Which camera bag for birding w/D500 200-500/f5.6 plus 70-200/f2.8

Started Dec 8, 2016 | Discussions
Bobby2Shots Contributing Member • Posts: 751
Which camera bag for birding w/D500 200-500/f5.6 plus 70-200/f2.8
1

Just wondering which camera bag you wildlife/birders use for a D500 w/300-500mm/f5.6 and the 70-200/f2.8. I'd probably want enough space for a wide-angle zoom or prime as well.

I like the look of the Think Tank Retrospective 30 messenger shoulder-bag, but I'm unsure about the suitability, nor the actual capacity.

Maybe we should look at this two ways;

1. "light" birding,,, where you're not trekking out into the wilds, but rather, shooting in a park-like setting,,, a short hike back to your car.

2. a bag (or more likely a back-pack) for deeper into the wilds treks.

thanks

 Bobby2Shots's gear list:Bobby2Shots's gear list
Sony RX100 III Panasonic FZ1000 Nikon Coolpix P900 Canon PowerShot A620 Nikon D500 +17 more
Nikon D500
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egosbar Forum Member • Posts: 89
Re: Which camera bag for birding w/D500 200-500/f5.6 plus 70-200/f2.8
2

a big one

Tyr-Sog Contributing Member • Posts: 921
Re: Which camera bag for birding w/D500 200-500/f5.6 plus 70-200/f2.8
5

I have a lowpro flipside 300 which fits the d500/gripped, 200-500, WA, and small prime but petty tight.. Awesome bag however. Maybe the flipside 400 or 500?

https://www.amazon.com/Lowepro-Flipside-DSLR-Camera-Backpack/dp/B001APFB5S/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1481189029&sr=8-7&keywords=lowepro+300

 Tyr-Sog's gear list:Tyr-Sog's gear list
Nikon AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/2.8G ED VR II Nikon Df Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G Special Edition
nilanjanray
nilanjanray Contributing Member • Posts: 744
Re: Which camera bag for birding w/D500 200-500/f5.6 plus 70-200/f2.8
1

Bobby2Shots wrote:

Just wondering which camera bag you wildlife/birders use for a D500 w/300-500mm/f5.6 and the 70-200/f2.8. I'd probably want enough space for a wide-angle zoom or prime as well.

I like the look of the Think Tank Retrospective 30 messenger shoulder-bag, but I'm unsure about the suitability, nor the actual capacity.

Maybe we should look at this two ways;

1. "light" birding,,, where you're not trekking out into the wilds, but rather, shooting in a park-like setting,,, a short hike back to your car.

2. a bag (or more likely a back-pack) for deeper into the wilds treks.

thanks

Lowepro 450 AW, that is what I use. Fits within the overhead bins in a plane. But it is a little big.

VR597 Regular Member • Posts: 118
Re: Which camera bag for birding w/D500 200-500/f5.6 plus 70-200/f2.8
3

Hi Bobby,

I have the Think Tank street walker pro. It fits my D500, 200-500 and 70-200 with the hoods reversed. It also fits A few lenses towards the back. In the picture I have the two lenses above along with the 16-35 f4 and the 24-120f4. Both are pretty good sized lenses. You can replace them with primes if you want to. There is room to set an external flash on top of the 70-200. This is not my normal set up but I put them in the bag to show you they will fit. I love the bag and I use the same for my full frame camera. Have a great weekend.

Jake.

 VR597's gear list:VR597's gear list
Nikon D300 Nikon D500 Nikon D850 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR Nikon 200-500mm F5.6E ED VR +7 more
cosmicnode Veteran Member • Posts: 4,615
Re: Which camera bag for birding w/D500 200-500/f5.6 plus 70-200/f2.8
1

Tyr-Sog wrote:

I have a lowpro flipside 300 which fits the d500/gripped, 200-500, WA, and small prime but petty tight.. Awesome bag however. Maybe the flipside 400 or 500?

https://www.amazon.com/Lowepro-Flipside-DSLR-Camera-Backpack/dp/B001APFB5S/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1481189029&sr=8-7&keywords=lowepro+300

I have the flipside 300 and can fit the d500 gripped with 200-500, and also the 70-200, use only 1 vertical divider. No wide angle though and 70-200 is a tight fit.

