MINDSHIFT GEAR CAMERA BACKPACK
I rarely write much about camera gear, but I’m particularly excited about two photography products I used during my trip to Death Valley in February. Both helped make the adventure especially enjoyable and productive. (Note: neither of the items were provided for review by their respective manufacturers.)
First, there’s the MindShift Gear BackLight 26L backpack ($249). Finding the ideal camera bag is the Holy Grail for all photographers. But the fact is, “ideal” depends on the circumstances; that’s why photographers tend to have a collection of camera conveyance products. The BackLight rig is about as close to perfect as I’ve used for landscape photography. Even when fully loaded, the harness is so well designed that it imposes very little strain on one’s shoulders and back.
The cool part is that the pack swivels around in front of you and opens from the rear, so you have access to your camera bodies and lenses without having to find a dry, or safe, place to put the pack on the ground. I was skeptical when I first learned about the pack, but after watching a video and reading about the product, I was sold on the concept. When I tested it, fully loaded, I was optimistic. And after a week of traveling with the pack, I was smitten by it.
The 26L easily accommodated 2 DSLR bodies, a Nikon 14-25 zoom, 24-70 mm zoom, and 70–200 mm zoom). It also had room for my Micro-NIKKOR 60mm Macro lens and my Fuji x100T. The internal and external pockets provided ample room for filters, batteries, memory cards, lens wipes, and various accessories.
The BackLight 26L is available in charcoal and distinctive two-tone green. I wasn’t feeling bold enough for the green, so I purchased the more conservative charcoal version—it goes with anything.
Total weight: 18 lbs. Total discomfort: 0. Total satisfaction: 100 percent!
FLASH PORTER BACKUP DRIVE
I’m fanatical about backing up my business data at home, and I’m no different on the road with my photos. On past trips, I took a MacBook Air and a small portable hard drive, and I backed up my images each night. I’ve never liked the bulk, and I don’t process images on the road. The Flash Porter, available directly from DFI Gear is a good alternative. It measures 5.8 x 3.4 x 1.1 inches and sports a 3.5-inch color LCD screen, so you can review the images and be sure that you’ve, indeed, backed up your work. The interface takes some getting used to; you need to do a lot of button-pushing to navigate the device. But it’s easy once you learn how. Most importantly, it works.
The Flash Porter accommodates a variety of camera cards and can hold thousands of photos (depending on the drive size you purchase. Pricing starts at $299 for the Flash Porter with a 500GB hard drive). You can back up any time and any place (assuming the internal battery is charged), and then download the images to a computer when you return home. While none of my camera cards failed or got lost, it gave me terrific peace of mind to know that my images and cherished moments were well protected.