Gear Update – I love my Boda Bag!

Here’s a quick gear update. I’m posting this because it was the topic of a lot of discussion during the workshop I taught last month and it’s always a topic whenever a bunch of photographers get together. Let me first say that I paid for the Boda bag I’m about to talk about. I got it at Photoshop World Orlando, so I got a show discount but I still paid for it just like everyone else. My review is based totally on the way I really feel about the bag.

The Back StoryI’ve been wanting a bag for a while now. I first saw the Boda bag being used by (the critically acclaimed) Jeff Revell from Photowalk Pro 😉 My travel system is pretty good. I use a smaller Tamrac Expedition backpack and it holds what I need it to hold while I’m traveling. Plus it frees up my hands while getting things out of the car, going through airport security or just walking somewhere with other things in my hands. The problem I’ve had with it is that it’s not that great for shooting. Why? Because it’s on my back. If you ever want to changes lenses or grab something from the bag you’ve got take it off your back and lay it on the ground. Then if you decide to quickly walk somewhere you’ve got to grab it and move it. Oh, and don’t forget to zip it up (I learned the hard way when I lens fell out). Anyway, so I’ve wanted something for when I go on the actual photo shoot out in the field. Something that was easy to keep my lenses, filters, batteries, a flash, and anything else I may need. The Boda bag has successfully filled those shoes.

What is it?
The Boda Bag is a lens bag. It comes in two sizes: small and large. I have the large one. So what is a lens bag? Well, it’s not a camera bag. It’s meant to hold lenses. You hold your camera and keep this bag slung around your shoulder to change lenses, filters, etc… really fast. Now, keep in mind, even though it’s not a camera bag, you can fit a camera body in it. Depending on the lens, you may have to disconnect it but I was able to fit my Nikon D300 (with battery grip) with a 70-200 lens attached. That’s all it fit in the main compartment though. But it is great for a quick trip.

How did it hold up?
I first got to use this bag on my trip to the Great Smokies last month. I checked the bag (with no gear in it) inside my luggage (I actually stored socks, some t-shirts, and my illegal drugs to save space 😉 ) and carried on my backpack with all the gear in it on the plane. The bag held up like a champ. Here’s what I put inside once I went out into the field to shoot:
– 70-200 VR lens
– 12-24 lens
– 50mm lens
– 1.4 extender
– 3 filters (polarizing, neutral density, and graduated neutral density)
– extra battery
– extra CF cards
– flashlight
– oh, and some snacks (you gotta have snacks!)

Everything fit perfectly and the best part is that everything had it’s own place. Nothing was stuffed and nothing bulged out of the bag. Every compartment zipped closed perfectly and from looking at it you’d never know if it was empty or full. It wasn’t too heavy and it stayed put. You can even zip open the top and it has a snap on the back side of it to keep the top open and out of your way if you’re digging in there often.

Is it a shoulder bag or a waist bag?
It’s actually both. I opted to keep it as an over the shoulder bag over the optional waist belt. It goes over your opposite shoulder and hangs diagonal across you so it doesn’t go anywhere. I just felt like too much of a dork with a big fanny pack on – Sorry 🙂

– Small
– Easy to get to your stuff
– Perfect for those few-hour photo walks or short outings
– Weatherproof (and we did get rained on)
– made very sturdy
– lots of compartments to store stuff

The main con is also one of the pros. It’s size. It really depends on how much gear you need when you’re out there. But anything bigger and it would be hard to lug around. It’s meant for a minimal amount of gear. I did wish I could fit my camera body, 70-200 lens, and maybe one more in there but I’m ok with keeping it the size that it is.

The large size that I have rings in at $195 and the smaller version at $165. NAPP members get a discount if you go to the discounts area on the NAPP member website. Here’s their website in case you want to find out more info or see photos of the bag.