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Apr 122017
 

The COSYSPEED Streetomatic Plus Holster Camera Bag Review

Here I am again with another bag review, but this bag comes in at $129, is super functional, and you do not even feel it while wearing it! This is the Cosyspeed Streetomatic PLUS and it fits around your waist instead of your shoulder, though you can still wear it over your body.

VIDEO REVIEW RIGHT HERE!

This bag is unique, looks great, is made very well and allows us to carry a larger mirrorless or smaller DSLR with one lens, or a smaller mirrorless with 2-3 lenses. The bag arrives with a raincoat, and a strap extender which you would add if you wanted to wear it over the body. When using this bag, it’s a cinch to open it up and take out the camera. Fast, easy and it protects the gear. Sure, one could just wear a camera strap and bring the camera and lens without a bag but this PLUS version of the Streetomatic allows you to also carry accessories in the side pockets. Memory cards, lens cloth, cables, batteries, or even a charger. When you wear this bag around the waist, you soon forget that you are carrying a bag, or a camera. I like it just as I liked the original.

 

While not for everyone, what this bag offers street shooters or those who bring minimal gear is space savings, weight savings and a fast way of gaining access to your camera. Compared to the NON PLUS version, this one looks nicer with its faux leather flap, has a nicer new open and close mechanism that is easier to use, and is larger for those who have a smaller DSLR and lens to carry. As you can see in the video above one can also carry a camera like the Hasselblad X1D WITH a lens attached.

The bag will keep your gear protected from the elements to a point but if it gets really wet be sure to use the protective raincoat included with the bag.

At $129 for this PLUS version and as low as $49 for the non plus version, CosySpeed is offering us a great bag at a great price. I can highly recommend this bag to anyone looking for a holster style bag that will not read the bank, or anyone who carries one camera and lens or a small setup. It truly is much nicer to carry than a traditional bag. Bravo to Thomas from CosySpeed for this one. It is FANTASTIC.

You can buy this bag from B&H Photo HERE. 

Dec 232016
 

EXCLUSIVE: The NEW Wotancraft Ryker Bag 2017 – The Best Camera Bag in the World? (Video)

A STEVEHUFFPHOTO.COM Exclusive! The new Wotancraft Ryker for 2017 is here and I take a look at it in the video below. BUT!!! This is important!! Wotancraft is NOT done with it yet, this is a prototype based off of what YOU GUYS told  them in my post from a while ago where they were looking for feedback on a new version. They took your ideas, feedback and suggestions and made THIS version. Now it is here, and in the video below I show it off and Wotancraft wants more feedback. If you have any suggestions, leave them in the comments below and they will see them all. See more from Wotancraft at their website HERE. 

Enjoy the video below and the very first look in the world at this new bag from Wotancraft!

 

From Wotancraft:

We’re excited to finally present this to you, it is our effort to incorporate the ideas from Steve Huff Photo community, and we present it to you and all members for evaluation and final fine-tuning. We truly hope to make this the best leather camera bag in the world. Here are the main features for reference:

larger interior size: now capable of fitting up to Leica SL, will detachable pillow insert that narrows interior depth to better accommodate Leica M cameras. All this is done without increasing the overall weight of the bag.

– internal modularization: the whole interior lining is now velcro compatible, and we plan to develop optional accessories (pen slots, card slots…etc) for different individual’s needs, rather than have them built-in. Even the thick padding can now be detached to allow more space, allowing room for large items like laptops or A4 folders. The fabric will be further upgraded (currently in development), to deliver an even softer hand feel, and have better resistance to velcro hook tearing.

– external modularization: although not built in yet to the prototype, we have prepared a simple and subtle mechanism for modular add-ons, such as water bottle pouch or any sort of accessory… the possibilities are endless, and we are planning to launch these optional accessories (internal / external) based on number of customer requests. When not accessorizing, the mechanism looks natural and unobtrusive, exactly how high-end leather bags should be.

– color-coded elastic slots: front zippered pocket has multi-functional elastic slots, capable of fitting batteries of various sizes, color-coded with thread stitching to differentiated new/used. A corresponding memory card sleeve is also included & color-coded.

