Giottos

tripods

We stock LEE filters 10 % discount off all LEE items.

Hasselblad H1.7X Converter £495 H 16/32 back M- £495

Hasselblad 150mm Sonnar £295 Hasselblad 90 degree pnsm £ 95 Bronica GS1 body + 100mm lens + 150mm lens.Prism + Grip £695 SOAi + 80mm PS ♦ 200mm S + AE SO i Prism + Soeedgrip £595 40mm PS Lens SQ Mint ■ £595 ETRS t 75mm* AE Prism £395 Bronica 40mm MC E++£195 Bronica Polaroid back E M • £75 Fuji GSW 690 MKIII Mint £995 Fuji GW 670 MKIII Mint ■ £ 695 Mamiya ZD &45AFD It kit mini and boxed £ 2999

150mm 135N645 Mini- £195 210mm 14 N 645 Exc »»£195 RZ 67 50mm ULD Mini £ 695 RZ 67 75mm Shift Lens M - £ 695 RZ 67 180mm lens Mint ■£ 395 RZ 67 180mm Lens Exc»» £195 RZAE Prism Mini - £295

RZ 67 210mm APO Mint - £ 495 RZ 67 250mm APO Mint - £ 495 RZ 67 350mm APO Mint • £ 695 RZ 500mm I 6 APO Mint - £1495 RB67 Pro SD + 90 KL E++ £ 395 RB67 Pro S ♦ 90mm * prism £ 295 RB67 50mm Sekor C E ++ £199 RB67 75mm Shilt lens M • £495 RB 67 180mm KL lens M • £295 RB67 180mm Sekor C E»» £169 RB 67 SO 220 Film back M ■ £ 95 Mamiya G3 bellows hood E++ £125 Mamiya 7 - 210mm Mint ■ £595 645 400mm f 5.6 FA Mint ■ £725 Honzont Panoramic E++ £199 Minolta Autometer III Mini ■ £ 75 Metz 54 MZ4 Canon Mint ■ £149 Symmar 210mm f 5.6 5x4 £125 Nikon D70 + Sigma 18-50mm £ 225 Nikon D70 » 28 ■ 80mm £175 Nikon F 5 Body AS NEW £695 Nikon F 5 Body Mint ■ £450

Nikon F100 » MB-15 Grip £195 Nikon F90 Body Exc » £95

Nikon FM + 50mm M.8 Exc++£150 Nikkor 14mm f2.8 AFD Exc+«£595 Nikkor 28mm (3.5 At Exc ++ £ 75 Nikkor 28 ■ 70mm AFD E ♦♦ £ 95 Sigma 30mm 11.4 EX DC E»» £ 189 Sigma 70 ■ 200mm 12 8 EX DG £449 Nikkor 70 - 300mm AFG Mint ■ £ 75 Nikkor ED 70 • 300mm AFD £ 99 Nikkor 80 ■ 200mm f2 8 AFD £ 395 Nikkor 300mm 14 AF ED Exc »» £495 Sigma 300mm t2 8 APO EX DG £999 Nikkor 300mm (2.8 ED AF £1295 Nikkor TC 20E Converter £ 185 Nikon SB 28 £ 75

Nikon CF D200 Case Boxed £19 Nikon PB4 Bellows »PS4 Mint ■ £195 Leica RE + 50mm 12 Summicron £395 Leitz 28mm 12 8 Elmarit R M - £ 175 Leitz 135mm (2.8 Elmar R M - £ 149 Leitz 2 x Extender R M-£i85

Leitz 75 -200mm vario R Mint • £ 25 Leica M6 TTL 0.85 Black Mint £795 Leica M3 + 50mm (2 lens Mint £1495 Leca 24mm Elmarit M AsphM- £1495 Canon EOS IDS Body Exc ++ £ 999

• only 12000 actuations Canon EOS 1DS MKII M £ 2295

• only 8000 actuations

Canon EOS 20D body Mint - £225 ; EOS 40D + 18/55 IS Mini £485 Canon EOS iv Body Exc+ £349 Canon EOS 3 bedy Mint - £ 195 Canon EF 17 • 40mm (4L £ 395 Canon EFS 17 ■ 85mm IS USM £ 250 Canon EF 50mm 11 2L USM £ 895 Tokina 80 ■ 400mm ATX EOS £125 Canon EF 1.4 X II Extender M ■ £ 175 Canon Angle Finder B £ 125

