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Thread: Traveling with Medium Format

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    Traveling with Medium Format

    I would be very interested in knowing how various people travel with their medium format equipment. The question includes both airline travel as well as in the field itself, let's say doing landscapes. Which packs or cases seem to work and which ones do not? I have been looking at some of the Think Tank products but cannot make up my mind.

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    Senior Member kdphotography's Avatar
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    Re: Traveling with Medium Format

    Unfortunately, "airline carry-on approved" can vary in reality according to the type of plane and flight. I avoid using my larger Lowepro Computrekker for this reason, though it is "carry-on approved."

    All valuable and necessary equipment stays with me on the plane. I use a Think Tank Airport Ultralight---only good as a daypack. (You can pack a heavier duty pack in your check in luggage) Phase body and P65+, lenses, Cube, etc. go in the Airport Ultralight. As long as you do not overpack the Ultralight, it will fit into a Pelican 1510. If you get "tagged" at the gate, pull out the Ultralight pack, and let the airline gate check an empty Pelican.

    Tripod legs in a soft case go into a hard shell suitcase with clothes, etc. Other than the tripod legs, I figure I can pretty much buy new clothes or whatever the airline loses in the worst case scenario.

    Really screwy with the airlines. They will charge you $ if you go over say 50lbs on check-in luggage. So, pack in one suitcase to save space---but hit 52 lbs, and you get nailed. But if you divide up the load between two large suitcases---you won't pay the surcharge, even though the two cases take up twice as much space, and actually more weight because of the additional case.

    I've also had the airline check-in staff have me remove items to "make-weight" and then advise me to put the items back into the suitcase right before you drop the case off to Homeland Security to scan and receive.... Boy, that makes sense....

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    Re: Traveling with Medium Format

    I use either a thinktank Airport International roller
    or a thinktank Airport Acceleration backpack

    Tripod legs go into the suitcase.
    No trouble ever really except when I throw in a Mamiya 300mm lens and maybe the cube in the suitcase it often gets hand inspected and I don't really blame them.

    The only issue I ever have is on the smaller commuter planes, especially in Europe, but so far, the cabin crew has always found a closet for the carry-on.

    To save space in the suitcase, I leave my Tuxedo, top hat, dancing shoes, and silver tipped cane at home.

    -bob
    Last edited by Bob; 29th March 2010 at 13:09.

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    Re: Traveling with Medium Format

    Airliners are changing their policies.
    Starting from January, for atlantic flights, they allow only one check-in luggage with max. 50 lb. A few years ago, this was 2 items with 70 lb. each. Surcharge is 50 EU for the additional luggage, and 150 EU for the 3rd. one, if you dare!

    Cabin allowance is only 20 lb. total, but fortunately they allow a separate camera bag most of the time. This will change soon.

    At present, I can fit a H3DII with 35-90mm and a 28mm, plus a zeiss 180mm with adapter in one Tamrac. I don't know how long I will be able to continue doing that.
    H3DII-31, 5DII, M8, NEX-3 and Camera collection
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    Re: Traveling with Medium Format

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob View Post
    I use either a thinktank Airport International roller
    or a thinktank Airport Acceleration backpack

    Tripod legs go into the suitcase....
    -bob
    Same here. In fact, I traveled on an airline today with the ThinkTank Airport Acceleration backpack loaded with Leica S2 w/70mm lens, Leica X1, Canon 40D, Canon 500mm L IS, Canon 100-400 L, Canon flash, and other assorted accessories. This camera bag and a computer bag were my carryon bags. The tripod legs, head, and monopod rode in my checked bag. I had no problems whatsoever.

    Mark

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    Re: Traveling with Medium Format

    I use a Lightware 1420 with the optional roller kit. I have reconfigured it as I have changed systems. I have flown from Australia to NZ with it as checked luggage a couple of times. My tripod minus cube goes into a Gitzo bag stuffed with socks and underwear. I always ask that both be treated as fragile.
    Cheers,
    Jeff
    www.jeff-grant.com

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    Re: Traveling with Medium Format

    Think Tank Street walker pro or my Think Tank antidote. I will never use a roller bag again. They tried to check mine once when the flight was getting full in the jetway. Big argument I won the battle but they won the war since I have to carry my stuff now. Tripod in checked bag with cloths . Lights get checked, always.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Traveling with Medium Format

    I throw most of my gear in my checked luggage, last October was first time i travel with medium format, i am thinking to buy another bag for medium format for any next time traveling with it.

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    Re: Traveling with Medium Format

    For those of you who own the ThinkTank Airport Acceleration backpack, do you find it comfortable to lug around in the field or do you go to a smaller backpack after you arrive?

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    Subscriber Member tashley's Avatar
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    Re: Traveling with Medium Format

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob View Post

    To save space in the suitcase, I leave my Tuxedo, top hat, dancing shoes, and silver tipped cane at home.