– multiple pockets: compartment with dual pockets are available for quick access. Zipper-less pocket can accommodate filters and avoid scuffing.

– shoulder strap: detachable metal buckle hardware is removed to prevent theft. Shoulder pad is now upgraded to “memory foam” material, maximizing comfort.

– Leica color motif: black leather, red lining, both in premium material to match the uncompromising quality of Leica cameras.

What we plan to do is gather final comments and feedbacks from you and the community after you give it a try with your gear, finalize any adjustments needed, and begin our pre-order process EXCLUSIVELY on Steve Huff Photo!

LEAVE YOUR SUGGESTIONS AND COMMENTS BELOW!

May 042016
 

SHOOTBAG

The Cub & Company Shooter’s Camera Bag. Hand made in the U.S.A. (Video)

I have been reviewing loads of bags lately, or so it seems. Bags are cool, and are VERY MUCH a personal choice. OF ALL the bags I have reviewed, owned or used, the Wotancraft Ryker has always been my goto #1 bag. It’s beauty, its style, its build and feel are all at a 10 out of 10. While I love other bags, the one I use most is that Ryker…

But now along comes a bag so unique and cool, it may be getting more carry time than my Wotancraft! This bag, from CUB AND COMPANY is so lightweight, so small but so large inside it is almost like an illusion. I expected it to be so tin on the inside, as most small bags are. But this one…plop open the leather top and you are greeted to a plush interior that can hold a huge DSLR and a few lenses or two mirrorless bodies and some lenses or even three Leicas and some lenses.

See the video review below!

It’s wide, short and squat and I have been waiting for something like this. My main complaint with most bags is they try to be tall and skinny. When this happens, the gear is hard to get in and out, and sometimes you need to force it in, and even then, it is a tight pack job. With the Cub & Company Shooter’s Bag, even putting a Leica SL inside fits nice and comfy as you can see in the video above!

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Also very cool to have a tripod storage solution underneath…

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Be sure to watch the video above as that is the actual review of the bag.

You can read more or order at CUBANDCOMPANY.COM

Apr 042016
 

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The new Oberwerth MUNCHEN Camera Bag. Made in Germany.

(From Steve: I posted this earlier but had the wrong NAME for the bag, well, wrong model. Silly me. I thought I was sent the Freiburg but was sent the MUNCHEN, so this is a repost with some corrections!)

I have had the pleasure of using the new Oberwerth Munchen camera bag for the last 7-10 days, even traveling with it twice last week and now that I am home bound all this week due to something out of my control I have decided to sit down and write some brief thoughts on this new camera bag that has been my companion over thousands of miles of traveling already. For those who just like plain black bags, this one may not be for you but for the photographers out there who like style and function (and there are thousands), keep reading.

If you have read the pages here on my website/blog over the years you will have seen countless camera bag reviews. From Think Tank, Billingham, Crumpler, Wotancraft, HoldFastGear, Tenba and more. These are the names that stick out in my head for quality bags that can last one a lifetime of shooting. Some are prettier than others, some are more functional than others. The main bags I have stuck with for my personal use, up to now, have been WOTANCRAFT for my day to day shooting and HOLDFAST for my travel bag needs (they are larger). But I love all bags and two weeks ago I was stuck on my Tenba Cooper bag, which is also a fantastic functional and good looking bag.

With all of that out of the way, I am here now to speak about a new bag that has the looks, the build quality and the feel of a premium high end camera bag. That is this new Oberwerth Munchen.

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The “München“ is the larger photo bag of the Oberwerth product range. Very spacious and with a timeless appearance, equipped with numerous additional storage compartments for photo equipment, laptop, tablet or PDA. Both front pockets provide enough space to stow personal items, independent of the camera. The well thought-out, removable insert with a closable top allows the storage of the gear also outside of the bag. Placed in the shoulder strap, an invisible cut resistant device ensures you and your photo bag are inseparable. The “München” adapts to your own style and is a perfect companion not only for the serious photographer but also for the office or a business trip.