Canon ACK • E2 Mams adapter £ 49 Canon NP-E2 battery Boxed £39 Metz 44-AF4 Nikon Exc ++ £50 Quantum Battery 2 Exc + + £80

"Protect your investment" For Nikon D200 £29.99 For Nikon D300 £29.99 For Nikon D80 £29.99 For Nikon D40 £29.99 For Canon 5D £29.99 For Canon 40D £29.99 For Canon 30D £29.99 For Canon 20D £29.99 For Canon 400D £29.99 For Canon 1DS £63.62

We are happy to reserve items (or customers, ptease check availability before travelling buy securely online www.dalephotographic.co. uk

Prices correct when created on 15.12.2008

12 off the best

Rucksacks

There's an overwhelming array of photographic rucksacks on the market, but our guide will help you find your perfect match

IOW many camera bags do you own? It seems many photographers spend a fortune in pursuit of the perfect bag. but the truth is that many of us need more than one to suit different situations. Sometimes you need to carry just about everything, while on other occasions you can get away with just a basic kit.

Photographic rucksacks are really useful when you have to carry your gear over long distances. They distribute the weight evenly over your shoulders and prevent that lopsided feeling you often get when lugging a heavy shoulder bag. The downside, of course, is that they can slow you down when you try to access your equipment, and if you want to change lens you have to swing the pack off your back to reach the required optic. However, they are a firm favounte with landscape photographers who have to trek for miles and aren't usually too concerned with quick set-up changes.

Choosing the right rucksack can take time. In this guide we have gathered together some of the best models available and photographed them next to a Nikon D300 for scale. In addition, we list the main kit that each can typically hold and mention how comfortable - or not - they are to carry. However, before you commit to a purchase, we recommend that you visit a photographic retailer to check some of the finer points and try a few for size and comfort.

How to choose

It may be helpful to gather all your photography kit together and sort it

Before you commit to a purchase, we recommend that you visit a photographic retailer to check some of the finer points into three piles - the essentials, the desirables and the stuff you know you can leave behind. Try to remember which lenses you have used on previous occasions, and whether there were any items that you were missing. Don't forget things like a tripod, filters (and their holders), a lens cloth and maybe a lightmeter or grey card. Your essentials pile should contain the gear you need for a day out or want to take on a long walk, and it will probably fit in one of the small rucksacks we consider in this guide. This collection will be combined with your desirable equipment for a more serious photographic outing when you need a larger rucksack.

Size matters

There's a huge range of photographic rucksacks, so it's essential to think carefully about your requirements. If you intend to spend a lot of time on photographic expeditions, and are strong, healthy and fit, a large rucksack may be just the job. However, many photographers make the mistake of buying an enormous rucksack to carry every piece of photographic equipment they own 'just in case'. They usually realise their mistake after staggering just a few steps from the car before pausing for breath.

Design

Although all the rucksacks in this guide are carried on your back, there are a variety of different design options. Some combine a camera bag with a traditional rucksack so you can carry essentials for a day out, such as a waterproof coat or packed lunch, while others are dedicated photographic packs. Digital photographers who like to start processing their images while out and about might like to consider some of the rucksacks that have storage space for a laptop computer.

What to look for.,

Waterproofing

Host bags offer a degree of protection from the elements, but some have an additional waterproof cover. There are even fully waterproof models available for photography in extreme conditions

Extras

Some manufacturers offer a modular system of accessories that can be attached to a rucksack to add extra storage space. They can be useful for carrying an additional lens or lightmeter

Straps

Economically shaped straps are essential on a large bag that you intend to carry fully laden over long distances. Without these you'll get sore shoulders and pins and needles in your hands

Compartments

Padded compartments keep your gear safe and stop lenses knocking against each other. In some bags Velcro strips allow the dividers to be rearranged so the bag is a custom-fit for your equipment, while in others the dividers are fixed.

