Still, I was intrigued by the moniker Multi-Mount, so I opted to test out this new bag from MindShift Gear, one of my two favorite camera bag companies (along with Think Tank Photo).
I chose to review the largest holster in this new lineup, the Multi-Mount Holster 50. And when the bag arrived and I initially holstered my Nikon D610, my first thought was: big mistake. What was I thinking? This bag is too roomy for a camera without a pro-grip. I should have ordered this bag one or two sizes smaller.
So I let it sit around, and sit, and sit.
Until one day, when I was retrofitting a backpack to give to a friend.
Unlike some reviewers, I recycle my older camera bags. I even ask that the bag recipients make a small charitable contribution in place of paying me for the bag.
Anyway, I came upon a padded divider that I’d stored. That’s another thing I do. Some packs—not any from MindShift or Think Tank, I might add—are just not worth giving to anyone, so I gut them and keep the dividers for later use, relegating these bags to other purposes, or just leaving them in the laundry room for any takers.
So, here was this wedge-shaped divider that turned out to be a perfect fit for the Multi-Mount 50. Well, almost perfect. To make this an even better fit, I added a thick pad covered in Velcro-friendly material to the bottom of the holster. Which now meant I could secure the divider on three sides using its hook-and-loop tabs. (And, yes, that pad came from yet another old pack.)
I wasn’t done. The holster included two narrow, thinly padded dividers. I don’t even recall where they were placed initially, but the first thing I did was to pull them out. It turned out that the wedge-shaped divider fell a bit short, leaving the top of the camera with the pentaprism housing exposed to bumps from anything sitting in the newly partitioned adjoining section. So I simply used these spare dividers to add to the height of the barrier. The arrangement was flexible enough to accommodate the top of the camera while isolating the two sections.
Granted, I probably could have used the two spare dividers alone, without adding anything, but the divider that I did add was thicker and of a heavier density and I felt it would do a better job of separating one section from the other.
Now I had room for my Nikon SB-700 flash in the ancillary section, with the D610 and attached Tamron 70-300mm zoom (or Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 zoom) in the main, larger section. Could I do even better? (Note: the manufacturer recommends using the outside pocket for the flash, but I prefer keeping my flash where it would be better protected while on the move, then possibly sticking it in a photo vest pocket once I arrive at my destination.)
One day I’d decided to do some macro shooting, replacing the zoom with my Tamron 90mm f/2.8 macro. That meant I’d also need my Metz ring flash. Hmm, could I also make room for the SB-700 inside the bag?
Why bother with the SB-700? I’ve often used a shoe-mount in place of the macro flash. The trick is to use the flash in bounce mode with the dome diffuser (diffusion dome) attached. That produces a soft, feathered light that doesn’t overwhelm the subject or create heavy, disturbing shadows behind it.
Anyway, that step was simple enough. I added a layer of protection (another padded divider from the storage bin) over the ring flash and lay the shoe-mount on top.
Next I wondered if I could make room for a second lens. Okay, something would have to give. I removed the ring flash. After all, the shoe-mount had greater utility. The Tamron macro was still on the camera, but I also wanted to take my Nikon 60mm macro, and as luck would have it, this lens was compact enough to fit in place of the ring flash, with the shoe-mount again riding on top.
And There Was Room for Even More
There is a zippered inside pocket—mesh so you can see what’s inside. I stuck the rain cover and a filter (inside its case) in there.
I wasn’t done. I had an outside front pocket waiting to be filled. This space was relegated to anything that wasn’t easily damaged, which included batteries for the camera and flash, a white balance target, and Rocket blower.
I was a happy camper.
First, you’re probably asking, how easy was it to get at the camera, now that I’d crowded it in with all the extras? Very easy indeed.
I should point out that I’d attached a SpiderPro Hand Strap to the camera, with a BlackRapid Tripod Plate 70 at the bottom, which now lets me readily use a tripod when needed.
While the bag would have accommodated a neck strap on the camera, a sling that attaches to the tripod socket would have been a bit much for this configuration. I would have had to make room, at the expense of the second section.
The nice thing about this Spider wrist strap is that I’ve gotten so used to it that I no longer feel a need to hang the camera around my neck or deal with a long strap getting in my way.
Wonder how I manage to hold onto the camera with that wrist strap for long periods without a neck strap or sling? Intermittently I rest the camera in my free hand, relax my grip for a moment or two, and flex my fingers. Simple, really.
The holster comes with a waist belt. That made a big difference, securing the bag in place so it wouldn’t swing around as I bent over to shoot low when focusing on macro subjects. That meant that I wouldn’t constantly have to divert attention away from the subject and toward the bag in an effort to reposition the holster behind my back, where I generally like to keep it, rather than at my side. (Okay, it did slide around a little, since I don’t like to cinch the waist belt too tight, but it wasn’t enough to prove an annoyance as I was shooting.)