Photo bag München: “The larger one”

A spacious partner for the engaged photographer with a practical, removable insert
Durable CORDURA® and high-quality leather protects the equipment against shocks, moisture or other external influences
Air-cushioned insert for camera and accessories included
Additional compartments for smart cards
Spacious front pockets provide additional space for personal items or further gear
Practical additional compartments for laptop, tablet, PDA and documents
Attuned to the Oberwerth product range available in CORDURA® and leather combinations
Like all Oberwerth bags: 100% handmade in Germany!

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While I prefer the black/brown color they offer over this beige/cowhide version even this one is super nice and attractive. The inside is spacious enough for even a DSLR and a couple of lenses yet the bag is still on the small to medium side. The huge leather flap on the top is nice and thick and feels solid like it will really protect the gear under its umbrella. Open that up using the nice connectors and you will see a protective flap inside that will give an added layer of gear protection. You have leather rain flaps on the inner sides as well. This will ensure that even if you are out in the rain, water should not get inside. I have not had the luck to be out in rain recently so I have not tested this aspect of it but maybe I will head out back with the hose and give it a wash down, with gear inside ;)

For me, the black version may be the sweetest looking camera bag ever, in the same vein as Billingham and Wotancraft. In fact, the Munchen is almost perfect for me, ALMOST. 

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With so many bags I have here on hand, I pick my daily bag  these days depending on mood, what I am needing to carry and how large I want or need to go. If traveling, does it have a place for my 13″ macbook? The MUNCHEN does, and it worked very well for my last travels as it keeps it shape and is easy to store under an airline seat in front of you. It slides under perfectly and gives you very open and clear access to all compartments and it does indeed hold my 13″ laptop quite well, perfectly. It will not hold a 15″ btw.

The Oberwerth bag is quite nice when I study the details. Quality is here all the way around, and I feel it is a bag that will outlast the rest of my shooting days easily.

The one weakness I found for my use…

As I used the bag, walking through dirt, sand and heat..even setting it down where a stream of water soaked the bottom, it held up perfectly and when dusted off and cleaned looks as new besides the unique scuffs I put into the leather from actual use of the bag. It is a sturdy bag but I missed having pockets on the ends/side of the bag. I am used to storing cables or my phone or whatever into an outer side pocket and the MUNCHEN does not have any. What it does have is pockets and compartments inside, which makes up for it somewhat but there is no quick access to them as there would be on the side. I understand the reason for leaving them out, as it seems this bag balances a fine line between STYLE and FUNCTION. The easiest way for me to describe my thoughts here is to say that it is stylish as all get out but has 95% function instead of 100%. 95% only because there are no side pockets. With that, there is plenty of room inside after you raise the flap.

One of the unique things I love about this bag though it is the strap on the back for sliding onto your luggage handle when traveling. It is attached via velcro normally, so it stays out of the way when not using it. In fact, I did not even know it was there until I traveled and really looked for this. This is a must on travel bags for me, and this one implements it better than I have seen elsewhere. It stays on my luggage nice and firmly making it easier as I travel through large airports.

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I was using this bag for a Sony A7RII and three lenses along with my 13″ Macbook Pro and some cables, accessories and chargers. I also used it for an Olympus E-M5 II system with 4 lenses. It can even hold a Leica SL with a few M lenses. I can see it also being used with a smaller DSLR system but not a huge large FF system with zooms.

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The Oberwerth MUNCHEN is a stunning high end bag that looks nice, is built to the highest standard, will protect your gear from the elements and will wear in with a nice gorgeous patina over the years. If you want a bag to last you for many many years and like the looks of this offering, take a look at them closer at Oberwerth’s website. 

The MUNCHEN is NOT cheap my friends. Think FOGG BAGG prices. This is what quality costs these days in exotic “made in Germany” bags. This bag comes in at $635  Would I spend $635 to buy this? Well, that would be a tough sell for me, but I am not rich and I already own around 13 bags :0

But for the ones who have been looking for that perfect, nice, higher end bag to last them the rest of their lifetime, this may be the one you have been waiting for. Think Fogg quality here my friends, up at the top of the quality heap.

