I was asked by my good friend Rene of Camrade to take a look at some of their new products. So over the next couple of weeks I’ll be looking at the CB Single III camera bag, the PMW F3 rain cover and a new PL lens adapter for the Sony FS100. First I’m going to take a look at the camera bag.
I’ve had Camrade bags before and they have always lasted well, standing up to the knocks and bumps that go along with lugging kit all over the place. I was in the market for a new bag for one of my PMW-F3’s, so I was sent the CB Single III bag. From the outside this is a functional looking bag with a large mesh pocket on one side and further external pockets on the other side and at one end. It has a nice well padded chunky carry strap that is comfortable to use.
The top of the bag opens up with a dual zipper system that gives you completely un hindered access to the bags interior. This is great for run and gun where you may need to quickly grab the camera from the bag and you don’t want to have to squeeze it out through a small opening. The interior of the bag has various dividers that are secured by velcro, so you can customise the layout to suit your needs. One of the dividers forms a clever storage box to one side of the bag. I’ve found this particularly useful with the F3 as I can safely store my Genus 4×4 Matte Box and a couple of DSLR lenses in here.
Then my batteries, other bits and bobs and the rain cover fit comfortably in the end compartments. This bag really works well with the F3 alloying you to get a complete basic shooting kit into one bag without the bag being too big or bulky.
It’s not perhaps the most fancy or sophisticated of bags, but in terms of practicality and functionality it works very well indeed. There is a strap in the main compartment to hold the camera secure if your really going to be bouncing it around. The base and sides of the bag are all semi ridged and have a good layer of shock absorbing foam in them. With one of these bags typically costing a very affordable $200 it really does represent good value for money.
I’m currently in Singapore staying at Clarke Quay. Most evenings a group of radio control kite flyers from a local store (goflykite.com) bring out their illuminated kites and fly them in the local park. It’s very pretty and seemed an interesting thing to try and shoot with my F3. As I’m travelling light, trying (and failing) to keep within a 20kg baggage allowance, I don’t have a tripod and I’ve only got a couple of lenses, my trusty 50mm Nikon f1.8 and my Tokina 28-70mm f2.6 zoom. Most of this was shot with the Nikon lens at +6db. I really wish I had a tripod and a longer lens! I did a little bit of grading work here and there to balance out the very orange street lights a little.
OK, OK, they have a job to do, to keep us travellers safe, but come on. When you spend an age packing camera kit so that it won’t get damaged in transit while it is hurled about by airline baggage handlers only to arrive at your destination, to find your careful packing was a waste of time as a TSA inspector has unwrapped your valuable cameras from their bubble wrap and padded bags and just tossed them back in the case, then piled all the now loose accessories on top of the cameras in a big heap. It just pisses me off.
No major damage on this occasion, just some scratches and dings to the camera body, but there should be some accountability. I recently had a flight case inspected by German security officials in Berlin. Inside the case was a detailed letter explaining what was done during the search. It told me that items had been removed and then replaced, it was signed by the inspector with his ID number and then countersigned by his manager. Everything was correctly packed and I have no issue with that inspection. But the TSA inspectors remain anonymous, so who do you complain about? It should be mandatory that each inspector should have to leave a card with his/her ID on it so that those that can’t be bothered to replace items as they found them can be held accountable for any resulting damage. I don’t have an issue with my luggage being searched, provided reasonable care is taken in the process. I try to pack the kit so that it’s easy to open and see what it is, I even give instructions on how to open and re-pack some items so they are not damaged. My luggage is often TSA inspected. Sometimes you’d never know except for the little white anonymous notification card, but this time my case looked like it had been gone though by a starving gorilla looking for a banana.
Camera setup, reviews, tutorials and information for pro camcorder users from Alister Chapman.