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Monday, 14 January 2019


Like most professional or enthusiast photographers I have stacks of photo bags tucked into various corners. I often don't like the dividers or pads in a given bag so they are all a jumbled mix of colors and brands inside.

By using particular dividers and positioners and padding I can create the perfect bag for a particular set of equipment on a particular day.

And even though I generally agree with your assignment of Billingham to the consumption-as-an-art-form category the fact remains for me that a carefully selected subset of Billingham bags (selected to not scream expensive and to not be too fiddly) end up being the lucky ones I actually select for a field trips.

And although many of my other older bags look worn and have developed problems my heavily used Billingham bags look about the same as the first day I used them. And the weather protection has always been adequate to great.

A side note: some press and other pros like tossing their cameras into poorly padded canvas bags, maybe just to prove the cameras are just tools to them, but I'd actually like to get some resale value some day, not to mention not causing gratuitous irritating scratches on screens and what not.

I recommend the Think Tank CityWalker 10 or 20. I’m very happy with my 10. The only possible downside is that it might not be waterproof enough for you without it’s rain cover.

I have 7 or 8 camera bags and I hate each and every one.

Couldn't you put a piece of gaffer tape over the LoewPro emblem on the bag?

Oh, Mike, obviously you've not read some of Kirk's tirades on both hipsters and fanboys. Keep your head down.

May I suggest having a look at the PacSafe bags?


I have two, the backpack X25 and Camsafe v8. They've been all over the world with me and I've had no troubles with them. I like them both very much.

Bags are a total pain. I have four - a huge LowePro that weighs a metric tonne when empty and which has lain, barely used and unloved, in a cupboard for over ten years; a LowePro that I won from having some pictures published in a UK photo magazine which has never been used and can't be bothered to put on a certain auction site; and the two I do use: a 15 year-old, battered, small LowePro that pretty much hits the spot for my digital gear and a Mammut 'traveller' rucksack which I bought for its capacity and lightness and then proceeded to fill with my heavy large format kit.

I find most LowePro backpacks to be horrendously over-engineered with no consideration for their weight when empty (an important and often overlooked factor). There are also a lot of gimmicky bags available with 'quick access' compartments which flip round or turn upside down or have flaps in odd places - I don't really see the point of those. Anyone who really does need to shoot quickly will probably just have the camera on a simple strap. Call me a curmudgeon if you like but life's too short to spend a lot of time choosing a camera bag...

Just got a nice new bag myself, a Domke F803- perfect size for mirrorless, well designed and constructed, inconspicuous. Love new thinner designs that more closely straddle one's back, are easily swung around when needed, and are not "blocky" and banging against one's side and waist all the time!

I think your objection to the Lowepro logo is easily cured with a bit of gaffer tape. Properly done, it might even look ironic.


Derechoe is a straight line wind storm, would bend all of your trees to about 90 degrees. I have been in one, scary, even in the house.

Bill OBrien

Cannot believe you forgot Artisan & Artist in your 'High-Status Luxury Veblen-Good brands' category...


In regards to the Lowepro logo, on stuff like that it is very easy to take a Sharpie and color all the logo thread to make it a much less obtrusive black. I do that on bags, hats and clothing.

Mike, I agree with your aversion to providing 'free advertising', though I like LowePro as they make good and sensible bags. My solution is the black Sharpie marker, which when used liberally both horizontally and then vertically across their stitching, quickly blends that 'bold lettering' into just a dark patch on the bag flap. I also agree with Kirk that 'Think Tank' makes very fine bags, if a bit pricey. Three (S,M,L) of their shoulder bags now carry my array of Fuji mirrorless gear as needed (single body, or two lens-mounted bodies w/ 2 add'l lenses, or full 2-bodies, 5 lenses system). And their exterior logo is nearly unnoticeable.