• Well padded and comfortable • Extremely small • Neat interior

GOOD FOR Family days out

• Top section takes wet-weather gear

• Padded base section for camera gear

• Adjustable dividers in bottom section

Kata Digital Micro DR-461 £49.95

For more information visit www.bogenimaging.co.uk or call 01293 583 300

KATA'S ability to manufacture camera cases stems from its origins in producing bags for military equipment for the Israeli Defence Force. Consequently, the company's bags are designed to be tough yet practical.

The Digital Photo series of bags comes in a number of different sizes and variations, with the Micro rucksack being the smallest. Its exterior is hard-wearing, and the addition of padded straps and a padded back make the bag comfortable to wear. Sadly, the pack is not completely weatherproof. However, a rain cover is included which pulls over the bag and is fitted with elastic. The cover comes in its own case that can be clipped to the exterior of the bag after use. This prevents the wet case getting your valuable equipment damp.

The inside of the case is fitted with Yellop, which is a bright yellow/orange material. Kata claims that the soft Yellop prevents scratches to your equipment and the bright colour makes it easy to find your equipment inside the bag.

Given the size of the Micro rucksack, it is unsurprising there is no room for laptop storage. However, there is a fair amount of room for camera equipment. It is possible to fit a DSLR with mounted lens and at least three other lenses in the case, if you have the dividers correctly set. If you remove the lens from a camera body, you should be able to fit a wide-aperture 80-200mm lens comfortably in the case and still have room for another medium-sized lens and flashgun.

No large objects can be stored in the front compartment, but there are pockets for memory cards, batteries, documents and a compact camera.

Summary

A well-made, small backpack that is perfect if all you want to carry is your camera equipment

Tamrac Adventure 7

For more information visit www.intro2020.co.uk or call 01628 674 411

TAMRAC'S Adventure backpack range combines a traditional rucksack that has enough space for a jacket and a sandwich or two, with a padded photographic bag. The Adventure 7 is one of the smaller offerings in the collection and it looks like a standard day-pack. However, the separate bottom section opens via a zip and quick-release buckle (for extra security) to reveal enough space to house an enthusiast-level DSLR and two or three lenses, plus a flashgun. Those who need quick access to their gear can opt to use just the buckle to close the camera compartment Like the top-section opening, the entrance to the bottom camera storage is protected by a weather flap.

Two small mesh side pockets are provided to hold accessories or perhaps a water bottle. In addition, the front pocket has two pouches suitable for holding a CF card or two. These small storage areas feature Tamrac's flagging system to indicate whether the cards have been used or not. There's also room for other essentials, such as a mobile phone or MP3 player.

Even when fully loaded, the Adventure 7's curved shoulder straps make it comfortable to carry, especially when the adjustable sternum strap is used to steady the pack. Its comparatively slim, lightweight design and low profile mean that it won't cause too many problems when carried on busy public transport. If necessary, extra storage in the form of Tamrac's Memory and Battery Management Wallet 8 or Super PDA/Utility Pocket can be attached via a loop on each shoulder strap.

Summary

A slim, comfortable bag that is a good choice for days out with the family or when photography isn't your sole activity

Typical capacity

1 DSLR, 3 or 4 lenses and accessories

Typical capacity

1 DSLR, 2 or 3 lenses, a flashgun and accessories

Internal dimensions

300x265x110mm

Internal dimensions

Top: 250x130x240mm. Bottom: 270x160x170mm

External dimensions

310x280x165mm

External dimensions

340x230x440mm

Weight

780g

Weight

l,083g

Colour

Black

Colours

Red/black and grey/black/camouflage

• Can hold a 15in laptop • Easy access to the camera • Comfortable and well padded

• Storage for camera equipment and everyday items • Bright, non-scratch 'Yellop' lining

Lowepro Fast pack 250

For more information visit www.lowepro.com or call DayMen International 01902 864 646

WITH a similar design to the Lowepro SlingShot series of backpacks (see page 44), the Fastpack 250 makes it easy to access your DSLR. Removing the right strap from your shoulder allows the bag to swing round to your left, giving easy access to the side-loading pocket of the bag.

