I’ve been a big fan of Billingham camera bags for over ten years and really love the protection and design that their bags offer; however Billingham bags have a few downsides ( weight and colour being just a couple )and so I decided to look for a bag that could take some of the workload off my Billingham 445. I needed a bag that was lighter and smaller than my 445 but could carry a reasonable amount of equipment. The bag I chose was the Pro 8, a medium size camera bag in the Tamrac’s Pro range.
Many camera stores in the UK stock a ridiculously small collection of bags and I think it’s essential that a photographer has a close look at any bag before purchasing; you have to see firsthand if the bag fits your requirements and has good construction quality. A camera bag has to protect your gear from the elements and the wear and tear of everyday use but it also has to help you with your work flow when shooting images. Its no good having a bag that restricts your shooting because of bad design or because you can’t fit in that special lens or locate those spare digital cards quickly.
Tamrac has obviously thought about the changing technology in photography and offer the pro bags as part of their digitally equipped range. This involves specific pull out pockets that can store cards, batteries and other items essential to digital photographers. The Tamrac Pro range, with its smart layout, may offer the perfect solution to digital only photographers while appealing to digital and film photographers who also want room for cards and film. For its size, this little bag can carry a heck of a lot of stuff and with the Tamrac strap accessory system (SAS), photographers can carry even more film or extra cards located in pouches that mount on the bag strap. Always useful during those long shoots.
The Pro 8 can fit two cameras with lens with room for a flashgun and various lens. There are numerous pockets for film, light meters and other odds and ends. For me, the best feature of the bag is the layout which can be adapted to fit any camera style. The Pro 8 can easily carry two large pro style cameras like a EOS-1D or D2Hs but you could carry a small Bronica / Mamiya 645 system with some adaptation to the bag layout.
In day to day use, the bag has been fantastic; you barely know you're carrying it even when its fully loaded. One of the best design features is the location of the shoulder pad on the strap. The pad has been angled so that it rests squarely in the shoulder, making it a comfortable and secure experience when carrying the bag over long distances. This bag has been on every assignment I've been on this summer and its is certainly the easiest bag to carry that I've ever owned.
In conclusion i would say that Tamrac have got it right, at least for me anyway. The bag's design is the best I've seen and the durability seems first rate. I liked this bag so much I purchased the larger Pro 12 and I'm certainly buying a backpack style bag from Tamrac's Expedition range for going out and about in 2008.
Tamrac range of bags can be viewed at http://www.tamrac.co.uk/