After a successful Kickstarter campaign where they achieved funding above their goal, innovative camera bag maker f-stop has launched a short Indiegogo funding campaign for those who missed out on its predecessor.
The f-stop Kashmir – Female Focused Camera Pack campaign closes January 13 at 11:59pm PT with a goal of $5,000. Get in soon if you want to support female photographers or if you want dibs on your very own Kashmir when delivery begins in March.
As for why a camera bag just for women, the folks at f-stop said it first so I don’t have to point out the blatantly obvious myself:
Women are overlooked in the photo industry. Women photographers make up a significant portion of the industry and operate at the highest levels, but there are very few products tailored toward them…
One addition – women are overlooked in the movie industry too even though women make a significant portion of moviemaking students. Most female film school graduates either fail to find any opening for them in the industry at all or they end up in low-level roles supporting the blokes. Indiewire has long provided the evidence in its Women and Hollywood sub-site.
The St Louis, MI-based (same city as planet5D) f-stop’s Indiegogo campaign page provides some details on how the Kashmir differs from their other camera packs – a different torso height and harness system (shoulder straps and hip belt).
Light weight is another factor. And, women tend to be shorter on average, with different proportions, certain secondary sex characteristics and a lower center of gravity though there is a wide range of variations in female body shapes and sizes. Then there are the internal differences too, something that another field of endeavor, medicine, usually fails to take into account when it prescribes drugs that have only been tested on men, to women. (Which causes me to wonder if other bag makers ever test their new designs on women.)
It is what inside that makes the most difference to how we respond to treatment as much as how we make movies and shoot photographs. There are perceptible differences in the outcomes. Bravo to f-stop for waking up to the obvious by apparently consulting with some female photographers for input and testing as well as featuring them in promotional movies and stills.
I went looking for names and details of women who contributed to the development effort but female names at f-stop’s Staff Pro and Pro Team pages appear to be very definitely in the minority. I hope that some more women will be added very soon. I have known and worked with many amazing female photographers, cinematographers and photographer/directors in the past so they are not exactly in short supply.
There also seems to be an emphasis on mountaineering photographers. Which leads me to make some other requests of the f-stop team:
- Please don’t forget it is more than mountaineering photographers who need great camera bags accounting for everything needed on location. Urban photographers and moviemakers do too. Especially an “independent, one-person, backpack multimedia journalist and documentary moviemaker”.
- Blue-accented black backpacks may look great on white-snowed mountaintops but they can be a distinct liability in the cities, beaches and outback of Australia. Summer has finally appeared here with mid-to-high 30-degrees heat in Sydney right now and temperatures in the mid-to-high 40s in the south and west of the nation. It is high bushfire season, sheer hellfire in parts. I suspect that elsewhere in the world prone to visitations by filmmakers and photographers may also be rather hot and sunny occasionally. Please don’t write off a considerable slice of your market. Your Malibu Blue color would be rather good at not absorbing extreme heat and sun, I believe. It is one of my favorite colors too.
- The MOLLE system that so positively sets your other backpacks and bags apart from the herd has almost entirely vanished from The Kashmir so far as I can tell from the black-on-black of the pics in your Indiegogo images. They have disappeared altogether from the bag’s hip belt. Easy access to hip belt-mounted little MOLLE-strapped cases is crucial for the urban-commuting shooter I have found. Especially when needing to access travel passes, credit cards, cash, keys, reporter’s notebook, pens, miniature audio recorder, EarPods, cellphones and even light meters. Some of us still use the latter especially now that Shane Hurlburt has been championing their use in moviemaking. All of those items are often need at a moment’s notice and no better place to carry them than at one’s waist or on one’s hip belt.
- Judging from the Medium Shallow ICU shown in your Indiegogo campaign page, The Kashmir will be struggling to carry the mixed audio, moviemaking and stills photography gear us hybrid shooters need almost every day now. Our mirrorless hybrid cameras may have shrunk in size compared to DSLRs but we carry plenty of ancillary gear as well as the usual personal items. Hybrid shooter numbers continue to grow as the hardware-makers begin to listen and act. The Kashmir may be great for the Canon and Nikon full-frame shooters you depict but other things have been going on in digital since 2008.
There is plenty to like about The Kashmir but it does not, sadly, meet my needs and right now nothing else on the market does either. I can’t be alone in this. Not from the feedback I get every time I go into the city and have conversations with similarly frustrated female shooters who feel just as overlooked in all aspects of gear and its marketing as I.
For those lucky enough please consider contributing to f-stop’s The Kashmir Indiegogo campaign before it closes on January 13. For the rest of us, here is hoping. To the guys at f-stop, you know how to get in touch.
The Kashmir – Female Focused Camera Pack
Our new women’s-focused camera pack: Kashmir. The Kashmir is a 30 Liter ultralight backpack engineered to be a versatile all-around daypack. It has a different torso height and harness system (shoulder straps and hip belt). It works with the f-stop Internal Camera Unit system and is incredibly light weight (just over 1KG).
Eleonora Raggi on location with the Kashmir
(cover photo credit: snap from Indiegogo)