UltraLight Dual 36L Mindshift Bag

I recently purchased this bag for some very specific needs.   This discussion assumes you have viewed the details of the product offered on other sites. 

  1. I wanted to carry my camera equipment in a backpack but access it without putting the bag down on the ground.
  2. I wanted enough room so I could store extra clothing, such as a fleece or rain parka.

In the past during travel, I would carry three and 1/2 bags

  1. An Airport Essentials from Think Tank: two Sony a7RII attached to lens, Sony 16-35mm f4, Sony 24-105 f4, Sony 70-200mm f4, GoPro Hero 5 Black, computer, backup drives,  8-12 SD cards, filters, batteries and chargers, lens cleaning equipment and an Artic Butterfly blower.
  2. A Seattle Sports duffle bag with clothes, tripod, personal hygiene stuff, walking sticks, duplicate chargers and sensor cleaning equipment.
  3. And an empty 28 Osprey backpack packed in the duffle bag.
  4. The 1/2 bag was my wife’s carry on which included chargers for iPhones, iPads, outlet adaptors, my iPad and medicines.

Whenever we arrived at our destination and were out and about, I would transfer two camera bodies with desired lenses attached, the GoPro and stick (if they were going to be used), and a couple of extra cards and batteries to the Osprey backpack.  Whenever I wanted to use a camera, I just put the Osprey down and got the desired camera.  While this strategy worked, it had some serious draw backs

  1. There is very little room for anything extra in the Osprey bag.
  2. Always had to lay the Osprey bag down to access the desired camera body and lens.
  3. My wife was carrying a fair amount of my extra wait.

My primary purpose of this bag was to use it on a trip to Chile and Antartica.  Over the past week, I have tested the bag on a driving trip on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

  1. I was able to pack all of my camera gear and ancillary stuff into the bag!  This allows me to get rid of 1 1/2 bags.  This included the following items:
  2. My tripod and walking sticks were packed in the checked luggage
  3. Upon arrival at our destination, I would simply remove the computer, all the contents in the upper chamber, and configure my two camera bodies with the lens that I wanted for that particular destination.  I could have carried all three lenses, but I very very rarely change lenses outside.  I was able to generate three different configurations depending on my needs.
    • I could leave the cameras in the lower pouch and rotate the camera bag as described in the MindShift videos.  In this configuration I found access to the cameras to be awkward when I had two camera bodies with lenses attached. If you are rarely accessing the cameras and not changing cameras frequently, this is workable, but care must be given that the other camera body does not fall out.  If you only have a single camera body with lens attached this will work just fine.
    • I could remove the bottom pouch with the cameras and use it as a shoulder bag.  This is a very workable solution in terms of camera access, but you lose the storage capacity in the top of the bag.
    • I could remove the bottom pouch with cameras, and attach it to the belt and shoulder straps with the tripod suspension kit.  MindShift refers to this configuration as Front Mount.  I found this configuration to be very workable with ready access to the cameras and lots of storage for clothes in the back top pouch.  The only issue that I noticed was when walking up steps or hills, the camera bag would hit my thighs, although I think I could have raised it considerably to at least partially avoid this problem.
    • In all of these options, I can have dry bags in the various lower pouch compartments to selectively protect the camera gear from rain.

  General Impressions

  1. The lower compartment of the bag readily holds two Sony a7RII bodies with attached lenses plus one additional unattached lens.  Lenses I used were the Sony 16-35mm f4, 24-105mm f4 and 70-200mm f4.
  2. In combination with the upper compartment, a lot of camera equipment can be transported in the bag.
  3. While some reviews commented on the difficulty of removing the lower compartment shoulder bag, after a few times, I found that it was not all that difficult.
  4. While the rotation concept is a great idea, I found it a bit awkward and leaves room for improvement, particularly when two bodies are used
  5. The ability to remove the lower compartment with cameras and lenses attached as a separate shoulder bag is great.  This will likely be my prefered configuration: a separate shoulder bag or the Front mount the Mindshift describes.



Sony RX100 V6

When we travel, my wife will regularly want to take some pictures.  On our last trip I packed a Sony 7R with an attached 24-200mm f3.5-6.3 lens for her use.  She never touched it, but instead would grab a GoPro Hero5 Black for both stills and video clips.  While this ‘works’ the quality of the images are just ok.  After doing some internet research, I decided to rent the Sony RX100 V6 from LensRentals for 3 weeks and test drive the camera and also to see how my wife would or would not use it.  I had two reasons for making this selection: the 24-200mm zoom and the small size

To provide some perspective, I shoot Sony a7RII with several of their zoom lens (16-35, 24-105 and 70-200mm all f4) and a couple of their prime lenses (28mm f2.0, 55mm f1.4 and 85mm f1.4).  Given this experience, I found the menu and controls of the RX100 V6 fairly familiar and easy to work with.

This is not a review of the capabilities of the camera as those can be found elsewhere, but I will assure you that this is a very powerful camera lots of functionality built in.  

There were two things I wanted to know at the end of the test drive: image quality and usability (would my wife use it).

With respect to usability, my wife did not hesitate to use the camera, although it had been configured in shutter priority, center focus, and auto ISO so minimal knowledge was need to operate the camera.  At one point, I changed the focus to spot focus and she adapted very quickly to the touch focus capability.  Perhaps the most remarkable observation, is I would also use the camera and could readily access many of the more powerful features. The electronic view finder was ok and ‘worked’ in a pinch when the back LCD could not be seen.  The built in flash also worked well within the expectations given it’s small size.

The only negative on usability is one must be very careful not to touch the lens accidentally (leaving smudges).  The only other negative for the camera is the video formats do not support MP4 and the time stamps for the AVCHD or XAVC files do not correspond to the actual time the video was taken, but rather GMT time.  

With respect to image quality, it was quite impressive.  I have provided a few examples below.  All pictures were processed through Lightroom CC using my standard work flow.  You can get full size version of the picture by clicking on it.   

1808240038

Taken as a JPEG from an airplane at 1/640 sec, f4.5, ISO 125 at 45mm equivalent.

1808240070

Taken as a JPEG at 1/60 sec, f4, ISO 640 at 46mm equivalent.

1808250091

Taken as a JPEG at 1/250 sec, f8, ISO 125 at 72mm equivalent.

1809010121-Edit

Taken as a RAW at 1/1000 sec, f4.5, ISO 320 at 195mm equivalent.

1809020256-Edit

Taken as a RAW at 1/1000 sec, f4.5, ISO 250 at 195mm equivalent.

1809230038

Taken as a RAW at 1/50 sec, f2.8, ISO 6400 at 24mm equivalent.

1809300066-Edit

Taken as a RAW at 1/320 sec, f4.5, ISO 1600 at 195mm equivalent.

1809300339

Taken as a RAW at 1/160 sec, f2.8, ISO 6400 at 24mm equivalent.


There two very cool features in this camera.  The first is the very high frame rate that you can achieve: 24 frames per second as stills for about 230 images!  The second feature is the ability to transfer JPEG files to your mobile device.  Other Sony cameras have this feature, but we really used it with camera because it allows for rapid uploading to social media.  The implementation is a bit cumbersome, but it does work reasonably well.

The bottom line is the Sony RX100 V6 is a very useable camera that generates high quality images in a compact, point and shoot format.


















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