The One Thing Missing from Modern Camera Bags!

Yep. The vital feature I want is missing from this small and otherwise very well designed 
Tenba photo backpack.....

More Tragedy. My Sand Colored Domke canvas bag (best camera bag you can buy....) also lacks this amazingly essential feature. 

Even my old, beat up but fabulous, black canvas Domke bag (which is head and shoulders better (and a better value) than anything made by Billingham ----) doesn't have this must have option. 

All the good bags and packs are well designed, have lots of smart space inside and are great for carrying around most of the stuff we need in order to be successful but not a single rolling case, shoulder bag, sling bag, belt system or waterproof case has a simple attachment that I think is invaluable. None of them have a cup holder. Not a single camera bag is made with real photographers in mind. Because, when your right hand is on the handle of your rolling case full of lights and lenses and your left shoulder is balancing your Domke camera bag and your left hand needs to be ready to open doors and push elevator buttons ----WHERE THE HELL ARE YOU SUPPOSED TO PUT YOUR extra--LARGE CUP OF FRESH, HOT COFFEE???  And if it's a long and drawn out shoot with lots of boring down time then WHERE ARE YOU SUPPOSED TO CARRY IN THAT SECOND LARGE CUP OF COFFEE????

Hey you great designers at Domke! Hey you dandy and effete designers at Billingham! Hey you zany Aussie Kata designers! Get working on the camera bag cup holder. I can (almost) guarantee that it will turn around the DSLR market over night. Finally, we will be able to walk through the client's doorways fully equipped and no longer at the questionable mercy of that Keurig machine in the break room. You know, the one with the Hazelnut flavored coffees and some other vague travesties.....

It's time to boycott all new bags that don't come with cup holders. And I'm counting on the enterprising manufacturers in China to create retrofittable cup holders for older bags. It's an idea and a feature whose time has come. Sign the petition below!

Perfectly sized and packaged for portability. 

From the movie, "The making of coffee for camera bag cupholders." 

Some other notes for a Saturday afternoon:

I thought this camera was long gone but today Ben cleaned out his closet at home to make way for some swanky new shirts. Down at the bottom of the closet was a cool bag (sadly, with no cup holders) that I'd given him along with a Sony a58, the kit lens and a Rode microphone. He handed it to me and asked me if I wanted it. "I haven't used it in a year or so." He said, "I probably won't keep it around." Of course I took it straight out to the studio. I remember this camera well. It's not at all bad, especially for the price. I'm charging the battery right now. 

As to the microphone, I've been looking for that missing microphone for a long time. Glad to have it back in the gear stack. I liked it and will use it. Especially for run and gun stuff where there's no time or opportunity to slap a lavaliere on somebody...

The last time I saw the a58 in my studio. Welcome back little buddy.

Nature has decided that we need more rain so it is currently raining again. 
Ten more days or so and we will have reached that Biblical, "Forty days and forty nights" thing and I'll really start worrying....

Quick visual paean to the 100mm focal length. 

Gotta finish up and get over to the sporting good store. 
Wanna buy some rubber boats before it's too late.


  1. Do I detect that you share my distain for the Kuerig and its ilk?

  2. Dave, I value their convenience. But I always regret the taste of the finished product.

  3. [/rant] we must end this vile proliferation of Hazelnut (especially) and other pollution in coffee [/end-rant]

  4. Kt,
    Cup holder? Is that not your assistant? The gofer. Bring me coffee slave.


  5. You need a Genuine Thermos Brand Work Series™ Beverage Bottle.

    40 oz. should hold you for most of the morning.

  6. sorry Talkingtyper, the cup holders MUST accommodate Starbuck's paper cups. I never have time to make or pack coffee at home. It's also a "fitting in" thing. All our ad agency and Marcom clients hold onto SB cups all day long. Bringing a thermos would be as offensive as bringing a window laptop to an ad agency instead of a MacBook Pro... Or wearing a Tilly hat to a fashion shot. Just not done.

  7. The perfect photo-bag does exist. It's the beer/picnic cooler; I use the six-pack, two-meal sized model from Fred Meyer. With two cups of coffee, it can hold my 4x5 setup, and keep the film cool.

  8. As a landscape photographer I find it difficult to find a good bag myself--especially for longer hikes. I've kinda jerry-rigged a think tank skin system that doesn't interfere with my backpack, or I use inserts in the backpack itself that barely hold any more than a $30 shoulder bag. Most photo-oriented bags are so photo-exclusive that they forget that people need their creature comforts...or survival necessities.

  9. I'm with you. My biggest frustration with photo bags/backpacks is that so many of them lack any provision for carrying water or coffee!

    (BTW, Kata is/was Israeli—they're now owed by Manfrotto. Crumpler is Australian, IIRC.)

  10. How do you carry a sb paper cup without spilling?

    Change your habits and use a reusable cup;

    Starbucks will even fill it for you and you save 50 cents.

    Plus, when you're shootingand need 2 hands, you can clip it to your belt loops.

  11. Kirk,
    So if I get a new hat to replace my Tilly I will look for something with a cup holder attachment. More stylish and practical at the same time.

