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Friday, 28 April 2017


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Glad it suits your needs - this is just way too much padding and hassle for me, either in studio or for travel. I want to reach into my bag, grab a lens and use it without having to find/open a pouch. But whatever works for YOU!

But Mike, it's only $79.95 at B&H.

I love the ThinkTank product line, and totally agree with your approach of protecting each piece of equipment individually. For shoots outside I especially like the extra protection. Think Tank's Lens Changer bags are nice as well, but a bit bulky for the lighter weight approach you've demonstrated.

The classic Tenba photo messenger bags are also nice, though I can only speak to the previous generation, I haven't tried the newer ones yet.

In general, bags for gear sit on a pivot point between useful accessories and dangerous obsession for me, so I loved the article!

I think the City Walkers are great bags. I was looking for a bag for a trip to Paris. On vacation I typically walk for 8 -10 hours a day, so I needed something light. I rejected the 30 because it would tempt me to take too much gear and went with the 20 instead. It easily held my Canon 6d, 24-105 zoom, and a Samyang 14mm, and it was comfortable to carry all day. On other occasions, I've substituted a 70-200 F4 zoom for the Samyang.

"No matter what type of shooting you do, taking care of your gear should be number one, and being organized is the first step towards creating the versatility you may need.


I store my lenses in one bag.

And use another when out and about.

Things like this still happen.

Can't say I understand this. Why put lenses in padded cases, put those cases in a padded insert and the insert in a padded bag? I must be missing something.

I use zoom lenses for two reasons: one, because I hate to waste time changing lenses; and two, because with a zoom I can choose exactly the field of view I want. With a prime, the lens dictates the field of view, which may not be exactly what I want. "Zooming with my feet" works sometimes, but not nearly always.

With all due respect to Ms. Almeda, doing things as she does them would drive me totally bonkers. All of that taking lenses off cameras and putting them in cases and taking other lenses out of cases and putting them on cameras!

I too am a longtime, satisfied Lowepro user. I recently began using a Think Tank CityWalker 10 bag though. It is smaller than the 30 the author uses, but I actually love that.

It "forces" me to limit my kit to my camera (a full-frame Nikon SLR) with lens attached and only two other larger items, usually one lens and a flash unit or two other lenses. There is also plenty of well-designed room for other accessories such as filters, batteries, snacks, water bottle, etc.

I find the CityWalker 10 to be the perfect street photography shoulder bag.

By the way, that Fujifilm gear looks great. Keeping an eye out for what I hope will be their upcoming X-E3, which could be the beginning of a new, more lightweight street and travel kit for me.

Almost a year ago I got a Think Tank Mirrorless Mover 30i for my mft outfit, as it was compact and light as the gear. It's fifth (yes, I'm a bag whore) Think Tank bag I own and it hits the mark the best of all of them.

Am I the only reader who likes Fogg bags? I also like Billingham, of course...

Glad to see somebody else keeps lenses in pouches in bags. I like bulletproof Lowepro Dashpoint 20s and 10s for my Olympus zooms and primes. I can also toss the lens in its pouch into a backpack, confident that it will come out unscathed. The silver sharpie labeling is a nifty trick.

Perfectly timed article-for me at least. I'm going through this exact same search process for my new Xpro 2 and expanding lens collection. I like the approach a lot. Thanks!

Those little LowPro pouches are nice, but they are pretty bulky. And by placing the pouches within a ThinkTank messenger bag, in effect you have double padding. Great protection but I think it might be overkill. I like the old-fashioned Domke canvas bags which have relatively thin interior dividers. They hold a lot.

A 50Mpixel 5DS/R and 3 zoom lenses covering the same range or wider, pack in less space.

Reminds me what we used to call those fold-over leather camera cases that came with cameras in the middle decades of the last century—marketed as "ever-ready cases," we called them "never-ready cases."

