Covering 4+ hour events with a backpack on can be exhausting. Not that shooting events in general doesn’t take a lot of energy but adding pounds of gear to your back certainly doesn’t help. Once my schedule started filling up with events I knew I needed an alternative.
I have seen both the Undfind Waist Shooter (pictured above) and the Shootsac Lens Bag. I’m sure the Shootsac bag is good, but it appears more bulky and costs over twice as much as the Undfind at $150-$179. The Undfind Waist Shooter comes in at $64-$80. The Shootsac has three lens pockets and three accessory pockets. The Undfind bag is smaller holding two lenses (or flashes) and has only two accessory pockets. Both have interchangeable covers.
I’ve only used the Waister Shooter a few times, but it has been a great addition to my kit. The bag can either be worn with a shoulder strap or attached to your belt. I usually have either a 50mm or 85mm lens and a flash on my camera. The lens not in use slips into my bag. I haven’t settled on a use for the second pocket. I love using my macro lens, but it doesn’t come into play often at events and that beautiful sucker is heavy. Sometimes I’ll have my flash in the second pocket, but most often indoor events require flash. In the two accessory pockets I keep my Pixel Pocket Rocket and ExpoDisc. (More on the ExpoDisc later.)
You can leave the bag open for even easier access to your gear. The lens pockets are tight to help keep different size gear in place, but it is difficult to put in/pull out a lens with a hood on. Seeing as the point is to be able to quickly change lenses, this takes away from the convenience and speed factor. Sometimes I slip my cell phone in the second lens compartment, but it’d be nice to have an exterior pocket for that as well. The zip pouches on the undersize of the flap open sideways, and I find it very awkward to take out my memory card wallet or ExpoDisc. It’s easy for them to just fall out. I also don’t have a great place for business cards. The downsides may not seem like a big deal, but events are very fast paced. You are at danger of missing a nice/key moment or just losing the attention of people you’re trying to photograph if you’re fumbling around with your gear. It would be a big improvement to have more and easier access accessory pockets.
This past weekend I found out the Waist Shooter is pretty resilient. I wanted some practice with my new 85mm lens and brought it along for a trip to the dog park. I had my Nikon attached to my Black Rapid Strap on one shoulder and my Waist Shooter bag on my other shoulder. I always take my dogs to the large dog park since the labrador is too big for the small dog park. Plus my mini dachshund, Titus, doesn’t have an issue with big dogs. He thinks he’s big. He loves chasing packs of play fighting dogs and barking at them. Usually the big dogs just completely ignore him.
While I’m busy photographing, I hear a commotion to my left. One of the big dogs decided to attack this time. (Why do people insist on bringing vicious dogs to the dog park?) He had Titus pinned down in the mud and surrounded by other dogs. While my husband pulled the big dog off, I scooped up my extremely muddy little dog. Once we gor our dogs away from the fighting pack and Titus merrily scurried off showing no signs of pain, I got a look at myself and my gear. I was covered in mud. My BlackRapid and (new) Waist Shooter were covered in mud. When I got home all it took was a wet cloth and some scrubbing. Good as new!
Side note: I think wedding photographers would benefit from the larger sized Shootsac.
TL;DR: The Undfind Waist Shooter bag is a great addition to any event photographer’s kit. Leave your camera bag in a safe spot and keep your lenses and memory cards handy.
Do you have a favorite piece of gear that makes your job a little easier?