Traveling as a photographer can be difficult. The issue we always seem to encounter is a lot like G.A.S.; we want to have the right lens for every shot, and we don't want to miss out. The key to circumventing this issue is planning. While some of the best shots can be unexpected, you have to have an idea of what you're looking for. When planning my recent trip to New York City, I had to find a way to pack the camera gear I wanted for a variety of work in a small, comfortable bag. Enter the ThinkTank Photo Turnstyle 20, the best small travel bag I've ever seen.
I knew that I would be shooting a mix of genres. The a6300 was my camera choice, but my lens selection proved to be the issue. My Sony 16-70mm turned out to be the perfect choice and stayed on my camera most of the time. With an equivalent range of 24-105mm, this lens covers just about every situation. An a6300 and the 16-70mm fits perfectly inside a third of the Turnstyle 20.
Knowing I would shoot portraits, I needed some fast prime lenses. I decided to take a Nikon 28mm f/2 AI and an Olympus 50mm f/1.4. For portraits and low-light shooting, these two proved to be a perfect combination. These lenses fit perfectly side by side in a small divided section of the bag.
New York City has some stunning architecture. 16mm is pretty wide, even on a crop sensor, but I still wanted to be sure that I had an ultra wide-angle lens for a few shots I had in mind. Enter the Rokinon 12mm f/2. I honestly can't find a fault with this lens. It's incredibly small, light, and sharp. With a 67mm filter thread, it even accepts standard filters. The f/2 aperture, while not very helpful for this trip, makes it the perfect astrophotography lens. The 12mm f/2 fit in another small pocket next to the 28mm and 50mm.
With all of this packed into the Turnstyle, I still had room to spare. I brought a variable neutral density filter and a few step up rings in the off chance I wanted to shoot some video or make a long exposure. I didn't use the tablet pouch on the back of the bag or the small notebook pouch inside the bag. With the announcement of Lightroom Mobile's new raw file support, an iPad mini would be the perfect addition to this bag for on the go editing. What's most important about this bag is the comfort. With all of this gear in the bag, I was able to walk around all day without feeling the bag pull on my shoulder or back. I didn't really feel like I had the bag on at all. When I go to switch lenses, all I have to do is flip the back around the my front, unzip the main compartment, and swap the lenses inside the bag. This minimizes the risk of getting dust on my sensor, and it also keeps me from having to stop moving. With other bags I've used like the ThinkTank Perception Pro, I have to take the bag off, put it down, and dig through it before finding what I need.
What I liked
-Low Profile design, it doesn't scream camera bag
What I Didn't Like
-No way to carry a tripod on it
If you're traveling, or just a fan of not having back problems, learn to pack light. I wouldn't recommend this back for DSLR users, but I also wouldn't recommend traveling with a DSLR. If you decide to, remember that planning is key. In the worst case, you may have to run back to the hotel to grab a different lens. For mirrorless shooters, the Turnstyle 20 really is the ultimate travel camera bag.