I definitely feel this particular pain point, as someone who carries a camera absolutely everywhere. Current favorite is the Domke F-9, https://www.amazon.com/Domke-700-90B-Small-Shoulder-Black/dp/B0019LVWX8 with the logo removed with a razor blade. I can carry my M10 and a couple lenses, or my D750 with a 40mm Voightlander mounted and the 24-120 f/4 off to one side. Plus room in the front for other sundries. I also added an organizer to the front pocket, to hold pens and batteries and such, and changed out the strap for one more to my liking (fairly trivial sewing). I'll often just add features to a bag that falls slightly short. Usually this means custom straps or changing out fasteners, or the odd organizer. I joke with my wife that something's not really mine until I've customized it a bit.

I've also gone so far as to make whole bags (e.g. https://www.instagram.com/p/BqMcVnbhMh_/), with some success. It's really just taking all the things I like from all the different bags in my collection and mashing them together, but out of whole cloth. I will say that if I were making these in the US, and doing all the sewing myself, the cost would be more like Oberwerth than Domke.

Tenba, Tamrac and Lowpro too used to sell very good quality bags that were made in the USA. I have a Tenba "Black Label" bag from around 2012 (was made here, but no longer sold) that is perfect for an Olympus E-M1 II, Olympus 12-40/2.8 & Pany 35-100/2.8. Last Tenba I bought felt decidedly cheaper and more recently one I recommended to someone ripped apart the first time used. Have a Tamrac, 828 World something or other from 1998 That's been all over and still in perfect shape. Any time I looked at newer, Tamrac bags they nothing like the older bags. More recent Lowpro shoulder bags are okay, but nothing like my 2003 Lowpro roller bags. I do have a Think Tank, Mirrorless Mover 20, that can also hold the same equipment listed above, and it's a god quality, sturdy bag. It also has just enough foam to protect the gear without the over stuffed foam feel of the Tenba/Tamrac/Lowpros.

That "LowePro" is a magnet for attention and screams, "There's a camera inside!"

Like the little red dot that screams, "This is an expensive camera!"

A black fibrenyte Billingham Hadley One is my day to day bag. It contains my Olympus M43 with a lens attached, assorted stuff including ”spare” lenses, medications, chargers and my 13” laptop. I lug it everywhere every day. It was expensive but I haven’t regretted the purchase.

Before that I used a used Billingham Hadley Pro, also in black canvas. That one was pretty cheap and it lasted me almost ten years of daily use.

I like the black Billinghams because they don’t look like camera bags, are made of canvas (or a synthetic canvas-like material), are water proof and have no velcro fasteners other than on the inserts. And no plastic fasteners either that always break.

Who ever leaves the labels on bags? An invitation to theft.
This is the type of tool you need and easily available:

Have you checked Tenba BYOB (bring your own bag)?
They are the inside of a photo bag and you can put them in any bag of your choice.
I have one for my GX7 and a couple of lenses. I put it in my backpack when I hike in the mountains together with the other things that I need and I am very satisfied.
You can also put it in a bag that will not look like a photo bag.

Hi Mike, try one of this company's products. I have the shipwright in leather which carries a body with lens attached grip up and an extra lens in lens bag. It has a few pockets, sufficient but not so many you lose things.
Meets several of your criteria. I had a leather worker add brass swivels to the strap so I can swap it out if needed.
Like you I have a Tenba messenger for laptop etc for those times when more stuff is required. This Navali product is great as it is understated and doesn't look like a camera bag.
Good luck with your search.

I carry my E-M1.2 in a Think Tank Hubba Hubba Hiney shoulder bag with the 12-35/2.8 mounted. Your G9 is about the same size. There's room for another lens or three; I can get the 35-100/2.8 in there if I'm willing to work a little when extracting it. I've been using it more than any other bag for several years with no real visible wear, just a bit of dirt from all the use. It's by far my favorite bag for a day out.

I still have their Mirrorless Mover i30, but since I upgraded to an iPad 12.9" it no longer fits and there's little other advantage over the HHH.

And I'm anything but a hipster - although being 67, I'm old enough to have been accused of being a hippie back in the day.