Those wee Fuji lenses comes with handy lens bags, which give them about as much protection as I need shoved into a pocket, waist pack, back pack, Domke bag--or, I suppose if I was going to turn the rig over the baggage handlers, a fully padded camera bag or backpack.

This is an impressive set up, but it looks like a lot of unpacking to make a photo or change a lens.

Unfortunately, I think the City Walker line of bags has been discontinued. Or not...I'm not real sure at this point. At one time they disappeared from Think Tank's website but now they're back. Sort of.
They no longer appear when checking under the Shoulder Bags category although they can be found with a search. The City Walker 20 is now the only model missing in action.

I have all three City Walker models--10, 20 & 30--and they are very attractive designs with lots of easily accessed storage space in each model. You can also remove the inner padded insert to change the configuration into a simple one-compartment shoulder sack. Handy as a carry on, overnighter or a diaper bag (if absolutely necessary). I like the fact that the bags are lightweight but sturdy and priced economically.

Despite my admiration for the Think Tank bags, I keep returning to Billinghams as my primary carry bags. I've yet to find better designed or better built shoulder bags than the Hadley Pro and the small L2.

Where are the camera bodies in bag in that photo?

I don't know what make my camera bag (didn't they used to be called gadget bags, back in the day?), as it is a no-name one I bought back in the '80s for my Pentax MX. It held that with the 50mm f1.8 and, separated by a movable divider, a 135mm lens. It wasn't in use much as I soon acquired more lenses and stuff and replaced it with something twice the size.

But it quite easily holds my E-M10 with the kit lens (14-42mm II-R), the 40-150mm lens, the 9mm body-cap lens and a set of extension tubes. It's padded, slightly weatherproof and has external pockets to hold accessories, phone, bars of chocolate and so on.

It was cheap and it's old, but it does the job. A bit like me, I suppose...

Another approach to lens protection would be using lens wraps, Domke and Tenba for example, in bags that are already well padded. A silver Sharpie could mark the wraps.

Going slightly off topic, a silver Sharpie is great for marking camera batteries and flashcards.

Another vote here against excess padding. Another vote here for the canvas Domke bags. You CAN be TOO careful....

My smallest and oldest bag is a WW2 gas mask bag, with the broad arrow and year 1945 stencilled inside. I've had it for years. There's usually no padding except for a square of camping mat in the bottom.

It is 4.5 x 5 x 8" tall, and will hold a DSLR with 24 and 50mm lenses with the lens off the camera wrapped in a cloth, or (just) the same DSLR with a 16-50mm lens. I used to go out with just the camera and the 24, but the 50 makes no great difference to the weight so that comes too, now.

My biggest bag was made from one and a half canvas bags to go abroad with, as hand luggage. It held the camera gear, and a survival kit for the journey or if I was separated from my luggage. It weighed a ton.

I don't use it as a camera bag now. Instead, I use it for work. It holds a drill and lead, and other tools. It still weighs a ton, but as I don't have to carry it more than a hundred feet at a time, I don't mind.

I like Fogg bags, too, but they are hard to get where I live. So I have 3 Billinghams. I also have a big brown paper box full of those little padded cases that some lenses come in when you buy them, and I have never used them since taking the lens out of them the first time.

I'm curious:does anyone have any actual evidence that camera bags are stolen more often than, say, laptop bags? Or any bags that look like they've got a lot of stuff in them?

I love the look of Billinghams but you can buy good lenses for all that money!
For walking I am often in bad weather. I like walking in good weather on the moors with nothing on my back. In bad weather I ilke to keep camera and wet weather kit separate.
I love using the little Lowepro Inverse 100 AW. This belt bag is small, waterproof and with an extra small shoulder belt very comfortable.
By glueing two back lens caps together you can fit EM5 12-40/2.8. But the advantage of m43 is those tiny primes. And I can fit 12/25 and 45/60 macro primes in two pairs with their back caps stuck together.
Small and light. With a little Panasonic GX85 it would be even lighter.

I went through a bag mania phase, an affliction Mike has referred to in the past.