    -bob
    Bob, I can't believe you're letting the GetDPI team down with sloppy dressing!

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    Re: Traveling with Medium Format

    Quote Originally Posted by cerett View Post
    For those of you who own the ThinkTank Airport Acceleration backpack, do you find it comfortable to lug around in the field or do you go to a smaller backpack after you arrive?
    I use it, it is sized well for me. I do leave some items in the hotel if I don't think I will need them on the day's shoot.
    -bob

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    Re: Traveling with Medium Format

    Quote Originally Posted by cerett View Post
    For those of you who own the ThinkTank Airport Acceleration backpack, do you find it comfortable to lug around in the field or do you go to a smaller backpack after you arrive?
    Quote Originally Posted by tashley View Post
    Bob, I can't believe you're letting the GetDPI team down with sloppy dressing!
    Once the need for three piece suits faded away I have gone to hell in a hand-basket.
    -bob

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    Re: Traveling with Medium Format

    When I travel with the MFD system, I usually limit it to the body/back and 3 lenses + the 1.7X extender & a Polarizer: The 50mm, 100mm and either 150 or 210 which are all the same filter size.

    Like the Contax 645 before it, the Hassy H can be broken down with the prism removed. This allows either a much flatter type bag, or less wasted space in a regular bag. 15" laptop in the front pocket.

    This gear bag is smaller than carry on-restrictions. The Tripod is broken down and placed in checked luggage.

    -Marc

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    Re: Traveling with Medium Format

    I'm using the Phase roller case the DF/P65+ came in, airline friendly. It also contains the three most important lenses for the trip in question and my Cube. And my MacBook.

    Everything else goes into a large hockey bag (I am Canadian, after all) with my clothes wrapped around the gear.

    When I'm traveling with my truck camper, the rear seat of the truck is wide enough that my tripod can fit almost fully extended and all the gear sits randomly distributed all over the seat. A Sony with 70-400 mm sits on the console by my right elbow for the wildlife that might just appear when I'm driving.

    For hiking I use a small LowePro backpack which takes the DF plus 75-150 zoom and either the 45 or 55 and maybe the 28. The same pack goes in my hockey bag for air travel.

    Bill

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    Re: Traveling with Medium Format

    Interesting issue that I am working on as I prepare to leave for Italy at the end of April with a full mfd set with an H2/P65, 5 or 6 lenses, a second H2 body as a backup, a canon 5DII as a second backup, and a 3551 Gitzo tripod. The H2/P65 and lenses will go into an Airport International roller that I will carry on with a the Gitzo in a separate bag. The Canon and the backup H2 will go in my suitcase, along with a smallish LowePro backpack or something similar. I will keep the Airport International in the back of my car and when I want to hike out a bit or walk through a village, I will take the H2/P65 and a couple of lenses in the backpack.
    I would NEVER pack my tripod in my suitcase. I did that several times in the past and it did not show up with the rest of my stuff. The next day. Anything that is absolutely essential to my photography does not leave my sight. Camera, lenses, tripod, batteries, chargers, and a Hyperdrive for downloading files.

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    Workshop Member Woody Campbell's Avatar
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    Re: Traveling with Medium Format

    I use an F64 BP backpack - it's light and comfortable as a backpack.

    It carries body plus 28; 35-90 zoom, 100, 150 and 1.7x tele-extender, plus batteries, charger, grads and ND and backup computer drive. I agree with Howard that you should carry on all mission-critical items. I carry a camera bag as a second carry on (brand depends on needs) with Leica and Panasonic stuff and a laptop. Legs and head go into checked luggage (I handhold a lot) along with a backup for each charger/power brick, extension cord, etc. Stitched M9 backs up MF kit - see my earlier thread on this.

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    Re: Traveling with Medium Format

    Quote Originally Posted by cerett View Post
    For those of you who own the ThinkTank Airport Acceleration backpack, do you find it comfortable to lug around in the field or do you go to a smaller backpack after you arrive?
    I don't use it very often in the field. I generally use it for transportation which in some cases require as much as 1 hr carry time fully loaded. However, when I get to where I plan on shooting I usually unload what I need and leave the bag in the car trunk.

    FWIW, the backpack was rather heavy with all the equipment I carried in it today, but it was surprisingly comfortable to carry.

    Mark

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    Re: Traveling with Medium Format

    Woody I used the same backpack for the longest time and carried almost the identical gear. I recently switched to an airport acceleration V2.0
    Quote Originally Posted by Woody Campbell View Post
    I use an F64 BP backpack - it's light and comfortable as a backpack.

