I recently wrote a blog about my bad back coupled with the aging process, all of which can make what used to be very enjoyable days out in the world taking pictures a painful and creatively limiting experience in my world today.
Below is a link to that article if you need to revisit it or perhaps read it for the first time.
Back injuries and the ever lasting pain that they can cause are extremely prevalent in a particular group of people. They are called photographers.
Photographers are known for carrying big and heavy gear, and in the past few years more and more have moved to smaller and lighter mirrorless cameras but even with that there is still a tendency for photographers to carry more gear than is actually needed. I attribute this to these great photographers having an inert fear that they will miss the shot of a lifetime if they do not pack everything they own. They won’t but they just have to learn that.
Sadly that does not negate the fact that even with smaller and lighter gear photographers still tend to carry more than they will ever need and worse, they carry the gear the wrong way. Over one shoulder can lead to all kinds of back and shoulder problems. Wearing a backpack at the wrong position on your back will lead to shoulder and lumbar issues. Sling bags are okay alternatives and they fall between the backpack and shoulder bag. But over loading a properly designed sling bag can be as bad as a shoulder bag or back pack. Ultimately the goal, beyond getting a great image, is to be able to avoid injury and be comfortable enough to spend a whole day out without stressing your body and fighting your carry method.
Not enough attention is paid to the part of the body that can carry weight properly distributed that does not impact the neck, spine or shoulders and that is a bag that can fit around the waist and sit on a hip. This kind of bag means that a photographer who wants to be able to go out for day and not have his or her creativity dumbed down by back and or shoulder pain must make the decisions that will make that happen. Those decisions involve selecting the best means of carrying gear and learning to get along with less gear.
In reality most photographers of all levels who go out for a day of shooting whether enthusiast or professional and carry tonnage of gear only wind up shooting with a camera and two zoom lenses. In most cases while the zooms are practical, one mid range zoom can be replaced by a couple of 2.0 prime lenses. I have worked with a great many overloaded pros and I have run photography workshops where students carried 25 to 40 pounds of gear and most of that gear never saw the light of day.
Where is all of this going. There is a bag that fits comfortably around the waist and is designed to sit on the hip of the shooter. So while the waist belt does the job of holding the package, the actually package is flared out and made to sit right on the hip so that the weight is comfortably distributed. It is my go to bag and it is the only camera bag I can use because my neck, spine, and rotator cup is a mess, painful and takes great days and makes them crappy days. But this bag gets me out of the house and on the road for hours of pleasurable photography.
You have read my articles on this before, or at least I am going to assume you have so one more time, just for you and your body parts.
The outstanding design of the Camslinger line of bags requires just a few things. One is your promise to yourself to choose one or two small lenses and one body with the understanding that this gear can capture almost everything you want. The second thing is your decision to get the Camslinger bag. My favorite is the outdoor version because it is weather proof, and the most versatile. Why is number two so important? Firstly, if you are young and somehow have avoided body damage that gives you chronic pain, then this is the time to have the right bag so that does not happen. But if you have worn out different body parts in your shoulders, spine and neck and find yourself limited and uncomfortable like shooting like you used to then the camslinger line is going to get you back out there. Do yourself a favor and order one of these bags. You won’t be sorry. I can wear this bag for hours on end and not even know it is around my waist. Considering how much pain I am usually in, that is a miracle in itself. What’s in it? Fuji X pro 2 body with a 35mmn 2.0 lens mounted. 23mm 2.0 and 50mm 2.0 lenses. 2 batteries, 3 moist lens cleaner packs, cable release, and 2 extension tubes. A complete kit for a days worth of shooting. It weighs 4.6 pounds. I have a close lady friend who is using the Cosyspeed Outdoor bag with a non mirror less Canon system with a Rebel and a 24mm to 120mm zoom lens, and accessories and weighs in at 6.5 pounds.
One of the hardest things I ever did was to become a minimalist. I had to get over the need to take everything I owned in cameras and lenses with me on any given shoot, and that really took a while to do. But once I did force myself to do that I found that my photography started becoming more creative again. It became a case of less is more. I keep a small tripod and a bag of small accessories like filters in the trunk of my car just in case. I wear a a ScottVest which handles my keys and wallet and an IPad Pro and cables. That particular vest is designed to deal with electronics on the go.
Just to be clear, I have no business relationship with Cosyspeed, the company that manufactures the Camslinger Waist packs. I just happen to love their exceptionally well made and functional products that have allowed me to once again enjoy my photography.
And just as a side note, one other minimalist product is the Platypod Ultra which gives me a great camera stabilization platform for those times when I want to either get into a picture or otherwise steady the camera and lens when slow shutter speeds are called for.
I add the Playpod accessory kit and a ball head with a 12 pound capacity in a small belt bag and you would be amazed at how versatile the little set up is. You cannot always replace a nice travel tripod, but I’ll be damned if I won’t try, and I have found enough situations where it was easy to replace a full tripod with the Platypod. They also make a pro version which is designed to hold up to about a 70-200 2.8 zoom lens and a body like a Nikon D810.