The Fastpack can hold an enthusiast-level DSLR with a mid-range zoom attached, and up to four other lenses. There is also a separate compartment at the rear to hold a laptop of up to 15 4in in size, and the main compartment at the top is far more generous than similar compartments in the SlingShot range. However, the Fastpack 250 lacks the waterproof cover and built-in lens cloth that are found in the SlingShot bags.

The interior and laptop compartments are extremely well padded and there are a number of smaller pockets for accessories such as filters or a mobile phone. Similarly, the shoulder straps are well padded and comfortable. A waist strap, with padded hip supports, secures the backpack firmly and comfortably to your back, even when bending down to tie a shoelace.

The main advantage of the Fastpack over the SlingShot range is that the Fastpack can still be quickly accessed, but it is carried over both shoulders. This makes the pack more comfortable to use over long periods than the SlingShot bags.

Of the three different colour options available, the all-black version looks the smartest, and with the ability to carry a laptop computer it could be a good option to take with you on a business trip.

Summary

A spacious backpack with easy access to a camera. The ability to carry a laptop makes it perfect for weekends away

Kata Digital DR-467

For more information visit www.bogenimaging.co.uk or call 01293 583 300

KATA'S Digital rucksack is the prize for the best photo each week in our Gallery pages. It is a half backpack, which means camera equipment can be stored in the bottom of the bag, while a separate, larger, main compartment is suitable for accessories or personal effects. A small pocket on the side of the camera bag can be unzipped to reveal a meshed pouch that will hold a drinks bottle, while three smaller pockets at the front of the bag are suitable for small accessories. There's also a compartment at the rear for a laptop computer (up to 17in), making this rucksack suitable for everyday and work use.

Carrying the backpack is made more comfortable by adjustable waist and chest straps. Although they help to spread the load, they aren't padded so they can become uncomfortable over long periods. Like other Kata bags, the DR-467 is lined with Yellop material, which doesn't scratch your equipment and means it can be easily visible in the bag. As the padded compartment that fits in the bottom of the bag is removable, it is possible to lift out your equipment in one go so the camera storage area can be thoroughly cleaned.

Kata claims that the camera pocket will hold two DSLRs with mounted lenses, plus an additional three or four lenses. We found that we could fit in a Nikon D300 with mounted Nikkor 18-200mm VR lens, and three other lenses, but the number will vary depending on the type of photography you do. This bag is not suitable for large telephoto lenses and will therefore not be a good choice for wildlife and sports photographers.

Summary

An excellent everyday photographic backpack that should suit most enthusiasts with a small kit

Typical capacity

1 DSLR, 4 or 5 lenses and accessories

Typical capacity

1 DSLR, 3 or 4 lenses and accessories

Internal dimensions

280x150x235mm

Internal dimensions

190x330x150mm

External dimensions

460x315x240mm

External dimensions

449x340x210mm

Weight

l,640g

Weight

l,420g

Colours

Black, blue/black and red/black

Colours

Black

GOOD FOR ommuter

• Stores a good amount of photographic equipment • Not much room for non-photographic items • Quick access to camera gear

• Secure camera storage # Comfortable design • Well organised

Crumpler Messenger Boy Half Photo £97.00

For more information visit www.intro2020.co.uk or call 01628 674 4)1

HALF-AND-HALF backpacks are a great way of integrating photography into your everyday life, as they enable you to carry work and photographic essentials in just one bag. Crumpler offers a good selection of Half Photo rucksacks, but the Messenger Boy Half Photo is one of the manufacturer's best.

The top section opens conventionally at the front via a zip to reveal space for your lunch, plus a few pockets to keep pens, a mobile phone and memory cards tidily arranged. The lower camera-bag section, however, opens at the rear of the pack, so it can only be accessed from the outside when the rucksack has been removed from your back. This ensures that your gear is kept safe during the crowded daily commute into work or on busy streets. If you prefer, the lower section can be accessed via a zip on the inside of the pack. If necessary, the padded inserts in the camera compartment can be removed, so the Messenger Boy Half Photo can be used as a regular everyday rucksack on those odd occasions when you don't want to, or can't, carry a DSLR.

