When i bought my Fuji X-E1 with the 18-55mm and 27mm i needed a smaller camera bag to carry that the camera would fit with one of my 2 lenses with accessories like a spare battery and SD cards. I wanted a camera bag that didn’t look like the regular camera bags, at first i wanted a waist bag but changed my mind and decided to go for a small shoulder bag style. I had two brands in mind, Billingham and National Geographic bags because of their look and materials.
Here is the link to the USA site, that bag was not available in Canada even if the others from the series are available, so i had to bought it in USA:
Here is the main site without the prices, but all the collections are there, some interesting products:
After some research on the web and thinking i finally ordered the National Geographic “Earth Explorer series” Holster 2342 bag. The material and look reminds me of the old backpacks that my grandfather was using while going hunting and fishing. The size was just about perfect to carry my Fuji X-E1 kit without ending taking too much gear, the bigger the bag you use you will always end up filling it and it’s finally heavier than you wanted it to be in the first place. If i need more gear i will use my Lowepro Inverse 100 AW waist bag which can holds a little more gear.
My goal was also to just enjoy using my kit like the old days of Manual focus cameras, old style bag, old style camera with my old manual cable release that i was using with my Pentax K1000 when i started photography. You might think that i’m crazy to put that much thought for just a camera bag but i wanted to have a different kind of experience when shooting with my X-E1 compared to when i’m using my Canon DSLR kit which is more of a plastic, modern feel and heavy to carry in the field.
Here is a short video i made with the bag and my Fuji X-E1 + 27mm:
I tried my X-E1 + 18-55mm, it fits with the lens pointing down, i had to remove the divider in the bag though, it’s the biggest and longest lens it will fit. So it’s best to use it with smaller lenses like the 27mm, especially if you want to bring a filter, spare batteries and SD cards. For just my X-E1 + 27mm it’s perfect, i was able to fit a Polarizer, SD cards, a spare battery and even fit it with my QR plate for my big Ballhead. It would be a great bag for the Pentax Q series cameras, you can certainly fit the camera with a lens attached and still be able to bring 1 or 2 lenses ! I was able to fit my Pentax K-01 body only, i’m sure it would also fit with either the DA40mm XS, DA40mm Ltd or even the DA21mm Ltd attached.
In the field the bag work really well, it’s comfortable since it’s small and the camera in it is small and lightweight as well. The camera is easily accessible when you need to get it out as well as the accessories in the front pocket. I like the zipper and flap that closes the bag, it’s a double protection. The material looks very tough, there will be no problem using that bag in the field for many years to come. The padding looks not as thick as the ones in my bigger camera bags from Lowepro and ThinkTank but since the cameras that fits in it are small and lightweight it’s probably more than enough to protect them. There is a rain cover available for the Earth Explorer series, i might buy it eventually if i see that i need more protection against the rain.
So this is my first impressions after a short time of using this bag, will certainly do an update later this year to see how it survive in the field.
Back in late 2008 i was shooting with a Pentax DS2, i dropped it on my Pentax-67 M*400mm/4 and broked the LCD, i had to replace my DSLR! I bought a Pentax K20D to replace it, it’s equipped with LV but i’ve never liked it in that camera so never used it in the field. Then a couple of years later i bought a Sony NEX-3, i liked the focus peaking feature, it was so easy to get accurate focus now with my old Takumar (M42) lenses !
When the Pentax K-01 came out i bought one immediately, the focus peaking was a big selling point. This is the camera that really get me hooked on LV, the AF was accurate and getting photos from different angles was a lot easier than trying to look into the VF of my K20D.
AF in LV is useful for wildlife also, especially when they are a long distance from you. If the light is good it locks easily on your subject, if not i switch to MF. My 7D with 400mm/5.6L+TC 1.4X II can’t AF but in LV that combo can be use in AF, sure it’s not fast but it works. I’m using LV more often now for wildlife when my subject give me the time, it’s certainly a must have now for me when photographing frogs with my 70-200mm or 400mm with extension tubes and/or a TC 1.4X.
Having a big screen to compose is so much fun, better than looking at a VF, especially the VF of the entry level cameras. It’s more like a small View Camera. You can stay away from your camera in a more relax position, i use a cable release while looking on the LCD until my subject is at it’s best.
I never thought i would buy a DSLR with a tilt and swivel screen but i did it when i bought a cheap Canon T3i. I learned to appreciate that screen and can’t wait to use it for photographing frogs with it at my local pond, it will be useful when my tripod will be low in the water, it will be easier to see and focus on the LCD.
Sure they are not perfect, in bright sun it’s still difficult to see well compared to a VF, but i managed to use them anyway, if i really can’t see anything i use the VF.
Here is a short video on how i use my K-01 for ground level shots, a lot easier than trying to see in the VF:
LCD will get better in the coming years, resolution is already better than just a couple of years ago. There is LCD that have touch screen now, i have some experience with the Panasonic GX7 and it works pretty well, like an I-Pod. The camera manufacturer will include those touch screen more and more in the coming years for sure and probably other features that we can’t imagine yet but will make our life easier as photographer.
This week i took mostly shots of leaves caught in ice on a Lake near my work, it’s not always easy to find the best subject, but you know when you find the right one !
Pentax K-01 with DFA 100mm Macro WR, Tripod, RAW.
Yesterday was a rainy and foggy day, i went to get some meat for the dinner and decided to brought my gear just in case. Well it paid off, took the following shot of a farm that i drove everyday in front of it but never took a second look. This time it was just screaming “TAKE MY PORTRAIT”.
Pentax K-01 with DA 20-40mm Limited at 40mm, Tripod.
It’s been a very cold week, nights temperatures were ranging from -20C to -28C ! Good for forming ice on rivers and Waterfalls. This is a shot of an old Canal close to my home, it’s been closed to navigation for many yeasr now.
Pentax K-01 with DA 20-40mm WR Limited, tripod.