Thursday, January 15, 2015

Mindshift gear bag review

I was recently fortunate enough to test out a unique new photo backpack style bag by the makers at a sister company to The particular model I got to work with is the rotation 180  Panorama, and is the smaller of the 2 photo dedicated models. After sizing it up with my Canon 5D MK III and lenses I decided to use my "lighter rig" Fuji's mirrorless X-T1, 10-24 F4 ois and 18-55 F2.8-4. I had been using a Lowepro 200 AW bag all summer long with this kit for lighter shoots and a lot of mountain biking and would now try similar lighter Winter adventures with the Panorama.
I had to test this bag in bounds at a ski resort before it goes in the back country so I opted for the world class runs of Alta ski area, with the towering Mt. Superior in the back drop.
I decided to make some "mark ups" to the areas I liked and dis-liked on the bag to help with the visuals.
Let's start with the straps, ample padding and great curvature to stay snug around the neck and comfortable on the shoulders when loaded down.
I had to utilize the tripod attachments in order to mount my skis in case Main chute opens and I have to dash up there. This eliminates bringing a tripod though. Would like to see the typical "snack pouches" I've gotten used to on all my other packs? It shouldn't hinder the rotation 180 at all and would keep the idea of not taking your bag off for access more consistent.
There is a top strap on both sides for what I hoped to hold a pair of skis, there just isn't a lower strap to stabilize the skis. The top strap seems more for extra clothes or for tightening a lighter load. Also would like to see a shovel slot somewhere. Once again I don't think ski mountaineering was the intention for this sized bag I just wanted it to compete with my Lowepro 200 AW that does hold a shovel in the back compartment. Great zipper pulls though and easy to grab with a ski glove too.
This is the whole concept of the bag, to not remove your back pack every time you use your camera! The apex of this bag I believe is the speed and unique way at which you can access the main camera compartment without taking the bag off. To get the full schematics please visit the site to see in greater detail how this works and the accessories you can add on at .
The hipbelt can be used separately for smaller trips and I also found that if you rotate the hip bag forward before loading a lift you can keep the back pack on while the lower compartment compresses enough keeping you deep in the chair instead of feeling like your getting pushed off the whole time. Not fun!
There is a hydration pouch on the left side (2 liters or smaller) which I didn't get to test because all of my bladders are 3 liters and I did try all of them with no avail.
It would be nice to have seen a strap system underneath the main bag for extra clothing or a lighter tripod attachment too.
I think this bag is revolutionary for "fast access" photography when time constraints are against you like in bounds ski-action on a powder day, mountain bike rides with impatient riders or even back country skiing where a speedy exit in hazardous conditions would keep your gear with you? Mobility and speed are the advantages with this system.
 Will this totally eliminate my other bag and be the end all to the perfect smaller bag search, not yet. If you want gear protection while hiking, the fastest access ever to your camera with room for a day hike I would highly recommend the Panorama! My take is a very critical one because this helps progression and I realize there is always room for advancement in man made objects.

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