Published on September 20th, 2010 | by Greg0
Tamrac Helps Carry Your Camera, Make Your Flash Wireless
We love camera gear- and this summer has been great for DSLR lovers, with coverage of interesting lenses and bags and stabilization systems. From Tamrac, we recently tested out their nifty Zipshot tripod, a truly interesting solution. Today, we’ve got two other items from their lineup, aimed at both professionals and serious amateurs.
Let’s start with the Evolution 6, also known as Model 5786. This bags offers a few trios- three ways to carry it, along with three ways to access your gear. Large enough for every DSLR model we tested (Nikon and Canon both), you can leave your normal lens on, and carry a couple of others. Super-zooms might not fit, but we had no issues storing our 55-200mm, a Lensbaby, filters, and some other items. This is a well-padded bag, with plenty of cushioning to protect your valuables. That, of course, means some added weight- the bag clocks in at about three and a half pounds, which isn’t too bad.
We liked the sling pack style for carrying, though when fully loaded it was a bit much to take over one shoulder. You can choose the left or right shoulder though, allowing you to alternate, and can also stick with the normal backpack-style. Either way, the straps are pretty comfortable and reasonably adjustable, and there is a handy waist strap as well for added balance. Two mesh pockets hold your remote (or MicroSync, see below). And one side pocket can hold your phone or iPod, while the other contains a removable rain cover, which we found fairly useful on one occasion, though for lighter weather the bag is well-designed and repelled drips and drops with no issues.
Overall, it’s a well-balanced bag- not too big, not too small- offering a few nice features. The QuickClip tripod attachment system, for instance, seemed useful though was not tested. Access to gear is a bit restricted, and we didn’t love the color choices (black or tan), but this is a pretty good value at $100 or so online. When compared with the Kata 3N1, reports were a bit mixed, but there’s no doubt the the Evolution 6 is a step above most camera bags and offers durability and comfort for the DSLR user.
We have even less hesitation about recommending the Tamrac MicroSync system, a tiny and light adapter that connects to a remote control and allows you to fire your flash and/or your camera with the touch of a button. Setup is a snap, and it’s largely set-and-forget, with only occasional thoughts about channels and distances.
Make certain that you buy the right model- they offer both a 1/4” mono version and a traditional household plug version. And you can purchase either a kit with both transmitter and receiver, or either one only, allowing you to chain multiple lights together or have extra transmitters on hand. The transmitters fit onto the hot shoe port of your camera, and don’t offer a pass-through, so you’ll have to be satisfied with an outside flash only. The units both feel durable and well-made, and offer much more consistency than optical slave systems. It still wasn’t 100% consistent for us though- about 10% of the time, our lights wouldn’t fire, though it depended a bit on range of course as well as shooting speed. We had no battery issues, and the system is rated for three years or regular use! Also, we did adjust the channels at one point, a process that isn’t quite as transparent as we would have liked- four are available, but you need to get a paperclip, place the units quite nearby one another, and also move synchronize the units within seconds of start up. Overall, though, wireless=flexibility, and we enjoyed even our Speedlight (along with a small studio light) being able to move around freely. At $100 for the kit, it’s also a good deal. Available widely online.