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Monday, March 31, 2008

Toolbox: It's In The Bag

Safe, stylish transport for a variety of gear and situations

toolbox For a classic appeal, some bags are great just for their timeless aesthetic. The Domke F-2, the company's most popular bag, is still the very first model it ever produced. Made from heavyweight cotton canvas, the material is water-resistant, but the breathable fabric also minimizes the risk of condensation. The F-2's four-compartment interior is an ideal capacity for two cameras, six to 10 lenses (up to 300mm), an accompanying flash unit and accessories. The soft, padded interior keeps the lens and LCD screens from scratching, and 12 compartments and pockets provide plenty of storage for memory cards and batteries. The shoulder strap is secured with tough steel hardware, and a removable bottom stiffener adds support to the base. The bag comes in khaki, and for a limited time, the F-2 is available in chocolate brown. List Price: $187.

toolbox The Billingham 550 is the company's original design for carrying photo equipment. It has ample space for medium- and even large-format cameras, accessory lenses, a flash, batteries, meters and other accoutrements. The adjustable shoulder sling and the optional SP20 shoulder pad provide a comfortable carry, and metal feet protect the base of the bag. Two reinforced exterior pockets with stud fastenings and a zippered external back pocket provide fast access and extra storage for smaller items. Additional end pockets, Luggage Tally handcrafted name tags, tripod straps, SuperFlex partitions and Simplies pouches are available as optional add-ons. Estimated Street Price: $475.

toolbox When one camera and one or two lenses are all you need, you can't beat the convenience of a holster design. The KATA GDC H-10 Holster allows superfast access to a D-SLR with a lens attached, which sits comfortably and at the ready beneath the upper flap. Two more pockets on the sides fit an additional long lens and flash. The camera can be held in place to provide extra room at the bottom of the bag when you want to bring an extra smaller lens. The media kit holds batteries and memory cards, and five padded accessory pockets inside and outside store other smaller items. A handle, SPAD shoulder strap and 3D-mesh loop for waist belts provide a variety of ways to carry the GDC Holster comfortably. In addition, KATA's unique elements cover protects from the rain and is reversible to silver to reflect the heat of the sun. Estimated Street Price: $60.

Known for bags with unusual names like the Sinking Barge, the Brazillion Dollar Home and the Whickey And Cox, the Crumpler bag company is just as inventive when it comes to remarkable design. The Cork & Fork is a spacious photo backpack designed to fit inside Crumpler's carry-on luggage piece, the Period Charmer. The Cork & Fork features a snakelike adjustable internal wall for snug, bendable, wraparound configuration for lenses and other equipment with circular or odd shapes. The walls of the bag themselves are stiff but padded, and the P.E. board and high-density-foam external shell protects from bumps and knocks. The case includes a stowable rain cover, elastic cable pocket and tripod-mounting strap. Available in black/blue, the Cork & Fork includes the Period Charmer roller suitcase, the Cork & Fork photo backpack and the removable insert. Estimated  Street Price: $550.

toolboxThe Parallax Camera Pack from Mountainsmith is a nylon backpack for carrying multiple cameras and lenses comfortably on your shoulders. Ideal as a traveling companion for photographers who regularly hike to remote locations, the Parallax is engineered for a day in the field. The Parallax is so named because it provides an alternate back-panel entry to the main compartment, good for fast retrieval when a tripod is attached to the Rapid Access tripod mount on the front. The interior is fleece-lined and padded, and the included dividers are adjustable. There's a removable waist-belt pouch for batteries and memory cards, and a removable storm cover. The Parallax has two front pockets, including a padded laptop sleeve, and the straps are adjustable and contoured for a comfortable journey. The Parallax is available in black or gray. Estimated Street Price: $169.


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