We give F-stop Camera Bags a “Best” award every year. Yes, they support us by giving us packs, but they also really drill us for design input. So much so that in 2015, the head designer of the bags came and stayed with us for a few days in Interlaken to simply watch how we use the packs when we work. We’d spend the days doing shoots, runs, climbing etc… and he’d listen to our feelings about how the systems functioned. He’d watch what I use, and didn’t use. Then in the evenings we’d discuss how to make improvements, or what sort of new products would help make our work easier. He also included prototypes for new products still in the design phase to see if we would use his new ideas.
So this is exactly why they get a Best award from us each year. Because each year they only get better. It isn’t just Dan & Janine they listen to, it’s all their pro photographer ambassadors. The designer had come to us after visiting another photographer, and left us for the next. Impressive.
How did the system improve for 2015 and beyond? Fstop has made a real backpack, for real use, regardless of whether or not it is a camera bag – and of course turned it into a camera bag. The system is fully modular, meaning you select the pack size you want, then choose specific size inserts for your camera gear. They call these inserts ICU’s (Internal Camera Units). The ICU is the key to the entire Fstop system. You aren’t going to just own one or two, you’ll have several and use the necessary size based on your trip.
We store our two camera systems in larger ICU’s. One for Sony, the other for Canon. If I go on a big shoot, the entire storage ICU goes into the pack. But, for the vast majority of our work, I put just the camera gear I am going to take into the smallest possible ICU, and then insert that into the pack. Whatever room is leftover is for other gear. Or, piggy back a smaller ICU on top of the primary for other needs, misc. tech stuff, chargers and cables.
The big new product for 2015 was the addition of newly designed, and constructed, packs. I’ve switched to the Lotus, while Janine is in the new women’s specific Kashmir. The 32 liter Lotus is now made of waterproof, bomber material and has just the right amount of space, plus expandable side pockets, to make the pack a go to for very real mountain trips, be it skiing, climbing or trekking. We are primarily working in the European Alps, so never have need to carry much beyond camera gear, clothing, food & water. Of course the back panel access to get to your ICU is the key to working out of the pack. Easy.
F-stop offers a huge range of sizes, from the strategic 25 liter Kenti up to the mighty 80 liter Shinn. Choose your system and you get double the fun, a backpack, and a camera bag. Both perfect.
Patitucci Fstop Camera Bags
Lotus : Dan’s go to pack for most trips and shoots. 32 liter.
Kashmir : Janine’s go to pack for most trips and shoots. 30 liter.
Micro : As an office accessory… cables, chargers, mouse, etc… goes on every trip, be it in the camera bag or computer bag. Or, as a Sony a7 camera bag with one body and one lens.
Small : Serves as a Sony a7 camera bag with one extra lens.
Medium Slope : Primary for both Lotus and Kashmir for most trips.
Large : Sony system storage, and for inserting in pack for when it’s all needed.
Extra Large : Canon system storage. No one should have to carry this much! And we never do…
Kenti : Since we switched to Sony, I’m using this pack more often as it is smaller, carries well, and has access to the camera gear without taking the pack off. I love this pack!
Navin : Goes on most every trip and is the key piece for Dan’s system. A chest mounted pack for instant access.
Thanks for the great gear advice this past week or so. Good stuff! I’d dearly love to have an F-Stop bag, but unfortunately, as usual they are all out of stock and saying things like “March 2016”. This is definitely the third, and possibly the fourth year in a row that I have looked at buying one of their bags, only to find them out of stock for long periods of time. I tried Ajna, Tilopa, Suka… I’m not that fussy. None are available.
You should be very thankful that you have some, because it seems that their pro team members are the only people that can get hold of them. I’m not trying to be funny, whenever I see someone with one at an event or something like that, they’re always one of the F-Stop team it seems. Everywhere I see these bags talked about online it’s always the same thing… “Amazing bags. Out of stock”. How are they still in business and how has this problem plagued them for so many years? It’s such a shame because clearly these ARE the best bags for this kind of photography, but what good is that if you can’t ever buy one.
Anyways… keep up the great work. You’re a real inspiration for me!!
Ryan, Big thumbs up for the kind words, thanks! But big thumbs down for being bummed about Fstop not having stock. Sorry to hear that. You aren’t the first to report in about this, I’m not sure what is happening. I wish you luck on finding something, they really are worth waiting for.
Thank you again! Dan
Do you think Lotus 32L is too big for woman 5′ 2”? I am a female photographer. Somehow, I like design for Lotus rather than kashmir. Pls advice.
Hi Yuko, I’m really not sure and think it would be best to speak with Fstop, or find one in a shop to try.
Have you tried to cycle with the Lotus pack at all? I’m interested in getting one for hauling the camera gear around on the mountain bike, but I’m tossing up between this one and the Guru UL. I like the idea of a little more capacity than the Guru, but I’m concerned the Lotus will get in the way of my helmet.
I haven’t tried, but in my opinion it’s getting too close to too big.