I have been looking for a way to fit most of the camera and lighting equipment that I need for standard photo shoots on-location. It can be everything from editorial portraits, to staff portraits and other things that would benefit from me bringing my own light instead of depending fully on the weather or indoor lighting.
After having used a Kata backpack that was large enough to fit two Profoto B1’s and a camera, but not so much else, I found the F-stop Satori EXP, their biggest photo backpack so far (an even bigger, mostly for film crews, is coming later this spring, and might be even better for me).
F-stop Satori EXP and XL Pro ICU
Here is how everything from the first photo fits in my backpack. I still need a separate bag for light stands, umbrellas, softboxes and speedrings, but that is only one more bag. Just reducing the numbers of bags I have to bring to a location is a big win for me, and having my hands free is something that I like a lot.
This is was fits in my Satori EXP:
- 2 x Profoto B1
- 3 x batteries for B1
- 1 x Profoto battery charger
- 1 x Nikon charger + spare battery
- 1 x Nikon D800
- 1 x Nikon 24-70mm/2.8
- 1 x Nikon 85mm/1.4
- 2 x Profoto Air Remote (one TTL)
- A couple of memory cards and small batteries
That all fits in the Satori EXP backpack and the XL Pro ICU from F-stop, it is a tight fit, but it works. My extra camera I just put in the backpack on top of the ICU and the two pockets on top of it can be used for smaller stuff.
As for the dividers, I experimented with different setups and found this to be what allowed me to pack the Profoto B1’s in the most protected way. I have to remove the batteries before I put them in, but after that things lie there pretty good.
A Domke wrap or two is good to protect the lenses, and maybe I should put in a small divider or two to make the equipment stay better in their respective places?
On the outside I can hang rolls of duct tape, my Sirui camera stand and other things, as gloves or maybe a speedring.
I found the best way to store the camera stand was to attach the stand bag and let it hang on the backpack always, when I need the stand I just open that bag and remove it. No need for taking the whole thing off every time.
When I arrive at the location, I just pull out the ICU and start unpacking the things I need. The back pack can lie around and I just bring the ICU as a separate bag if we need to go to some other room or place within reasonable distance.
The best light stand bag so far
Having used a lot of different bags, after buying this padded Manfrotto light stand bag I almost satisfied. It could be improved in some small ways, but it works great for me and my needs.
It can hold two Manfrotto 420B boom stands (good for Profoto B1 even outside), a couple of Profoto umbrellas and maybe one more, but smaller, light stand.
If I need smaller stands, for example Manfrotto Nano, I can attach them to the backpack for easy access. One or two of those makes very little difference to the total weight I have to carry.
All in all I am quite satisfied to have found a way to transport my equipment with as little hassle as possible. I would have loved to have more pockets on the backpack (on the sides maybe?) to put small stuff in (pencils, tape, aspirin) but I guess that would ruin it for those who want to hang their skies there?
A Profoto B2 system instead?
If you already have read my test and review of the Profoto B2 you have seen this photo when I did the same packing of my camera and lighting equipment but with the Profoto B2 and accessories.
It fits the battery pack, two heads and the other stuff I listed above, but weight a bit less. When I will be using the Profoto B2 I probably can cut down a bit on lighting stands as well, so in total that weight will be a little less than with Profoto B1.
If you have any questions, please write a comment.
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