I've been using an Ona Bowery bag for my Fuji X-T1. It has one padded divider and a removable strap. I place the body (18-55mm lens attached with the hood facing out) with its back against the divider and the right-side grip on top and a 10-24mm lens on the other side of the divider. It's a snug fit but has worked for me. There are 5 pockets—1 on the back side, 2 on the sides below the strap buckles, and 2 under the flap—and they are flat like the back pockets on jeans.



I've sort of settled on a soft-sided lunch bag, with a waterproof liner, padded exterior, and a big flap opening with zipper from either end. Its my favorite because it doesn't hint "expensive camera gear inside." It does have 2 patch pockets, which are great for extra batteries of memory cards. The main compartment is big enough for a small tripod or monopod.

Try the Think Tank Hubba Hubba Hiney -

Fits my OM-1 with the 12-100 zoom + Manfrotto Pixi tripod + a Mindshift 10 cover bag for hiking - comes with rain cover too.

Zippered front pocket + two expandable small pockets

Has shoulder strap + waist level straps to attach to your belt (or theirs)

See: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1394388-REG/think_tank_photo_063_hubba_hubba_hiney_version.html -

I also refuse to buy any wearables (clothes,bags etc)that have branding prominently showing.If the Lowepro bag is your preferred bag then you could use a black "sharpie"pen to reduce the logos visibility. I have done this successfully with camera straps that display the make and model on them, screaming "steal me".

I could not agree more with Kirk Tuck. I was able to get a very slightly used Think Tank rolling bag at a great price and it's never failed me on so many travels. They are best of breed and simply well designed, executed and long lasting. If I ever need a new bag, they will be the first choice for review.

But, I probably never will as I'm completely over GAS and BAS. I'm now into SOG - selling old gear. :)

Oh no! A discussion on BAGS!!

The only more potent discussion you could brew up is saying "Leicas are obsolete".

Mike, look at these choices:
Tenba DNA 8 0r DNA 10
Ona Bowery

I happen to have all three and find the Ona Bowery fits my Olympus OM-D E-M1 V1 with the 12-40mm attached (larger than your 12-35 Lumix) and the Lumix 35-100 f/2.8 perfectly, with a divider between them, with enough room to carry a few spare batteries.

That said, the Tenba DNA8 is slightly more flexible, about the same size but does have a few more pockets including one inside for an iPad mini or Kindle along with others you can simply ignore. I use this one most often with my Fuji X-Pro2 and f/2 lenses, but will also use it with the m43 system on occasion too. It's lighter,( does have a rain cover you can leave at home) and comes in colors too. The Tenba DNA 10 is a little bigger version, good if you want a bit more room (or in my case I want to cary a few extra widgets.

No bag will be perfect, by definition. So don't bother searching for the perfect bag... unless that brings readers to your site. Put some gaffer tape over the Lowe-Pro badge and go make pictures.

The bag you are really describing is the classic Domke Bag, designed by Jim on his kitchen table. I'm sure you remember how ubiquitous they were among pros.
They were probably the first 'carry bag', with minimal padding to take up space.
The reason they lost popularity in the digital age was that cameras got bigger and the bags (and especially the inserts ) didn't.
But now, many fine cameras are getting small again and would probably fit in the old Domke's just fine. I have about 6 of them and 2 satchels from back in the day, and often use one with just a single divider for a camera with lens mounted and one extra lens.
Their largest satchel fits my 8x10 Deardorff WITH the 4x5 reducing back !
Surely you must have a couple knocking around in the basement.......

I am far from a bag expert but for our business we were early adopters of Think Tank products they are very well thought out and nothing ever breaks.
If I were a hipster I'd carry my instamatic in a Filson

Girlfriend, Mike? Ok, great. :)

Here I was, meaning to email you about several rent-controlled artists' lofts coming up in the Twin Cities (google schmidt brewery or a-mill artist lofts) for someone making their living from artistic/creative work. Especially after your post the other day about the mortgage situation.

