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Canon XH Series HDV Camcorders
Canon XH G1S / G1 (with SDI), Canon XH A1S / A1 (without SDI).


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Old May 15th, 2008, 10:46 AM   #1
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Portabrace vs Kata vs Petrol

I know, I know, yet another bag thread...

I did search but I have a specific need.

I have a huge Kata backpack that works great and carries all of my gear. The problem is I am going on a plane and need something I can put in the overhead. Checking is NOT an option!

To be certain I have a small enough bag it looks like the Portabrace DVO-1U http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...izer_Case.html or the Kata CC 193.http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...lder_Case.html Maybe the Petrol PCCB-1N. http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...order_Bag.html

My first goal is to protect my gear. Then to carry at least the following:
A1, J-Rod, Sennheiser shotgun with Rycote softie, Spare hi-capacity battery, Charger, spare tapes and little stuff.

A bonus would be to carry my wireless stuff: Full size mic, Transmitter, Receiver, lavalier, etc

In reading the threads it sounds like either one of these bags will fit most if all of this stuff. I just wonder if the Portabrace bag would be stuffed to the gills and hard to get everything in and out. But it looks like it has better padding than the Kata.

The Kata looks like most of this stuff would fit in the bag easily, possibly this bag will also allow me to keep the shotgun/J-rod attached which would be sweet. However, since the outside dimensions are almost the same as the Portabrace, this tells me they have made more room by reducing padding. I also read on an old thread that one user wondered if there was any padding on the bottom at all. This concerns me.

Not sure about the Petrol.

Right now I am leaning toward the Portabrace even though it is more expensive. I just didn't want to get it only to find out that there was another bag that would have given me a quicker "pull and shoot" capability and still fit in the overhead. I am afraid that the slightly larger versions of these three bags would put me at risk of getting the shoulder tap and tell me to let them check it.

Please let me know your thoughts. Pictures of your gear in the bag would be a bonus but I realize that is a hassle. I need to order soon in order to get it in plenty of time for my trip.

Thank you in advance.
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Old May 15th, 2008, 01:12 PM   #2
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The Kata CC-193 will fit everything you mentioned, including the wireless. It may or not be "neat" but it will fit fine. You can keep the J-Rod in the mic holder. Depending on your setup you may be able to keep the wireless attached. You'll probably want to un-attach the XLR cables to get back the room for the side-pocket. Straight XLR cables filled the bag from side to side so you lost all the side room, right angled XLRs gave you back a few inches, but it was still a tight fit. You could always add padding to the bottom if you found it necessary, and the Kata CC-193 has enought height to accomodate that. Otherwise for hand-carrying it's a pretty tough bag. And you can use that rolling cart accessory so it's easier to lug around. One caveat, on some smaller planes (5-50 seaters) I've had to hold the Kata CC-193 on my lap, but that's normal for those sized planes

I liked the Kata CC-193 but sold it. I decided it's better to have two bags:
- one small/snug hand-carry bag
- one medium bag for ground travel that can carry a fully assembled camera

The Kata falls between these two extremes.
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Old May 15th, 2008, 01:22 PM   #3
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Can't go wrong with the Portrabrace. They're a little smaller inside but I always feel better peace of mind when I'm using a Portrabrace.

In terms of ruggedness/protection I'd rate them
1. Portabrace
2. Petrol
3. Kata

but they're all much tougher than normal bags anyway, so take it with a grain of salt.
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Old May 15th, 2008, 01:22 PM   #4
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May I suggest another bag to look at. I use the Cinebags CB-22 backpack which I believe is airline cabin legal. The bag carries the XHA1, a reasonable amount of accessories and a laptop. There are some pictures of it loaded here:
http://www.cinebags.com/backpackdetails.html
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Old May 15th, 2008, 01:38 PM   #5
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KATA MC-61 could also be a good alternative. It fits airline regulations for hand luggage, can contain easily a Z1 (and thus an A1) with j-Rod, shotgun with Rycote cover, spare mic, two wireless sets, 4 batteries, 12 tapes, and some spare materials.
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Old May 15th, 2008, 05:43 PM   #6
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Porta-Brace Family Album

I saw this thread headline and thought there may be some interested Portabrace users out there...

