Like choosing the appropriate camera for the assignment in hand, choosing the right bag for the job is vital.
I have a fair collection of bags because there is no such thing as the perfect camera bag but one that suits you and the job.
Having said that, I wanted to share my bag of the moment for shooting in demanding situations where a roller bag is out of the question.
It is the Manfrotto PRO-V-610PL
I have used this rucksack in some very harsh conditions, ranging from floods to some hundreds of meters up on bridges to deep underground in mining scenarios.
Though it is billed as a video bag I tend to use it when I’m shooting 360 degree panoramas with my stills cameras in the most demanding circumstances, which sometimes involves a fair degree of safety equipment including harnesses and breathing apparatus.
Why do I like this bag? Well I get all my key pieces of equipment in the bag and access each item via the individual exterior zips without opening the main part of the bag, limiting any ingress of dust or water, while the sensitive equipment is protected by the Manfrotto CPS (Camera protection system) a thick shock absorbing core section.
As you will see from my what’s in the bag I can carry my favourite full size tripod, super compact 6-Section Gitzo GT556LTS inside the rucksack Though this tripod is under 50cm when folded and weighs just under 3kg, it supports the biggest lenses and equipment I possess, stills or moving, in a rock steady way, and though I never get close to its maximum load of 40kg(88 lb), I find its extreme torsional rigidity means I never am bothered by vibration, even in extreme weather.
But the bag also has this very clever way of carrying the Gitzo GT556LTS outside the bag which means I don’t have to open the bag to access it, handy when your hands are really dirty.
When you are carrying the tripod externally it does liberate a ton of space in the bag but as with any bag of this size you have to be careful not to overload it, as what can seem like a manageable amount can feel a whole lot heavier after a few miles and then there is the return journey to consider…..
Speaking of weight, the Manfrotto PRO-V-610PL weighs just 3.75kg(8.26lb) which was a big factor in my choice for this bag.
The PRO-V-610PL has an excellent belt which I use when out hiking but when I’m working in the city it’s handy that it is detachable.
If you need to carry quite a bit of kit this bag really is well worth a look, I have had some extreme shoots with this bag and I’m packing for my next adventure as soon as I have finished writing this……