Mr. Johnson,
go find someone who sews a patch over that brand name. Or do it yourself.
Or pick another bag and do hacks to it, like cutting off things that are nonsense, or fitting a new shoulder strap, etc. I do it all the time. It is liberating.
DIY is the way to go, really, all those stupid companys don't know nothing about what I need.
Btw. I have learned how go use a sewing machine a couple of years ago (I'm a guy around 50 years old). I made myself a backpack just as I wanted it, because no company offered it. Used the backpack on a two week hiking trip, and it was so much better than any commercial product.
Empower yourself. It is easier than you think. If I can do it, you can do it too.

I use legacy lenses, they often are bolted to wonderful film slr's and come with great camera bags. So I have the vintage "T"'s and have purchased a new Tenba. Pick up a used Thinktank, or better contact them and write about it. I believe you will stop looking for a bag. I can't say that about lenses, cameras, strobes - okay on grip I think American Grip is the end all.

A couple of years ago I bought, against my better judgement, an Ona bag, which I think is the Bowery (but grey, not the annoying colour they seem to have now). It is reasonably logoless & you can change the strap, it has an annoying pretend buckle which actually is a real buckle. The flap covers the bag even when it's not fastened closed. It has two compartments with a velcro adjustable partition and something you can stuff a thinish book (or an iPad or something) into on the body side of it. I use it to carry typically either two smallish cameras with film under one or one camera and a bunch of film (yes I'm that person). 'Smallish' means the ZI rangefinder, a Pentax MX/LX, Minolta CLE (all with smallish 40/50mm lenses), Fuji x100 (with the lens hood). I never carry more than one lens but I think it would be fine for anything not huge. I typically arrange life so the camera I'm using sits on end with the right end up so I can pull it out easily into my right hand (I actually mormally carry a camera in my left hand).

I am not sure how waterproof it is by default, but I gave it a good dose of the stuff you get to treat waxed-cotton coats (again, sorry, I am also that person), and apart from not wanting to touch it for a few days after doing so (the dressing is basically grease) I have used it in the rain all day and it's fine (I do close the fastener though). It's trivial to carry it all day.

Things to beware of: the book/paper pocket at the back is open at the top and does gradually fill with water if you are spending the whole day in the rain. You want to use cable-ties to hold the quick-releases for the supplied belt shut as they can come undone with bad results.

I like it more than I thought I would.

About the Lumix name. People call EOS cameras Canons and they haven't given up on the name yet. Neither will Panasonic.

Well Mike, I bought the Ona Bowery bag which works fine for my Pen F and about 3 lenses...of course all are small and non are pro-level. The bag is beautiful. But, it is no better than many others for the purpose. I could afford it when I was working, although I realize it was a splurge, but hey, threat yourself once in a while. Usually, I just grab the camera, choose a lens and sling it over my shoulder with the upstrap. OCOL at least for the day. The bag usually stays home. Being retired means keeping such extravagant purchases a thing of the past.

The dirtbag solution: Tool bags from Harbor Freight.

The Ken Rockwell solution: A diaper bag, no one will steal that!

Mike, the way you don't like a bag that needs a bag, I hate bags with built-in non-removable laptop sleeves. It's fine for bags that are obviously designed to move a large amount of equipment from shoot to shoot, though why you wouldn't use a backpack or rolling case for this is not clear to me. But a small bag like the Tamrac Derechoe 5 you mentioned? Makes no sense to me. Maybe I am just not hip enough.

Yeah, hipster is definitely a bad thing. But that may be just me getting defensive, I've got two Think Tank bags (one of which I stopped using on the laptop change before last since the laptop didn't fit, and then started using again on the more recent laptop change when it did again). In fact those two are pretty much all I've used since November 2017.

I've never used a rain cover, but I approve of the idea -- making a bag that is actually "waterproof" is a huge problem, kind of incompatible with the access I need. But providing a waterproof cover that can go over the bag and block all access (including access by water) seems like a good compromise.

Hi Mike, a black Sharpie should solve your little problem. The logo will still be there, just not very visible.

I got so frustrated with the whole camera bag nonsense that as soon as I went mirrorless, I bought a canvas messenger bag with expandable sides and a bunch of surplus Domke inserts lying around in a camera shop. Total price £40.