Portabrace is celebrating 35 years in the video market by inviting all users to come together and contribute photos of themselves to the Portabrace family album.

Feel free to add to the page or just take a look.

http://portabrace.com/photoalbum.php

Thanks
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Old May 15th, 2008, 07:21 PM   #7
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I have the Kata CC193. Fit the A1, Senn G2, Rode NTG2, headphones, chargeur, filters, Vidled and chargeur, Canon Book, and still lot of room for small stuff (batteries, cleaning kit, flashlight, notebook and pen).
The bag is very comfortable and light. More anonymous than the petrol, good thing when travelling.
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Old May 15th, 2008, 08:59 PM   #8
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Portabrace bags are probably the most durable and are well padded and designed to fit specific cameras. They also make a number of bags that are airline-size legal. You will not get as much room in the pockets with those models. There are certain things about Petrol that are nice too, but for your purposes, they seem a bit bulky to me, which is not a bad thing unless you're trying to get it on a plane. I've never used Kata so I can't comment on them.
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Old May 16th, 2008, 02:31 AM   #9
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I have a Petrol PWR-HDV and just have not been impressed at all with its quality. Mine both got 2"+ tears along the "handle" on the top of the bag, within 30 days of getting it. Just normal use stuff, too--nothing too strenuous done with it, it just cannot take the A1's (or Sony VX2100's for that matter) weight along with a few accessories.
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Old May 16th, 2008, 10:00 AM   #10
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Ray,

I use the Petrol PCCB-1: accomodates the A1 + batteries + WA adapter
+ Rode NT2 & softie + tapes & lavs & other accessories
(I just substituted the original strap with a Portabrace strap: more solid and confortable).
I chose the Petrol PCCB-1 specifically for its size: it fits under the seats of smaller jets.
For extra stuff (lights, etc.) I check-in a Stormcase (manufactured by Hardigg).

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Old May 16th, 2008, 12:12 PM   #11
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Ray,

One you left out is The CamRade CB-Single I CamBag. CamRade bags are made out of 1000 Stitch Cordura (same as Porta Brace) and everything is double stitched. The sides have PVC with double padding. There are two dividers inside that can be moved around. There is a strap down to hold your camcorder in place. The bag also comes with a white balance card.
You can view the bag at http://tapeworkstexas.com/camrade_cb_single_i_2.html

Tapeworks sales Porta Brace, Petrol, Kata and CamRade for case solutions. I have been impressed with the quality of the CamRade line and the price is right. The CB-Single I sales for only $189.00

Contact Tapeworks Texas Inc Toll Free 866-827-3489 if you have any questions.

Best Regards,
Scott Cantrell
tapeworksscott@sbcglobal.net
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Old May 16th, 2008, 04:53 PM   #12
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A friend of mine bought his XH A1 from Tapeworks Texas and got a CamRade bag for free as a promotion last year. When I saw it, I was impressed by the light weight and slimline form.I had forgot about it until now, but it would make a great carry-on. It's not as wide as the Petrol bag and would fit through any airline's luggage requirements. It's lighter and doesn't have the hard plastic bottom on the outside like Petrol, but the padding is good as well as the fabric, and it would be a good choice for air travel. I think it's slightly longer than my Petrol, so you have some room behind or in front of the camera to store small items.
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Old May 17th, 2008, 10:38 AM   #13
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Thanks so mush for all of the great replies everybody. I went ahead and ordered the Portabrace because I wanted to make sure i got it in time. As I figured there are lots of folks that feel that each bag is the best choice. i just went with my gut. Although I never want to pay for something just because of the name, I do feel that I would rather buy the best quality I can afford. I just don't want to be wishing I had got the "better one" (in my mind) every time I use something. My theory is "Save money once, but cry every time I use it, or Cry once, and enjoy it every time I use it".

