Newswear Chestvest vs. Press Fashion Now Bomb – by C.S. Muncy

C.S. MuncyC.S. Muncy is a New York City-based freelance photojournalist with a client list that includes The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Newsday, The New York Daily News and The Village Voice. His work has also appeared in Time Magazine, The Smithsonian Magazine and Wired Japan. In 2012, he was selected for the 25th Eddie Adams Workshop, received the NPPA Short Course Travel Grant and won first prize in the National Geographic/Nikon “Full Story” photo contest. A graduate of the Defense Information School, he enlisted in the United States Air Force in 2002 and is currently a combat correspondent with the 106th Rescue Wing.
chest vest- now bomb

Newswear Chestvest (left) and Press Fashion Now Bomb (right)

For the last six or seven years I’ve used the Newswear Chestvest as my go-to lens carrier for when I’m shooting high-impact scenes. Unlike a shoulder bag or backpack, the Chestvest stores all of your lenses directly in front of you similar to a military ammo vest. When you’re running and gunning, this design makes a lot of sense. The downside is that it looks a bit “tacticool” (though people tend to give you a lot of space when you wear it on the subway.)

chest vest

Newswear Chestvest

I’ve worn this vest for years, covering jobs all over the country. It’s gone through multiple hurricanes, protests and political events, and has traveled around the globe with me. I’ve worn it both for my civilian work, and on the military side, and it’s worked like a charm. That said, it’s starting to get a bit long in the tooth. The nylon material is starting to wear down, and the velcro needs to be replaced.

chest vest

Newswear Chestvest

Earlier this year, I was covering the Republican National Convention when I ran into another shooter wearing a similarly designed rig, the Press Fashion Now Bomb. I’ve seen these from time to time, but this was the first moment I’d had to really examine it. And yes, I know…it has a really weird name.

I decided to pick up the Press Fashion rig more or less on a whim. My Chestvest can be repaired, but it couldn’t hurt to try something new. They’re both roughly the same cost, and while the design is similar, they’re both very different beasts.

now bomb

Press Fashion Now Bomb

The first thing that captured my attention with the Press Fashion was that it actually folded and zipped up when you’re not wearing it, making it look more like a medium-sized camera bag than anything else. This is actually really nice, as you can carry it around without having it strapped to your chest. While the pockets on the Press Fashion are smaller than the Chestvest, there are more of them, and a small pocket for your press ID. I had to modify my Chestvest for that. There are also dedicated pockets on the Press Fashion for batteries, memory cards and the like. The material also feels thicker, and more likely to survive long-term in harsh environments.

now bomb

Press Fashion Now Bomb

now bomb

Press Fashion Now Bomb

now bomb

Press Fashion Now Bomb

That’s not to say the Chestvest is lacking — far from it. The larger pockets make it ideal for certain types of projects, notably those where you’re carrying larger lenses or second bodies. While they’re both supposed to be weather resistant, the larger pockets and drawstrings on the Chestvest gave me more confidence to shoot in foul weather. Both vests have wide, nylon straps that cross over your back and shoulders. I’d like something with more padding, but they serve well enough. And while the Chestvest is available right now in the U.S., you have to special order the Press Fashion from Brazil.

So which would I go with? They both fill almost identical niches for news and sports photographers. The Press Fashion has more pockets and a window to display your press pass, but the Chestvest has larger pockets and feels slightly more protected. It’s really a 50/50 sort of thing, which depends largely upon what you’re shooting. In the end, I’d probably go with the Chestvest, and that’s only because I tend to carry a lot of gear. If you travel somewhat lighter, the Press Fashion is absolutely a worthwhile purchase.

chest vest

Newswear Chestvest

now bomb

Press Fashion Now Bomb

 

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