The Original Peak Design Everyday Messenger!

The Original Everyday Messenger

I’m in the process of relocating back to the US from Japan, part of that means I mail my camera gear ahead of the move. I do this because I trust the US Postal Service far greater than movers hired by the government. Call me paranoid, but I’ve been transferring like this in the military for almost 40 years. If someone is intent on taking your stuff when you do a military transfer, they’ll get it; that’s been my experience anyway. Mailing most of my camera gear back meant I needed to decide what I wanted with me here from August till November or December when I get home. There was no question I’d be using my old Peak Design Everyday Messenger bag, the 15 inch wonder bag that started the messenger camera bag craze. What I am surprised about is how great of a bag this still is! Having lots of bags, I don’t always grab this one, but now that I’m down to this one, well… it’s working superbly.

Today, I’m using it working out of my car shooting the little fishing village of Arisaki near Yokosuka, Japan on the Miura Peninsula. The lenses I decided to keep with me during this transfer to the US were a 15-35mm and a 24-105mm to give me some versatility but not take up a ton of space. I’ve discovered that carrying one less lens in this bag than I normally carry actually works better and keeps the bag more functional. Working out of a car means I can have the camera on the passenger side for easy access but the magnetic latch makes it super easy to close when not in use and driving. I’ve gotten in the habit of jamming too much stuff in this bag over the years and while it handles it, it’s just so much easier with only two lenses when it comes to access and weight. The bag still looks much like when I bought it a few years ago and I have no problem telling people to get this bag, even this original model! While there is a version 2 of the 13 inch Everyday Messenger (EDM), the original 15 inch EDM only received minor improvements. I would love to see an upgraded 15 inch bag with the improvements put in to the 13 inch bag, but I don’t think that’s likely. While I’ve used backpacks and still have a few, the messenger style bags just seem to work better for me. This is especially true when changing lenses, there’s just better use of workspace that I don’t find in backpacks. Backpacks seem to work better if you plan to lay it on the ground. No matter how ‘easy’ the access is, I always seem to needs something nowhere near the access points.

If you’re looking for a bag that’s going to hold up, inside and out, the Peak Design Everyday Messenger 15 is still an awesome bag that can be found just about anywhere at a great price. Why am I writing about it now? Well, I just got a little giddy using it today realizing it was money well spent a few years ago. When the EDM bag came out it was the head turner, people couldn’t wait to get their hands on it, it was followed by even more great bags. In the process it seems this bag has gotten lost in the mix by some of us. However, it’s still relevant, still working like it was intended, and hopefully I’m in the minority of those letting this thing collect a little dust. When I get home, I see me using this old timer a little more!

Affiliate Page, Finally!

Over the years I’ve taken a stab at setting up an Affiliate Page, but something has always gotten in the way. I’ve never minded plugging items or gear that I use and like, no problem there. However, I wanted my Affiliate Page to be different from the page where I review products or gear I use because I want there to be a clear line. There should, in my opinion, be a line where on this side of it I tell people about products I like just because I want to express an opinion (after all, this is America right?) AND the other side of the line is where I tell people about products and may receive compensation for my opinions. So what’s the difference? For me, it’s basically ethics because I’m really telling people about these products in the same manner, with the same info, but it’s the end result that is different. If I’m saying in a product review, “this lens is incredible” that’s just me expressing an opinion and if you click the link, I get nothing. However, if I’m telling you on my Affiliate Page, “this lens is incredible” you need to know upfront that if you click the link and buy their product, I may be compensated in some way. Honestly, for me it doesn’t change my opinion of the product. If anything, possibly being compensated makes me want to be even more sure it’s a great product in the first place! I wouldn’t want to be compensated for plugging a low quality product, ever, because I feel that’s basically scamming…

So that’s my rational, the products that are on my Affiliate Page are:

1) Peak Design: I’ve been using them since 2012 or 2013, they have incredible bags, tripods, accessories for carrying your camera, and the best customer service you’ll find!