    It carries body plus 28; 35-90 zoom, 100, 150 and 1.7x tele-extender, plus batteries, charger, grads and ND and backup computer drive. I agree with Howard that you should carry on all mission-critical items. I carry a camera bag as a second carry on (brand depends on needs) with Leica and Panasonic stuff and a laptop. Legs and head go into checked luggage (I handhold a lot) along with a backup for each charger/power brick, extension cord, etc. Stitched M9 backs up MF kit - see my earlier thread on this.

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    Re: Traveling with Medium Format

    Quote Originally Posted by Woody Campbell View Post
    I use an F64 BP backpack - it's light and comfortable as a backpack.

    It carries body plus 28; 35-90 zoom, 100, 150 and 1.7x tele-extender, plus batteries, charger, grads and ND and backup computer drive. I agree with Howard that you should carry on all mission-critical items. I carry a camera bag as a second carry on (brand depends on needs) with Leica and Panasonic stuff and a laptop. Legs and head go into checked luggage (I handhold a lot) along with a backup for each charger/power brick, extension cord, etc. Stitched M9 backs up MF kit - see my earlier thread on this.
    I always did this in the past but camera specific backpacks generally suck for carrying lots of weight and I now am getting lazy and want something that I can roll through the airport. The dilemma is that the rolling packs are way too heavy and poorly designed to use as a backpack. Hence, the decision to put a relatively small backpack in my checked duffel for when I want to hike a bit.
    BTW, two new backpacks to check are the Pro Elite from Clik Elite and the
    Tilopa from fstopgear. Very light compared to the competition with pretty functional harness systems.

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    Re: Traveling with Medium Format

    Jack and Guy have posted reviews of fstop bags: http://forum.getdpi.com/forum/showthread.php?t=15444

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    Re: Traveling with Medium Format

    The Tilopa is here in my office and Jack has the Satori. Very nice bags for sure. Do check the review out and also their website.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Senior Member mAlKhamis's Avatar
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    Re: Traveling with Medium Format

    Guys, what about fitting a 17inch macbook pro + DB, body, couple of lenses and accessories, what's the best option here ?

    cheers!

    M
    Mohammad Al-Khamis

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    Re: Traveling with Medium Format

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    The Tilopa is here in my office and Jack has the Satori. Very nice bags for sure. Do check the review out and also their website.
    Yes, I bought the Tilopa with the extra large ICU. Very nice bag. However, for short hikes and city walking, it is not ideal because the access to your camera and lenses is not quick and easy. For the same reason, it would not be my first choice for shooting primarily out of the car.

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    Re: Traveling with Medium Format

    Quote Originally Posted by mAlKhamis View Post
    Guys, what about fitting a 17inch macbook pro + DB, body, couple of lenses and accessories, what's the best option here ?

    cheers!

    M
    That is what I carry in my Airport Acceleration.
    Their specs say that the included laptop sleeve only fits a 15 inch, but at least on a unibody mac 17, it is snug but it does fit.
    -bob

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    Re: Traveling with Medium Format

    Quote Originally Posted by hcubell View Post
    Yes, I bought the Tilopa with the extra large ICU. Very nice bag. However, for short hikes and city walking, it is not ideal because the access to your camera and lenses is not quick and easy. For the same reason, it would not be my first choice for shooting primarily out of the car.
    Yes it is a mountaineer bag
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Traveling with Medium Format

    Hi,
    So far i had no problems with the Lowepro Vertex 200AW on international
    flights (mostly LH). It takes my H3DII plus 4 lenses + accessories + 15" MBP.
    Tripod goes in checked baggage.
    Best Regards,
    Ralf
    Last edited by rmueller; 30th March 2010 at 06:53. Reason: Wishful thinking, i only have the 15" MBP :-(

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    Re: Traveling with Medium Format

    One point to emphasize about the Tilopa. It weighs 4.5 pounds, empty. By comparison, a Lowepro Pro Trekker AW weighs 9.5 pounds, empty. For me, this was a compelling point as all of the other camera backpacks I have ever owned were heavy before I ever put anything in them.

  28. #28
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    Re: Traveling with Medium Format

    I would be very interested in knowing how various people travel with their medium format equipment.
    ********
    This AM, Casa Grande, AZ....The mobile "rats nest" approach. :>) The Lowepros aren't that great for hiking but they provide good protection and pack well.

    Steve
    Last edited by tetsrfun; 1st August 2010 at 18:30.

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    Senior Member kdphotography's Avatar
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    Re: Traveling with Medium Format

    Quote Originally Posted by hcubell View Post
    One point to emphasize about the Tilopa. It weighs 4.5 pounds, empty. By comparison, a Lowepro Pro Trekker AW weighs 9.5 pounds, empty. For me, this was a compelling point as all of the other camera backpacks I have ever owned were heavy before I ever put anything in them.
    Which is exactly why I have a love-hate relationship with my Lowepro Computrekker AW---it's so heavy without any gear! Five pounds is a big difference....

