Popular Cameras in Japan; Trip to Yodobashi Camera

I'll write about my new camera, a Nikon D200, in the near future (here's a preview: it rocks!), but here's a pic I took during my trip to Yodobashi Camera, one of the largest camera stores in Japan (total space over its six floors must be about the same as a typical Wal Mart or Home Depot)

Notice a prevailing theme? 🙂

I'd gone to pick up a few things, such as a camera bag and a tripod.

For bags, a friend had strongly recommended the Tamrac Velocity 7, but I found it not at all what I wanted. It looks to be very nice indeed for hiking and perhaps bicycling, but at this stage I'm looking for something just for when I'm out and about with Fumie and Anthony, so a more traditional shoulder-slung or fanny-pack style is in order.

I didn't find anything at all that I liked (and the store had many many different brands from dozens of makers). With many of them, I wondered if the designers had ever actually used the bag in real life, because many had serious (yet obvious) drawbacks. Even the Tamrac had its issues -- the handle was on the cover flap, so you can't safely carry by the handle unless you completely snap the plastic buckle. What a hassle.

In the end, I got something that should be fine for out-and-about use, a Lowepro Nova 1 AW. It's about as small a bag as I can get my D200 in and still have a tad bit room left for perhaps an extra lens or a spare battery. But it's not perfect, either. The shoulder strap is very nice (nicely padded), but it attaches on the bag at the mid-depth point, not at the back where it can allow the bag to lie flat against your hip. Luckily, there are two tiny little ribbon-fabric loops there that I can jimmyrig the shoulder strap to, thereby allowing a smooth, natural lie.

About the size, the D200 is big, so it really doesn't fit easily into these small/medium-sized bags, including the Tamrac mentioned above. My friend who likes it so much has the much more huge Nikon D2x mentioned in a prior post. Jason, how on earth to you fit it in there?


Velbon ULTRA MAXi F
with feet not extended

For a tripod, I wanted something light and quick to set up -- something light enough that I'll actually take it out with me, and easy enough to set up and use that I'll actually not find it a bother to do so. I ended up buying the 0.99kg (2.2 lb) Velbon ULTRA-MAXi-F, which has a fairly innovative locking mechanism in the legs. At its most compact it's 14.2" long, but give each leg a short twist and you can pull out the four telescoping parts to create legs almost 60 inches long. It's very quick.

Here's their English site's description of it, upon which I could not possibly hope to improve:

Upgrade from ULTRA MAXi having new function to obtain low angle. F means Flat in this context. DIRECT CONTACT PIPE. Minimum height 16.5cm, maximum height 155 cm. 4-WAY head PH-237Q has swing function 90 degree to right and left. Quick release platform is very much thinner but it is made of Aluminum to maintain durability. Tripod carrying case is attached. “Tripod to go” has come true at your hand!

I'd also wanted a big rubber viewfinder eyepiece cup, so that I could get better light shielding when I bring the viewfinder up to my eye, but they didn't have anything like that. (Nikon doesn't sell one, and there are no third-party ones that they know of).


One comment so far...

The D200 too big for the Tamrac Velocity 7? It is to laugh. Velocity 7 meets D2x plus the usual walking around town stuff a fella would need. I normally sling the Velocity 7 over my shoulder — I can have the bag in front, on side, or behind me in a second. Or I can use the hand strap (with the buckle snapped shut, as you noted). In truth I tend more towards the Velocity 9 with the D2x and my oversized lenses, but I’ve used the Velocity7 with the D2x on hikes without any problems. But if you’ve got a bag your happy with, no sweating that.

The tripod looks nice, but keep in mind that no one sticks with the first tripod they buy — it takes a year or two to realize that a $300 tripod might actually be better than a $100 one and worth the money. 🙂

— comment by Jason on January 13th, 2006 at 6:36pm JST (11 years, 11 months ago) comment permalink
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