Photo vests

Old Aug 6, 13, 5:24 pm
  #1  
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Photo vests

Who uses one? Who has considered one? Why?

Pros, cons. Discuss.

Seems like a great alternative to a backpack that's too slow to get to when you need to. Dorky looking? You think a camera bag or backpack looks better?
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Old Aug 6, 13, 5:55 pm
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My travel vest defeats carryon restrictions at airports and carryin restrictions at sports events.

I don't care what strangers think about my wearing it.
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Old Aug 6, 13, 9:16 pm
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Aren't photo vests for carrying little things like film? I would think carrying lenses and the like on a vest would be pretty awkward.
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Old Aug 6, 13, 9:29 pm
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Dorky will depend on the situation. They may not work at a black tie dinner as well as a baseball game. If you want body and lens and all that stuff to be instantly available, short of having an assistant to hand you stuff whenever you ask for it a vest makes it pretty easy (as does a good camera bag).

I think you first need to figure out what you want to carry. If you carry two SLR Bodies with lens on them, you won't be using the same vest if you were carrying a second lens and another battery pack. Some have pockets that expand to be huge, others have pockets that don't hold anything, so make sure to shop around.
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Old Aug 7, 13, 12:01 am
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I only use my vest when I think I will be shooting a lot and using a large variety of lenses and other gear in a relatively small area. I can get a couple of extra lenses, filters, cleaning stuff, etc in the pockets and not have to mess with my bag. Climbing around on rocks and things is easier than when hauling my big camera bag but for most normal shooting situations, the vest is bulky and uncomfortable so it gets left behind.
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Old Aug 7, 13, 10:35 am
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Originally Posted by Loren Pechtel View Post
Aren't photo vests for carrying little things like film? I would think carrying lenses and the like on a vest would be pretty awkward.
Oh, HECK, no!

There are a huge number of photo vests on the market, from those that look like fishing vests up to massive multi-pocket affairs that look more like the kind of tac vests worn by special forces operators.

I don't use them myself, but I have known lots of photographers who do use them, and they can really come in handy if you're on a location shoot where you might need quick access to lots of gear like lenses, filters, cleaning cloths, light meters, and of course, batteries and memory cards. They can also be used to hold external batteries for large flash units.

As for the appearance factor - they don't make you look dorky, they make you look like a professional photographer. Which only looks dorky to those who know that you're not a professional photographer! If you are a pro, a vest is part of your kit, as much as your camera and lenses.
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Old Aug 7, 13, 11:51 am
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Originally Posted by Loren Pechtel View Post
Aren't photo vests for carrying little things like film? I would think carrying lenses and the like on a vest would be pretty awkward.
Depends upon the system. With my Micro 4/3 system, two of my 4 lenses are tiny and weigh less than 4 oz each, and the other two are still pretty small and weigh 8 and 10 oz. Each of my camera bodies weighs 11-13 oz. Nothing at all awkward about pocketing both bodies and all 4 lenses in a vest, when 2 bodies and 4 lenses, plus spare batteries and memory cards and shades and filters all together is under 4 pounds of gear. The only things I ever think twice about carrying around is a tripod and the fast legacy lenses that I use for those times when something long and fast is needed.

Last edited by flyboy60; Aug 7, 13 at 11:56 am
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Old Aug 8, 13, 5:41 pm
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Wife and I like to do explorations. Sometimes on a trail, often a walking route in a city or town. I've tried backpacks - too slow - you need to unbuckle, take it off, open it up, close it up etc. so I don't do many lens changes when wearing it.

Camera case? Not for a 4 mile or longer walk. My shoulder can't take it, at least not with comfort. And working a camera case while on the move is awkward anyway.

So I ordered a Domke vest. We'll see how it goes. It does have an interior pocket perfectly sized for my Nexus 7. Yes, I've gone digital for information on our explorations. works like a charm.
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Old Aug 11, 13, 2:05 am
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Very practical, but you do look like an idiot .
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Old Aug 11, 13, 7:15 am
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I bought my first one from cotton carrier: http://buy.cottoncarrier.com/cotton-...p/514rtl-s.htm

Used it on a recent outdoor vacation and was great. No need to unbuckle my backpack. Just unhooked it from the belt and use it.
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Old Aug 12, 13, 5:41 am
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Out of curiosity for those of you who use vests. What do you do with your tripod? And/or a lens like a 70-200/2.8? Both of those seem impractical to store in the vest.
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Old Aug 12, 13, 7:20 am
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Originally Posted by oblisk View Post
Out of curiosity for those of you who use vests. What do you do with your tripod? And/or a lens like a 70-200/2.8? Both of those seem impractical to store in the vest.
Depends on the vest.

Lowepro has a modular vest system with add-on pockets for the really big lenses, and many vests have large pockets in the back, or straps/loop, for tripods. If your tripod is too big to fit in a vest, you can always sling it; many tripods come with slings, and there are aftermarket slings for those that don't.
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Old Aug 12, 13, 7:43 am
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Originally Posted by oblisk View Post
Out of curiosity for those of you who use vests. What do you do with your tripod? And/or a lens like a 70-200/2.8? Both of those seem impractical to store in the vest.
Generally, I don't carry a tripod, and when I do, I CARRY a tripod. As for big lenses, the nice thing about Micro 4/3 is that there are no big lenses - my biggest native m4/3 lens weighs just a hair over 10 ounces. I do use some legacy fast telephotos (including a 200mm f3 and a 300mm f2.8, as well as a big 105mm f2.8 Macro with a focusing rail) but these are not in my normal carrying kit which I would ever store in a vest. Of course, when I do need to bring any of these, I'll be carrying a bag that holds them. The vest doesn't completely obviate the need for a bag - just maybe ~60-70% of the time.
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Old Aug 30, 13, 6:27 pm
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Always. Pro Bass fishing vest. = ~$39
XXL = bigger pocket & shrinks down to XL with washings.
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Old Sep 10, 13, 8:56 pm
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I've used a Domke Photogs vest for 20+ years. It is fine for carrying lots of items, however, I suggest additional pouches to hold smaller items like filters. Also, it is not very practical in a hot environment, but in cooler climates, it works great.
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