Takes a variety of camera stuff, or I can use it as a regular bag, and it looks as good as new after years of daily use. As for rain protection, I spray it with Scotchgard occasionally, and my camera has never been even slightly damp.

I am gradually selling the gazillion camera bags I don't want or need any more.

Oh My God! I thought that I was the only person who wants to pull a camera out of the bag ready to be used by its handgrip.

I curse the camera bag designers who think it's ever-so-cool to have a camera tightly packed in a bag in a totally useless position, lens down, held so securely that you can hardly get to the grip or any other part to extricate it.

Noisy hook-and-loop fasteners have got to be dumb idea #2.

Ha! Terrific insights into the dark recesses of camera bags. When they’re closed, who knows what goings-on are taking place? All sorts of mischief no doubt.

I currently use a Think Tank bag. It’s a good (but not perfect) fit for my Canon 5DS R with two lenses, flash and various accouterments. It stores my go-to set, ready at a moment’s notice and not too attention drawing. I’ve used Domke, LowePro, Pelican and Tamrac over the decades. All contained my gear well enough.

My favorite bag of all time (but too small for what I work with now) was a gray, WWII vintage Navy gas mask bag, model ND Mark IV. I got my first iteration at a Navy Army surplus store on Market Street in San Francisco in the mid 1970s. At the time, I had an Olympus OM 1, with a couple of lenses. It held a few rolls of film as well. I had to put a sheet of cardboard, cut to size, in the bottom to give it form. But the length of the shoulder strap was PERFECT. And it was completely unobtrusive- did not proclaim “photographer” at all.

That gas mask bag (and the second one I got, after I wore out the first) served me well. It held my Leica M6, and even my Mamiya M6 (a compact MF camera with 50mm lens). I ended up gifting that bag to my eldest son who continues to use it’ as his camera bag.

You need a think tank mirrorless mover which is exactly what you’ve described. I have the 20 which nicely accommodates my x-t2 and an extra lens along with a polarizing filter, an extra battery, the accessory flash and a flashlight. It also comes with a nifty rain cover in case of a downpour (which I’ve never had to use because it’s tiny enough to go under my rain shell.

One could argue that there are only two reasons to have a camera bag. One is for storage while your gear sits at home, sort of an elaborate dust shield. The second is when you are traveling—like on a plane or bus kind of traveling, and you wish to both conceal and protect your gear.

Otherwise, and especially if you have only one lens (or even two) they just get in the way.

Instead, invest in a really nice sling-type strap and carry the camera on your body. If/when you get that second lens, Think Tank makes a really cool utility belt thingy that you can hang all manner of lens pouches from. With a sling for the camera and a belt-mounted pouch, you can manage to swap lenses without setting the camera down.

Bags inevitably become too big and heavy for active shooting. More often than not (for me), they become a great excuse to leave the camera at home.

I just went through this. I had to replace my 26 year old Domke F320 (they need to bring that one back). The closest thing was the F-3. Can't go wrong with a Domke. It won't slip off your shoulder Mike.

Can I just put in a plug for the Wandrd Prvke bags if you need a back pack style bag.


Could fall into hipster category, but don't let that put you off. I mean, I'm pushing 60 ...

A very well thought out and designed bag that has use beyond a camera bag. Love mine so much I bought both sizes. Have travel many miles with them, and it is my day to day bag for camera's, lap top, lunch, note books and pen/pencil case, kindle, books. And when I jump on a plane I'm surprised how much I can get in it. Have done a week plus in Europe/China/New Zealand with just this bag, a Sony A7, three lenses, laptop, clothes and more.

If I'm just carting a camera I really like my (very old) "Reporter" Lowepro bag, which I think is a bit smaller than the current model.

No financial interest here.

Just google '"Ronnie O'Sullivan" merchandise', and there you are.
Yesterday I watched his match against Stuart Bingham at the masters.

As for bags: I currently use a crumpler's that I bought at sell-out price. Decent stuff.

Billingham: quite heavy.

Domke: you can easily remove the brand tag, but the cotton versions are not really robust. Mine wore out within a year (daily use). I then went for a Mekko bag styled after the Domke, which turned out to be more robust. Still don't like the sound of velcro opening.