The outer layer of the Messenger Boy Half Photo is made from Crumpler's durable Chicken Tex Supreme fabric, while the lining is a waterproof ripstop material. The rucksack has a similar back-hugging design to the Muffin Top Full Photo (see page 47), which makes it feel well balanced on your back and it seems like you are wearing the rucksack, rather than carrying it. The curved padded shoulder straps are quite thin, but very comfortable.

Summary

A well-organised, versatile pack that will suit photographers who like to keep a camera with them at all times

Lowepro SlingShot 300AW £109.00

For more information visit www.lowepro.com or call DayMen International on 01902 864 646

DESIGNED with freedom of movement and ease of access in mind, the SlingShot 300AW loads from the side and has a single carry strap that fits across one shoulder. This allows the photographer to slide the bag around to the front to access cameras and lenses without having to put the pack down.

There is a surprising amount of space, and even a large DSLR, such as a Canon EOS-1 Ds Mark III with a 70-200mm f/2.8, can be accessed quickly. Up to six small or mid-sized lenses can also be stored in the bag, but these must not be accessed when the bag is being carried as they may fall out. Fortunately, this is avoided by two locked straps that prevent the zip from being opened fully.

The large top compartment can be used to store accessories and a few essentials, but don't expect to get much more than an apple and a sandwich in here.

The internal padding of the bag is thick and offers good protection. A nice extra is a lens-cleaning cloth that is sewn in to the opening of the bag, so you will never leave home without one. Similarly, a waterproof cover is sewn in to the bottom of the bag, and can be tucked discreetly away in a Velcro closed pocket. While this is more convenient than having a cover in a separate pouch, the pocket means that the cover won't dry quickly.

A waist strap helps when carrying the SlingShot bag, and this is padded to prevent it rubbing on your hips. The bag's single shoulder strap and 'SlingShot' action allow for the quick removal of your camera, although it does mean that just one shoulder is bearing the weight.

Summary

A well-padded bag that can hold a lot of kit. Good for day trips, but not for long periods of use as the weight is on one shoulder

Typical capacity

1 DSLR, 2 or 3 lenses, a flashgun and accessories

Typical capacity

1 DSLR, 4 or 5 lenses, a flashgun and accessories

Internal dimensions

270x200x170mm (approx)

Internal dimensions

300x16.5x300mm

External dimensions

350x200x450mm

External dimensions

440x330x230mm

Weight

960g

Weight

l,400g

Colours

Black/grey, white/bronze, mahogany/khaki and green/silver

Colours

Black/grey

• Very comfortable to carry • Low-profile design • Good security

Clumpier Muffin Top Full Photo £127

For more information visit www.intro2020.co.uk or call 01628 674 411

AUSTRALIAN manufacturer Crumpler offers a bewildering array of photographic bags and backpacks with equally bewildering names. Their curvaceous designs, bright colours and durable construction make them a popular choice with style-conscious photographers. Crumpler has rucksacks for all occasions, and many are deceptively roomy despite their low profile.

The Muffin Top Full Photo, for example, can hold a large DSLR with four or five lenses, a flashgun and a few accessories in the main compartment. Furthermore, the rear-entry design means that thieves cannot open the pack while it's on your back, and the zip-closure mesh liner prevents an expensive cascade of lenses falling out when you open the main section. Conveniently, most of the storage is accessed via a single zip opening, and the back flap can stow a 15in laptop and slim essentials like filters and memory cards.

The Muffin Top Full Photo's exterior is made from Crumpler's tough Chicken Tex Supreme nylon, while the lining consists of a waterproof, ripstop fabric to keep the worst of the weather at bay. The main zip is chunky, of high quality, and easy to open and close with cold hands.

There's plenty of padding on the back section, and the wide, economically shaped shoulder straps make the pack very comfortable to carry for long periods of time. The Muffin Top's curved, low profile keeps the weight of the contents close to your back, which makes it (and you) better balanced when hopping from rock to rock or navigating busy streets and public transport.

Summary

A stylish, well-made and durable pack that keeps your gear safe and is very comfortable to carry

Made of environmentally friendly hemp

• Large top section for other essentials

• Several small pockets for accessories

GOOD FOR Landscape lovers

National Geographic Explorer £127.19

For more information visit www.bogenimaging.co.uk or call 01293 583 300

NATIONAL Geographic's bags are conservatively styled, with the emphasis on tradition and quality. In line with National Geographic brand philosophy, the company's bag range is made from environmentally friendly hemp and is aimed at photographers who enjoy the great outdoors.

