Jo Totes Camera Bag Review. Missy Mint.

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GEAR REVIEW:

There are some things that I am VERY particular about… how I fold my laundry, air-popped popcorn, and finding the PERFECT camera bag.

I when I am shooting, I move around a lot, I change lenses a lot, and NEED a bag that can keep up with me!

I currently own 3 camera bags:
1) Lowepro Photo Trekker AW II,
2) Shootsac lens bag,
and my newest one, 3) Jo Totes Missy Mint Bag.

Yes, three bags is a lot. But I love each of  these bags for different reasons.

I have yet to find the magic bag that fits my needs for any shoot, any time. If any of you think you have found that magic bag- please let me know! I would be interested!

But today is all about my cute new Missy Mint Jo Totes Bag!

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I have held out buying a new bag for quite a while because:
1) they can be expensive, and
2) if I am going to invest money in a bag, I want to make sure it is exactly what I need from my bags.

I got my Jo Totes bag at the beginning of September after I booked a flight from Salt Lake City, Utah  to Richmond, Virginia to attend a photography workshop with Katelyn James. Now, after two and a half months with it, I think I can clearly articulate what I love about this particular bag.

THE PRO’s:
What I needed from a bag that I did not already have:

1) A bag that can hold my camera body and lenses with a few accessories  THAT
2) Could fit as a CARRY-ON on a plane  AND
3) Would be easy to carry around, keep under a chair at a workshop, be on my shoulder as I shot smaller sessions, etc.

AND THIS BAG WAS A PERFECT FIT FOR THOSE NEEDS!

I love how this Missy Mint was not only my camera bag, but I just threw in my wallet and flight tickets and it became my purse. No one blinked an eye, no one asked me to check it at the gate, no one probably even knew how much valuable gear was in it! It just looked like a cute purse. I even threw in a book for some reading on the plane and stored it under the seat in front of me. It fit like a glove.

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BASIC FEATURES:
It is a simple faux leather bag with (so far) sturdy gold clasps and rings. I have not worried about the straps breaking on me. However, it has gotten a little scratched up since I really work my bags and its just faux leather.

It has two pockets on the outside that I hold personal and small things in it, like business cards, lip balm, radio triggers, keys, etc. There is a pocket in the back that is the perfect size for my iPhone, and inside there is a pocket for an iPad/13″ Macbook. I do not use the inner pocket for an iPad/Macbook, but I will put my folder in there for client information/contracts, or books for a plane ride/car ride.

I really like the fact that the bag can stand up on its own.  It has four metal “feet” so the bottom of your bag does not get destroyed every time you set it down.

This bag can hold much more than I thought. With the moveable compartments, I have it set up exactly for my specific gear, or just the gear I need to bring for a certain shoot.
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Here is a picture of SOME of the things I have in it right now:JoTotesFinals005
As Shown:
A. 2-6 Lens caps
B. A good handful of business cards
C. EOS Lip Balm (That matches the bag! Branding is important to me!)
D. Canon 600ex-rt Flash
E. Phottix Strato II Radio Triggers
F. Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS ii
G. Canon Mark ii Battery Charger and Extra Battery
H. Canon 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS
I. Neewer Pro CN-160 LED Video Light
J. Lenscoat CF Card Wallet

NOT SHOWN:
(1) Canon 5D Mark ii Camera Body
(1) Canon 24-70 f/2.8L ii

*NOTE:  I would not take ALL of this gear on a simple engagement/family shoot. I would leave the video light, flash, and wall charger at home since this bag gets HEAVY with all the gear loaded up. AND it would make it difficult to have fast access to your lenses. But if you just need to store the gear somewhere, it technically will fit.

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And FYI: Since the moveable padded compartments are not super tall, I will almost always have my 70-200mm on one of the side compartments of the bag just for a long padded side against the tall lens.

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THE LIMITATIONS:
This bag fit my traveling needs exactly and I am so glad I had it for my workshop, smaller session like engagements sessions and for the few family sessions that I do every fall. However, it cannot replace my other two bags because there are still some limitations with it.

1) I would never have this as my primary bag for a wedding. I have too much off camera lighting gear and back up gear/accessories that I bring with me on a wedding day. This bag just can’t fit it all, and still be accessible to my lenses.
2) I also would never want to carry this bag around ALL DAY. It gets HEAVY when it is loaded up with gear. Even the bag itself is a little on the heavy side for a faux leather bag. Call me a wimp, but I threw out my back last summer from a combination of bad editing posture, and heavy bags! (This is the VERY reason I own a Shootsac for wedding day use!) I just cannot do a 10 hour wedding day with this heavy side bag weighing me down.

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So, I still use my larger Lowepro bag as a “Home base” on a wedding day and walk around with my Shootsac in order to have fast access to my lenses and save my back, but the Jo Totes Missy Mint really does complete all other needs that I need out of a camera bag for every other session!

 

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