April 29, 2010

Bag yourself a tripod

If you shoot video on anything more professional than an iPhone, then you'll probably have a fair bit of kit to carry round, and need something to support the camera while you are shooting. Now, what if the bag you use to carry everything could also, somehow, provide the support for the camera? That's what the people at Petrol Bags thought when they came up with their new Cambio Camera Carrier/Support System, which converts from a trolley bag into a sort of tripod.

It's not Petrol's first attempt to give its bags a support function. Have a look at the Petrol Pillow Staybag, which can provide support where using a tripod isn't possible (such as strapped to a moving car, on rocks or other uneven surface) where the camera rests on a pillow of Steadi-Balls that moulds to its shape and that of the surface it's on, with straps to attach the bag to the car (or whatever).

The Cambio has an extendable centre column (up to 142cm) that is usually used as the trolley bag handle (also useful for those of us that find most trolley bag handles too short). You can screw a tripod head into the handle (using a 75mm bowl), and it will support cameras weighing up to 4.5kg, including the head (so will take most budget camcorders – up to a JVC HM700 – and any HD DSLRs)

The wheels extend to the sides, and come with integral chocks to prevent movement, and you pull out a leg from the centre of the bag to create the tripod.

The Cambio will cost $699 for the bag, or $799 for a usable system including an easily attached lightweight micro-fluid head. For the same money, you could get a pretty good, lightweight, compact three-stage tripod and a separate trolley bag, and have greater flexibility. However, the Cambio can be taken as carry-on luggage, and with the ever greater restrictions being placed on airline baggage, that could be the deciding factor.

Have a look at Petrol's video of the Cambio in action to see how it works.

By David Fox

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