  12. The lack of a beverage toting ability had a lot to do with my ditching camera bags some time back. My concern had more to do with having a water supply in the Texas heat. I now carry a Maxpedition bag. http://www.michaelconnellphoto.com/blog/2013/08/the-tactical-camera-bag-redux

    Still wouldn't toss a paper cup of coffee in there but to each his own. :)

  13. "Domke bag (which is head and shoulders better (and a better value) than anything made by Billingham ----)"

    As a Billingham owner, your provocative statement is a declaration of war. And BTW, the Billingham requires no coffee cup holder - that is part of the standard job description of camera-bearer.

  14. Gingerbaker. We each have our cross to bear... :-)

    Just kidding about the Billingham bags. The owners of such are too easy to rile...

  15. Reuben, Sorry, unwilling to change habits... Coffee drunk from the white paper cup is sacrosanct.

  16. Tip: Don't try carrying a Vente coffee from Starbucks inside a messenger bag. Been there, done that (badly).

  17. I knew it had to be a joke post when Kirk said there was anything better than a Billingham. ;)

  18. I think it high time for Filson to make a Kirk Tuck Special Edition Bag....why do guys like David Alan Harvey and Steve McCurry get to design bags, but you don't? And, you are as macho and rugged as McCurry, yes? :-)

  19. Found it

  20. Back in the 90's I had a job that involved a lot of travel. I also had a TravelPro bag, the first of the rolling carry-on bags. It was my favorite bag ever, mostly because it was stable and the top was absolutely flat, which made a great end table when sitting for hours in airports. By the time the bag finally completely disintegrated a few years ago, the outside was covered in coffee.

    My new bag is lighter, has more pockets and organizers, and is red so I can find it occasionally, but it doesn't have a flat top. I miss the old bag.

  21. Once again, you provide the most insightful and literate commentary on the real needs of real photographers. Thank you.

  22. Bassman, Thank you. As you can readily see, it is easily my best work.... The words come off the page like fireworks...(spoof?).

  23. OK, as a maker of camera bags, I will engage in this conversation. :)

    At Tenba we definitely try to incorporate beverage holders as often as possible. The Roadie Video backpack has one that unzips on the belt to expand to hold a beverage, and the Roadie Video Shoulder Bag has a removable one that attaches to the Molle straps on the side of the bag. Those are probably the two bags where the beverage holder is open at the top and doesn't have to stretch to open. But then on our backpacks, Messenger DNA and Switch bags, we use mesh side pockets to hold a beverage. I realize, of course, that the stretchy mesh pocket won't work so well for a soft-sided Starbucks cup, but then it seems to me that in order to actually keep a Starbucks-style beverage from spilling you'd also need the drink to be on some sort of gyro.

    But in all seriousness, I'm curious about how you'd like to see beverage holders incorporated into camera bags. Is there an example of one that you think works well?

    Personally I'm a huge proponent of Klean Kanteens. Our entire office uses them. Their patent on the stainless cap insert so that your drink never touches plastic is a brilliant design idea. You can fit a Klean Kanteen into every Tenba bag there is, with the possible exception of the smallest Switch bags because they're just too small.

    But from a company who only designs bags for professionals, I can tell you that your comments have not fallen on deaf ears.


  24. Thanks for chiming in Peter. Hmmm. It has to be quickly accessible and able to accommodate at least a grande Starbucks cup. I see a hard mesh (carbon fiber, polycarbonate?) enclosure that supports the cup making it a "cup within a cup" that dangles on a gimbaled pivot. Probably at one end of a traditional shoulder bag. That way, with the bag over the left shoulder the coffee caddy would ride in front of the bag for quick and easy access. I would suggest that the gimbal could be attached to either end to accommodate left and right hand bag users. Product extensions could include special insulated sleeves a top mesh to hold the lid on, etc. But I do think a "belt system" just for coffee would be a little bit over the top...

    Liquids are tough but we should be able to master this in 2015 without requiring any sort of accommodation by the end user. Also, disposable pocket liners for blueberry scones would be another venture. But let's not go on to that until your engineers have mastered the big stuff....

    Current owner of many Tenba storage and transport devices. All lacking only the Starbucks cup holder to be nearly perfect....

  25. Your obsession with coffee, comfort and cameras is laudable. Don't compromise!

  26. One could surely fabricate an injection molded plastic cup which exactly holds a Starbucks cup. A snap fit lid to hold their lid on, with soft rubber nipples to gently seal the openings.

    Now you have an armored case that you can toss in anywhere, which will keep your drink in the original cup.

    The foam will get stirred in if you insist on shaking it up too much though. You effete latte drinking cup-shaker.

    Kickstarter, anyone?

  27. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  32. Kirk you requirements are too simple - what about drinks after the shoot?
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    It might be a slight problem getting through airport security or onto the plane

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  37. The 100mm:
    Which 100mm is this? The Canon EF 2.8? I had one for only a short time, and never did anything as nice as this with it.

    I'm not super comfortable with tele lenses, but feel i need something other than my 50/35s. Considering the Nikkor 105/2.5 AIS, but i also have an EOS3, so..... What to do?

  38. Dear Philadelphia Story! My favorite Canon short tele is the 100mm f2.0. Great lens for portraits. I loved it.

  39. "My, she was 'yar.'"

    Thank you.

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