Category Archives: Reviews

My thoughts, for what it’s worth, on all things POP CULTURE including books, movies and music.

Think Tank Photo Does It Again with Their Helipak V.2 Backpack for Phantom Drones

Think Tank never ceases to create and improve upon great products. They have filled a need for a lightweight, portable pack to carry the Phantom Quadcopter anywhere and everywhere. For the past couple of years, I’ve kept my Phantom Vision Quadcopter in a Go Professional hard case. While it was packed perfectly and safely, the case was extremely heavy and difficult to carry long distances as it only had a handle, like a suitcase without wheels.helipad

What I wanted was a backpack for my drone so that I could take it anywhere I wanted, whether it was through the city or on the trial. Enter the new Think Tank Airport Helipak. This bag is almost perfect!

helipak3Updating their previous version, this new edition features an outstanding, breathable lumbar support, adjustable shoulder harness and a removable padded waist belt. I can carry this bag forever without really noticing it is there. Inside, there’s plenty of space for any Phantom model including the 4 Pro, or similar sized quadcopters, with plenty of extra batteries, remotes and other accessories. There’s even room for a professional DSLR and a lens or two. The inside of the lid has 2 large zippered pockets for cables, cards and props. There’s an outside pocket for a 15″ laptop, iPad and other things. There is also an organizer pocket for a smart phone, wallet, business cards and the like. I can store my MacBook Pro and my Hoodman Aviator Hood in the outside pocket with no problems. And, as if all that wasn’t enough, there is a side pocket for a water bottle as well as small pockets on the shoulder strap for a snack or cell phone. The interior can be reconfigured as needed. It is sized for either international or domestic travel as it easily fits into the carry-on luggage compartment. helipak1

As with all their bags, Think Tank put a lot of thought into this bag and truly left no stone upturned. My only quibble is that you have to take the props off in order to stow the aircraft. I’m sure this is to keep the bag to a reasonable size and remain within airport standards. A quick visit to the local drone store revealed that most bags and cases require removal of the props. They even provided reinforcements for the rotor threads to protect the inside of the bag as well as your prop connectors. The bag is water resistant and it comes with a full, waterproof cover in case you are caught in a downpour.

As a Phantom 4 PRO owner, I’m very excited about this bag. It is the absolute perfect solution for taking your quadcopter anywhere you want. At only $199.75, this bag is an absolute bargain.
helipak2

Gear Review: Think Tank Urban Appoach 15

tank (1 of 1)In my opinion, nobody makes better, more thought-out, camera bags than Think Tank.  They just seem to think of everything when it comes to the needs of a photographer.  They seem to be one of the few bag makers that are gearing up for the mirrorless market.

I’m going to come right out and say that the Urban Approach 15 backpack is an outstanding bag for your mirrorless system.  This bag is specifically designed for mirrorless gear and includes an outside, zippered pocket for a 15″ laptop or tablet.  Visually, this is one of the nicest looking backpacks I’ve seen.  It’s has a matte black finish and is accented with bits of leather.

The bag includes backpack straps and a foot pocket on the side that holds a travel tripod firmly and securely.  The front flap has an outside zippered pocket that’s perfect for a lens cloth, keys, memory cards are anything else you may need quickly.  It’s not huge, but holds enough.  Inside the flap are two more zippered pockets with plenty of room for batteries and other accessories.

The interior itself is completely configurable.  As you can see in the photo, I’ve got it filled with my Fuji X-Pro 2 with a lens attached plus five additional lenses including the 100-400 zoom!   There’s still room for a flash and another lens if needed.  All this in a bag that’s only 18 inches long and 11 inches wide.  All this gear and the bag weighs less than 23 pounds.  The zippers are sturdy and come together so that you can lock them with a TSA lock, if needed.  You can even put a 16 oz water bottle in the side pocket.

The Urban Aproach 15 is a backpack, which means you have to remove it from your shoulders to access the gear.  I don’t mind since my camera is usually out anyway.  The back of the bag, like all Think Tank bags, is beautifully padded for comfort with a larger lumbar support.  It’s vented so it doesn’t get too hot.  The shoulder straps are nicely padded as well.  This is one comfortable bag especially with the lighter weight of the mirrorless systems.   There are loops on the front of each shoulder strap for attaching a modular pack, water bottle or anything else you need.  I like to use the Black Rapid backpack strap when hiking.  It attaches nicely to these loops.   And, get this… there’s even a pull-out handle on the back so you can slip the bag over your luggage roller handle or rolling camera bag when you travel.  Really, they did think of everything!  Oh, and it even has a rain cover that protects the entire pack from moisture.