There are just three backpacks available from National Geographic, and logically they come in small, medium and large sizes. Despite their somewhat traditional appearance, all three rucksacks in the Explorer range have storage for that most modern of photographic convenience - the laptop computer.

The hemp exterior is treated to be water resistant, and is lined with a nylon interior to repel any moisture. Zips, brass buckles, poppers and Velcro are used to keep the various compartments closed and/or sealed. There is enough space in the Explorer medium for a large enthusiast camera, such as a Nikon D300 (with lens mounted) and two or three additional lenses. There are also more than enough other smaller pockets for batteries, memory cards and even a couple of flashguns.

At the top of the bag the undivided main compartment has ample room to store a jumper and your sandwiches, but it could easily hold a larger lens or an additional DSLR. One nice touch is the elasticated water-bottle holders on either side of the bag, which keep drinks away from camera equipment.

The backpack is comfortable to wear, but the brass buckles aren't the quickest way to fasten the pockets - though once closed, this also means they are more secure.

Summary

A traditionally styled bag, the Explorer medium has plenty of room for a small camera kit and a number of accessories

typical capacity

1 DSLR, 4 or 5 lenses, a flashgun and accessories

Typical capacity

1 DSLR, 3 or 4 lenses, 1 or 2 flashguns and accessories

Internal dimensions

300x170x400mm (approx)

Internal dimensions

190x330x150mm

External dimensions

350x200x440mm

External dimensions

449x340x210mm

Weight

1,440g

Weight

l,420g

Colours

Black/red and brown/green

Colour

Black

GOOD FOR' Landscape) L lovers A

Modular accessories for extra storage • Excellent tripod attachment system • Comfortable shoulder straps

Comfortable shoulder straps • Heavy when full • Large capacity

GOOD FOR Carry-all

Tamrac Expedition 6x

For more information visit www.intro2020.co.uk or call 01628 674 411

TAMRAC offers an extensive collection of photographic bags and rucksacks. Its Expedition range of backpacks features dual-density 'comfort pads', curved shoulder straps, an adjustable sternum strap and air-flow channels that make them comfortable to carry. There's also a QuickClip system to hold a tripod in a secure and balanced central position Tamrac's Expedition 6x is a good mid-range rucksack that is capable of holding a couple of large DSLRs and half a dozen lenses, plus a flashgun and sundry items. Two 'Wing' accessory pockets on the front of the bag provide plenty of space for a mobile phone, spare batteries and memory cards. These pockets feature Tamrac's patented Memory and Battery Management system, with red flags that can be tucked away or pulled out to indicate which cards and batteries have and have not been used. In addiuon, like most of the Expedition range, the Expedition 6x has a foam-padded front pocket that is ideal for housing a laptop.

While all the pack's zips are water resistant, only the man compartment's fastening has the added protection of a rain flap with a drawstring closure.

The tripod attachment system works well and the foot pocket prevents the camera support from slipping through the straps. The pack is also deep enough to prevent the tripod-head levers from bashing your head as the bag is carried.

The Expedition 6 has plenty of attachment points so extra storage can be added via the addition of Tamrac's Modular Accessory System (MAS) and Strap Accessory System (SAS).

Summary

A versatile rucksack that can hold plenty of gear and is comfortable to carry over long distances

Think Tank Photo Airport Acceleration V2 £190.00

For more information visit www.snapperstuff.com or call 01420 525 591

THINK Tank Photo is a relatively new bag manufacturer in the UK, but its products are on sale in a growing number of photographic shops. The company prides itself in employing photographers to design bags for photographers. Think Tank Photo aims its bags primarily at photojournalists who need tough storage to protect their gear, but also quick access to avoid missing an important shot.

The company offers a fairly comprehensive range of bags and accessories, including five rucksacks - four of which are in the Airport range. This collecUon of backpacks has a similar rectangular design and can be carried suitcase style or using the shoulder straps. These are supplied with a security strap and combination lock to keep them safe.