2) Canvas People: For the last year or so I’ve been a fan of this company, great canvas prints at a great price. They have lots more available as well!

3) Luminar AI by Skylum: Luminar AI has become an important part of my workflow, every bit as important as Photoshop and Lightroom has been.

4) Geekoto: They make an excellent entry level tripod I used for about a year (provided by them). They also make higher level tripods and other camera equipment.

I hope you’ll decide to try one of these products and, as always, thank you for following!




SALE!       unnamed        SALE!


Peak Design is having a 20-40% sale on everything (except tripods) from¬†March 31 – April 6. ¬†Over the years I’ve come to like messenger bags more and more because all my camera gearScreen Shot 2020-03-31 at 13.02.28¬†is right in¬†front¬†me when I need it. ¬†Peak Design’s¬†Everyday Messenger¬†(at left) is¬†about the best ¬†messenger bag I’ve ever used, period! ¬†If you’re looking for a bag, for photography or anything else, check out PD’s¬†Sling, Tote, TotePack, Backpack, or new Backpack Zip¬†while they’re ON SALE! ¬†When it comes to any of these bags, the one thing I love is the ability to customize. ¬†While¬†there is no perfect bag, these come about as close as I’ve ever come. ¬†As a side note, these bags can be used for more than photography! ¬†PD’s new Travel Tripod launches on April 7th and all profits will be donated to coronavirus relief and climate change!

The other piece of Peak Design gear I’ve used religiously since 2013 is their¬†capture system. ¬†Nothing I’ve used has been with me as long as these. ¬†I’m never fumbling

Screen Shot 2020-03-31 at 13.33.21
Capture & Clip

with tripod plates or any type of strap, ever! ¬†PD’s straps and cuffs are all¬†seamlessly interchangeable by using PD’s tab system to connect everything. ¬†It’s rare when I’m out that someone doesn’t me about my camera hanging off a backpack strap! ¬†Since I’m not very good at explaining, I made the short video below, in real time, to show just how effective these are and exactly how they work. ¬†I’m all for anything that makes photography easier and allows me more time shooting, and that’s exactly what PD equipment does.



Lastly, Peak Design makes quality gear, I’ve using the same Capture to hang my camera on bags since 2013 and it works like the day they arrived! ¬†Don’t miss a great chance to pick up some awesome gear, so please check out this upcoming sale! sig


Peak Design II (with video)

Back in 2012, I began looking for another way to connect my camera to camera straps, wrist straps, and tripods. ¬†The problem was this, if there was a strap to keep the camera safe from accidental dropping, it almost always interfered with the tripod plate. ¬†It pd3almost always involved having to unscrew something, connect something else, then redo it all over again when done. ¬†There was nothing that¬†seamlessly linked my wrist cuff, strap, and tripod plate, they all seemed to work against each other and not together. That‚Äôs when I discovered Peak Design gear, it appeared to solve all this. ¬†If it worked as advertised, it would mean no more fumbling around with equipment and no more straps that didn‚Äôt work with other products. ¬†I checked in to it and my love affair with them began. ¬†While I‚Äôve used many of Peak Design products over the years, mostly camera bags and rain covers; however, pd4it’s the products that I’ve used almost daily since 2012 that I’m writing about today. ¬†Peak Design does make some excellent bags but after back surgery, my frame is a little touchy about what is hung on it for long periods. ¬†I’ve found something that works better for my needs, but if my back could handle it I’d still be using their Everyday Messenger Bag¬†as it’s probably the best all around bag I’ve ever had and only camera bag I’ve ever missed.

Back to today’s topic, this is gear I’ve been using practically every day for the last seven years. ¬†I wrote about these products in a blog entry on June 27, 2016 called Peak Design. ¬†In that article I said, “I can‚Äôt see myself walking out of the house to shoot without a piece of¬†Peak Design gear on me,” that still holds true today! ¬†However, looking back at that article, it seemed that a video might do a better job explaining how these work. ¬†So here’s an attempt at better explaining these products, hopefully….


