The search for the perfect bag is one that all photographers embark upon at one time or another. Actually, that quest seems to never end for most of us. Over the years I have come to realize that the perfect bag does not exist, but the perfect (or near perfect) bag for a specific use can exist. Tripods, like camera bags are very similar in that regard.
The bag you might need for traveling to Alaska to photograph bears likely isn’t the same bag you’d take to New York City for some street shooting. And the same applies to tripods. The tripod you might need for shooting landscapes in the African plains is not what you would want to pack up the trails of Machu Pichu.
So with that said, I think I have found the perfect bag AND tripod for light travel and hiking.
The bag is the NEW VEO Discover 46.
Perfect for my Olympus OM-D E-M1 MkII (with battery grip attached) and a couple lenses. In this review I had that camera body, plus their 12-100mm f/4, a 7-14mm f/2.8, and a 60mm f/2.8 macro. You will see in the photos there was certainly room left over, and I could also have configured it for a different set of lenses.
The bag is designed in such a way as to allow the wearer to put it on as a standard backpack, but also has a slick design feature I wasn’t expecting. The two shoulder straps can be zipped together to form a single strap. This single strap lets you wear the bag as a sling! I really like this! I prefer a sling in the city, and a backpack while out hiking so this bag sort of kills two birds with one...well..Bag!
Like many photography backpacks the VEO Discover46 has a back facing opening. Now before you write it off as inconvenient let me also mention that it has TWO side access openings.
So no matter how you configure the dividers in this bag, you can have access to it without having to open the full back. And if you wear it as a sling, you can simply swivel it around the front of your body and use the side access panel for getting at your gear.
I also like that each of these “access doors” has a small zippered pocket on it. Perfect for lens clothes or other small items like maybe batteries or lens caps.
There is also a top section to this pack that is surprisingly large. It is big enough to hold my NiSi filters which are 100x150mm and stored in a bulky protective pouch. The closure for this top section has mesh pockets for memory cards or other little bits.
All of this review so far has focused on the Discover46 and not the VEO 265AB tripod. So maybe it’s time to shift gears and have a look at this capable little travel tripod.
The VEO 265AB is billed as a travel tripod and I think they hit the nail on the head with the design to fit the description. It is very compact once collapsed to its travel configuration. Sadly when I was writing this and out shooting photos of while exploring West Michigan, I failed to shoot an example of it fully collapsed down. But the way it works is the center column flips down so the bullhead is nestled between the tripod’s legs. I kept the tripod with the ballhead column slid to the lowest position, but not flipped.
While the VEO265AB is a travel tripod, and lightweight, it is still capable of holding my mirrorless camera (w/ grip) and all but my largest lens, which is a 300mm f/4. Officially rated to support up to 17.6lbs. Plenty of support!
Aside from the ability to fold up very compact, I think my favorite feature is the 1/4 twist, locking legs. When you need to extend or collapse the legs you simply twist the locks a quarter turn to real loosen or tighten them. Other tripods I’ve owned in the past you would keep twisting until the legs were loose or tight, and I had all too often over loosened them to find the leg wanting to pull out, or have to twist so much I wasn’t sure if it was even tightening or not.
I also have the carbon fiber version of this tripod and will say that of your budget doesn’the allow the purchase of that model, then go for this one! The aluminum model is a more than capable unit.
The ballhead included with this tripod is the BH-50. It has everything you’d expect in a good ballhead. Adjustments for loosening the head, attention adjustment, and one for panning. You can also see above that there is the notch cutout for shooting in portrait orientation.
The best part about this pair is just that...It is a pair. Well...I don’t know that they “sell it as a pair” but I can honestly say you should BUY THEM as a pair. They are both low cost (especially when you look at how expensive so many other brands are!!) and designed to compliment one another. I meant, look at the bag! It has straps and a pouch designed to hold a tripod, but holds THIS tripod exceptionally well!
So if you are looking for a great, affordable bag and tripod, or just bag, or tripod I think you’d be pretty impressed with the new VEO products from Vanguard.
Now...Let me end this with a disclaimer for those who may be unaware.
I am a Vanguard Pro, so this means they give me gear, sponsor some of my events, promote my work. And in return...I use their gear and from time to time write a review like this.
So take care and happy shooting everyone!
For Jamie's full blog post, CLICK HERE!