Sunday, August 16, 2015

Think Tank Skin Strobe V2.0
Cool Stuff. Everybody seems to be interested in Cool Stuff. My problem is my tendency to buy an item before I know how I'm going to use it. Case in point is the Think Tank Skin  Strobe V2.0, a belt bag designed to carry a full-sized speedlight like the Nikon SB-900/910. There is a main compartment big enough to hold a speedlight with a diffusion dome attached. There is a second side compartment that can hold one (or two!) SD-8a Battery Packs if you remove their cases. A third zippered slit in the cover can accommodate some color correction gels.

So What's In My Bag? The preamble will give you an idea of exactly what I'll be storing in my Skin Strobe. Here's the deal. More and more, I'm relying on a supplementary battery pack to insure faster recycle times when working in high output situations. This bag allows me to attach the battery pack to the speedlignt and store them together. This setup will also allow me to keep the speedlght outside of my main bag.
Photo #1

The impetus for assembling this kit came from a recent near-accident. I was using a D7000 with an SB-900 mounted in the shoe. I was making lots and lots of ceiling bounce shots, so I attached an SD-8a to the speedlight for some extra juice, which I stored in my pocket. I had just finished a group shot, and went forward to re-arrange my subjects for a second pose. I put down the camera but forgot about the cable connected to the speedlignt. When I turned, the camera was pulled off the table and fell, back first, onto the carpeted restaurant floor. Luckily for me, no apparent damage was sustained.

It's my hope that having a place to store the speedlight / battery pack combination will prevent a repetition of the incident.

The photo at the left shows my solution for keeping the SD-8 battery pack in the side pocket, which isn't deep enough to completely contain it (Photo #1). However, the top of this side pocket can be velcro-ed shut, much like a zip lock freezer bag. The outside of the pocket is covered to "pile" (the Velcro "fuzz") which engages the Velcro "hooks" on the inside of the bag's cover. By using a 3" piece of double backed Velcro (see the down arrow), I could now keep the battery pack securely in place. A small stitch of cloth-backed "hook" tape (see the left arrow) is used to cover the tip of improvised retaining strap, and prevents the cover from pulling the retaining strap free.
Photo #2

It isn't hard to figure this out when the bag is in front of you. Trying to describe the setup without an overabundance of adjectives is more of a challenge then I'm willing to undertake at this time.

I filled a 12-battery box with AA batteries, and pushed it to the bottom of the main compartment (Photo #2). This keeps a fresh set of batteries at the ready while raising the speedlight high enough to prevent the synchronization and power cables for being "bent". You can tell that the unit is inserted "nose first" so the hot shoe is at the top. Just remember to orient the battery box to its lowest possible profile.

I'll add an update to this post after I've had some time to actually use this setup. But so far, it seems like a the bag will work out fine.