I spent a long time deliberating what camera to buy. The key decision being whether I wanted a camera with interchangeable lenses and if I would actually use such a camera. A lot of this came down to the convenience of using the camera: carrying it, having it accessible, basically the worflow of taking photos conveniently. On this basis, I did go for a mirrorless camera, a Lumix G6, rather than a larger DSLR, and this was certainly the right choice.
As I secretly expected though, the camera has been used less than I’d hoped. It’s been great on holidays, as you sort of acknowledge camera days and plan accordingly. It’s not been a success integrating into more every day activities. It always seems like a special situation to use the camera, rather than it just being something I have with me. I’d hit the problem I expected. This comes down to three issues:-
- How to carry it conveniently stored?
- How to carry it conveniently for use?
- How to make the wokflow easy?
Basically, how do you make a camera with a DSRL body, albeit one smaller and lighter, as convenient to use as a compact?
The first attempts to solve the problem focused on finding a camera bag. The problem is I hate camera bags. Whatever way you look at it they are odd shapes and bulky. They don’t feel natural to carry. They are my worst nightmare in moving to a larger body camera. I wanted a normal bag, probably something along the lines of a messenger bag, that would hold the camera securely. I tried two. One arrived and looked a lot cheaper than it did in the images, and the fabric was discoloured. The second had the strap attached to the bag at an odd angle so it never felt like it sat right on my body.
I stopped looking, I’ll admit I’d got a bit irritated with the whole experience. Then relatively recently, and I’ll admit I can’t remember how I encountered the Peak Design Kickstarter for their messenger bag. I’ll come back to the messenger bag. Investigating Peak Design did lead to a range of solutions offered to solve my exact problem. I thought about it for a while, as these things aren’t cheap, but I eventually ordered the Slide, CapturePRO and Clutch from Amazon.
I did send The Clutch back. There was nothing wrong with the product, it’s well designed, it just didn’t seem to work with the size of the G6. It never felt like it sat well with the size of the camera body, which needed to be bit bulkier for it to be fully useful. I could also see the Clutch being a lot more useful if I had larger lenses, pushing the weight of the camera away from the body, but this isn’t likely to happen due to the compact nature of mirrorless lenses. If I had a larger, heavier DSLR and a long zoom I could see me using The Clutch a lot more.
I’ve saved the best till last, as the CapturePRO is one of those transformational products.
It is the CapturePRO that is the most miraculous device of the three. The G6 with its slightly smaller and lighter DSLR body and more compact lenses is a perfect fit for it as it is designed for a DSLR, but I suspect many scenarios would mean the DSLR was too heavy and the lens too long. It is the CapturePRO that is going to bring the G6 to being almost as convenient to use as a compact camera in terms of workflow. Take something simple like taking the dog for a walk, the exact situation that wasn’t convenient to take the camera on. Now I just attach the CapturePRO to my belt and wear as I walk around snapping images as I go. It’s just so easy to do, and it’s even a one handed workflow. It’s brilliant.
What about a bag?
I still need a bag, as the Slide and CapturePRO have largely solved the carry it for convenient use problem. I’ve yet to solve the carry it conveniently stored problem. After my experience with Peak Design products I’m going to invest in the Kickster for The Messenger. It’s a bit more expensive then I’d normally pay out for a bag, but all the Peak Design stuff so far exudes quality so I’m going to risk it. It looks like a clever design that solves the bulk problem of camera bags, in that it is only bulky when it needs to be. This is good for me as I may use it for stuff that isn’t camera related and my camera is not the bulkiest so that’s all good.
The result of this experience: if you want to integrate your DSLR body into a more convenient and easy to use workflow, then invest in some Peak Design gear.