Are You an Active Photographer? MindShift Multi-Mount Camera Carrier

The  MindShift Multi-Mount 20  hangs securely and unobtrusively from my riding pack.

The MindShift Multi-Mount 20 hangs securely and unobtrusively from my riding pack.

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. 

The full line of Multi-Mount carriers. Cameras not included. Duh.

The full line of Multi-Mount carriers. Cameras not included. Duh.

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. 

On the left is the way the strap attaches to your backpack horizontal accessory strap. I would have preferred a swivel connector like on the right (which is used on the other end of the strap to connect to the carrier).

On the left is the way the strap attaches to your backpack horizontal accessory strap. I would have preferred a swivel connector like on the right (which is used on the other end of the strap to connect to the carrier).

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.

The green color of the Multi-Mount looks awesome in B&W ;-)

The green color of the Multi-Mount looks awesome in B&W ;-)

Even at speed, the carrier didn't budge or get in the way.

Even at speed, the carrier didn't budge or get in the way.

When you're chasing views like this, you might want to bring a camera.

When you're chasing views like this, you might want to bring a camera.

Bring your camera, share the beauty!

Bring your camera, share the beauty!

I'm excited about the new Nikon 1 V3 camera!

Nikon has taken a little while to catch up on the mirrorless camera bandwagon. Oh, they've had offerings, but none that quite seemed to compare to those by Sony, Olympus, Fuji, etc. Now they do. The new Nikon 1 V3 has just been announced for pre-sale on B&H and I want to be one of the first in line. Here's why.

The Nikon 1 V3

The Nikon 1 V3

It looks cool. 

OK, just kidding, there's much more than that. You can read the full specs on it here, but the main things that I like about it are:

  • Better hybrid autofocus (=faster & more accurate)
  • 1080p video at 60p (excellent quality video)
  • 720p video at 120 fps (nice slow motion video!)
  • Comes with detachable viewfinder and grip (compact when you need it, pro features when you need it)
  • Solid build with lots of external controls and custom FN buttons
  • Up to 20fps shooting in photo mode (great for sport and fast moving subjects)
  • Adapter available to use Nikon DSLR lenses too! Via the Nikon FT-1 adapter (can't wait to use my 50mm f1.4 on it)
  • Built-in Wi-Fi (remote control and image sharing via your iPhone or Android)
  • Up to 12800 ISO (should be very clean images at 1600-3200 ISO)
  • Tilting, touchscreen LCD

There are a few little oddities that I'm not sure I'm excited about, however. It only takes microSD cards – which makes no sense to me as standard SD cards are so ubiquitous and the camera is obviously large enough to use them. It also lacks a direct external control (hard dial) for exposure compensation. This is one of the first things I look for in ANY camera and my most used control. I still don't understand why camera makers don't get this (yes, I live in my own little photo world). I'm sure you'll be able to quickly access exposure compensation via a custom button, but it's not as fast and intuitive as it could be with a dedicated dial. 

I'll be interested to see how it compares to my previous favorite MILC, the Sony NEX-6. I've used this for a year or so on various travel adventures (even had it stolen and re-bought my entire system) and it's been wonderful. There are things about the NEX-6 that I would improve upon as well, so I guess there still is no "perfect" compact pro-thusiast travel camera. Or is there? Do you have a favorite? Tell me about it!

The basic kit is $1196 at B&H and includes the external grip, the EVF (viewfinder), and a NIKKOR VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 PD-ZOOM Lens (equivalent to 27-81mm)   
 

The Nikon 1 V3 with Viewfinder attached and beefy grip. Still a pretty compact package.

The Nikon 1 V3 with Viewfinder attached and beefy grip. Still a pretty compact package.