Drew & Barry also are the Asian distributors for Oberwerth, so check their site out here and give them a facebook like HERE. They were nice enough to send me this bag out for review, and I am glad they did as it introduced me to yet another wonderful line of camera bags. 

Jan 212016
 

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VIDEO BAG REVIEW: The Tenba Cooper Series 8 and 13 Slim

It’s that time again…more bags! It seems there is NEVER a shortage of camera bags to house your camera gear. Choices are everywhere and I have seen and tried so many over the years. Some of my faves have been Billingham, Wotancraft, Artisan and Artist, Think Tank, Hold Fast Gear, Fogg, and now TENBA as they have created a VERY attractive bag here in the Cooper series, and the cool part is that these are VERY well made and super functional as well as lightweight and attractive. Will the Cooper be for you? Maybe, take a look at the video below to see more!

More on the Tenba Cooper series can be seen HERE. 

 

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See more on the Cooper at Tenba HERE
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Jan 082016
 

A Look at the Wotancraft Hand Dyed Leather Apple Watch Band (Video)

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I enjoy my Apple watch and while I feel it is not the best value in watches it is a cool device that stays on my arm every day. I can check my calories burned, I can see how much activity I have done for the day, I can use it as my phone and speak to anyone on my wrist. I can check my schedules, important dates, notifications, my facebook and twitter and all kinds of cool things. When I bought my Apple Watch I was not thrilled with most of the bands that Apple made available for it, nor was I overly impressed with most 3rd party bands. Then I saw THESE at Wotancraft and I knew instantly I had to get one..

Wotancraft did not have an option on their site to order a band for an Apple Watch but I was informed by  them that any band they sell can be made for an Apple Watch. So if you want o order a watch band from Wotancraft, just tell them the sizes you need for a standard watch or if you want one for an Apple Watch just contact them ahead of the order. They can and will do it ;)

Below is a video I just posted showing my band from Wotancraft.com as well as me fitting my Leica SL and three M Lenses into a Wotancraft Raven bag, which is TINY! Enjoy!

Dec 102015
 

SCOUTXMAS

New Wotancraft Scout Special Christmas Edition Bag – Get it here.

ONE OF THE BEST camera bags ever made from Wotancraft, the SCOUT has just been made up in a special edition light green Christmas Edition. Besides the Ryker from Wotancraft (see my review here ) the Scout is my 2nd favorite bag from them. Its gorgeous, functional and made to last forever. It’s tough, comfortable to carry and this Christmas edition is easily holding my Leica SL, 24-90 Zoom and a 50 Summilux ASPH, which I am finding to be a perfect SL kit ;) My Ryker does not hold this kit, but the Scout does, and it fits nicely all snug inside of its protective housing.

This bag would be perfect for a Leica M system with 3-4 lenses, and accessories. It could also work with a DSLR or any Mirrorless system out there from Sony to Olympus to Samsung to Fuji. It’s not large but it’s not small, the scout is just right. It doesn’t look like a man purse, instead it is rugged and gives off a sense of adventure. It’s a beautiful bag…

front

Once you open the top flap you will see a protective cover that keeps your gear from rain or snow. I LOVE This feature of the Wotancraft bags. Zip this open to reveal the inside..

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which has even more protection that covers your expensive gear. Flip open the flap and you will gain access to the interior…

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Inside is my Leica SL, 24-90 and a 50 Summilux ASPH. I can also fit the charger, sd cards, cables, and my iPad mini in the back.

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back

Everything is of high quality with all Wotnacraft products. The Scout is for those who prefer a Canvas look instead of all leather like the Ryker…

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I also received a VERY nice lens pouch from them (HOBBIT LENS POUCH) along with the bag that is above and beyond most lens pouches in regards to materials used and protection. I will use this without question and it will stay with my Scout.

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You can order this special limited edition Wotancraft Green Scout Christmas Edition NOW right here at Wotancraft direct. Mine arrived in 3 days and it is LOVELY in every aspect. You can see my review of this bag HERE. Same bag, new special color. 