-- hide signature --

Mike.
"I say we take off and nuke the entire site from orbit, it's the only way to be sure."

 cosmicnode's gear list:cosmicnode's gear list
Nikon D300 Nikon D800 Nikon D500 Olympus E-M1 II Olympus E-PL8 +11 more
Per Baekgaard Senior Member • Posts: 1,288
Re: Which camera bag for birding w/D500 200-500/f5.6 plus 70-200/f2.8

Bobby2Shots wrote:

Just wondering which camera bag you wildlife/birders use for a D500 w/300-500mm/f5.6 and the 70-200/f2.8. I'd probably want enough space for a wide-angle zoom or prime as well.

I have a 10+ years old Lowepro Computrekker AW (or thereabout) that is still going strong, and can usually hold the equipment I need for whatever assignments I'm on.

But when I go birding, I try to go as light as possible on the camera side, since I normally also bring a scope with tripod and have the binocs strapped firmly to my chest also

So often I just use a conventional rucksack (a slim and tall model) that can hold a D500 w/200-500 mounted and the ATM 80-HD next to it, and a bottle of water (and then the tripod in a separate strap). When "active" in a birding area (or going "light" in your terminology) and not transporting the equipment, I have the D500/200-500mm in a Black Rapid strap around my left hip, and the scope on the tripod carried over my shoulder (or in the strap). And I have security lines also, in addition to the usual mounts!

Not sure why you need the 70-200mm for birding when you have the longer lens... I assume your skills at getting close to the birds must be significantly better than mine

- Per.

 Per Baekgaard's gear list:Per Baekgaard's gear list
Nikon D800 Nikon D500 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED +17 more
SawadaFly
SawadaFly New Member • Posts: 9
Re: Which camera bag for birding w/D500 200-500/f5.6 plus 70-200/f2.8
3

I use the mindshift backlight 26L and fits my Tamron 150-600 G1 with D500 battery gripped and hood attached, my 70-200 2.8, my 50 1.8, 18-70 3.5-4.5, Peak design strap, Yongnuo flash, tripod, water bottle, and a little foldable chair. I can strap jackets on the top or the bottom if needed. It does get heavy if I pack it fully. But usually It is not packed to the fullest. I can also fit a 15" laptop and tablet in the front compartments. Opens from the back.

Crappy Iphone photo, but you can get the gist of what can fit.

-- hide signature --

Sawadafly

 SawadaFly's gear list:SawadaFly's gear list
Nikon D500 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm F1.8G Tokina AT-X Pro 11-16mm f/2.8 DX II Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5G ED-IF Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD +1 more
Roy Kikuta Senior Member • Posts: 1,759
Re: Which camera bag for birding w/D500 200-500/f5.6 plus 70-200/f2.8
1

Bobby2Shots wrote:

Just wondering which camera bag you wildlife/birders use for a D500 w/300-500mm/f5.6 and the 70-200/f2.8. I'd probably want enough space for a wide-angle zoom or prime as well.

I like the look of the Think Tank Retrospective 30 messenger shoulder-bag, but I'm unsure about the suitability, nor the actual capacity.

Maybe we should look at this two ways;

1. "light" birding,,, where you're not trekking out into the wilds, but rather, shooting in a park-like setting,,, a short hike back to your car.

2. a bag (or more likely a back-pack) for deeper into the wilds treks.

thanks

I use a F-Stop "Loka" backpack with large ICU for dayhikes into the mountain.

The ICU is a zipped and padded bag - the large size accomodates a D500 with 200-500 attached, 70-200, 16-80DX, and SB-910 (compartment under 70-200).

Large size ICU

Padded bag zips up for transport between car - and - nearby location.

For dayhikes on mountain trails, it gets inserted into the backpack.

Top of bag has enough room for essentials: jacket, food, water, phone....