Good luck with bag hunting!


I loudly agree with Kirk. I’m more of a customer of ThinkTank’s sub-brand, MindShift, but I also to my regret have a Peak Design Everyday Backpack. The ThinkTank / MindShift stuff is very well designed, robust, free of all of the fiddly stuff that Lowepro insists on layering on, and the total opposite of Peak Design. ThinkTank / MS gear feels like it is designed by and for photographers in different disciplines. Peak Design stuff feels like it was designed by people who go no further than the nearest ubercool coffee hangout (with WiFi and real wooden tables).

Sorry Mike I guess you will just have to get your credit card out


Ronnie O'Sullivan T-shirts are available - in the UK at least ;)


ThinkTank hipster?
Maybe so, but the ThinkTank Retrospective 5 sounds pretty much perfect for what you're looking for.
It's my standard go-to bag when I bring a normal amount of gear, and it holds up perfectly, doesn't look too much like a camera bag, and it'll fit the gear you mention just fine.

It's been quite awhile since I lived and breathed bags, or even shopped for one, so my info may be a little out of date, but my impression is that the general approach of the various companies to design and manufacture of their bags is surprisingly consistent from year to year. In my experience, the major bag companies are as follows:

Tenba tends to cling to traditional designs and materials that are serviceable, but a throwback to the SLR and early DSLR period. It looks like they've tried updating their line in recent years, but I'm not entirely convinced.

Tamrac designs and materials tend to be of lesser quality than some other major brands. Their prices are somewhat lower, but does it really make sense to stow your expensive gear in less than the best, just to save a few bucks? Not to me.

Lowepro bags are more thoughtfully designed, with a better fit and finish, and make heavy use of neoprene, which provides better protection and is water resistant. It's true that the heavy branding on their products screams "wanker", but it's nothing a seam ripper or a black marker won't fix, if they have the bag I want and it really needs fixing.

Think Tank goes Lowepro one better, in terms of well thought out design and superior quality materials and construction, albeit at a premium price. Their logo is used discreetly, so you don't feel like a fool walking down the street (even though you might well be a fool walking down the street).

The real "hipster" brand is Domke. If you want to look like a moustachioed Vietnam-era photojournalist, this is your brand. Problem is, these bags were designed for bullet proof metal pro SLRs that could take a bit of knocking about, not for today's purpose-built computers with a lens attached. And last I looked, anyway, their bags made little provision for things like tablets and external drives.

My favorite bag is the Lowepro Passport Sling. When I bought mine a number of years ago, they came in different sizes. It looks like there's only one size now, maybe slightly smaller than mine but with the addition of a tablet sleeve. This might be a bit too big for the G9 with two lenses, but then again it could be just right.

I'm with you on raincovers, Mike. I'd kill for a rainproof version of the right bag. This miggo Stormproof sling looks pretty interesting.

I think the logo is embroidered on. With a seam ripper or razor blade, and a couple of hours of spare time (maybe less), you could probably cut it off.

And speaking of hipster bags or fashion statements, up there with Billingham, check out Wotancraft bags (https://www.wotancraft.tw/creations/camera-bag), made in Taiwan. They're nice but they're heavy and pricey.

I vote with Mr. Tuck:
Think Tank makes useful tools.

Beware the brands that weigh more than the camera inside. Peak is one example: all show and no go, as the hotrodders say.

You might consider the "Ruggard" line of bags from B&H. I got one free with my a7II but it seems well designed and well made. Your only complaint (not mine) is the branding which is even bigger and brighter then the Lowepro emblems on all my other bags.

Mike, if a Tenba Tenba Messenger DNA 13 in graphite fits your needs, I have one for 50% off the list price. Here's a link to bhphotovideo: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1089670-STUD/tenba_638_375_dna_13_graphite_messenger.html.

Were I to use that Lowepro bag I would make several passes over the offending label-advert-eyesore with a black sharpee pen. It usually stabilizes into a very dark grey.