Specs:

  • Light green canvas + light colored leather
  • The Wotancraft W.A.L canvas is based on tough Cordura fabric, with underside PU-coated to prevent water seepage, and further treated to look like natural cotton canvas. W.A.L stands for
  • Water-repellant, Abrasion-resistant, and Lightweight
  • Designed for mirrorless system (you can demo with Leica SL or your latest A7 system)
  • Becomes an everyday office / messenger bag once you remove the shock-resistant insert
  • Now on till 2015/12/31, order of Wotancraft camera bag comes with one HOBBIT camera lens / travel pouch as Christmas gift

– photojournalist’s most desired WOTANCRAFT camera bag. Inconspicuous, protective, with a slight touch of WWII military equipment aesthetics

– removable shock-resistant insert that fits mirrorless camera set x2, flash x1, and additional accessories

– padded compartment for 10″ laptop or iPad

– interior flap with zippers (bronze YKK with rustproof coating) ensure dust and rain resistance in ourdoor environments, with upstanding rim to avoid gear scuffing against zipper tooth

– back pocket with leather rain cap (tucked in by default), designed specifically for photojournalists to quickly access field journals

– curved ergonomic shoulder strap pad for maximum comfort when bearing weight, with anti-slippery padding lined underneath

– vegetable tanned full grain cowhide and sheep skin leather parts, with tough rugged skin creases and pores clearly visible

– bag exterior:
31 x 12 x 23 cm
removable insert interior:
27 x 10 x 20 cm
front pockets:
14 x 2 x 16 cm
back pocket:
30 x 15 cm
interior padded compartment:
29 x 23 cm
interior hidden pocket:
18 x 15 cm
shoulder strap:
adjustable between 90-130 cm
weight:
bag 0.725 / insert 0.36 / shoulder strap 0.245 kg

– package include:
SCOUT bag x1
padded divider (no cap) x2
padded divider (with cap) x2
adjustable shoulder strap x1
dustproof bag x1
“REMOVE BEFORE ADVENTURE” military ordnance tag key chain x1

Mar 252015
 

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The Wotancraft RAVEN Mirrorless Camera Bag Video Review

Hey guys! I am back yet again with another video review of a GREAT Wotancraft bag. I have to say, these guys make the best bags I have ever used. Not only are they gorgeous in their design and workmanship, they are very functional and useful, which is what they go for. A perfect mix of style, quality and functionality.

In the past I have reviewed the Ryker, The Thor and others and today I am talking about the new small bag they call “RAVEN”. The Raven is all leather, all hand-made, all 100% quality construction and materials. It comes in at $279 US and is perfect for a mirrorless or Leica system. In fact, the small Raven puts most “boutique” bags to shame with its amazing feel and design. Like a baby Ryker!

Check out the video below as well as images below it. You can order the Ryker at WOTANCRAFT HERE.

 My video review of the Raven

You can see my Ryker review HERE. My THOR Review is HERE.
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Nov 042014
 

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The new Artisan & Artist CLCAM-1000 Camera Bag

Artisan & Artist have released a new camera bag, the CLCAM-1000 in a new Navy Color, and it is a beauty! This bag is perfect for a mirrorless system or Leica M system. In fact, a Leica M would be perfect for this bag as it would fit a 1-2 bodies and 2-3 lenses as well as a charger and accessories. It has “Rangefinder Bag” written all over it and is up there in quality with the best I have seen (in this niche) :) It is made of canvas and Leather.

Artisan & Artist sent me the CLCAM-1000 for review and it is one clean-looking design with the typical Artisan & Artist usability and functionality…and of course, the usual A&A BEAUTY.  The new Navy color is fantastic and is not usually seen in higher end camera bags. It is a step away from the typical black or brown leather and canvas we usually see in these sorts of bags. Artisan & Artist have always been in my top three bag companies with my #1 longest lasting bag coming from them. These days I enjoy a few bags from Wotancraft, Hold Fast Gear, CosySpeed and Ona but also have fallen for this bag from Artisan & Artist. I may need an extra room in my house soon to house all of my camera bags, lol. (maybe a giveaway soon)?

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Many love higher end fashion camera bags and many complain about them not understanding why anyone would want such a pricey bag. Me, I love all bags but there are so many fantastic camera bags out there. How do we find the “right one” for our needs when there are so many awesome companies making these higher end super quality bags today?