Backpack has rigid internal aluminum stays that distributes load and sits well on the body.

As pictured - with all mentioned equipment - pack weighs in at 18.5 lbs.  Downside is that it's a somewhat pricey pack.  But you get what you pay for.... this pack has withstood rugged use for many years - and sits comfortably on my back.

OP Bobby2Shots Contributing Member • Posts: 751
Re: Which camera bag for birding w/D500 200-500/f5.6 plus 70-200/f2.8

Per Baekgaard wrote:

Bobby2Shots wrote:

Just wondering which camera bag you wildlife/birders use for a D500 w/300-500mm/f5.6 and the 70-200/f2.8. I'd probably want enough space for a wide-angle zoom or prime as well.

I have a 10+ years old Lowepro Computrekker AW (or thereabout) that is still going strong, and can usually hold the equipment I need for whatever assignments I'm on.

But when I go birding, I try to go as light as possible on the camera side, since I normally also bring a scope with tripod and have the binocs strapped firmly to my chest also

So often I just use a conventional rucksack (a slim and tall model) that can hold a D500 w/200-500 mounted and the ATM 80-HD next to it, and a bottle of water (and then the tripod in a separate strap). When "active" in a birding area (or going "light" in your terminology) and not transporting the equipment, I have the D500/200-500mm in a Black Rapid strap around my left hip, and the scope on the tripod carried over my shoulder (or in the strap). And I have security lines also, in addition to the usual mounts!

Not sure why you need the 70-200mm for birding when you have the longer lens... I assume your skills at getting close to the birds must be significantly better than mine

- Per.

The more I look at these bags, the more obvious it appears that I'll need more than one bag; perhaps a messenger shoulder-bag for short treks, with minimal gear,,, and a larger back-pack for more ambitious treks/camping etc. When I said "birding", perhaps I should have said "Nature" photography instead. I doubt I would go solely for birds, especially given the limited varieties in my area of southwestern Quebec. I  should have included landscape shooting, low-light shots around the camp-fire(flash) sunrises, sunsets, etc. As to "why I would need or want the 70-200/f2.8, when I have the 200-500/f5.6,,, I was thinking for lower-light shots (dusk/dawn,etc)

As far as the larger bag is concerned, I guess I'd prefer a bit of over-capacity, rather than just getting by, with barely enough capacity for my current gear. I would't want to be in a position where I'd need to buy yet another bag, simply because I've added one or two more lenses the following year.

Looking down the road, what I'm eventually hoping to do, is have two bodies (D500, and a yet to be determined FF for w/a shots/portraits, etc). A macro lens would also be nice to bring along.

Monday, I think I'll head into Montreal and drop by L.L. Lozeau to check out their bag selection. They usually stock a fair array of brands/models, at reasonable prices. The Think Tank Restrospective 30 (or 20) would probably do for those days where I'd want to travel light,,,, and a 400+-size back-pack, such as the LowePro Flip-Side, or ProTactic. The LowePro Whistler BP also looks like a nice back-pack. At the moment, I have an old LowePro Magnum which I bought 40 years ago, and it's well beyond time to retire that one. The zippers are shot, (badly corroded), and I always found it hard on the back.

 Bobby2Shots's gear list:Bobby2Shots's gear list
Sony RX100 III Panasonic FZ1000 Nikon Coolpix P900 Canon PowerShot A620 Nikon D500 +17 more
Per Baekgaard Senior Member • Posts: 1,288
Re: Which camera bag for birding w/D500 200-500/f5.6 plus 70-200/f2.8

Bobby2Shots wrote:

When I said "birding", perhaps I should have said "Nature" photography instead. I doubt I would go solely for birds, especially given the limited varieties in my area of southwestern Quebec. I should have included landscape shooting, low-light shots around the camp-fire(flash) sunrises, sunsets, etc. As to "why I would need or want the 70-200/f2.8, when I have the 200-500/f5.6,,, I was thinking for lower-light shots (dusk/dawn,etc)

OK, makes more sense then

As far as the larger bag is concerned, I guess I'd prefer a bit of over-capacity,

A bit extra capacity might be a good idea, however...

