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Thread: Photographer vest for travel instead of backpack?

  1. #1

    Default Photographer vest for travel instead of backpack?

    Hi all.

    An interesting thought came across my mind while deciding what camera backpack to purchase for a long backpacking trip (>3 mths). I find having to remove usual camera backpacks to change lenses to be quite a hassle, especially if no convenient or clean place to do it, so I was thinking what about if using a photographer's vest for this purpose. Probably not as a replacement to a camera backpack while lugging main backpack around from city to city on trains or air, but an option for usage within a city base.

    Most vests can fit 2-3 zoom lenses easily?

    Cons I can think of:

    1. Looking too pro/attract unwanted attention
    2. Denied entry to certain places?
    3. Target for planned robbery or slash and grab (Is the material durable to withstand slash with knife? Humour me, I know this point sounds pretty stupid.)

    Pros:

    1. Better weight distribution and don't have to carry backpack (or maybe a much smaller and lighter day pack)
    2. Better accessibility to gear
    3. Better security (don't have to remove backpack when eating or in public transport)

    Any comment or experiences will be appreciated...

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Photographer vest for travel instead of backpack?

    get a camera shoulder bag to go with a normal (non camera) back pack. get those slim type. not the Lowe Pro or most roundish Crumplers. when having a meals or a drink when sitting, just put on lap. i use a Pac-Safe shoulder sling for security.

    i rotating between a Delsey Pro & a Goldlion document bag (street camo).
    Last edited by sORe-EyEz; 11th September 2008 at 10:42 PM.

  3. #3
    Senior Member giantcanopy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Photographer vest for travel instead of backpack?

    I used the vest for one trip in Europe and in the end I decided to go with a modular waist pouch instead. The vest looked too .. glaring, and I was getting unwanted attention

    Actually my current waist pouch gives pretty fast access

    Ryan

  4. #4

    Default Re: Photographer vest for travel instead of backpack?

    wait ppl think u wearing kevlar vest or smt then think your terrorist

  5. #5
    Senior Member denniskee's Avatar
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    Default Re: Photographer vest for travel instead of backpack?

    it is not a good idea to use photo vest.

    the backpack is much more comfortable when walking long distant. both shoulders share the load and the strap is padded.

    vest i find is more suited when you are at the venue, it is easier to access to the stuff compare to backpack.

    but it is tough to walk for long distant when loaded with gears.

    depending where you are going, it most likely will be either too hot, or, if in cold country, you dont want you gear to be expose to extreme cold right, and dont forget, you are already having layers of clothing.

    vest dont offer protection against knocking like camera bag.
    photography makes one sees things from all angles.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Photographer vest for travel instead of backpack?

    Quote Originally Posted by sORe-EyEz View Post
    get a camera shoulder bag to go with a normal (non camera) back pack. get those slim type. not the Lowe Pro or most roundish Crumplers. when having a meals or a drink when sitting, just put on lap. i use a Pac-Safe shoulder sling for security.
    Thanks. But not really keen on shoulder or sling bags as I don't like the uneven weight distribution.

    Quote Originally Posted by giantcanopy View Post
    I used the vest for one trip in Europe and in the end I decided to go with a modular waist pouch instead. The vest looked too .. glaring, and I was getting unwanted attention

    Actually my current waist pouch gives pretty fast access

    Ryan
    Looking at some waist belt options also, but unsure about having 2-3 lenses and camera body dangling off it when not shooting. What is the option if camera isn't around the neck with lens mounted? Able to have compartment on the belt big enough for pro-series body?

    Quote Originally Posted by Raied View Post
    wait ppl think u wearing kevlar vest or smt then think your terrorist
    Yes, very worried about getting "aimed".

    Quote Originally Posted by denniskee View Post
    it is not a good idea to use photo vest.

    the backpack is much more comfortable when walking long distant. both shoulders share the load and the strap is padded.

    vest i find is more suited when you are at the venue, it is easier to access to the stuff compare to backpack.

    but it is tough to walk for long distant when loaded with gears.

    depending where you are going, it most likely will be either too hot, or, if in cold country, you dont want you gear to be expose to extreme cold right, and dont forget, you are already having layers of clothing.

    vest dont offer protection against knocking like camera bag.
    Thanks. Will think about this con.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Photographer vest for travel instead of backpack?

    Hi


    The most important thing is protection and security for your equipment. Personally, I have a LOWEPRO VERTEX 200 AW backpack with rain cover. Though it's a little bulky, I am assured of protection. I can even lug my Manfrotto tripod on it. What I do, is to sling my Canon (using OPTECH neck strap) around my neck and carry my backpack comfortably knowing that my equipment is well protected!

    One can't have the luxury of having to travel light while at the same time wanting to carry your equipment with you. If one is going to have to travel with less equipment, then you have less versatility as your equipment selection is limited.

  8. #8
    Senior Member giantcanopy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Photographer vest for travel instead of backpack?

    Quote Originally Posted by mr_jason View Post
    Looking at some waist belt options also, but unsure about having 2-3 lenses and camera body dangling off it when not shooting. What is the option if camera isn't around the neck with lens mounted? Able to have compartment on the belt big enough for pro-series body?
    The Off Trail 2 has a big enough space for a 1D series ( one of my friend used it before )

    You also have 2-3 lenses dangling on the vest. The only thing is the belt lens holders are cushioned, and unless u pad the pockets of the vest heavily, they are more vulnerable. Also I cannot put my 70-200mm in my vest.

    Ryan

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    Default Re: Photographer vest for travel instead of backpack?