I have the G9 and a Think Tank Retrospective small and it is a great fit. It has all that you ask for except the removable strap but the strap is nice for over shoulder or cross body. The big flap with silencers for the velcro is very handy with good protection. The pebble color cloth finish is very low key and does not draw attention.

I gotta agree with Kirk: ThinkTank bags are easily some of the best designed and well built carrying systems out there. I have many of their products and use their Airport Commuter backpack daily. It's awfully close to whatever perfect may be. Since I was an early user of ThinkTank, designed by and for photojournalists (initially) then that must make me a hipster.

Before I got my second GX8 I used this bag.


It worked fine for one body and two lenses. I have the small one and the next size larger, which I used when I needed to add another lens to the kit. It was just not quite large enough to fit two GX8 bodies, so I moved on to the Tenba I mentioned in my earlier post.

This is an excellent bag and it has that great Domke strap that stays on your shoulder.

I have to agree with Kurt Tuck; based on Thom Hogan's recommendation, I got a ThinkTank Airport Takeoff Roller 2 case last year, and it was perfect for my European trip. I can't think of any significant way to improve it. Hipster cachet was the farthest thing from my mind when I bought it. (It is no shoulder bag, though.)

Tenba DNA8 will just hold a Oly EM1 Mkii with 12-35mm F2.8 and a 35-100m F2.8 so should work with the G9. For sizing you can hide this bag behind an ipad 2. Buckle or velcro (silent option) fastening and you can zip the top open to access without opening bag if needed.

Tenba DNA10 if you want more room.


This may be the time to bemoan the loss of what I consider the best travel case ever made. That would be the Porter Case. http://www.portercase.com/catalog/
I am now on my third and last Porter case since my retirement will be within the next 6 years and there are no more Porter cases to be made, that is unless the company can be sold. Why is this such a great case? It holds everything I need for a shoot, or at least the basics should my travel gear get lost or stolen. It will hold 2 pro camera bodies, 3/4 lenses, 2 on camera flashes, 3/4 pocket wizard ( old style) 3 Pocket Wizard FlexTT5 and a host of connections, batteries and useful doodads. It will also hold fill/bounce cards and tells in the top while fitting in my above slot on the plane and will carry up to 250 lbs of your extra classes as well. It is a masterwork of engineering and utility.
My second favorite is my Domke, although I have wished for a larger version for too many years to count. My general travel approach is to put what I can in my Porter Case, empty my Domke and put it in with my clothes and go. I may or may not have extra cases for stands/lights etc. Upon arrival on site I put what I need in the Domke and keep the Porter as a workstation.

Get a Lowepro bag if it is really all you want from a bag. Then use a sharpie and cover the logo. Even better, make one sticker with The Online Photographer logo and stick it on. Maybe an iron-on patch? Then put them up for sale and people will buy it. I know I would buy one if I were in the U.S.

I have two Domke bags
These are not as thick as the Tamrac, plus they have the Domke strap: it doesn't slip from your shoulder. One for the Fuji, the other for the micro 4/3.

Mike, if you really like that LowePro bag, go ahead and order it. Test for a few days and once you decide to keep it, blacken the white logo stitching with black paint. Dab it on with a toothpick. Cheers,

I get along well with one of those zip-top, insulated, food shoulder carry bags. They have a hard plastic liner and help cool the cameras on a hot day. At 11x9x7 inches, it holds three Fuji cameras with lenses, including an X-T1 with battery grip and another with the 50-140 tele attached. It does not attract attention from thieves, and cost $10 at Walmart.

Sew a nice big peace symbol patch over the LowePro advertising. I never buy clothes that have names on them and I remove the car dealer sticker off the back of my car. If they want me to advertise for them they can darn well pay me.

I just bought a Peak Design to try, but all my other bags are Think Tanks. I'm at the point that I just look at Think Tank; all their bags that I've tried have been well made and designed well. Years ago I got fed up with Lowepro when I kept having quality problems with them and I'm happy that my Think Tanks have served my much better. But I should quit now, they don't pay me anything for recommending their products.