Looking down the road, what I'm eventually hoping to do, is have two bodies (D500, and a yet to be determined FF for w/a shots/portraits, etc). A macro lens would also be nice to bring along.

... at some point you will likely have much more gear than what would fit into just one bag. YMMV, of course!

One option is to have 1) a smaller back (like you mentioned) that can fit a "small" kit; in this context a body with the 200-500 and maybe one or two other lenses or a flash.

Then you can also have 2) a larger bag that can hold two bodies, a couple of larger lenses (like the 70-200 and the 200-500), 2-3 more lenses and a flash and some stuff. This can hold an extended kit when going somewhere (holidays, assignment, ...). But my experience is that if it's too large (i.e. if it doesn't fit into an overhead compartment when flying or if you cannot carry it on a day-long walk) then it may be less useful at some point.

But it's a good idea, of course, to have a look and compare whats available!

- Per.

 Per Baekgaard's gear list:Per Baekgaard's gear list
Nikon D800 Nikon D500 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED +17 more
OP Bobby2Shots Contributing Member • Posts: 751
Re: Which camera bag for birding w/D500 200-500/f5.6 plus 70-200/f2.8

Roy Kikuta wrote:

Bobby2Shots wrote:

Just wondering which camera bag you wildlife/birders use for a D500 w/300-500mm/f5.6 and the 70-200/f2.8. I'd probably want enough space for a wide-angle zoom or prime as well.

I like the look of the Think Tank Retrospective 30 messenger shoulder-bag, but I'm unsure about the suitability, nor the actual capacity.

Maybe we should look at this two ways;

1. "light" birding,,, where you're not trekking out into the wilds, but rather, shooting in a park-like setting,,, a short hike back to your car.

2. a bag (or more likely a back-pack) for deeper into the wilds treks.

thanks

I use a F-Stop "Loka" backpack with large ICU for dayhikes into the mountain.

The ICU is a zipped and padded bag - the large size accomodates a D500 with 200-500 attached, 70-200, 16-80DX, and SB-910 (compartment under 70-200).

Large size ICU

Padded bag zips up for transport between car - and - nearby location.

For dayhikes on mountain trails, it gets inserted into the backpack.

Top of bag has enough room for essentials: jacket, food, water, phone....

Backpack has rigid internal aluminum stays that distributes load and sits well on the body.

As pictured - with all mentioned equipment - pack weighs in at 18.5 lbs. Downside is that it's a somewhat pricey pack. But you get what you pay for.... this pack has withstood rugged use for many years - and sits comfortably on my back.

Very nice looking rig Roy. What are your thoughts on a metal-frame back-pack, vs no frame.

 Bobby2Shots's gear list:Bobby2Shots's gear list
Sony RX100 III Panasonic FZ1000 Nikon Coolpix P900 Canon PowerShot A620 Nikon D500 +17 more
Roy Kikuta Senior Member • Posts: 1,759
Re: Which camera bag for birding w/D500 200-500/f5.6 plus 70-200/f2.8

Bobby - I still have my 40+ year-old Kelty external frame pack, but I stopped using it when the internal frame packs came out 20+(?) years ago. Internals hug the back better and reduce off-center imbalance, get hung up less in dense vegetation, and are easier to clean in the washer.  There's a transition point between a frameless daypack - and one with some kind of internal frame/stay structure... and for me, it's the weight/bulk of the gear. Any load over 10~15 lbs, I use a pack with some kind of internal stays. If it's a D500 with 70-200 + 16-80 + SB910 a frameless pack will do fine.  For me, the key to buying a really good pack is how well it fits my body, and how well I can distribute the load between the hips and shoulders - I found it difficult to find a traditional photo backpack maker that really understood the human ergonomics side of backpack design - and of course, the traditional backpacking/hiking makers didn't understand how to design photo bags.  F-stop gear seemed to be one of the earlier companies that made an effort to do both.  You're approaching this in the right way...you need to go to a store, load up a pack with gear (sometimes small sandbags), and test how it feels and adjusts on your body.  Living on an island in the middle of the Pacific ocean, I don't get to do this (no serious camera stores) - lucky you!      Roy

