I have a little problem/addiction with bags. Over the past few years I’ve bought several bags in search of one to rule them all (both camera bags and general purpose bags). I’ve tried over the shoulder bags, rucksacks, small minimal bags, big complex ones . During that time I’ve realized that different situations suit different bags. No matter how much I love my booq bag, it can at times be a little too small. No matter how much I love my big minaal bag, it can be too big. The same can be true of camera bags, with that in mind I held of buying one, but when I saw there was an updated cosyspeed camslinger bag on indiegogo, I jumped in and backed the Thomas Leuthard signature cosyspeed camslinger streetomatic model (black is always the new black).
This is my review of the Cosyspeed camslinger streetomatic bag from a perspective of a street photographer.
I don’t usually use a camera bag
Before getting into the bag itself, I should declare my typical preference. As I like to shoot with one camera, one lens, I don’t usually need or want a camera bag. I can hold some backup batteries in my pockets as well as an extra SD card. I’ve tried taking a small little shoulder bag with me but it got in the way more than assisted me due to it swinging into my arm as I was preparing for a shot. If i’m just out shooting, I usually want to be as flexible and mobile as possible.
However, there are situations when I’m out shooting for longer periods of time (especially when the weather is warmer and I don’t have a coat with handy pockets) where a bag is very useful. For example, holding water (and holding my camera while I drink), holding an Instax printer and film so I can give someone a print, on the rare occasion that I go out with my Olympus and a second lens and so on. That’s why I was intrigued by the cosyspeed streetomatic. Would its small size and belt strap be a good balance of portability and function?
What’s Good about the Cosyspeed camslinger streetomatic
The cosyspeed camslinger is really small and portable. It isn’t like Trey Ratcliff’s everyday messenger bag so it won’t hold an iPad, laptop or similar but It can carry some useful accessories such as a notebook, phone (though the “phone” slot won’t fit a huge phablet in. I recon about 5.5″ phones are the absolute max), backup batteries and SD cards.
The strap is designed to go around your waist which leaves you more flexible and keeps the bag to your side, you don’t have to worry about it suddenly sliding and knocking your arm as you’re about to take a shot. However, you can extend it and use it as an over the shoulder strap. Personally, I keep it on my waist and position it behind myself most of the time so it doesn’t stick out of my side as I walk down thin alleyways. It can slide around fairly quickly so when you need to put your camera away you can move it round beside you and put your camera away.
There is also a water proof cover to make sure nothing get damages and you can get extra lens boxes to attach to the strap.
For street photography, this is a good bag as it has quick and easy access but more importantly, it stays out of the way as you are shooting and let’s you move nimbly round the streets. Unlike a shoulder bag that might slip or a rucksack which can weight you down, the cosyspeed streetomatic won’t get in your way. It also encourages you to have a minimal set up and not get bogged down in gear or having to think “should I shoot with this lens or that.” But there are some disadvantages for street photography too.
What’s not so good about the Cosyspeed camslinger streetomatic
As I said at the start, no bag is perfect and if you want to carry some gear to edit your photos after you’ve finished shooting (like an laptop), or if you don’t want to leave your any gear at a hostel, this bag won’t help you there. I don’t think that’s too big an issue, you can always have a rucksack for your other gear and keep the camslinger for just your camera. That encourages you to lighten your load if you can.
The other big downside I’ve noticed with the cosyspeed camslinger streetomatic is that, as I am very thin, the strap doesn’t hold on to me so well. If I don’t have much in the cosyspeed then it can sit on my waist fine, but as soon as my camera is in there, I need to have a thick layer on to provide enough friction to not have it slip down. This is due to my frame and I doubt many people would have this issue (I am a lanky lanky man) but it is the greatest downside of the strap style.
Finally, from a street perspective, the idea of the bag is that you should have your camera in the bag, and when you see something of interest you quickly release the clasp, open the bag, remove your camera, turn it on, and snap the shutter. I’m sure every street photographer (unless you do street portraits) is shuddering at this point. The amount of steps is guaranteed to make you miss a shot. That’s why when I’m actually shooting I usually keep my camera round my neck, it means I just need to grab it, point and shoot (possible with a little wait for it to wake up). Sure, I still do this with the cosyspeed, but that means the big selling point is a bit lost on me.
It has made me wonder about switching from a neck strap to a wrist strap so I can keep it in my bag more and then take it out when I see a picture but I am not sure this will really save me time, (it might be different for you depending on your circumstances and style but I think it is worth pointing out).
I really like the small size and way the cosyspeed camslinger sits and positions itself. It makes it very portable and discreet (especially in Thomas Leuthard black) However, I do have my complaints with the way it can slide down with a camera inside and the fact that it is a bit slower than keeping my camera round my neck. Overall, it’s probably the best camera bag for a street photographer out there, but it might still be better to not use a camera bag unless you have to.
p.s. Keep your eyes peeled for a giveaway soon