I must say though that had I seen the CamRade bag before I had already ordered I may have gone that way. that is a sweet looking bag!

Thanks again all and I will let you know how it works.
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Old May 18th, 2008, 10:04 AM   #14
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Carryon bag maximums

Sorry missed this post, but I think these dimensions are true for most all carriers, this is from Southwest's website:

Southwest Airlines limits carry on bag dimensions to 10x16x24 inches.

Portabrace bags are my personal favorites, but we are fortunate to have a number of fine options to choose from.
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Old May 18th, 2008, 11:43 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James Harring View Post
Sorry missed this post, but I think these dimensions are true for most all carriers, this is from Southwest's website:

Southwest Airlines limits carry on bag dimensions to 10x16x24 inches.

Portabrace bags are my personal favorites, but we are fortunate to have a number of fine options to choose from.
It seems that for U.S. domestic flights the "standard" carry-on dimensions would be considered LxWxH=45 inches, with a typical alignment being 9"x14"x22".

Here is an article that covers the basics:
http://www.thetravelinsider.info/tra...allowances.htm

Here is a chart that covers several international airlines:
http://www.guide4home.com/leis-lug/carry-on.htm

The thing that is very inconsistent is the weight restriction. Domestic U.S. weight limit seems to be 22-40 lbs., depending on airline.

However, internaltional airlines are mostly in the 11-22 lbs. range.

For example, on a recent Virgin Atlantic Flight from Los Angeles to London the limit was 13.2 lbs. but at check-in they told me the usually let it go up to about 16 lbs. My bag (video camera, dslr, etc.) was a little over 15 lbs. so the agent officially tagged it as carry-on with a special tag, so I wouldn't be required to check it at the gate. The tag signified that the bag had already been approved by an airline official and was officially being allowed.

One "gotcha" that comes up is computer planes. Generally, they won't hold regular size carry-on luggage. What happens is you can carry your bag to the plane, and then they take it from you and put it in the cargo section of the plane. When you get off the plane, they give it back to you out on the tarmac. This might be a problem, but not the problem of having to check the bag inside the terminal.

One thing I do is carry a very light weight, collapsible bag. If I am forced to check the bigger carry-on, I pull out what I absolutiely don't want to check and put it in the nylon bag and carry on that and check the 3/4 empty heavy bag.

The rules for all airlines are different, and they change. It is necessary to check before every flight what the restrictions are. It is possible to get backs through that do not meet the regulations, but it takes explanation and a nicent. One should always be prepared for the worst and have a Plan B.

As a side note, always pack and travel like a professional. Use luggage straps to identify your luggage. Use TSA locks. Use neat, permanent type luggage tags. Give your luggage a modest appearance, but with the air of an experienced traveler.

Thieves are less likely to go after the luggage experienced travelers knowing there is an unlikely chance of finding valuables. Professional bagger handlers appreciate the professional with the packing and treat the bags more kindly. Inspectors know that a well set-up piece of luggage will most likely follow the rules inside as well as outside -- unless they suspect you are a smuggler, then all bets are off.

I use an older style, but neat looking samsonite carryon for my camera. I am paranoid enough to think if a bag doen't look like it has a camera in it, it is less likely to be stolen. I can carry the camera, a dsler, lenses, wide-angle vor the XH-A1 a 12" laptop, tapes, HD backup and some miscellaneous, all very low profile at about 15 lbs. If I can add another pound, I believe I've also put Gitzo traveler tripod and the small Gitzo fluid head (works moderately well for video and great for the dslr).

On a side note, I have found it hilarious that ThinkTank makes a carry-on roller it advertises as small enough to be within the limit of European carry-on sizes, but the bag alone weighs more than carry-on weight limit for many international airlines.
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