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Kevin Kubota and Kubota Image Tools blog covering photography tips, photo workshops, photography gear reviews, image enhancing software for Photoshop and Lightroom, software and workflow tutorials.
Welcome! This is the blog from Kevin Kubota (me) and Kubota Image Tools (our company). Our mission is to empower photographers, share knowledge, and find ways to make the world a better place. Thanks for joining in!
If you’re an active photographer, traveling via 4 wheels, 4 legs, 2 wheels, or 2 legs, you’re probably in a constant search for the perfect camera carrying system. I’m always trying to find a more convenient way to: A) have quick access to my camera so I’ll use it more often, and B) carry it comfortably and securely so It doesn’t get in the way of my activity or experience.
I’ve been a long-time fan of the MindShift Gear backpacks, with their Rotation 180 technology. MindShift is a division of ThinkTank, which makes some of the finest camera bags on the planet. I’ve taken my Rotation 180 Pro backpack all around the world with me and wouldn’t use anything else for my extended adventures. Sometimes, however, you need something simpler. Maybe you just need to carry a camera, lens, and some accessories. Maybe you are engaged in a highly physical activity, like motorcycle or water buffalo riding, and need to keep your camera super secure and out of your way–yet with instant easy access. This is especially important during water buffalo mating season.
The Multi-Mount carrier can work solo or in tandem with your normal backpack. It could also be added to your MindShift Rotation 180 pack for super easy access to even more gear. In fact, this is the setup I’ll be using when I lead our MotoPhotoTour of Italy this fall. When used solo, it can be slung over your shoulder, neck, or as a hip pack. The clever part is that is has multiple connection straps for securing the carrier from swinging around and getting in your way–which can actually be quite dangerous if you are engaged in high-risk activities.
When attached to your normal backpack, it can be worn in front, threaded on the backpack waist belt; or it can hang from your backpack straps, and is secured with the stabilizer straps. This method keeps the carrier up higher than your waist, which is essential for mobility during riding activities like motorcycling, biking, horseback, or water buffaloing.
There are so many clever ways to attach and secure the Multi-Mount carrier, that you’d be hard-pressed to find a reason not to bring it with you.
I took my Multi-Mount 20 on an off-road motorcycle ride to see if it really functioned as well as it looked. We rode hard for almost 80 miles through forests, single-track, and fast fire roads. The amazing part is that I never even noticed the bag was there. It rides so securely and out of the way that it never interferes with your activity. Even through (uh-hmm) dismounts and pushing my bike through knee-deep snow patches, it never got in the way. Usually, I didn’t even remember I had it on. It just seems to disappear–at least until a perfect vista appeared and I could simply stop and whip out the camera without even getting off the bike.
As with all ThinkTank and MindShift products, the quality construction is second-to-none: Beefy, smooth zippers. Thick, rip-proof fabrics. Bomber stitching on all seams. Everything seems to be really well thought out and tested. There are just enough pockets for your accessories and, as with most of their camera bags, MindShift includes a rain cover.
The Multi-Mount carriers come in a variety of sizes: 10, 20, 30, 50. I chose the 20 size as it carries a smaller DSLR or mirrorless camera with zoom lens attached. This is generally what I want immediate access to while riding or hiking. There is an outside pocket with plenty of room for filters, cards, batteries, wallet, keys, and your water buffalo mating call device.
Niggles? The connection straps provided to attach to your backpack strap is designed for attaching to vertical accessory straps, although many backpacks (my bike pack included) have horizontal accessory straps. It still works fine, not a big deal, you just have slightly twisted straps that may throw the OCD person in to disarray. Using another swivel clip, like the one used on the other end of the strap, would have been a more universal solution. Granted, the MindShift backpacks have vertical accessory straps, so it works perfect with those.
Lastly, I’m not super excited about the single color option: green. It’s a nice color and all, but what if it clashes with my wing suit? Fortunately, I’d happily trade a little fashion for a lot of function.
After riding with my Multi-Mount for a day, I can’t imagine going anywhere without it. I have quick access to a real camera and it doesn’t have to get in the way of my fun…and fun is job #1.
I am currently traveling in Italy, and constantly reminded how much I like my MindShift camera backpack. They just seem to be so well thought out and are built to such incredible quality standards. Then, I get this secret message: MindShift have a new pack and they will actually let you try it FREE for 30 days! No risk, you don't even have to pay for it up front. Wow.
Try out their FirstLight outdoor photography backpacks on a 30-day, risk-free “test drive.” Call them toll free at 866-558-4465 x1, 8:30 AM - 5 PM PST Mon - Fri and they'll process your free test drive trial. Ask for FedEx Ground shipping and they'll include it at no charge. And, be sure to mention my name when ordering to get the free trial deal.
The FirstLight backpacks are designed for the traveling outdoor photographer. The two packs are carry on compatible on virtually any regional and large commercial flight, making getting to your destination with your gear a worry free experience. The FirstLights' contoured, 11-point adjustable torso harness fits most men and women. A shaped aluminum torso stay provides additional support. The packs also utilize ballistic nylon bottoms for long lasting durability.
They have dedicated water bottle pockets on both sizes, while the 30L also accommodates up to a 3L hydration reservoir. Both have long lens capacity, big stuff pockets, sternum strap whistles, with extra room for your 15" laptop and personal gear. Use the accessory straps to carry a tripod, monopod or hiking poles. They've also included a seam-sealed rain cover. When attached, rain cover allows small to medium tripods to be carried on front or side positions.
The FirstLight 30L is sized for gripped DSLRs and larger gear and will hold up to a 500mm f/4 lens detached or 400 f/2.8 attached. The FirstLight 20L is sized for standard size DSLRs and robust mirrorless kits and will hold up to a 200–400mm f/4 attached or 300 f/2.8.
Our readers get FREE gear from ThinkTank and MindShift Gear when you use our link to buy anything over $50! Click here.
"Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts." –Albert Einstein