The Airport Addicted V2 (£224) is Think Tank Photo's largest rucksack and it has a fully adjustable padded interior. It can easily accommodate a couple of DSLRs and around 12

lenses, and is suited to carrying a fast telephoto lens such as a 400mm f/2.8. However, it is probably much larger than most enthusiasts require, and for many the next model down, the Airport Acceleration V2 (£190), is a better option. Like the larger pack, the Acceleration is supplied with a removable sealed-seam rain cover and a 15in laptop case. It can easily accommodate most enthusiasts' full kit. Though both of these bags are sized to comply with international flight carry-on restrictions, budget airlines are more likely to accept the compact and lightweight Airport Ultralight V2 (£155). Even this more streamlined model is capable of carrying a large DSLR with up to a dozen lenses.

Summary

A professional-quality durable bag that is ideal for larger kit collections, but it has a rather box-like design

Typical capacity 2 DSLRs plus 6 or 7 lenses, a flashgun, 14.1in laptop and accessories

Internal dimensions

280x140x370mm

External dimensions

340x270x430mm

Weight

2,280g

Colour

Black

Typical capacity 2 DSLRs plus 5-10 lenses, 15in laptop in case or 17in laptop loose

Internal dimensions

450x315x170mm

External dimensions

470x330x180mm

Weight

l,508g

Colour

Black

GOOD FOR Landscape lovers

• Well padded with comfortable chest and waist straps

• Large capacity

• Tripod holder

Accepts Lowepro SlipLock accessories for extra storage • Floats even when fully laden • Completely waterproof

Kata GDC Small Hiker

For more information visit www.bogenimaglng.co.uk or call 01293 583 300

THE rugged GDC Small Hiker backpack is designed to be strong and tough, yet comfortable to carry on your back. A hard panel at the bottom front of the bag offers protection when the bag is placed (or accidentally dropped) to the ground.

This level of protection continues when you open the bag, as the bright orange interior is made from thick padded material that helps to cushion equipment from knocks. A separate elasticated waterproof cover is also included with the backpack, but this is only likely to be needed in the heaviest rain shower. Conveniently, the cover is supplied in a webbed pouch and has a clip, so when it is wet it can be kept outside the bag and away from your precious equipment.

Landscape photographers will also appreciate the supplied tripod holder, which enables most small and medium-sized tripods to be attached to the bag and carried comfortably. Kata states that the backpack's main compartment should be able to hold two or three DSLR bodies and up to eight lenses. Certainly two DSLRs will fit, but if you have a variety of lenses around five is a more realistic number - possibly fewer if you include long telephoto lenses. If carrying a huge amount of kit is too much for you, a separate trolley can be inserted via a support at the rear of the bag.

Smaller pockets at the front of the backpack and a large weather-sealed inner pocket add room for storing essential accessories, but the Small Hiker backpack lacks laptop storage space. If this is a requirement, consider the larger Hiker backpack (£234.84), which has a compartment that can hold up to a 17in laptop.

Summary

A very sturdy and well-manufactured backpack with a huge amount of storage for photographic kit

Lowepro DryZone 200

For more information visit www.lowepro.com or call DayMen International on 01902 864 646

PHOTOGRAPHERS who like to get out in all weather conditions or who enjoy photographing watersports should take a look at Lowepro's DryZone range of rucksacks, which have a totally waterproof core and float even when fully loaded. The DryZone 200, for instance, will take a large DSLR and 10 or 12 lenses (up to a 300mm f/2.8), plus a flashgun and accessories.

This rucksack's inner section is kept dry thanks to its waterproof material and TIZIP zip closure, but opening and closing this fastening gives your biceps a good workout. Thankfully, the TIZIP can be left open for faster access to your camera gear when working in dry conditions, but even then this isn't the bag for those who need to change lenses very quickly. The outer flap is a rather fiddly fit around the main pack.

Accessories that don't need to be kept bone dry can be stored in the two large mesh pockets or in the large flat compartment at the front of the rucksack.

The DryZone 200's waterproofing and padding come at a cost, as this is one of the heavier packs for its size. However, it has a harness that can be customised to the user, with fully adjustable CollarCut shoulder straps and an ergonomic lumbar support that help to make it comfortable to carry. Unfortunately, taller photographers may find that the waist belt is rather high even at the harness's longest setting.

