bring one camera and two lenses, sure. If I were going to shoot somewhere that required walking around, for sure. It is so comfortable to use and wear as well as being 100% functional  that it was a pleasure to wear and walk around all day with.

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BUT, I do have a couple of niggles..

If you are out and about with this around you then every time you want to sit down (comfortably) you will need to remove it but to be fair, same goes with a traditional camera bag.  Also, sometimes the bag latch is a but tricky to unlatch and latch as it requires a pull out before unlatching (for safety reasons, which is good) but also, with practice it gets easier.

It’s a great concept and the company seems very well planned out with the two sizes, accessories to hold lenses, flash, memory or what have you. It is a complete camera holster system for mirror less cameras.

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They also sent me a very nice “cam pillow” which was pretty cool. It came with paperwork describing what it is and how it was made and a picture of the woman who made it along with her story. I really enjoyed that and thought it was a nice touch. I probably will not use it much, if at all, but again, nice touch.

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The Camslinger bags could be just what some of you have been waiting for. They are well made, adjustable, easy to wear and use (once you get the hang of the belt) and are a quality product that will not cost you an arm and a leg.

To read much more about them and order them visit CosySpeed HERE.  The USA order page is HERE.

Dec 032013
 

PRESS RELEASE:

Tenba Introduces New Classic Bags

Vintage benchmark designs made available to a new generation of photographers

North White Plains, NY – December 3, 2013 – Leading the way in carrying solutions for over 30 years, Tenba announces a reintroduction of three vintage bag designs for a new generation of photographers. The Tenba Classic collection includes three models: the P211 courier bag, the P415 briefcase camera bag, and the Tenba 2 camera bag. These new Classic bags feature the same fine tailoring and uncompromising materials and hardware as when they were first launched up to thirty-four years ago.

The P211 originally introduced in 1979, was the first slim courier camera bag. It features Tenba’s patented lower lens compartment, which allows extra lenses and other gear to be as quick to access as the gear in the main compartment. The P415 came to market in 1986, and was the first truly great camera briefcase. A side zipper allows the bag to instantly double in size to accommodate additional gear when necessary. The Tenba 2 was designed in 1979 as the original minimalist camera bag: just one main padded camera compartment, and two slim pockets front and back.

Each Tenba Classic bag is made with the same materials and hardware as when they were first introduced: high-density nylon exteriors, YKK zippers and clips, genuine leather handles and embossed leather logos.

“These benchmark Tenba bag designs have been highly sought after for their legendary quality, great looks and high performance,” said Peter Waisnor, Marketing Manager of Tenba. “After fielding thousands of requests for these bags from around the world, we decided it was time to bring them to a current generation of photographers.”

Tenba Classic bags began shipping on December 1st at a suggested retail price of $59.95 for the Tenba 2, $89.95 for the P211, and $169.95 for the P415. To find more information about the Tenba Classic bags, and to see a full video demonstration of all Tenba products, visit www.tenba.com .

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About Tenba

Tenba provides innovative carrying case solutions for professional photographers and filmmakers, and their full equipment arsenal. Tenba introduced the world to soft-sided, professional camera bags in 1977, and has been an innovation and quality leader in the decades since. With so many years of experience in bag development and construction, along with a unique level of closeness and daily connection to the professional imaging community, Tenba is truly dialed-in to both the real-world needs of its customers and the latest in design trends, materials and manufacturing. With its own, U.S.-based, dedicated “bag lab” product development center and manufacturing facilities, both domestic and abroad, Tenba’s resources and capabilities allow the company to create unique and exceptional carrying and transport solutions for serious imagemakers.

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Tenba products are designed and marketed exclusively by MAC Group (MACgroupUS.com) in the USA, and are sold by distributors around the world.

 

Sep 132013
 

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BAG REVIEW: Ona Union Street and The Bowery

It seems like I have been getting a ton of bags in lately for review. Last time it was the attractive and very functional TENBA Mini Messenger. Before that it was the new Think Tank Mirrorless Movers. In previous articles I have shared my love for Artist & Artisan bags.

But today I am going to write about bags that so many others online have written about in the past because these are NOT new bags, but they are DAMN GOOD ones :) These two bags are from ONA.

ONA makes some amazing bags for cameras or whatever gadgets you want to carry and I decided that the Union Street and the Bowery would be two great bags to take a look at because A: Many photographers swear by them and B: They are two bags differing enough in size to where you could own both. One for a larger setup (DSLR) and one for a smaller setup (Mirrorless or Leica M).

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The 1st thing that struck me is the colors available. They pretty much ALL look attractive to me. The Smoke, the Black, the Field Tan and even the all leather offerings. But I decided to take a look at the black with the brown leather trim. When they arrived I appreciated the nice packaging and when I saw the bags I was pleasantly surprised at just how nice they really look in person. These are some great looking stylish bags, and made VERY well.

The one thing that disappointed me was that the Union Street and Bowery, while both being Black with leather trim, well, they use different color leather! If someone was buying these as a set for travel (again, one for larger systems and one for smaller systems) it would be nice if they matched since many who will buy these are not only buying them for the build and functionality, but the style as well. These two leather colors were much different with the Union Street being a dark reddish leather and the Bowery being a brown.

