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FORUMS General Gear Talk Camera Bags, Backpacks & Cases 
Thread started 20 Apr 2016 (Wednesday) 08:55
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about to buy an f-stop bag - thoughts?

 
jamsomito
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Apr 20, 2016 08:55 |  #1

I have searched to the end of the internet and back, and I am now well aware that there is no such thing as a perfect camera bag - no way, no how. Can't blame anyone because of the wide array of uses they need to design for, but it sure doesn't make picking one any easier. I've been putting so many hours into finding one that my head is spinning, so now that I have an idea of what I want and what's out there, I thought I would run it by you guys to see if you think this is a good choice.

Needs:
This will be my camera bag first and foremost. However, I need this bag for a 2-week trip to Alaska (land/sea cruise with excursions). I will be carrying it with me whenever we're not sitting every day. I am going with my pregnant wife and 2 year old son, so the bag needs to be able to carry some extra stuff besides just my camera gear. I plan to keep this pack for a very long time, and until the kids are all 5-6 years old or so, I think my situation will be the same on every trip we take. So, it needs to haul my camera gear, and maybe about that same volume again of other stuff. My camera gear is as follows:

Canon 70D (no battery grip, but I do have a Peak Design Capture clip attached to it at all times - the clip will likely be on the shoulder strap though, so only the plate on the camera when I'm using this bag)
Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM (mk1) w/hood (reversed is fine)
Canon 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM w/hood (reversed is fine)
Canon 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM w/hood (reversed is fine)
3 LP-E6 batteries (1 in the camera)
1 battery charger
3 SD cards in a waterproof case
77mm circular polarizer and step down ring
Canon EF 12 and 25 II extension tubes (can stack, or just bring one)
Joby Gorillapod Focus + Ballhead X
20,000mAh battery (flat)

Optional:
Canon 50mm f/1.8
Canon 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III
Canon Speedlite 420EX
hotshoe cell phone mount (for DSLR controller - time lapse, intervalometer, etc)

Other stuff I'll be carrying - rain coats, maybe one other layer for everyone, water bottles (1-2L), snacks, emergency diapers (for the kiddo obviously), kindle, laptop, misc charger cables.

So I think I need something around a 30-40L pack. I've narrowed it down to the f-stop Lotus or Ajna, still debating between the two, with a medium ICU. I think this fits the bill best, but it's a lot of money to throw down just to haul my stuff, so I wanted to ask you all what you thought of this decision.

Other packs I've looked at in this google doc here: https://docs.google.co​m …w8JoMhIc/edit?u​sp=sharing (external link)

How is the quality of f-stop bags? How is their warranty if a zipper or clip breaks or a handle tears? Customer service? How is the availability (they say backordered until May, but I need it in early June)? Any other reservations?

Thanks much for any help you can offer.




  
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jamsomito
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Apr 20, 2016 09:13 |  #2

I just called them to ask about availability - nobody picked up and the voicemail box was full. This bodes well...

I then emailed. We'll see if they get back to me.




  
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Snydremark
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Apr 20, 2016 09:21 |  #3

They're somewhat slow to respond; always have been, be patient. However, I absolutely love my Tilopa and will be replacing it with another F-Stop once it reaches the end of its use; I expect that'll be a while, though. I regularly carry a ton of stuff in it and it's gone with me to Alaska, Hawaii, up/down the W. Coast and to Europe (London, Paris, Germany).


- Eric S.: My Birds/Wildlife (external link) (7D MkII/5D IV, Canon 10-22 f/3.5-4.5, Canon 24-105L f/4 IS, Canon 70-200L f/2.8 IS MkII, Canon 100-400L f/4.5-5.6 IS I/II)
"The easiest way to improve your photos is to adjust the loose nut between the shutter release and the ground."

  
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jamsomito
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Apr 20, 2016 09:47 |  #4

Thanks for the comments, Snydremark.

I just got a response via email from them. FWIW, here's what they said:

Thank you for your interest & inquiry.

The May delivery dates are actually "worst case scenario" estimates. If you were to create your order now, the very latest we would expect to ship your order would be around the end of May. Also, the incoming restocks are very large shipments, so there would be no worry of running out of stock again.

Kind regards,
Mirko T.
Customer Service
USA/EMEA Sales Support // f-stop
E: cs@fstopgear.com | W: fstopgear.com




  
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Nethawked
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Apr 20, 2016 10:31 |  #5

First, you're not going to be able to carry all that gear with a medium ICU. Second, with a lot of weight the suspension system on f-stop bags isn't the best, but then I'm short at 5'7" and the Tilopa was just not comfortable for me. I own the F-stop Guru, fine for a day hike and for a few miles, but after 6 miles or so it begins to get uncomfortable (fully loaded).

If I may suggest, I also own this bag and it's been my preferred serious hiker. It's also currently available for a great price. Check out reviews. I don't use mine much anymore, not because of the pack but my back ;-)a I've been climbing, skiing, biking and overnight hiking with my Contrejour 35 and loved every minute with it.

http://www.bhphotovide​o.com …contrejour_35_c​amera.html (external link)




  
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jamsomito
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Apr 20, 2016 10:36 |  #6

Nethawked wrote in post #17978372 (external link)
First, you're not going to be able to carry all that gear with a medium ICU. Second, with a lot of weight the suspension system on f-stop bags isn't the best, but then I'm short at 5'7" and the Tilopa was just not comfortable for me. I own the F-stop Guru, fine for a day hike and for a few miles, but after 6 miles or so it begins to get uncomfortable (fully loaded).