My best bag? For my Leica M6 and three lenses, and sundry other doo-dads, including a small tripod, a flash and a compact camera was the Domke J-803 ballistic nylon satchel bag, which was small on the outside but otherwise capacious.

But mostly I'd carry an extra lens in a jacket pocket, and make do with one camera with one lens on a shoulder strap.

Worrying about packing is not my thing. All is do is ensure that gear doesn't ding against anything hard and get dented or scratched. Usually, a layer of cloth suffices, whether that is a pocket, or a cleaning cloth wrapped around a lens.

Lens pouches are the fungus petri dishes of the camera world.

I cary my whole camera kit every day in my pants left pocket
with my handkerchief. It's an iPhone 7plus.

I recently got a handbag in Muji amd ordered the Billingham Hadley insert for it. Perefect. One body with a lens and space for my other 2 in case I decide to carry them. I never carry the caps for the lenses. Just a filter and hood. I can carry my Moleskine, sunglasses, reading glasses. The only thing missing is a shoulder pad.

Darlene, have you considered using a bandalero instead of a bag to carry those lenses?

Seriously, if this works for you, great!. If I carried this much gear I'd be miserable. The more I carry the worse my work. But to protect lenses from bag bangs I use Domke wraps. These thin pad squares come in three sizes and several colors. Velcro corners enables them to be quickly shaped in any manner and the colors make i.d. a snap.

Now about my sock drawer...

The only GAS worse than for cameras and lenses is for camera bags. I was just at B&H yesterday buying a padded insert for my non-camera bag that I use to carry my gear on a day to day basis (https://www.tombihn.com/products/the-makers-bag?variant=21668006023). The person who helped me at B&H said the number of bags they carry easily outnumbers the number of cameras they carry, which is not a surprise to me.

I've tried bags by
- camera gear makers (Domke, Think Tank)
- non-camera gear makers (Tom Bihn, Patagonia) I've tried
- backpacks and shoulder bags (never a sling as I don't find that style workable)
- padded bags and unpadded bags
- camera wraps and inserts
and ultimately have to accept that there is no one bag to hold them all, just as there is no one camera to take all pictures.

I am afraid I just do not understand why one would want to put lenses both in cases and then in another bag. It must take 10 minutes to change a lens? A shoulder bag is, surely, designed to take naked lenses. Each to their own I suppose, but this approach strikes me as somewhat strange.

Agree with Chris. Naked lenses, just the rear cap. I carry an extra one, by the way.

From about 1968 to 2008, when it finally disintegrated, I used a surplus gas mask bag to hold an M2, four lenses, light meter, half a dozen (more or less) cans of home-wound Tri-X, viewfinders and the odd pen, pencil or scrap of paper. For the camera when not in action, padding was provided by a shoe bag. Lenses were in socks. Can't find a 480 pixel wide shot, but here's a link to the evidence:https://flic.kr/p/Pk9ZrR.

The trouble with lens pouches (I have the same) is the zipper: you cannot leave it unzipped and not risk the lens falling on the ground. You need to perform two additional actions (opening and closing) compared to a bag or fanny pack with a velcro strip.

The trouble with marking pouches is that you cannot exchange lenses because each lens fits into a particular case/pouch. Changing lenses becomes a tedious procedure that requires FOUR additional actions (opening and closing both pouches). Way too much trouble.

It seems like the author tries to combine two purposes. There are padded bags for travel and there are bags for shooting.

The best shooting bags are small with little padding. The smaller the better. There are specific bags to accommodate mirrorless cameras, like this one:


I've found bags with just two compartments to work best. Three or more compartments spoil the shooting experience.

Darlene: I think Ken may have meant bandolier, sometimes spelled bandoleer, a leather cartridge belt with pockets usually worn across the shoulders and chest, rumored to have been worn by Spanish-speaking bandits, known as bandoleros. At least, that's what they were called in our Western movies...

Jim Hughes

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