So, besides that one niggle, I thought the bags were gorgeous.

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I used to own a Billingham Hadley Small about 5 years ago and really liked it but today I would choose a Bowery as I really enjoy the design and build and feel. It is perfect for a Leica M and 2-3 lenses. It also comes in at $119, so it is not crazy expensive (though it looks and feels like it should be)

The Union Street is LARGE. I carried a Canon 6D and 85L along with a Sigma 35 1.4 and Sony NEX-7 and added my 13″ Macbook Air. it was HEAVY and today, 3 days later, my back is thanking me for that. Three days carrying that load around can really do a number to a man who is 43, almost 44 :)

So the Union Street would also be good for a Leica M system, a few lenses, a laptop computer, chargers, cables, SD cards, etc. It will hold it all for travel and if you want to look good while traveling, the Union Street will help you with that goal. I had several compliments on it while traveling all week from people just saying “nice bag” to those asking me what it is and where to get one. Some will thing it looks “purse like” and that is the problem with many fashionable camera bags. Some do indeed look like a “MURSE”, but hey, I am confident in my manhood and had no problem carrying around these bags, lol. They were GREAT.

So if you are looking for a great looking and functional bag, the ONA bags may not beat out the Tenba messenger in function but they look a little slicker carrying around your gear and are VERY well made with canvas and nice thick leather accents.

You can buy the entire line of ONA bags at B&H Photo HERE

 

Aug 172013
 

The Tenba Mini Messeger Bag Video Review

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Hello and happy weekend to all! Last week I talked a little about this messenger bag from Tenba “The Mini Messenger”. I ordered one in Brown from Amazon.com and have had it for a couple of days now. I am pretty happy with the bag and it is larger than I thought. This bag will take the place of my aging and ratty Artisan and Artist bag I have taken all over the world over the last few years as it can hold more and is made better. It may not have the low-key appearance but it looks like a messenger style bag and it is VERY functional, up there with Think Tank bags. I find it stylish, well made, comfortable and it can hold 2-3 cameras, lenses, my macbook air 13″, my iPad mini, chargers, SD card holder and more. Everything I need. My new travel bag, the Tenba Mini Messenger.

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Below is a video review of the bag so you can see it and all it offers. Is it right for you? Only you can answer that! But it is available at Amazon.com, B&H Photo or Tenba Direct.

Aug 142013
 

The New Tenba Messenger Mini Camera/Laptop Bag

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I am liking what I see in the video below by Tenba on their new Messenger bag that will hold your photo gear and laptop while having some pretty cool features such as waterproof bottom (so if you have to sit your bag down on a wet surface it will not soak inside the bag) and compartments and the overall design (as well as the wide color selection). I have spoken with Tenba about getting a sample to review as it seems like a GREAT travel bag. I love my Fogg bag but it does not hold much besides my camera and lens and it costs 5X the amount of this Tenba bag. My very nice Think Tank “Mirrorless Mover” has somehow found its way to my Son for his Nikon V1 setup.

I like these Tenba bags because even the smallest MINI Messenger will hold a macbook air or iPad and the brown would look pretty sharp in my copper Mini Cooper :) Take a look at the video below and you can also check it out on their website to see all of the cool colors available.

The Messenger comes in three sizes: Mini, Small and Large 

and Look at all of the colors on Amazon :)

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B&H Photo also sells these and the reviews are fantastic, so I may end up just ordering one :) If so, I will do a video review as soon as I give it a spin.

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May 242013
 

Try a Think Tank Retrospective Bag for FREE, and if you like it, pay for it!

Think Tank Photo has an awesome promo running right now on their popular “Retrospective” bags. These are high quality bags chock full of functionality. I reviewed one of them a while back HERE with a video review. Great bags but maybe you are not sure if they would work for you? Well, the great news is now you can try one for free. You simply follow THIS link, read the details (which I am posting below) and place your order. When you get the bag you get to try it for 30 days. If you like it, keep it and Think Tank will charge you after 30 days. If you do not like it, just send it back before the 30 days and you will never be charged. Truly risk free.

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DETAILS:

What is the Test Drive program and why are we doing this?

Our Test Drive Program gives you two full weeks to test the product in real-world circumstances, giving you a risk-free opportunity to determine if it’s the right bag for you before you buy.

We depend on photographers to give us ongoing product feedback. Your input on our products influences current product updates and future product development. By offering this program, it allows our products to be thoroughly tested in the field by photographers in the widest variety of circumstances and environmental conditions. If you decide to return the bag, then all we ask that you provide us with feedback and suggestions on how we can improve the product to better fit your needs.

If you decide to keep the bag, we will then charge your credit card in approximately one-month after you’ve placed your order.

Note: ATM/Debit cards are not accepted. If you purchase a Test Drive product with a debit card, your account will be charged immediately.

When is the Sign Up Period?

The Test Drive program will run from May 15, 2013—June 15, 2013 or while supplies last.

START YOUR TEST DRIVE NOW!

© 2009-2014 STEVE HUFF PHOTOS All Rights Reserved
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