The waist belt also takes some of the weight off your shoulder. However, it didn’t go far enough. Because I’d weighed the bag down by filling it to capacity, I found myself having to swap out the shoulder strap for one with a more substantial all-rubber shoulder pad, which also did a better job of gripping my shoulder. (Again, another remnant from a bag relegated to the throw-away pile.)
That said, the shoulder pad on the shoulder strap that came with the bag is pliable enough so that it won’t dig into your neck when you wear it sling-style, if that’ how you prefer to wear a shoulder bag. The strap would also work well if you opted to wear the bag as a chest pack, with the strap draped around your neck. This holster bulked out too much for me to comfortably wear it in this fashion. That’s something I might have done with one of the smaller versions.
I didn’t even try the other carrying modes. Again, if this were one of the smaller holsters, I would have entertained the notion of attaching it to my backpack. The bag also comes with a pair of tether straps that let you secure the holster to the back of the backpack; in front, as a chest pack but this time in tandem with the backpack; and as a waist pack, attached to the waist belt of the backpack, albeit at the front, lower down than you’d normally wear a chest pack. By letting the Multi-Mount ride tandem with a backpack, you can keep the camera in the holster, at your beck and call, while the rest of your gear rides comfortably on your back.
What can I say? The Multi-Mount Holster gives you the best of all worlds, keeping gear safe and ready for use the moment inspiration strikes. I didn’t think I’d like it, but I do. I use it regularly. And now I’m glad I’ve got the Multi-Mount Holster 50, the biggest holster in the lineup, since it lets me carry enough gear to tackle whatever I expect to encounter during the day, or night.
Uncompromising quality and craftsmanship; lightweight; highly durable; multi-use: carry it alone or attached to any backpack; the largest bag in the lineup, the Multi-Mount Holster 50, carries enough gear to cover a wide range of situations.
I managed to pack a Nikon D610 with attached lens, a Nikon SB-700, and either a ring flash or extra lens in this bag after I retrofitted it to my needs. As is, it will easily fit a pro camera with a pro-grip and lens attached, and some extras.
This Multi-Mount Holster has become a replacement for my UltraLight Dual when I want to be really light on my feet. I did swap out the shoulder strap for one with a more robust shoulder pad, and, once I did that, I found myself wearing this holster for hours on end. The included waist belt was especially welcome, making the bag so much more comfortable and secure, no matter how much I moved around. You might want to consider the Multi-Mount 30 or 20 (one or two sizes smaller) for a DSLR without a pro-grip, for a snug fit without reconfiguring the bad as I did.
In the final analysis, from my experience, the Multi-Mount Holster is a better, more practical choice than a shoulder bag. And it’s a compact alternative to my photo backpacks.
On a long hike, I’d definitely consider one of the smaller Multi-Mounts attached to my backpack. No matter how thoughtfully designed the pack, nothing beats having a camera immediately at hand in one of these holsters.
Who Should Use This?
Travel photographers who like to travel light, hikers, nature enthusiasts, mountain climbers, rock climbers.
FEATURES AND BENEFITS (Mfr. specifications)
MATERIALS (Mfr. specifications)
Exterior: For superior water resistance, all exterior fabric has a durable water-repellant coating, plus the underside of the fabric has a polyurethane coating. The holsters also feature high-quality YKK zippers, 420D high-density nylon, 420D velocity nylon, 320G, 350G airmesh, nylon webbing, 3-ply bonded nylon thread.
Interior: 200D poly, velex, high-density closed-cell foam, belly-o mesh, 3-ply bonded nylon thread.
GEAR CAPACITY (Mfr. specifications)
Multi-Mount Holster 50
Multi-Mount Holster 30
Multi-Mount Holster 20
Multi-Mount Holster 10
Multi-Mount Holster 50 (tested)
External Dimensions: 13.25” H x 8.5” W x 8.75” D
Camera Compartment: 11.25” H x 7.25” W x 6.5” D
Weight: 14.875 oz. (Weight w/ all straps and rain cover: 1 lb. 7.625 oz.)
Multi-Mount Holster 30
External Dimensions: 13.25” H x 8.5” W x 6.5” D
Camera Compartment: 11.25” H x 7.25” W x 4.5” D
Weight: 12.875 oz. (Weight w/ all straps and rain cover: 1 lb. 5.25 oz.)
Multi-Mount Holster 20
External Dimensions: 9.5” H x 8.25” W x 6.5” D
Camera Compartment: 7.5” H x 7.25” W x 4.5” D
Weight: 11.625 oz. (Weight w/ all straps and rain cover: 1 lb. 3.5 oz.)
Multi-Mount Holster 10
External Dimensions: 8.5” H x 7.25” W x 6.25” D
Camera Compartment: 6.75” H x 6” W x 3.75” D
Weight: 10 oz. (Weight w/ all straps and rain cover: 1 lb. 2.125 oz.)
Keep memory cards at the ready with MindShift Gear’s Card-Again memory card wallets. The CF version holds 4 cards; the SD version holds 6. If you get the CF version, as I did, you can store 2 SD cards in each slot.