KevinCossaboon
KevinCossaboon Junior Member • Posts: 38
Re: Which camera bag for birding w/D500 200-500/f5.6 plus 70-200/f2.8

VR597 wrote:

Hi Bobby,

I have the Think Tank street walker pro. It fits my D500, 200-500 and 70-200 with the hoods reversed. It also fits A few lenses towards the back. In the picture I have the two lenses above along with the 16-35 f4 and the 24-120f4. Both are pretty good sized lenses. You can replace them with primes if you want to. There is room to set an external flash on top of the 70-200. This is not my normal set up but I put them in the bag to show you they will fit. I love the bag and I use the same for my full frame camera. Have a great weekend.

Jake.

I too have this one.. GREAT bag

http://a.co/iF3OF0F

-- hide signature --

/krc

 KevinCossaboon's gear list:KevinCossaboon's gear list
Nikon 1 J5 Nikon D90 Nikon AF-S Micro-Nikkor 105mm F2.8G IF-ED VR Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-300mm F3.5-6.3G ED VR Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm F1.8G +2 more
Digital Shutterbug Veteran Member • Posts: 4,460
Re: Which camera bag for birding w/D500 200-500/f5.6 plus 70-200/f2.8

Very helpful information, Roy. Thanks for sharing your hard gained knowledge. We all have a closet full of bags that were thought to be the panacea of gear at the time of purchase. It's nice to learn from someone else's experience beforehand.

-- hide signature --

Steve

PatMann
PatMann Senior Member • Posts: 1,786
Think Tank Speed Freak
1

You'll miss a lot of shots if your camera and lens are in a bag.

Of course, I don't keep my camera and 200-500 in this one - they're out with Kirk strap on the foot. The 70-200 is in there with 35, 60 and 85 if it's not on the D810 at the time.

-- hide signature --

Pat

 PatMann's gear list:PatMann's gear list
Nikon D500 Nikon D810 Nikon PC 19mm F4E ED Nikon 200-500mm F5.6E ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm F4G ED VR +9 more
Digital Shutterbug Veteran Member • Posts: 4,460
Re: Think Tank Speed Freak

PatMann wrote:

You'll miss a lot of shots if your camera and lens are in a bag.

That's what the iPhone in the shirt pocket is for.   

Of course, I don't keep my camera and 200-500 in this one - they're out with Kirk strap on the foot. The 70-200 is in there with 35, 60 and 85 if it's not on the D810 at the time.

-- hide signature --

Pat

-- hide signature --

Steve

OP Bobby2Shots Contributing Member • Posts: 751
Re: Think Tank Speed Freak

PatMann wrote:

You'll miss a lot of shots if your camera and lens are in a bag.

Of course, I don't keep my camera and 200-500 in this one - they're out with Kirk strap on the foot. The 70-200 is in there with 35, 60 and 85 if it's not on the D810 at the time.

I agree,,,when you're already out in the field, and the weather is acceptable.

When transporting my gear though, I want to be sure that I have enough room inside the bag when the weather turns sour. When trekking through the bush etc, I want both hands free, and nothing dangling around my neck when I'm stepping over downed branches, rocks, or crossing a brook.

 Bobby2Shots's gear list:Bobby2Shots's gear list
Sony RX100 III Panasonic FZ1000 Nikon Coolpix P900 Canon PowerShot A620 Nikon D500 +17 more
OP Bobby2Shots Contributing Member • Posts: 751
Re: Which camera bag for birding w/D500 200-500/f5.6 plus 70-200/f2.8

Roy Kikuta wrote:

