As some people already know, I'm the Imelda Marcos of camera bags; I'm never happy with just one, and every time I see something new and shiny, I want it. I've been going through a repeating cycle of purchasing a bag, using it for a bit, and then seeing something else, selling the bag I have so I can purchase another bag. This is good and bad; good because I make back what I spend on each bag, but bad because its a constant flux of bag over bag coming through the studio.
But I think I've found the end to this cycle.
For a long time I was very fond of my Crumpler 7 Million Dollar Hotel - it was a great shoulder/messenger style bag. Then, I discovered the Think Tank line. Think Tank is a really swanky professional line of camera bags and backpacks that have a sleek look and have very interesting features.
I picked up a Think Tank Urban Disguise 60 last year, to replace the Crumpler. I still have it. That's a good sign.
For a camera backpack I had been using one by Kata - I liked it, but I always had my eye open for something else. Then my buddy Dave went and had Think Tank's Streetwalker Harddrive mailed to him for review purposes and the second he opened to box and took it out, I knew I wanted it. Its uber sleek. Its got a great low profile, and it fits extremely comfortable on the back.
And, sweet Jesus, the amount of gear it holds is fantastic. I sold off the Crumpler and the Kata bags, and picked up my very own Streetwalker Harddrive. It arrived a few weeks ago, and, man, this thing is sweet.
This camera backpack fits into my "middle" catagory. I have the Urban Disguise for small jobs where I'm only using one body, one lens, and maybe one speedlight. Small, light and rocking it like a minimalist. The Streetwalker falls into the middle category; its for gigs where I need to be more than a minimalist but don't want to bring everything in the studio with me. And, actually, this sucker can almost carry everything in the studio, yet still fit on my back! Comfortably! Outstanding.
In this picture I'm rocking a full bag; complete with five (!!!) speedlights, a camera body, three lenses, and all the bells and whistles I need for a multi-light setup. The stands and umbrellas rock it in a separate bag. But, man, this bag can hold a serious amount of stuff. Not that I even need to be blasting five speedlights at a time, but if I needed to bring every speedlight I have, I could do that. Or, pull out some of those strobes and I can replace them with all kinds of things: more lenses, video stuff, accessories, etc.
My rolling bag, which is an old Tamrac rolling case, is for the big bad jobs. The ones where I'll be away all day, or if I'm going out of town for a weekend or longer. With that bag, I can fill it full of studio strobes if I need, or all my camera bodies and lenses, or even a small dog, or cat, or midget (storing midgets not advisable).
Eventually, I'd like to upgrade my rolling bag to a Think Tank Airport Security. I really love the Think Tank line and its quality. I'd love to convert over to a full line of Think Tank bags, but the Airport Security is some serious cash, so I'm sticking with what I have right now.
If you have a local camera shop that stocks Think Tank, give them a look over. They are built amazingly well, and I think I've finally hit the stop-sign of camera bag desires. With these little beauties, I haven't had the desire for new bags in quite some time, and I don't expect to for a long long while.
Of course, ask me this question again in six months, and we'll see where we stand ;)