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    Re: Traveling with Medium Format

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob View Post
    That is what I carry in my Airport Acceleration.
    Their specs say that the included laptop sleeve only fits a 15 inch, but at least on a unibody mac 17, it is snug but it does fit.
    -bob
    Thanks Bob, it's a nice bag, but what do you think about Tenba's small roadies ?
    http://www.tenba.com/products/Roadie...ptop-Case.aspx

    it's looks perfect for such task, have you tried their product or any one there?
    Mohammad Al-Khamis

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    Re: Traveling with Medium Format

    Quote Originally Posted by mAlKhamis View Post
    Thanks Bob, it's a nice bag, but what do you think about Tenba's small roadies ?
    http://www.tenba.com/products/Roadie...ptop-Case.aspx

    it's looks perfect for such task, have you tried their product or any one there?
    Tenba makes some nice gear. I have a few of their bags.

    However, the Rodies are a bit large for some commuter flights or some regional airlines. For example, on the typical UA flight from SMF (Sacramento) to SFO one would almost certainly be required to check that bag at plane-side (30-seater turbo-prop), though it might fit under the seat in front of 9B. But that would be the only seat on the flight which may work I believe. Too wide for 9C and too long for the rest.

    Overhead in these planes is quite shallow, so that's a non-starter.

    Just a heads-up, Moh.

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    Re: Traveling with Medium Format

    For air travel, I think the think-tank bags are hard to beat. I use an Antidote or UL depending on the trip. For heavier outdoor use, or a longer cross-country trip, I really like the new F-Stop Satori I recently reviewed here:

    http://forum.getdpi.com/forum/showthread.php?t=15444
    Jack
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    Re: Traveling with Medium Format

    Quote Originally Posted by Dale Allyn View Post
    Tenba makes some nice gear. I have a few of their bags.

    However, the Rodies are a bit large for some commuter flights or some regional airlines. For example, on the typical UA flight from SMF (Sacramento) to SFO one would almost certainly be required to check that bag at plane-side (30-seater turbo-prop), though it might fit under the seat in front of 9B. But that would be the only seat on the flight which may work I believe. Too wide for 9C and too long for the rest.

    Overhead in these planes is quite shallow, so that's a non-starter.

    Just a heads-up, Moh.
    hey dale what's up, i hope every thing is going fine with you

    as usual you are my MF hero thank you so much for tip, i really appreciate it. however what's your personal recommendation

    cheers!

    Moh
    Mohammad Al-Khamis

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    Re: Traveling with Medium Format

    @ Tetserfun

    Nice Ride

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    Re: Traveling with Medium Format

    Hey, Moh,

    I have mostly Tenba bags and Lowepro, but have been planning to get one of the ThinkTank bags. One thing about ThinkTank is that the backpacks tend to be a bit more square in outline shape, i.e. less "teardrop" shaped. I feel that for MF this can be an advantage. But this is surely personal, depending on preferences and items one typically carries, etc.

    For air travel, I prefer a backpack to a rolling bag because I have met with fewer problems using the backpacks. Backpacks are typically viewed as "personal bags" by staff. I normally fly with a smallish rolling bag for clothes and computer, etc. and a backpack with photo gear. If needed, the rolling bag can be left plane-side for stowage on the small planes. I've occasionally placed one well-padded lens in there (one receives the bag at plane-side upon arrival, not baggage claim), but always pull my laptop. Tripod and other gear goes in checked baggage.

    Honestly, I have several rolling bags (20" to 22") from which I select, depending on the nature of any trip. Still, the photo gear is always in a backpack these days.

  36. #36
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    Re: Traveling with Medium Format

    Quote Originally Posted by Dale Allyn View Post
    Hey, Moh,

    I have mostly Tenba bags and Lowepro, but have been planning to get one of the ThinkTank bags. One thing about ThinkTank is that the backpacks tend to be a bit more square in outline shape, i.e. less "teardrop" shaped. I feel that for MF this can be an advantage. But this is surely personal, depending on preferences and items one typically carries, etc.

    For air travel, I prefer a backpack to a rolling bag because I have met with fewer problems using the backpacks. Backpacks are typically viewed as "personal bags" by staff. I normally fly with a smallish rolling bag for clothes and computer, etc. and a backpack with photo gear. If needed, the rolling bag can be left plane-side for stowage on the small planes. I've occasionally placed one well-padded lens in there (one receives the bag at plane-side upon arrival, not baggage claim), but always pull my laptop. Tripod and other gear goes in checked baggage.

    Honestly, I have several rolling bags (20" to 22") from which I select, depending on the nature of any trip. Still, the photo gear is always in a backpack these days.
    thanks Dale, i might consider one of the think tank bags in my future project
    we will see. cheers! my friend
    Mohammad Al-Khamis

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