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It’s all a personal choice really. Wether we go for a high end beautiful luxury bag or a low end $49 special, all that matters is that WE like what we use and buy. If I hate a bag I will not use it. If I love a bag it will go with me everywhere and be functional, doing more than just carrying my camera. When I first started getting into really nice bags, Artisan & Artist was my 1st choice. I used some of their bags for years..taking them all over the world in rain, sleet, snow and blistering heat. From airport to airport and on the streets, on the beach and everywhere in between. I had a nice large one that I used for travel and it never let me down in construction or stealthy looks. These days I use a very sweet Hold Fast Roamographer for my travel but when I need to go on a day outing with a Leica M I have found that this new A&A CLCAM-1000 can easily fit the bill. Sure, many bags can but some may adore the classic styling of this bag as well as the gorgeously functional interior. The front flap snaps into place instead of using buckles or velcro, which is nice.

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The new CLCAM-1000 exudes class and is yet another bag in the A&A line that will get compliments on the design and looks of the bag itself. The padded interior is typical Artisan & Artist Red and as stated, large enough for 1-2 Leica M’s and a couple of lenses. A Sony A7 and 3 lenses or something like an Olympus E-M1 and a few lenses. It’s a mirrorless bag for sure, not really for a DSLR system. I was able to fit my 13″ Macbook Air inside but it was tight. I think it would be best with an iPad Air or the smaller Macbook Air. I see this as a day trip bag or something to keep you beloved mirrorless safe and sound when in use and when not in use.

Some bags I have used over the years age very well and some do not. The ones that have has always been from Ona, Artisan & Artist and Domke. I have not used my other bags long enough to speak about longevity but this one gives me no doubts. The inner flap is lined with zipper pockets to hold memory cards, film, or cables. Even your iPhone.

Overall this is a fantastic looking, feeling and functional bag. Add it to the growing list of useful camera bags that not only perform but look the part as well. The price for this bag in the USA comes in at around $500.00. I was not able to find any dealers selling this bag, nor was I able to find any information about the bag on A&A’s own website, which was odd..but I did see one on E-Bay for $530 and shipping from Japan. I am sure the USA dealers will get a hold of this bag SOON. It is expensive, and there are many other options out there for the same or less money but if you are an Artisan & Artist fan like me you may just fall for this one.

Things I would have changed about this bag? Maybe a rear pocket could have been added (I find these very useful). That is about it.

Artisan & Artist dealers I recommend are PopFlash.com and LeicaStoreMiami.com

 

 

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!

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!

Dec 222011
 

A Businessman’s Bag by Dave Murphy

Dave’s website is at MurphyMurphy.com

So, you are a businessman and also a photographer?  Or you are a photographer who also runs a business?  Or maybe you are just a guy who wants a bag that doesn’t look like a camera bag.  Either way, you need a bag that is smart, savvy, looks crisp and is equally at home in the office, at a commercial client meeting, or on the street shooting.

You looked at a bunch of bags.  You looked at the Billingham Hadley line.  Lovely bags, true, but only the Hadley Pro actually has a handle and, as a businessman, you know that there are times (especially when greeting people) when it’s helpful to be able to get the bag off your shoulder and simply hold it.  As a photographer you know that having weight on one shoulder all day can also be an issue.  As a traveler you know that having a bag on your shoulder as you walk down the plane isle is guaranteed to bang into everyone already seated. Yes, a handle is a nice feature to have.  But, if you are like me, maybe the Hadley Pro is just a tad small for you?

Maybe you looked at some terrific all leather briefcases like Jack Georges.   Solid, rugged, and utterly business.  But, oh my, at about 6 pounds empty it is very heavy.  I carried one for 15 years and it is only now showing its age — and so am I.  As a businessman and a photographer, I simply don’t want something that heavy anymore.  That is one reason why I shoot with a Leica M9 whenever I can.  Why carry a small, light camera if your bag is going to weigh in at 6 pounds empty?