Intrepid landscape photographers will appreciate the tuck-away tripod mount and quick-release clips that hold a camera support firmly in a well-balanced central position.

Summary

This bag will protect your camera gear from water, dust and sand - and it floats even when fully laden

Typical capacity

2 DSLRs, up to 8 lenses and accessories

Typical capacity

1 DSLR, 4 or 5 lenses, a flashgun and accessories

Internal dimensions

460x300x160mm

Internal dimensions

305x150x430mm

External dimensions

500x320x260mm

External dimensions

370x290x485mm

Weight

2,500g

Weight

3,150g

Colour

Black

Colours

Grey/black and yellow/black

Let the AP team answer your photographic queries

Do you have a photographic question that you would like answered?

Be it about modern technology, vintage equipment, photographic science or help with technique -here at AP we have the team that can help you. Simply send your questions to: [email protected] or by post to: AP Answers, Amateur Photographer Magazine, IPC Media, Blue Fin Building, 110 Southwark Street, London SE10SU.

-Blow-up

Digital projectors on test Hif,

DP Miles asks There was a recent AP article lamenting the fact that a veteran club member was giving up his slide shows. I too have used slides since the 1950s, but have recently succumbed to a digital camera. There are digital projectors on the market, but these are seemingly biased towards commercial use - some firms even saying they only sell to businesses. My impression is that only those with SVGA ratings would even approach slide quality, but I have seen no reports on them at all, although the other method of showing work - by prints - is covered by AP reviews of printers.

Is it too much to hope that in the near future AP will carry out reviews and tests on these projectors?

Richard Sibley replies We conducted a group test of digital projectors back in AP 22 October 2005. One Damien Demolder, then Technical Editor, concluded that digital projectors had some way to go before they matched the quality that could be provided by a conventional analogue projector.

Some three years later, from the specifications we have seen, this is still the case. Tradiuonal projectors worked by magnifying and illuminating a transparency, resulting in millions of film grains being projected on to a screen. Sadly, even contemporary digital projectors, which are capable of 1080p HD (1920x1080 pixels), only project around two million pixels - far fewer than the number of grains found on most 35mm slide films. Added to this problem are issues of brightness, colour and contrast, even before you get to the fact that a top-of-the-range projector can cost as much as a professional-level DSLR.

Most projectors are designed for business presentations and home theatre use, and while they are constantly improving, they don't, as yet, offer the same quality as an analogue projector. We will look at doing a group test of digital projectors in the very near future and, if a product comes on the market that we feel will benefit photographers, we will of course be the first to let you know.

Having a TIFF

John Strain asks I notice that camera tests discuss what the raw and JPEGs are like, but never mention TIFF files. My Nikon D300 will produce TIFFs (although I haven't yet tried doing so) and i see that the Canon EOS 50D does likewise.

Could you tell me if there are any benefits in saving images in-camera as TIFFs because the file sizes are very big?

Richard Sibley replies The reason that we look at the raw and JPEG quality of cameras is simply that they are the two most commonly used file types and are available on the majority of digital SLRs. Shooting TIFF files is not an option on most cameras and, with raw post-production software becoming easier to use, fewer people are shooting TIFF files

For more information on TIFF files, see this week's FAQ (below right).

The array of different image file formats can be confusing. Each has its advantages, so it Is important to know when to use them. Raw files contain the raw, unprocessed

Optical science

Harold Gough asks When I first started assembling my collection of lenses in the 1980s, I avidly read the AP test reports. My understanding in those days was that the edges of the diaphragm gave rise to diffraction, and using too small an aperture would give rise to excessive diffraction in an image. Has the science of optics moved on or is my understanding still valid?

Geoffrey Crawley replies The laws of physics have not changed, but lenses have Modern optics have iris diaphragms of various shapes - from five to nine blades - and the thickness of their material differs, too. These factors will influence the onset of diffraction and its nature. Furthermore, the presence of an aspheric element on either one or both sides of the iris seems to have an effect. As ever, experimentation is the best way to understand the capabilities of a particular product.

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