by Ron | Aug 23, 2009 | Photography, Reviews
After outgrowing my Kata 467 and LowePro Fastpack 250, I started looking around for a replacement bag that could hold all my photo gear plus my Macbook Pro laptop.
I considered a couple of options, but decided on the Think Tank StreetWalker HardDrive. (Buy it on Amazon.com)
After several months of use, I can highly recommend it. It holds all my gear comfortably (see sidebar for details) and provides great protection.
The bag itself weighs around 4 lbs without gear. Add all your stuff and it gets really heavy. Thankfully, the straps are well padded and sturdy. When loaded up, the bag alters your center of gravity significantly so you’ll find yourself leaning forward to compensate. It’s obviously not a flaw of the bag… just something to consider.
This is a pretty comfortable bag… maybe not the best ever, but definitely NOT uncomfortable. It’s such a capacious bag, I have a tendency to overload it. The center channel (the light gray area below) is recessed so air can circulate.
Like the Kata and LowePro, the Streetwalker easily holds my 15″ Macbook Pro. The zippers do touch the laptop as it goes in and out, but I haven’t noticed any scratches in several months of use.
Make no mistake… this is a camera bag that happens to provide a place for your laptop. Its main purpose is to transport camera gear. The zippers are heavy duty and the construction material is very durable. The interior dividers are thinner than other bags, but I have found them to be more than adequate to protect my equipment. It’s not a “quick unzip and grab your camera” bag… it’s best to lay the bag horizontally before unzipping.
Camera Grip Expander
If you have a camera with a grip attached, you can adjust a “hinge” so it fits better. The down side is you take up some of the laptop compartment in doing so. I think a 17″ laptop would have trouble fitting in the same bag as a camera with a grip.
Pro SLR Body Hinge
D300 with grip turned on side. It can also hold a camera “vertically” so the hot shoe faces up, but the hinge must be dropped lower.
Laptop compartment with hinge slightly extended.
Unlike the Kata and LowePro, the Streetwalker HardDrive provides a nice place to hide the waist belt when not in use.
Size Compared to LowePro Fastpack 250
These two bags aren’t really competitors, but I thought it might provide a point of reference.
ThinkTank Streetwalker HardDrive on left, Lowepro Fastpack 250 on right.
The Streetwalker HD (left) is a little thicker at the base.
The top of the LowePro 250 (foreground) is tapered and not as rigid so it tends to collapse. You can see the Streetwalker HD maintains its shape regardless of the contents.
I had seen some complaints about the thickness of the partition dividers. Below, you can see the ThinkTank divider on top, and the thicker LowePro divider below it. After several months of use, I have NO complaints about the thinner dividers. They do a fine job protecting my gear.
The Streetwalker HardDrive has lots of pockets. Some are useful to me, others aren’t. Your mileage will vary. Here are a few highlights.
The shoulder straps have stretchy material that holds an Iphone or iPod nicely, but if you lay the bag horizontally, whatever is in the pocket is pressed against the surface.
The stretchy side pockets will accommodate a mid-size flash unit.
The top front pocket is not padded and is best for items less than 1″ deep. The bottom front pocket (not shown) allows for smaller, thicker items and has a padded front for protection.
Like this review? Support the site… buy your Think Tank Streetwalker HD from Amazon.com.
by Ron | Apr 8, 2009 | Photography, Reviews
I’m NOT a brand snob. I’ve owned both Sigma and Tamron lenses, and typically pick the product with the best performance/price ratio. As an advanced amateur, I use my equipment a good bit. But if a photo component fails, my family is not going starve.
So when I decided to buy a grip for my new D300, I started by looking at the Nikon MB-D10 plus any major contenders; mainly, the Phottix BP-D300. That didn’t last long… most folks agree it is a significant step down from the Nikon, so I quickly ruled it out.
I thought my search was over, so I started price shopping for the MB-D10. As usual, Amazon seemed to have the best deal. In fact, at one point, their price was $233 with free shipping (at time of writing, it has increased to $249). My finger was on the buy button… then I decided to look around the web just one more time.
During my final trip to the forums I found a rather lengthy thread on the Nikon form at dpreview.com.
That got me interested in the Chinese knockoffs sold by LINK delight. The price was a lot lower. Depending on the package, as low as $67 + $20 for international shipping. The reviews are good and I thought I found a winner.
THEN, on page 245 (ok, it just seemed that way… more like page 5), someone mentioned that Adorama sold the same thing for $79 with FREE shipping. The transit time would be a lot less and I liked the idea of buying from a US company in case of returns, so I bought it. Turns out, it’s the same exact product. On the box, the brand is “Meike.” Part numbers MK-D300 & ZE-NBG300. Adorama calls it “Flashpoint Professional Battery Grip for the Nikon D300/D700.”
I’ve only had it a couple of days, but so far it’s great! All the buttons work as expected and the fit is nice. It is all plastic, so it’s not as durable or “solid” as the Nikon, but at 1/3rd the price, what do you expect?
I’ll update this post if I have any problems. But so far, I highly recommend it.
Update 1: I’ve been UNABLE to get my camera to shoot at 8FPS using rechargeable NiMH batteries.
Update 2: I guess the batteries were not 100% fully charged. I had charged them a day or two prior to testing. After doing a full charge and testing right away, the Info screen shows 8fps.
You can buy this from:
Comes with two trays. Obviously, the battery is not included.
This is everything in the box (plus a “manual”).
by Ron | Apr 2, 2009 | Photography
Best Buy keeps bouncing around on the D200 price. As of April 3, 2009 it’s at $599… which is their cheapest so far. Not sure how long it will last.
Perhaps they are finally clearing their inventory leading up to a Nikon announcement on April 14th?
by Ron | Mar 26, 2009 | Photography
I recently visited the Fort Boise Wildlife Management Area near Boise, Idaho. It was mostly a family outing, but I was also scouting for a new place to take bird/wildlife photos.
As it turns out, Fort Boise WMA is a great place for birds, but not so great for bird photography.
The main entrance road splits two wetland areas. You can see them clearly on this Google Map:
View Larger Map
During the spring months, there are thousands of birds joining in a cacophony of squawking and honking. And they are fairly antsy… not staying in one pool for very long.
The problem is, these areas are closed to visitors and they are both (mostly) hidden from view. There is no way to get elevated high enough to be at eye level with the birds. So you have to wait for them to flock to a different pond and catch a few belly shots as they fly overhead.
There are other areas further back towards the river that allow exploring year-round. We saw several raptors and a wide range of field birds.
It’s a fun place to explore and there are several geocaching opportunities in the area.
by Ron | Mar 6, 2009 | Photography
I’m certainly no fan of the ACLU, but they do have a handy iPhone app that can help photographers (and others) understand their rights when approached by law enforcement.
Flying with Fish has the details.
by Ron | Feb 20, 2009 | Gadgets, Photography
Feeling kinda blah? Got the winter photo blues?
Check out Zach Arias’ video post from Scott Kelby’s blog.