Because of the weight of leather, you, like me, may also be thinking that you need canvas.  But you also know that you need a design that will look a little dressed-up too.  Enter the Mulholland Brothers Waxed Canvas Anglers Bag in tan or olive (also available in all leather if you still wish to go that route).

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The Bag

I just bought this bag in tan a couple of months ago (note: the current bag has been changed a little – the buckles are silver tone and mine are gold… there may be other changes that I am unaware of…. write Mulholland if you have questions).  And, yes, I know that at $345 it is quite pricey for a camera bag but not out of line for a briefcase.  You may also want to add an insert like the  Domke or Billingham and that will add even more to the cost (I use the Domke).  But, once that is done, you can easily carry your photographer stuff and your business stuff in one terrific, light, convenient package.   Oh, and while we are talking about cost, do keep in mind that at $345 this bag is about $100 more expensive than the Hadley Pro but actually about $200 cheaper than a similarly sized Fogg bag.

The bag itself is light and well-made (as you should expect for a bag of this price).  Since it is a briefcase, there is no padding (hence the need for an insert, just like the Hadley line).  The shoulder strap is comfortable and adjustable but mine does not have a shoulder pad (the Mulholland site mentions a “padded” strap now but I am uncertain what that means).   Without a pad, the strap does have a tendency to slip a little while on the shoulder – a definite downside.

Turning to the front of the bag, the front straps secure with snaps.  The handle on the top is comfortable and will begin to conform to the hand after some break-in.   There are two large front pockets (secure with a snap) and a large interior main compartment.  Inside, there is also a place to put business cards and pens and a hook for your keys.  On the back there is a terrific metal zippered compartment that easily holds an iPad or some paper files.  What’s more, where as the Billingham Hadley Pro has a top flap that covers the sides (to help keep rain out), the Mulholland has cut the sides of the bag at the top to actually fold into the interior a bit (and this too will help keep rain out – although the Billingham does seem a more surefire bet in this regard).

How big is this Bag?

I currently own the Jack George briefcase linked above and the Mulholland’s exterior size is MUCH smaller that that bag.   For those of you that own the Domke F-803, it the Mulholland is a little bit longer, a little bit taller and significantly thicker (by several inches).  That extra thickness is the key to this bag – the Length and height are not really that big (so the bag looks and feels “small”) but since it is a lot thicker than something like the F-803, it can hold a LOT more.

So, what fits in the bag?  

As mentioned, this is a small bag on the outside but it is huge on the inside.  What fits, you ask?

How about a 15” Macbook Pro (and charger), an M9 (and battery charger) with a 50mm Summicron lens attached and a 35mm Summicron in a case, a spare Leica battery, a small paper notebook, AND an iPad in a thin back/front case (and charger), cell phone (and charger), keys, spare pair of glasses or sunglasses, SD cards, USB sticks, business cards, pens, a couple of snack bars, a “frequent traveler medicine kit” (aspirin, decongestant, Band-Aids and ear plugs for noisy hotel neighbors) passport, airline boarding passes, receipts, and some miscellaneous office papers that every businessman has.  Oh, if you really want to tilt the bag towards photography, toss in an Olympus EP-2 body with a 20mm f/1.7 Panny attached and spare battery — it will hold that too!

While I haven’t tried it, my guess is that you might be able cram a small travel umbrella in there too or maybe a pair of gloves or a winter scarf.  Get the picture?  It holds a LOT of stuff – just about everything you need as a businessman and Leica photographer – or as a Leica photographer and businessman. 

Now lets be clear:  you are not going to be able to take your M9, a 15” laptop, an iPad, all the chargers and two 4” wide 3-ring binders of full of paper.  Folks, if you still need all those hundreds of pages of paper files, this bag won’t be happening for you.

Is this bag for you?

Well, there is no perfect bag for everyone.  But, if the price is right for you, you should consider the Mulholland if you want a light-weight bag that is as much a briefcase as a photo bag and is equally at home in a business meeting, a photographer meet-and-greet, or being stealthy on the street.  The bag is new to me and only time will tell if this is the workhorse I hope it to be.  Bottom line: If you are looking to be a businessman and a photographer at the same time, this just might be your bag.

 

 

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