Due to its massive size and weight when loaded with camera gear, I am no longer using the Tamrac 619 as my daily-carry bag. Last year I wrote about switching to the Tamrac 619. It served me pretty well until one day when it nearly broke my back.
The Tamrac 619 is a huge bag. Like everything from Tamrac it is constructed from tough, high-quality materials, and designed to last a long time. Unfortunately for me, my eyes were bigger than my stomach (shoulder?) on this one. Fully loaded, the 619 weighed in at almost 40 lbs! Way too much to wear on my shoulder every day.
After I nearly threw my back out, I went down to Samy's to peruse their selection of camera bags. I needed shoulder bag that provided quick access to my camera, had room for a couple of lenses and had a padded laptop enclosure to fit my MacBook Pro.
Up until this point I had sworn by Tamrac bags, but they just didn't make one that I felt really good about carrying around every day. After looking around I found the super-tough and non-camera-bag-looking ThinkTank Urban Disguise 50.
ThinkTank Urban Disguise 50
The ThinkTank bags are designed to not look like camera bags. The Urban Disguise 50 looks just like a laptop bag, but has some really nice features. Obviously it has room for cameras, but it also has lots of nice pockets for various gear and accessories, a laptop sleeve, a super-comfy shoulder strap and an integrated rain fly.
The guys are ThinkTank really went all out with their design, including unique features like a hidden pocket, super-tough ballistic nylon and YKK zippers. I love this bag and will likely devote a post to it for a more thorough review at some point.
The Tamrac 619 is a well-constructed bag, but it is simply too massive to carry around every day. I still use it to carry equipment for big shoots, and at some point it will become my RedRock Micro DSLR rig case. If you need a giant bag, this one certainly meets that requirement, just don't try and carry it with you every day.
The massive Tamrac 619 / Super Pro 19 with a 77mm lens cap provided for scale.
I have an addiction to photo gear. I own a crapload of equipment and I'm always buying new stuff to the delight of my
accountant wife. Along the way I've gone through a number of camera bags, each progressively better than the last.
I started out with a smallish Lowepro bag when I bought my first SLR. It had this incredibly dangerous problem in which the plastic buckle that held strap on would randomly come loose. I remember when I was at Samy's Camera talking to a saleperson and told him about my problem. He said that's why I should use Tamrac, as it's the best bag around. Ever since then I've been a Tamrac guy.
I started out with and older version of the Tamrac 5502, which is a relatively small bag. It worked fine when I had one camera, one lens and one flash. As my photo equipment collection expanded, I quickly outgrew the 5502. I currently use it to hold my Sony PCM-D50 audio recorder, Sennheiser MD46 ENG mic, Sennheiser HD 25-1 II headphones and various cables.
While I still used this bag for my SLR, I bought a nice selection of medium format Mamiya cameras and lenses from eBay on the cheap. I needed a giant bag to hold all of them. Tamrac used to make a bag specifically for medium format cameras called the Tamrac 622 [photo here]. They no longer make it, but I found one on eBay and purchased it. It's a great (both in size and functionality) bag. I don't shoot medium format as much as I would like, but at least it's well protected in that massive 622.
My next bag was the Tamrac 5608. The 5608 holds two cameras with lenses attached along with several other lenses, flashes, HV batteries, etc. This worked well for me until I picked up the tack-sharp Canon EF 70-200 f/2.8 L IS lens. Unfortunately I couldn't leave this lens on the cameras that were in the 5608. At one point I missed an amazing shot of a hawk while I scrambled to change the lens.
The missed shot happened during my vacation in Santa Fe, New Mexico with my lovely wife Penelope. Shortly after that we hit a local photo store where I purchased the Tamrac 617, also known as the Super Pro 17. It holds two cameras with lenses attached, including one with the 70-200 on it. It also has room for another lens, a flash, cables and various other accessories. I now use my 5608 to hold my flash gear. The 617 is awesome and is my current camera bag.
The Pro 17 has one problem, it doesn't have room for my laptop. Because of this I have a backpack with my laptop and cables in it and a camera bag. This results in me frequently being without my camera as it's a pain to carry two heavy bags. I recently went to Samy's to check out a bag that I've had my eye on for some time now.
The bag I've been lusting over is the Tamrac 619 also known as the Pro 19. This bag is awesome. It's wider than the Pro 17 so it has room for two or three more lenses. It also has side pockets which will let me stow either my audio equipment or HV battery packs. Finally, and most importantly, it has room for a laptop and cables.
I ordered the Pro 19 tonight from amazon. Once I have it, I will rarely be without my camera gear. Hopefully this will allow me to take more photos for fun, as opposed to just shooting when I'm on assignment. I'm really looking forward to its arrival, Tamrac bags are wonderful and I fully endorse and recommend them.