Mindshift Gear Introduces the FirstLight Backpack Series

The FirstLight backpack series addresses the needs of traveling outdoor photographers. Featuring a contoured, adjustable torso harness with 11 adjustment points it accommodates most men and women. These packs are a tour-de-force of backpack design for outdoor photography. Ballistic nylon bottoms for durability, hydration reservoir compatible and long lens capacity with room for a laptop and personal gear. Designed with the needs of outdoor photographers in mind, (who travel by plane, train and automobile, before they head out to remote locations), these are trail packs that travel well. Carry on compatible, these comfortable high capacity backpacks are built for extended days of travel or a long day on the trail.

Key Features:

  • Adjustable torso length fits small to large body types
Robust, comfortable, and contoured harness system with 11 adjustment points
Sized for domestic or international travel (Check with your airline for their current carry-on requirements)
  • Dedicated 3L hydration pocket on side (30L & 40L only)
  • Tablet or laptop fits into front pocket (20L & 30L = up to 15” laptop; 40L = up to 17” laptop)
  • Includes tripod/monopod mounting system on front or side
  • Better weight distribution for a more comfortable load enables easier all day use on the trail
  • Seamless rain cover (included) doubles as a ground cloth
  • When attached, rain cover allows small to medium tripods to be carried on front or side positions
  • 2 front stuff pockets for travel or trail essentials; extra layers, a light jacket, headlamp, gloves, chargers
Adjustable high-density closed-cell foam dividers for large telephoto lenses,traditional photo gear, or personal items
  • Large water bottle or accessory pocket with drains and cinch cord for security
  • Top zippered pocket for quick access to essentials
  • Ballistic nylon bottom panel for durability in harsh environments
  • Shaped aluminum torso stay for additional support
  • Grab handles on 3 sides make it easy to hoist into an overhead bin, car, or trunk (2 handles on 20L)
  • Interior mesh pockets for storing filters, batteries, cables, etc.
  • Side compression straps with locking SR buckles for additional lash points
  • Shoulder straps and waist belt wrap to front for compact storage in overhead compartment
  • Whistle integrated into sternum strap buckle
  • Compatible with MindShift Tripod Suspension Kit, Lens Switch Case, and the filter cases

Gear Profile

FirstLight 20L: 
Holds 1 standard-size DSLR and 4–6 standard zoom lenses. Holds 2 large Mirrorless DSLRs and 5–7 lenses plus a flash. Maximum lens size: 200–400mm f/4 detached or 300 f/2.8 attached.

FirstLight 30L: 
Holds 1 gripped DSLR and 4–6 standard zoom lenses, and 1 flash. Maximum lens size: 500mm f/4 lens detached or 400 f/2.8 attached.

FirstLight 40L: 
Holds 2 gripped DSLRs with 6–8 standard zoom lenses and 1–2 flashes. Maximum lens size: 600mm f/4 lens detached or a 500mm f/4 attached.

FirstLight 20L – $229.99
FirstLight 30L – $279.99
FirstLight 40L – $329.99

Available later this month. Order yours today!

New from Olympus, the Air

Olympus announces a new concept camera they are calling the Air.

The Air has a 16MP Four Thirds sensor which uses a smartphone or tablet for its display. It can be attached to a smartphone via a ‘clamp’ or it can be handheld, put on a tripod, or virtually anywhere that’s within your smartphone’s Wi-Fi range.

The Air initiates a Wi-Fi connection to a mobile device using Bluetooth LE, which later allows the user to power on the camera simply by opening the OA.Central app.

In addition to saving photos to its built-in microSD card or your smartphone, the Air is also fully integrated with Amazon Cloud Drive*. Photos can be immediately stored in the cloud instead of filling up your phone’s memory.

The Olympus Air is $299.99 for body only, and $499.99 with the 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 EZ lens. The OA.Central app will be available from the Apple, Google, and Amazon app stores.


  • 16MP Four Thirds sensor
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Electronic shutter for a max shutter speed of 1/16000 sec
  • Full manual exposure controls
  • Raw support
  • ISO range of 100-12800
  • 23 photos at 10 fps (16MP, normal quality)
  • Records 1080/30p video
  • Integrates with Amazon Cloud Drive
  • MicroSD card slot
  • Built-in battery rated to 320 shots per charge

Experiencing the Leica M System

Photojournalist David Butow presents a slideshow of his work with the Leica

Thank you to Leica Akademie instructor Tom Brichta, photojournalist David Butow and all the participants who joined us yesterday for the Leica M Experience Day at Camera West Walnut Creek.

The Leica Akademie provided our participants with a suitcase full of M gear to try out including the M240, the M240 P, and even the new Monochrom 246.

With a small group setting and expert instruction from pros Tom Brichta and David Butow, participants had the opportunity to experience all the advantages of the Leica M system.

Photojournalist David Butow showed us why the Leica M is such an important tool for his work


Leica Akademie instructor Tom Brichta (left) and Dan H go over the M240


David Butow (right ) and Michael C compare images

As always, check out our events link on the Camera West website for upcoming events and don’t miss out on the next one!


Sigma Announces World’s First F2.0 Zoom Lens for Full Frame Cameras

The Sigma 24-35mm F2 DG HSM Art lens is the first full-frame zoom lens offering a wide-open, constant aperture of F2 throughout the zoom range.

Sigma was determined to develop a zoom for 35mm full-frame sensor cameras that enables the same sharpness and resolution as a fixed focal length lens. To do this, the company’s engineers built upon the concept of Sigma’s ground-breaking 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM Art lens, which is designed for APS-C cameras and is the first zoom to offer a fast F1.8 aperture value throughout the zoom range. The 24-35mm F2 DG HSM Art allows photographers to carry one lens that can do the work of three popular fixed focal length lenses – the 24mm, 28mm and 35mm — with F2 brightness and top optical performance comparable to Sigma’s 24mm F1.4 DG HSM Art and 35mm F1.4 DG HSM Art.

The new 24-35mm lens incorporates the latest Sigma technology, including an optimized autofocus (AF) algorithm for smooth, fast, and accurate focusing, as well as manual focus (MF) override functionality. As with many Sigma Global Vision lenses, Thermally Stable Composite (TSC) compound material is used, which has a high affinity to metal parts, consistently performs well at extreme temperatures, and reduces the size and weight of the lens. In addition, its Super Multi-Layer Coating reduces flare and ghosting, and provides sharp and high-contrast images, even in backlit conditions. It’s ideal for close-up shooting, portraits and deep-focus landscape photography.

Pricing and availability are pending.


  • EF Mount Lens/Full Frame Format
  • Aperture Range: f/2 to 16
  • FLD & Special Low Dispersion Elements
  • Two Aspherical Elements
  • Super Multi-Layer Coating
  • Hyper Sonic AF Motor
  • Internal Focus; Manual Focus Override
  • Rounded 9-Blade Diaphragm
  • Thermally Stable Composite Material
  • Compatible with Sigma USB Dock