Bobby - I still have my 40+ year-old Kelty external frame pack, but I stopped using it when the internal frame packs came out 20+(?) years ago. Internals hug the back better and reduce off-center imbalance, get hung up less in dense vegetation, and are easier to clean in the washer. There's a transition point between a frameless daypack - and one with some kind of internal frame/stay structure... and for me, it's the weight/bulk of the gear. Any load over 10~15 lbs, I use a pack with some kind of internal stays. If it's a D500 with 70-200 + 16-80 + SB910 a frameless pack will do fine. For me, the key to buying a really good pack is how well it fits my body, and how well I can distribute the load between the hips and shoulders - I found it difficult to find a traditional photo backpack maker that really understood the human ergonomics side of backpack design - and of course, the traditional backpacking/hiking makers didn't understand how to design photo bags. F-stop gear seemed to be one of the earlier companies that made an effort to do both. You're approaching this in the right way...you need to go to a store, load up a pack with gear (sometimes small sandbags), and test how it feels and adjusts on your body. Living on an island in the middle of the Pacific ocean, I don't get to do this (no serious camera stores) - lucky you! Roy

Thanks again Roy,

I've been closely checking out the F-Stop bags, and they sure look tempting. Unfortunately, I'm not finding any local dealers, and can't check them out "in the flesh". Not a big deal though, and I may take a chance and order the Loka UL directly from F-Stop. The Ajna and Tilopa models also look very interesting. Some colours/models are back-ordered at the moment, but that's not a big deal for me. My D500 won't arrive for at least another week or two, and winter's officially here anyway. The ground has been snow-covered since the last two weeks, and the sun goes down by 4:30 PM this time of year.

I'm located in a small city in southwestern Quebec.(10k population). No camera stores nearby. Montreal is an hour away, so I'll head into town to see a few other models/brands. LL Lozeau is Montreal's largest camera store, and they stock a fair number of brands/models. The LowePro ProTactic 450 is "in stock", and that bag looks attractive too, as does the LowePro Whistler BP350 or 450, and the more compact Think Tank StreetWalker Pro.(day treks)

http://store.lowepro.com/ca/backpacks/protactic-450-aw-ca

http://store.lowepro.com/ca/backpacks/whistler-bp-350-aw-ca

https://www.thinktankphoto.com/products/streetwalker-pro

I'll pay special attention to the suspension systems, and so far, I'm leaning toward the F-Stop models.

 Bobby2Shots's gear list:Bobby2Shots's gear list
Sony RX100 III Panasonic FZ1000 Nikon Coolpix P900 Canon PowerShot A620 Nikon D500 +17 more
Roy Kikuta Senior Member • Posts: 1,759
Re: Think Tank Speed Freak
1

Bobby2Shots wrote:

PatMann wrote:

You'll miss a lot of shots if your camera and lens are in a bag.

Of course, I don't keep my camera and 200-500 in this one - they're out with Kirk strap on the foot. The 70-200 is in there with 35, 60 and 85 if it's not on the D810 at the time.

I agree,,,when you're already out in the field, and the weather is acceptable.

When transporting my gear though, I want to be sure that I have enough room inside the bag when the weather turns sour. When trekking through the bush etc, I want both hands free, and nothing dangling around my neck when I'm stepping over downed branches, rocks, or crossing a brook.

Pat - Bobby: There are different situations in which I would agree with both of you... when I do multi-day backpacking, my camera is usually out and on a strap - not a neck strap, but adapted to connect (via snap connectors) to the shoulder strap of whatever pack I happen to be using. This spreads the load out across the backpack shoulder straps thereby keeping your neck from aching, and also because the strap length is shorter and wider in stance, the camera doesn't swing much as you walk. I then take a clear oven roasting bag (large turkey size - weighs almost nothing) and place the camera inside, rolling the top of the bag until tight around the straps, and then use a wooden clothespin to close it up. This way the camera is protected from all but pouring rain, is available for shooting in seconds, and doesn't bother me by swaying too much from side to side. Oven bag and clothespin weigh nothing, and crumple up and store almost anywhere (could provide photo upon request). Roy

p.s. Forgot to mention that an elastic binocular chest strap can be used to keep the camera close to your chest and from moving around when negotiating tricky terrain in concert with the adapted shoulder strap.

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