Monthly Archives: March 2012
I have to say I think we have another winner from Gura Gear in the category of best DSLR camera bag for travel. I picked this bag up for those times when I am traveling with only a few bodies and lenses which it is absolutely perfect for. It is also the perfect compliment to my larger 30L when I need to lug around more gear for longer trips. Here’s a great example of why both bags make sense and how I sold my wife on the fact that I needed both for you married folks.
I will be traveling to Alaska in July for a Grizzly Bear photography tour and size and weight of luggage are a definite issue. I really have no desire to check any of my camera gear at the gate, I want to carry it all on the aircraft. On most airlines you’re allowed one carry on item and a personal item like a laptop bag. I searched long and hard for a camera bag that fit the bill as a “personal item” that would take a laptop and camera gear but not be defined as too large by the airline. The Chobe 19-24L is the bag I finally decided to purchase and I’ll give you more details on why below.
You can also see a full review of the Kiboko 30L camera bag on my blog where I voted it as “Best Camera Bag on the Planet”. I should know I’ve owned a lot of camera bags that didn’t quite work out.
So let me give you the highlights on the the Gura Gear Chobe 19-24L shoulder bag which quite honestly is the best DSLR camera bag I have found as it can serve as both a carry on or as a personal item given it is expandable from 19 inches to 24 inches wide through a very nifty expandable zipper system, more on that later. It’s design allows it to serve as a well-designed, full-featured business, travel, and photography bag with room for all of your necessary gear.
The Chobe can be a business bag with room for a 15” laptop, iPad & a Kindle, plus papers & documents. With the flip of a zipper, the bag expands to from 19 to 24 inches to accommodate a spare change of clothes and goes from day job to overnighter. Now here’s a really cool feature. Gura Gear designed a custom designed matching padded photo insert that can be added to allow the Chobe to haul pro DSLR camera bodies & lenses in style. I’ve included a picture of the insert below.
The Chobe is constructed from lightweight, durable sailcloth just like its big brother the Kiboko 30L. Because the bag was developed on the road, the little things are covered, like an expansion pocket for a drink, and plenty of pockets. A concealed sleeve for sliding on rolling luggage means that Chobe can hitch a ride any time. I think the Gura Gear line makes the perfect camera bags for women because they are roomy enough to carry a lot of gear while at the same time being extremely light weight.
- Extremely lightweight; under 3 lbs without insert and less than 4 lbs with it
- Fits up to 15″ laptop with sleeve PLUS iPad, Kindle or other tablets
- Deep enough to accommodate pro DSLR camera bodies and most medium format cameras
- Will accommodate most zoom lenses, I even threw my Nikon 200-400 in this bag.
- Unique expanding design
- Well-thought out storage for phones, keys, travel documents, cables, and more.
- Comfortable, fully-adjustable shoulder strap
- Removable photo insert
- International airline carry-on compliant
Click on the images for a larger view
Verdict: The Gura Gear Chobe 19-24L Camera Bag is the best DSLR camera bag for travel and best DSLR camera bag for women, thus it gets a COOL Wildlife photography two paws up.
I have been shooting the past two years with a Nikon D700 however after weeks of research I finally placed my name on the list for the new Nikon D800 release. In the coming weeks I’ll be able to provide you with my hands on Nikon D800 review of this 36 MP marvel but for now I will summarize on paper at least how the Nikon D800 stacks up to my Nikon D700.