If I may suggest, I also own this bag and it's been my preferred serious hiker. It's also currently available for a great price. Check out reviews. I don't use mine much anymore, not because of the pack but my back ;-)a I've been climbing, skiing, biking and overnight hiking with my Contrejour 35 and loved every minute with it.

http://www.bhphotovide​o.com …contrejour_35_c​amera.html (external link)

Ok, I'll consider it, thanks for the recommendation. I looked at some Clik bags during my search, but the removable thing for the camera kind of threw me off. I generally didn't like the side access because it seemed a little less flexible IMO.

As for the medium ICU, I'm really just looking to protect my camera and lenses (not the optional ones), which I think will fit. I could put the gorillapod in one of the side pockets, or just loose on top of the ICU in the bag, and the other stuff is small for other pockets.




  
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Nethawked
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Apr 20, 2016 10:38 |  #7

The Contrejour doesn't have anything removable, but it does have a side pocket for easy access to body and lens. Like you, I use Capture Pro clip so seldom take advantage of this. It's come in handy with long lens, normally uncomfortable flapping around, but not anything I couldn't live without.




  
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Snydremark
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Apr 20, 2016 10:56 |  #8

My medium ICU carries my 100-400 mounted on a 7D, 70-200 2.8, 24-105, 10-22; if I move the camera to the Capture Clip I can add my Signa 18-35 and 580EX II. The accessories, including a full LEE filters kit easily fit in the various accessory pockets. The gear in the OP should easily fit in any of their medium/large bags.


- Eric S.: My Birds/Wildlife (external link) (7D MkII/5D IV, Canon 10-22 f/3.5-4.5, Canon 24-105L f/4 IS, Canon 70-200L f/2.8 IS MkII, Canon 100-400L f/4.5-5.6 IS I/II)
"The easiest way to improve your photos is to adjust the loose nut between the shutter release and the ground."

  
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jlt23
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Apr 20, 2016 18:06 |  #9

I really like my f-stop bags, and I have 4 of them. I haven't used two of them yet tough. You will need something larger than a loka and will need at least a large ICU.


James

  
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FarmerTed1971
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Apr 20, 2016 18:36 |  #10

I fit my 7D2 with a 70-200 mounted, 6D and two more lenses in my Medium ICU (plus batteries and a remote cable). You'll be fine with the medium ICU.
Buy the biggest bag you think is practical because it sucks to run out of room.

As long as they CAN ship when they say they can then you are golden. The bags simply kick ass! I love my Guru.


Getting better at this - Fuji Xt-2 - Fuji X-Pro2 - Laowa 9mm - 18-55 - 23/35/50/90 f2 WR - 50-140 - flickr (external link) - www.scottaticephoto.co​m (external link)

  
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jamsomito
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Apr 20, 2016 20:02 |  #11

Ok, thanks everyone for the input. Last question - what do you think about colors?

I want something that doesn't scream "expensive equipment inside." But I don't like the green color. I'm really drawn to the orange or blue, but I'm afraid it would be a bit obnoxious in public places. And the black kind of looks like an equipment bag and/or might get hot hiking in the sun. Thoughts?




  
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kaitlyn2004
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Apr 20, 2016 20:51 |  #12

jamsomito wrote in post #17978993 (external link)
Ok, thanks everyone for the input. Last question - what do you think about colors?

I want something that doesn't scream "expensive equipment inside." But I don't like the green color. I'm really drawn to the orange or blue, but I'm afraid it would be a bit obnoxious in public places. And the black kind of looks like an equipment bag and/or might get hot hiking in the sun. Thoughts?

I've got blue and absolutely love it. Orange didn't exist at the time, but it looks amazing too!

I didn't want just another black bag.. not for something this nice! :). I'm also not afraid to add splashes of color


My Landscape Photography Videos (external link)
My Instagram (external link)

  
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sawsedge
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Apr 20, 2016 21:26 |  #13

I love my Loka (between the Ajna and Lotus in size). I think F-stop is worth the wait. They are well-made, flexible, adjustable and very space efficient given the various ICUs available. In the medium pro (discontinued) I can fit a 5D3 with 100-400 mounted (hood reversed), 24-70, 16-35, 100 macro, cable, batteries, and a few filters. The tradeoff for the medium vs the large is that I have to store things with the 100-400 mounted in the medium if I carry all the lenses. The medium pro leaves me with enough space for a layer, first aid, snacks, bug repellent, etc. The large lets me carry a bit more and have any lens mounted, but I have to give up some of the survival gear.

Obviously I went with green. It's as nondescript as something that size can get.

Here are medium pro and large pro ICUs to give you an idea:

IMAGE: https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/678/22922960892_d28edbeca9_b.jpg

IMAGE: https://c2.staticflickr.com/4/3953/15373014309_4c2f67ec0b_b.jpg

- John

  
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FarmerTed1971
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Apr 20, 2016 21:44 |  #14

Mine is 'green' too. Not really green. I love the color.


Getting better at this - Fuji Xt-2 - Fuji X-Pro2 - Laowa 9mm - 18-55 - 23/35/50/90 f2 WR - 50-140 - flickr (external link) - www.scottaticephoto.co​m (external link)

  
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jlt23
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Apr 20, 2016 21:52 |  #15

I have a forest green loka, drab green sukha, and black guru and black lotus and they are all nice.


James

  
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about to buy an f-stop bag - thoughts?
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