Booq Python Pack: Essential protection for your photographic essentials

As a self-shooting video journalist I often find my self lugging an array of cameras, microphones, cables and lenses across the Greater London area. As I don’t have a car (I’m a committed city dweller), and am often on the London Underground or a bicycle, this can be quite physically demanding and potentially hazardous to my precious cargo.

Booq-Python

Fortunately I got to try out a Booq Python Pack, a high-end camera and laptop bag that allows you to comfortably travel from pillar to post whilst keeping your delicate L lenses safe and secure.

The Python Pack has space for a 15″ laptop, tablet, 1-2 DSLRs and various lenses. That can get pretty heavy, pretty quickly so there are all manner of support straps and air mesh back padding, which makes it relatively comfortable even if your walking with a full complement of equipment. It can’t work magic however, so I’d caution against over loading your bag unless you’ve been hitting the P90x hard and need an additional workout.

There’s a commendable level of attention to detail all over the Python Pack and every other place you look you discover another pocket or pouch. Even the bottom of the bag features an ultra-tough rubberized surface

I’m writing this in middle of July in London so obviously there’s been heavy rain almost every single day. Fortunately the Python Pack boasts ballistic nylon exterior fabric with water-repellent coating. And in case that’s not enough, one of the side pockets contains a bright red waterproof poncho to cover your entire bag.

The padded SLR camera and accessory compartment is accessible from the side and the padded dividers can easily be modified to fit whatever camera/lens setup you decide to take on the road with you. You can also hook up a tripod to the back of the bag for extra stability on the move. There’s an extra compartment on top, which is handy if you have a second DSLR, random camera gear or super large headphones.

The Booq Python Pack is out now for about £250. For more information head to www.booqbags.com

Vtec iPhone camera lens cases

As the old saying goes, the best camera is the Canon 7D. But after that it’s the one you have on you. And more often that not that’s your smartphone. Smartphone cameras are getting better and better and are the camera of choice for most uploaders on Flickr. Purists can turn up their noses all they want. Someone will probably take a picture of them doing it and whack it on Instagram.

Vtec-iPhone-Wide-Angle

Fortunately we’ve moved beyond the dark days of the megapixel wars and average camera-savvy consumer knows that you can get amazing images with a good lens. But what if you want to extend your photographic horizons and take slightly more varied shots – from far away or up close and personal. Well there’s a new system for expanding your photographic palate on the iPhone from Vtec.

There have already been a number of attempts to bring various lens to the iPhone, most notably the 3-in-1 OlioClip which I’ve lusted after for some months but have been unable to muster up the courage to order online. Unlike the OlioClip which daintly pops on the edge of an iPhone, Vtec’s lenses go all out with a built in case and screw in lenses.

The CAM-1209 Aluminium Telephoto Lens offers 12x zoom quality without image distortion. The Telephoto Lens has a manual focus ring and comes with its own tripod, which attaches to the lens to steady the phone when capturing shots.

For bargain hunters, the Wide-Angle and Macro Lens come as one kit, with the Wide-Angle screwing onto the front of the macro lens. Just to hip you to some knowledge as the kids never say, wide-angle lenses increase the angel of view by 45%, whilst a macro lens enables you to get up close and personal with subjects – being a petal, insect or in my case a ruptured tea bag.

The Fish-Eye Lens offers circular 180° fish eye magnification, giving effect to any image taken. This lens is great for fun, quirky shots and also gives each image a circular black border.

The image quality of the lens we played with (Wide-Angle and Macro Lens) was pretty great for the price and it opened up a lot more photographic options. However there were one or two drawbacks. For one the case didn’t play nicely with the flash, leaving the screen bathed in light. And the cash made it hard to use the iPhone with my second-favourite photography accessory – the Glif, although you could sort of jam it in if you are daring. But if you want to have one up on your Instagram buddies, or just fancy getting a bit more creative with your smartphone photography then the Vtec lens add-ons are pretty amazing.

Vtec website – www.vtec.co.uk.
Pricing:
CAM-1209 12x Telephoto lens: SRP £34.99.
Wide-Angle & Macro Lens: SRP £24.99.
Fisheye Lens: SRP £24.99.