Reviews

Air Travel today seems to impose increasingly tougher limitations on hand luggage sizes with each year that passes. This is not just restricted to weight, but the actual luggage dimensions. I have fallen foul of these rules many times, and nowadays it is usually the weight that lets me down. It was not always so; several years ago I was so fed up with being hauled over the coals by check-in staff due to my carry-on being just a little too large, I decided to address the problem once and for all and purchase something that was well below regulation sizes but offered optimal protection for my belongings – particularly my camera gear.

The E-System Pro Backpack from Olympus was introduced way back when my E-1 was new and is the only backpack I have owned that is fully given over to camera gear. Normally, I tend to go for packs that offer dual functionality, i.e. some space for flasks, food and a coat. But this time I wanted something that allowed me to take a large part of my camera gear with me so that I could really immerse myself in the craft without worrying about what I had left at home. I had been using a Lowepro equivalent that was loaned to me, which is what planted the seed in my head about getting one of my own.

The Lowepro Stealth 550 AW is one of the largest bags we own, and addressed the problem of carrying around a Canon EOS camera with lenses and macro accessories which formed the core units of our product photography. As we expanded more and more into this area, it was inevitable that the gear requirements expanded along with it. Canon gear is by no means small when compared with much of the other kit we have, so it soon became obvious that we needed something big to transport it in.

It can be a liberating experience to leave most camera gear behind and travel very lightly with just one body and a couple of lenses. Arguably extra lenses or other small items can be stowed in coat pockets, but for those of us who like to keep gear in dedicated bags, there are a plethora of small, well specified models to choose from.

Billingham Bags have been around for decades and are synonymous with quality and durability. I purchased one more than 20 years ago and it is still in use today, so with this in mind I thought I would put together an article covering its strengths and weaknesses after such long term use.

Back in 1995 Olympus released the last of its professional line of OM series bodies – the OM3Ti. It coincided with their 75th anniversary and was based on the elusive OM3, available around a decade earlier. So why am I discussing it here when all there is to write about it has probably been written? Well, we have one of these in our collection and I have a particular fondness for it. At present, it spends most of its time tucked away in a camera bag full of analogue gear, getting ‘exercised’ once or twice a year with a roll of E-6.

Those photographers who enjoy macro or close focus photography will appreciate how important a sturdy tripod and well-made focus rail are. I have always held a particular fascination for macro work as I enjoy making images that illustrate the infinite patterns found in flowers, or alien like insect detail.