Published on November 22nd, 2011 | by Greg0
Holiday Pictures: Gear From Think Tank and Sun Sniper
Everyone is a closet shutterbug. Smartphones have brought digital photography to the masses- which is why the iPhone is consistently one of the most popular cameras on Flickr and Facebook. But those tiny cameras can only take you so far, and anyone looking for steadier, sharper shots will pick up a DSLR. Even an inexpensive Canon or Nikon will do wonders, and a decent kit zoom lens is enough to handle most situations. Once those essentials are in place, or for the serious pro who already has gear, there are a couple of items that will make their holidays happier.
We’ll start with a top-notch camera bag. Sure, it’s meant for anyone who has a couple of lenses and aimed at those carrying quite a bit of gear. But the Think Tank Sling-O-Matic 30 offered plenty even to the amateur or prosumer who just needs a solid, durable bag with room for a tablet or up to a 15″ laptop. Weighing about three pounds, the niftiest feature on this pack was the unique strap, which allows you to carry your gear over either shoulder, and easily switch shoulders without breaking stride.
Padding on the strap was excellent, and we liked the convenience of a single loop over one shoulder, allowing for easier access to gear. When you’re carrying more than a camera, weight becomes an issue, and it was nice to be able to spread the load without needing to use a full backpack. There are some compromises- this bag is fairly large, and perhaps too big for someone with a light setup and no computer. On the flipside, adding our three pound laptop, two pound camera, and a couple of hefty lenses meant that the load felt like too much for a single strap. The included chest or waist strap added some stability, but didn’t change the load balance much. The seams held up well against rain, and the zippers are well-built. Multiple handles made for easy grabbing or stowing, the pockets and interior compartments are smartly divided and well-padded. Overall, it’s one of the better large-capacity bags that we’ve tried. $200 is in line with others, and available now, online.
The SunSniper Pro Camera Strap offers one critical thing- speed. Most likely, your camera came with a strap. But it’s probably a bit awkward- it will sway when you are moving, and it’ll be uncomfortable thanks to minimal padding. This one is different, thanks to a really smooth mechanism that makes for a better position and easier, faster movement from the resting position to shooting.
The company makes several models, for various pricepoints and needs. The Pro model adds a steel cable that prevents would-be thieves from cutting your strap and running off with your expensive camera. It adds a bit of weight, but was a nice addition. Integrated shock absorption meant that we could move without worrying about our lens slamming into our hips, and the shoulder padding was generous. One downside: it does take over the tripod and monopod mount. Those who largely do portraits or tripod shooting won’t need this, but for travelers and photojournalists, the SunSniper Strap will make a huge difference. $80, available online.