The attempted fun aside, in about a minute and a half the camera went from a shoulder carry strap, to a wrist cuff, then two separate tripod mounts, to a backpack carry using the Peak Design Capture, and ending up back on the tripod. ¬†Admittedly, there was help from my personal assistant and daughter, but that was only to avoid dead time between swaps. ¬†The goal wasn’t to show how fast it could be done but how versatile the gear integrates. ¬†As the video demonstrates, everything centers around Peak Design’s Anchors and the Dual Plate, which also allows the connection. ¬†The Anchors can be placed anywhere on camera that allows for carrying and also on the Dual Plate itself. ¬†Using a Dual Plate means there is never a thought about how to carry the camera and as shown in the video, it works on Manfrotto and Arca-type tripod heads. ¬†It simply doesn’t matter if the camera is carried on a wrist cuff, sling, backpack, and you decide to put the camera on a tripod because it’s all integrated. ¬†Back in 2012, Peak Design appeared to be the only company doing this. ¬†Their gear is so much a part of my photography life I can‚Äôt see myself without these. ¬†Using the Sling, Cuff, and Dual Plate with Capture means less time screwing around and more time shooting. Frankly, these items are as important to me as a camera bag. ¬†I say this because of how much time previously spent connecting a camera to various straps and tripods. ¬†You’ll find a Sling and Cuff in each of my bags and, although they haven’t gone bad, I keep an extra Anchor or two in there too (I replace them yearly). ¬†There are also Dual Plates on both cameras making everything easy peasy lemon squeezy.

It’s not unusual to get looks or be approached by other photographers when I’m seen wearing a camera on a backpack harness. ¬†Most seem skeptical till I tell them it’s worked for years and I’ve got 100% confidence in it. ¬†I’m not some uber rich guy who can afford to drop a camera or two… ¬†I’ve seen plenty of doubters online as well, then someone says “that looks like Peak Design” and explains it. ¬†So the word is getting out on this well built gear. ¬†My original Dual Plate and Capture were purchased in 2012 and still work perfectly. ¬†Yes, this gear isn’t cheap but buy it once and you won’t be spending money again for a long time! ¬†Currently, the Capture sells for $49.95 and the Dual Plate for $24.95. ¬†If you don’t use a tripod and have no need for the Dual Plate, you can buy the Capture with an Arca plate combination for $69.95. ¬†Click [HERE] to visit their various straps and cuffs. ¬†Below are some photos of the Dual Plate and Capture attached to backpacks and bags, it doesn’t get any better. ¬†Lastly, as stated in the video, there is no affiliation between myself and Peak Design, I get absolutely nothing if you purchase their products. ¬†However, if you do make the leap, I’m pretty sure you won’t regret it.


Camera bag advice…

This isn’t going to be a “here’s my bag and why I like it” post or telling you what I think is the best bag. ¬†Like most people carrying camera gear, I’ve been through quite a few bags and backpacks over the years. ¬†Just ask my wife… ¬†It was as if the next bag in a magazine would be better than the one currently in use. ¬†However, one lesson learned about finding the perfect camera bag is that there isn’t one. ¬†While the latest bags always promise to be the last bag you’ll ever need, there’s always compromises; after the novelty wears off you’ll realize what you’ve settled for. ¬†The best thing I’ve learned about camera bags, and coming from someone who has had back surgery, DON’T ORDER WITHOUT TRYING. ¬†That was my mistake for years, I would see advertising for a bag or spot one online and order it. ¬†Why? In my mind this was the last bag purchase so it was money well spent, right? ¬†I had used a lot of bags, but mostly¬†Lowepro and¬†Kata¬†bags stand out from 2008-2015, they’re both great companies with excellent bags. ¬†However, after using each new purchase for some months, there would be things I didn’t like, things I wanted from earlier bags, or worst of all, they just hurt after a while. ¬†Then I’d spot another bag, and the cycle continued with the exception of three years.

