MindShift Gear design camera gear to help you get outdoors with your camera.
Ever since I made the switch to a DSLR, carrying my photo gear became an issue. How can I keep everything safe and secure, whilst accessible? What about carrying the other stuff that I need? Am I destined to wander around with a camera hanging round my neck and one hand steadying it, just in case I encounter a photo opportunity? It might not seem like a big problem, but being able to securely carry your kit, just in case you need it can be to me.
Well, MindShift Gear’s Panorama Rotation 180 bag has offered me a solution for some of those occasions, so I thought that it deserved some time outdoors.
I loaded the bag up with all that I thought that I might need for a day out. DSLR; fitted with an 18-55 for general use and with a 70-300 for anything else that required it. Add to that lot the usual cleaning kit and spare batteries / grip and some filters, there was a reasonable load being carried.
Strapped to the outside of the bag was a relatively chunky tripod.
The rotation Panorama rotation 180 system could be described as a belt pack, that can be part of a rucksack or worn by itself. When you need to get to your kit, you just need to release the belt pack and pull it round. When you are done, you can push it back round and lock it back in place. It took a few goes to get the unlocking and locking working well for me and it soon became intuitive.
The main compartment of the bag is 16.6 Litres, which isn’t as large as my usual carry. This wasn’t a problem, as the belt pack is 5.4 and would be looking after my camera gear. The main compartment comes with a mesh pocket, but you can get hold of an insert to add more photo gear carrying capacity and options.
The belt pack comes with adjustable inserts and a mesh pocket, so everything inside was held safe and secure. The rotation action was pretty good, with no snags during the day where the pack wouldn’t slide in and out of its carry position easily.
I found that having the pack pulled round to the front gave me a bit of a working platform as well, meaning that I could change lenses easily and generally faff about without having to put anything down.
The tripod didn’t get any use, but stayed secure and ready to hand. I like that you you can tuck the tripod carrying attachments away when you don’t need them, which will help prevent getting caught up on things.
The bag has a useful top pocket, which can be used for trail items. I would be tempted to carry snacks in the belt pack with the camera, as well as items such as GPS. I think that if I was taking the bag out on a long day of walking, then I would want to make sure that I reaped all of the advantages of the rotating belt pack. It really is a useful feature and MindShift seem to be making more models of bags with this in mind.
The outer fabric of the bag is 420D, with a PU coating on the back of the fabric. The optional rain cover has been designed so that it will work with the belt pack, so you can still get to your camera when you have it attached. A nice touch and all part of some very good design work.
There is also a pouch to take a 2 Litre hydration bladder. This didn’t get any use from me, but I appreciate the capability.
I wasn’t convinced that it was going to be comfy, but once I had the bag on for a while I more or less forgot about it. The shoulder straps seem wide enough and even with a relatively long body making up my 6’3” height, I didn’t experience any problems. I also made the other half share the load for a while and she found the bag comfortable at a lofty 5’3”.
It wasn’t until I took the bag out of the car at the end of the trip home that I realised just how much weight I had been carrying all day – so I guess that it does well there too.
I like it. The design has been influenced by people who like to take their photography outside and the more that I used it the more I appreciated just how much thought has gone in to this bag. I have probably been in situations where I have not bothered to take a picture because the camera wasn’t handy or I had the wrong lens attached. I know that I have missed images because I have needed to take off my pack and get something out. This bag won’t help me take better photographs, but it will certainly help me make the most of opportunities.
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