This has quickly become one of my favorite bags and my go-to bag when carrying a lot of mirrorless gear.  I absolutely love it and you will, too.

Check it out here!


 

 

Think Tank Airport Helipak Review

6-21-2015 11-34-38 AMThink Tank has done it again.  They have filled a need for a lightweight, portable pack to carry the Phantom Quadcopter anywhere and everywhere.  For the past couple of years, I’ve kept my Phantom Vision Quadcopter in a Go Professional hard case.  While it was packed perfectly and safely, the case was extremely heavy and difficult to carry long distances as it only had a handle, like a suitcase without wheels.

What I wanted was a backpack for my drone so that I could take it anywhere I wanted, whether it was through the city or on the trial.  Enter the new Think Tank Airport Helipak.  This bag is almost perfect!

Featuring a lumbar support, adjustable shoulder harness and a removable padded waist belt, I can carry this bag forever without really noticing it is there.  Inside, there’s plenty of space for any Phantom model, or similar sized quadcopters, including plenty of extra batteries, remotes and other accessories. (Oh, if you’re looking around for the top quadcopters under 100 dollars – find more info there.)  There’s even room for a professional DSLR and a lens or two.  Pictured here is the bag with my drone, all the accessories, a D810 camera body and a 28-300 lens.  There’s an outside pocket for a 15″ laptop, iPad and other things.   There is also an organizer pocket for a smart phone, wallet, business cards and the like.  And, as if all that wasn’t enought, there is a side pocket for a water bottle as well as small pockets on the shoulder strap for a snack or cell phone.  The interior can be reconfigured as needed.  It is sized for either international or domestic travel. _DSC0918

As with all their bags, Think Tank put a lot of thought into this bag and truly left no stone unturned.  My only quibble is that you have to take the props off in order to stow the aircraft.  I’m sure this is to keep the bag to a reasonable size and remain within airport standards.  A quick visit to the local drone store revealed that most bags and cases require removal of the props.  They even provided rubber protective tips for the rotor threads.  The bag is water resistant and it comes with a full, waterproof cover in case you are caught in a downpour.

As a Phantom 3 owner, I’m very excited about this bag.  It is the absolute perfect solution for taking your quadcopter anywhere you want.  At only $239.75, this bag is an absolute bargain.  Use this link and get a free gift and free shipping when you purchase one.

Thank Tank Airport Helipak

Acratech GP: One Gorgeous Ballhead!

For years, I’ve been using the Really Right Stuff ballhead and have always been happy with it.  But, I’ve recently discovered the Acratech GP Ballhead and have been blown away.  Engineered and manufactured in the U.S., Scott at Acratech has come up with an incredibly designed and aesthetically beautiful ballhead.

Weighing in at only 454 grams, this lightweight ballhead doubles as a gimbal head. It can also be used upside-down as a leveling head for panos.  I haven’t tried it for panos yet, but with the Acratech pano bracket, I plan to.  The ballhead also has a quick release clamp that’s adjustable to any Arca-Swiss compatible plate.  The movements are silky smooth and I like the double speed nobs much more than the tightening lever on my RRS.  Once tightened down, even heavy combos such as my D800 with grip and 70-200 f/2.8 lens doesn’t move a bit.

Functionality is essential and this ballhead scores on every level, but as a gearhead, I have to say that this is one sexy piece of equipment.  The black anodized finish is great to look at.  I love the built in bubble level as well as the laser engraved degree markings.  The ballhead itself is fully exposed so there’s no way for dirt or moisture to get into the inner workings making this very easy to clean.

At $400, it’s not an investment to take lightly but I have to say that you get what you pay for and with the Acratech GP Ballhead, you are getting a piece of art as well as a highly functional tool that will last a lifetime.

By the way, they also make the Swift Clamp which provides a quick and easy way to connect your camera’s Arca-Swiss plate to your Black Rapid strap!

Acratech Ballhead

Not just a tool, but a piece of art.