- 36.3MP CMOS sensor (compared to 12.1MP)
- 15.3MP DX-format capture mode (compared to 5MP)
- 25MP 1.2x Crop mode
- 51-point AF system with 15 cross-type sensors, rated to -2EV* (compared to -1EV)
- ISO 100-6400 extendable to ISO 25,600 equiv (same as D700)
- 1080p video at 30, 25 or 24 frames per second, up to 24Mbps, with uncompressed HDMI output and audio monitoring options*
- 3.2″, 921,000 dot LCD with anti-fog layer* (compared to 3in, 921k-dot)
- Maximum 4fps continuous shooting in FX mode, 6fps in DX mode** (compared to 8fps in FX mode)
- Advanced Scene Recognition System with 91,000 pixel metering sensor* (compared to 1005-pixel)
- ‘Expeed 3′ Image Processing*
- Dual-axis Virtual Horizon (on LCD screen/viewfinder)* (compared to single-axis)
So what does all this mean? In short the Nikon D800 release brings a whopping 36MP to the table. The Nikon D800 is also supposedly even better in low light conditions than the Nikon D700 which I always felt was pretty good as I regularly shot at ISO 1250 and would push to 2500 if the situation called for it. On the downside it has a much slower frame rate, literally half what my Nikon D700 was with the MBD10 grip with ENEL4 battery attached. So will I be using the Nikon D800 for my fast action wildlife shooting? No I will leave that chore with my D3S at 9 fps. But you can bet I will be using the Nikon D800 for landscapes and static wildlife images where quality over frame rate comes in to play and that’s the main reason why I have ordered one. I also plan to experiment with the 1080p video capabilities of the Nikon D800 while out on wildlife shoots but it was not a variable that influenced my decision process. If that changes I will be sure to let you know.
I have also ordered the MBD12 grip with ENEL18 battery as I really like the feel of a larger body especially when working with larger lenses like the Nikon 200-400mm and the Nikon 600mm and the vertical capability is a real plus. I will also be able to push out 6fps in DX mode with the grip however that was not my main reason for the purchase as I plan to be in FX mode 95% of the time.
We are are already seeing a lot of Nikon photographers lining up for the Nikon D800 release. Heck there just may be a few Canon guys in the line as well.:)) Units began shipping March 22nd here in Canada and from what I hear from my contact at Henry’s the line up is 100x what it is at Tim Horton’s on a Monday morning so it is going to take a while before these make it out to all who desire them. Is this camera better than the D700? Yes in some regards but not in others so it really does depend on what you intend to shoot. My recommendation is to put aside all the hype and the reviews, take a look at the specs and make the decision that’s right for you based on how and what you shoot.
I refer all of my Canadian customers to Peter Waiser at Henry’s on Bank Street in Ottawa. He has provided me with excellent customer service for years and he is a professional shooter so he really knows his stuff. Peter can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. Below is a picture of Peter with his first shipment of Nikon D800 release camera’s. Oh ya there a few new Canon cameras on his right but who pays attention to those anymore.:))
Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better Jobu Design surprises its customers once again with a level of customer service that is quite frankly unheard of. At the beginning of the year I wrote about an upgrade program that best tripod head maker Jobu Design put out to the market. In a nutshell it offered the ability for a customer who had purchased a legacy Jobu Design product to upgrade to a newly released product for the low cost of an upgrade. At the time my interpretation was that you could upgrade from like product to like product. Example: If you owned a BWG Pro gimbal head you could upgrade to the new Jobu Design Pro 2 gimbal head.
This week I learned from first hand experience through someone who read my initial blog and contacted Jobu Design that they allow you to cross those lines and upgrade from one product line to another. Example: This particular customer had ordered the Jobu Jr.3 and found that he wanted a heavier duty tripod head to handle his 500mm lens. When he reached out to the Jobu Design customer service team he was advised that he could upgrade his Jr.3 to the Jobu Pro 2 for the difference between the two. He was so impressed that he received full credit for his used tripod that he contacted me to tell me how he was floored by the offer and utterly impressed by their outstanding customer service.
I honestly don’t expect a company to give me full credit for a used item towards the purchase of a new item but I am pleased as punch that I can tell the world that it is possible and Jobu Design has made it a reality. The best tripod maker in the business just took another step in the right direction. If you are a current Jobu Design customer rejoice, if not here’s another compelling reason to join the best tripod head maker and experience the value of excellent customer service for yourself.Do yourself a favour if you’re in the market for a new gimbal head for use with a big lens you’ll want to check out the new Jobu Pro 2.
>As an added bonus when you place your order for any Jobu product if you enter the code “coolwildlife” you’ll get a 15% discount off your order.
(Not applicable to upgrades)