For those three years or so, I used Peak Design camera bags, and they’re very good bags (pictured at the bottom). ¬†I’ve written about their products many times on this blog, Peak Design’s exceptional gear is well-built by people who really care about photography. ¬†They make other products that I’ve used since 2012 and can’t seem to do without! ¬†Nothing beats PD’s Capture & Clip system for belt or backpack carry and going straight to the tripod! ¬†oI never change a plate or anything on my camera bottom and haven’t for years. ¬†Whoah!!! Squirrel!!! ¬†Whoops, back to camera bags… ¬†Everything changed while living in Virginia after visiting¬†Ace Photo in Ashburn, VA. ¬†They have an entire room of all the big name bags, when you walk in you actually hear angels in high voices singing “aaaaahhhhh” (see photo at left).¬† Not really, but I kind of felt that. ¬†They actually let you try on bags in the store and had no problem with bringing in my current bag to compare it to theirs! ¬†I took out all my stuff and put it in their bags, several of them actually, and put them on my back, game changer! ¬†That’s when I ended up buying a couple of ¬†ThinkTank bags! ¬†It made me realize that while I loved Peak Design bags, it was because they hurt my back less than the others. ¬†PD’s bags are great bags as are ThinkTank’s. ¬†It was at this point I decided that I’d never buy another bag without trying it first – EVER, lesson learned. ¬†Most times my bag is something that I work out of, I’ll leave it somewhere safe and put the camera on a strap. ¬†This also limits the desire to constantly swap lenses, I’ve gotten better shots by taking one lens and just shooting. ¬†I learned this at Ken Rockwell’s site a few years ago on his page Assembling a System ~ or ~ What to Bring¬†where he said, “Attempting to prepare yourself for everything ensures that you will be prepared for nothing.”


So in the last 1+ year there have been no new camera bags and it’s been done by asking myself three questions whenever the ‘next bag’ itch comes around:

  1. First, does this have features that my current bag doesn’t? ¬†This has to be a substantial upgrade, a game changer, to ditch the current setup that I know works. ¬†If this is a yes, move on to the next question.
  2. Second, can the current bag be modified to do what the perspective bag does? ¬†So far, in most cases the answer has been yes, done! ¬†It’s usually by reorganizing, which I hate doing because it’s nice knowing where everything is when in the dark. ¬†However, when the answer has been no, back to Question 1, just how substantial is this again? ¬†So far, it’s never been worth ditching the current system that works.
  3. Third, can a try it somewhere first? ¬†To this date, I haven’t gotten to this question. ¬†If Questions 1 and 2 lead to number 3 and there’s no place to try out the bag, I’m not buying it, period. ¬†Again, I’m never buying another bag without putting everything in it and trying it!

I’ve come to believe that most of the features that new bags offer tend to be the ability to conveniently pack more gear. ¬†There’s nothing wrong with that, some people need this and more. ¬†For this guy, more weight in the bag equates to back pain. ¬†Another thing that’s worked to curb buying bags, and while this might seem a bit extreme, is removing labels. ¬†Screen Shot 2019-02-14 at 09.03.30While this was originally for anti-theft purposes, a savvy thief could¬†understand that high-end camera bag labels likely protect high end camera gear. ¬†However, this has also makes it a little more difficult selling a bag online. ¬†People want to know it’s an original when they buy it, good luck selling them now, with no label right? ¬†I’ve cut up a military style gear tag, in orange like the one at the right, and placed it over the main label with epoxy. ¬†It’s not coming off anytime soon… ¬†Not only does it cover the label, it makes the bag stick out slightly so it would be very easy to spot if someone grabbed it in a crowd (photo at the top). ¬†Again, it’s worked for me.

So that’s the advice, I’ve had three bags that have worked perfectly for over a year and have been carried extensively, that’s not changing anytime soon. ¬†The brand of my bags doesn’t matter, they work for me, you might not like them and that’s life. ¬†There are so many quality camera bags and backpacks to choose from, but it really does require trying them out to find one that’s right for you. ¬†Remember, there is no perfect bag, you will have make concessions in some way. ¬†Just get one that does most of what you need and you’ll be happy.