    Quote Originally Posted by giantcanopy View Post
    The Off Trail 2 has a big enough space for a 1D series ( one of my friend used it before )

    You also have 2-3 lenses dangling on the vest. The only thing is the belt lens holders are cushioned, and unless u pad the pockets of the vest heavily, they are more vulnerable. Also I cannot put my 70-200mm in my vest.

    Ryan
    I have seen a tourist at the merlion with a SBO kind with shoulder straps to hold up the waist belt too and lens holders all around his big waist..(i guess the number of lens holders u can put varies with your waist size here? haha) and he looks like he is fully equipped....haha

    i am trying to imagine a 70-200mm F2.8 in one's vest.....haha....
    G

  10. #10

    Default Re: Photographer vest for travel instead of backpack?

    what kind of photography you do? been reading up on the standard kit for a paparazzi reporter and they travel surprisingly light.

    just have to see what you intend to shoot and then carry appropriately so that can reduce unnecessary weight.
    I photograph the dead.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Photographer vest for travel instead of backpack?

    Quote Originally Posted by godzilla60 View Post
    I have seen a tourist at the merlion with a SBO kind with shoulder straps to hold up the waist belt too and lens holders all around his big waist..(i guess the number of lens holders u can put varies with your waist size here? haha) and he looks like he is fully equipped....haha

    i am trying to imagine a 70-200mm F2.8 in one's vest.....haha....
    Haha. I don't intend to use a 70-200mm constant aperture lens, so length wise should will not be having long lenses.

    Just looking to store two mid-range length standard zoom lenses, with the option for a non-pro body + additional lens unmounted when not in shooting mode.

    Quote Originally Posted by Flashbulb View Post
    what kind of photography you do? been reading up on the standard kit for a paparazzi reporter and they travel surprisingly light.

    just have to see what you intend to shoot and then carry appropriately so that can reduce unnecessary weight.
    Well for travel I think one needs a pretty wide focal length, hence intend to carry three lenses ranging from 17mm - 300mm. Probably have a 24-70mm mounted majority of the time, and don't intend to store a flash in the vest. Tripod and flash unit probably into a non-photography daypack with maps, books and water bottle.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Photographer vest for travel instead of backpack?

    Quote Originally Posted by sabrecruz View Post
    The most important thing is protection and security for your equipment. Personally, I have a LOWEPRO VERTEX 200 AW backpack with rain cover. Though it's a little bulky, I am assured of protection. I can even lug my Manfrotto tripod on it. What I do, is to sling my Canon (using OPTECH neck strap) around my neck and carry my backpack comfortably knowing that my equipment is well protected!

    One can't have the luxury of having to travel light while at the same time wanting to carry your equipment with you. If one is going to have to travel with less equipment, then you have less versatility as your equipment selection is limited.
    I totally agree with the carrying it all vs. travelling light, but I think traveling with 3 zooms is pretty much a compramise with image quality, vs. the alterntive of a 18-200mm lens which can "do it all" but image quality wise much poorer.

    Problem with the Lowepro backpacks I find is that there isn't much space for other stuff like books or waterbottle without having stuff hanging outside the bag or the bag looking like its bursting.

    Quote Originally Posted by giantcanopy View Post
    You also have 2-3 lenses dangling on the vest. The only thing is the belt lens holders are cushioned, and unless u pad the pockets of the vest heavily, they are more vulnerable. Also I cannot put my 70-200mm in my vest.
    Is non-padded pockets an issue for say a whole day of usage with 2 lenses in each of the big front pockets of a vest? Will not be having a 70-200 fixed aperture lens.

  13. #13
    Senior Member giantcanopy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Photographer vest for travel instead of backpack?

    The dangling lenses in the vest was an issue for me when I went Europe, because there were a few times they got slightly contused at tight places.
    Thats why I switched out and used a waist belt system.

    Vest is good for holding my filters and maps though

    But this is of course subjective. There are many using the vest. And I still keep mine

    Ryan

  14. #14
    Member ProMushr00m's Avatar
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    Default Re: Photographer vest for travel instead of backpack?

    One Important thing.. if you put your lens in the vest, you might scratch it. In the bag at least the surface is smooth. =) If you plan to resell your lenses, keep in gud conditions =)

    Answering the point... Backpack will be good. Vest is quite irritating when people stare at you =.=|||

  15. #15

    Default Re: Photographer vest for travel instead of backpack?

    hi, if u r fine with the design, how about newswear chest vest? u can wear it the pouch face the front, or back just like backpack, side or cross sling n lastly..at your waist just like a waist pack...good thing is no matter how u wear it, all 4 ponches are close to your body n body hugging...

  16. #16

    Default Re: Photographer vest for travel instead of backpack?

    Quote Originally Posted by drewdam View Post
    hi, if u r fine with the design, how about newswear chest vest? u can wear it the pouch face the front, or back just like backpack, side or cross sling n lastly..at your waist just like a waist pack...good thing is no matter how u wear it, all 4 ponches are close to your body n body hugging...
    This Newswear chestvest looks like a SBO!! Link. Also looks like suicide bomber wear. Think it's way too conspicuous.

    I have been recommended to look at Lowepro Primus AW backpack, seems pretty good based on online reviews I have read so far. And also I prefer the shape compared to the Crumpler bags which end up looking like turtle shells. Any of you tried it?

  17. #17

    Default Re: Photographer vest for travel instead of backpack?

    If you wear a vest, you should also get a bag that can contain all the lenses as well..

    You don't want to be taking your lenses on a plane with just a vest..
    Meow!

  18. #18

    Default Re: Photographer vest for travel instead of backpack?

    Try a modular system.Much more comfortable

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