Laocoon And the Camera Bag

Laocoon And the Camera Bag


I used to be fascinated by the statue of Laocoon and his two sons being attacked by pythons – they had annoyed some Greek goddess and were crushed to death for their trouble. I’m sure there was something involving sex or politics there, as with most of mythology or commercial television.

My involvement with this all ( the strangling, not the sex…) comes about when I try to take my cameras and lenses out into the field. To carry them I put them in various bags – some with shoulder straps and some with neck straps. And then the cameras have straps slung from lugs on the top corners of the bodies. There is even a shoulder strap for the tripod bag.

The overall carry case is generally no problem – I’ve standardised on Crumpler bags with adequate space for the rig of the day. No larger, mind as it is foolish to haul extra weight in extra space for any period of time. The tripod bag is also fine – it was an acquisition to hold a Cullmann 622T tripod and is small enough to go anywhere. The method of suspension is the good old Napoleonic War style – the bag goes on the left hip with the strap over the right shoulder. Then the tripod bag goes on the right hip with the strap over the left shoulder. Cross straps leave enough space at front for the diaphragm to work freely.

The camera straps are the pests. I use metal cradles for the bodies and this means the straps are put on rather tightly. They go round the neck alright but when you try to bring the camera up to the eye you are just as likely to be trying to fight your way through them to the eyepiece. If the camera has an automatic sensor to turn the back screen off when your eye approaches it the straps always seem to be turning the screen off when you need it.


One small camera that goes into a briefcase has a simple thong and cord on one lug and this is great. But if I used this on bigger ones I would have no way to hold the camera while I tried to change lenses or eat a burrito.

At the shop we sell Black Magic straps and similar types that screw into the bottom of the camera and allow it to hang like a carbine on a dragoon sling. They work but that means yet another shoulder strap and I only have two shoulders. So I am currently trying to reinvent camera suspension for the 21st century and the advent of the mirror-less camera. I wish the designers of the Leica M5 had been able to persuade the rest of the photographic world to put the suspension lugs on the side – that worked.

Perhaps I need a Greek goddess and a python…

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