Thursday, July 12, 2012

Tough choices

The expanding gear
I  made plans to increase my range of lenses to include super telephoto and a full-frame body.
Purpose? Well, if I can't score a decent bird shot, I can switch to macro.
This means hauling two D-SLR camera bodies and a shitload of equipment.
For the past two years, I've been very comfortable with my Clik Elite Probody sport. This is a compact backpack with enough room to lug my EOS7D with at least three lenses, two macro flashes and some extra room for batteries, CF cards and cleaning tools.

The Clik Elite Probody sport
 As far as performance is concerned, the Clik Elite Probody had lived up to its expectations. 
But, having said that, I can only carry one camera body.
Two cameras with a compact as back-up would be stretching it too thin.
I tried this with my EOS7D and EOS5DmkIII with a 400mm F.6L and the MPE-65 and MT24EX twin flash. The bag was already overloaded.

Other brands
An acquaintance of mine recommended the F-stop gear adventure camera backpacks. 
From the pictures, they looked great. 
I narrowed down my search to an F-Stop gear Loka. This seems to be the right choice. It also carries a pricetag of RM1.1k a pop
But upon close examination, I found the pack to be overpriced. On top of that, the guy who brings them in also requested a write-up and long-term review. I don't think he is gonna get my business. 
For starters, the Loka is made from a thin nylon fabric and its overall fit, finish and quality is quite inferior. 
I used the Clik Elite Probody Sport as a benchmark in this case. But on protection, the F-stop gear is indisputable. It has a padded insert that takes all the knocks and bumps. 
But this made it really bulky. 
Again, my concern is the high start-up cost. Having seen the bags for the second time, I was not impressed at all.

F-stop gear Loka
 Back to square one..
Rather than getting burned, I shifted my choice back to what Clik Elite has to offier. They have a new distributor now and since I've had some really good experience with the Probody Sport, I need something bigger and the choices has been narrowed down to the Venture 35 or Hiker. I hope to get a back that is big enough to lug my bug and birding gear for at least three days in the wilderness...

Clik Elite's Hiker, a big bag for extended missions...

 Here's hoping to score one.. 
I contacted the sales guy from Clik Elite's distributor here. Seems that its an old-timer who don't really care much about his trade.
It's been three weeks since my last phonecall and I reminded him again today which he asked for a second-chance. So, let's see how it goes..  

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