I think I agree with Kirk Tuck ... maybe spend a day in the city at B&H with your camera and try them out. I did, and that worked for me, and got other stuff while I was there, too. Always a wild place to experience...

I'm a "camera insert in messenger bag" guy. My everyday carry is a canvas "jack sack" like this one:
which I like because the front pockets can fit my binoculars and a field guide. They wear out after two or three years of constant use, but for $25, I don't care.

Any insert will do, but I'm using this one:
It will fit a Panasonic GX7 with the 100-300mm mounted, with enough room for a couple of primes, or a Sony RX10 iv and a Nikon P900 (a little tight fit); plus spare batteries etc. And it leaves enough room in the messenger bag for a sack lunch.

I also have a discontinued large ThinkTank Retrospective messenger bag, which I use as a laptop/camera bag with with same insert.

I got a Tenba 2 some 40 years ago and it is a bit worn but still ok. Simple and cheap, though the new one is much more dear than it used to be. Keep it simple. By the way, I have the 12-35 and 35-100 Pannys. Great. Those two plus one fast prime, 1.7/20 or 1.7/15 is all one needs for normal use. Whatever that is.

I like the Bare Bones bag - the name says it all.


The velcro noise can be eliminated while working by attaching velcro strips to the velcro on the flap. Remove the strip when you want to shut the flap

My ideal bag must have a pass through ( A looped strap on the back ) to allow me slip it over the handle of my roll on cabin bag. When travelling I will often put a small bag into my main suitcases to use when tootling about at the destination

I'd also like somewhere to pop in a lens while I change lenses. No more juggling with lenses and back caps.

An Ortlieb Aqua-Cam bag has carried my m4/3 outfit for several years now. It coped well with a trip in a hired canoe that leaked badly, floating around without letting any water in. The bag's unusual feature is a truly silent waterproof zip slider opening. But it is not the best bag for internal organisation.

It looks reasonably smart, but not bling. The 'Ortlieb/waterproof' trade mark is there on both bag and strap, but is one known to all-weather cyclists rather than camera thieves.

Sadly, I have enough experience to comment.

I had narrowed it down to three (I like to switch depending on situation) but I eliminated two so I can recommend the Lowepro Passport Sling. Simple, light, not too dear. Not too large but not so small it becomes precious looking. Expands out a bit if you need to stuff something in on the fly.

I put in an Ape Case insert (QB39) because it is yellow but mostly because I already had it. It has a drawstring closure if the weather gets to be too wet but it can be rolled back out of the way. It too is decently priced.

Good luck with the search.

Ev'rybody's talking 'bout
Bagism, Shagism, Dragism, Madism, Ragism, Tagism
This-ism, that-ism, is-m, is-m, is-m
All we are saying is give peace a chance
All we are saying is give peace a chance
now I get it

Another vote for Timbuk2. I've had their Snoop Messenger bag with a padded camera insert for 10+ years. They are water resistant and discreet. They are narrow - the better to squeeze through crowds with - but because of that they don't stand up on their own. The bag material is tough and stiff at first but softens up nicely through the years.

I have the medium, which will hold the G9 + the two F2.8 zooms with some space and depth left over for a water bottle and snacks. A small might be better just for your kit.

I use an LL BEAN Traveler bag designed for a laptop; well padded, plenty of storage, nondescript, not overpriced, and wears like steel. I've customized and divided the main compartment to my liking. Downside- no longer made. I plan on scouring the internet to find another as a spare. I own several LowePro's and like them, but cannot find another that come close to the Traveler bag.

I have to agree with Kirk. Think Tank bags are really nice. I have two. They are about 4 years old. They have held up very nicely. The two I have come with weather covers. A little expensive but definitely worth it. The only other bag I would consider would be a Domke. I have two of them that are at least 10 years old and still going strong.

I bought a Think Tank Retrospective 6 last year for a very similar kit having previously had a truly awful LowePro bag bought in a black Friday sale (shutting that one out of my mind so can't remember the name of it, but a review likened it to a daiper bag which would have been a much better use)

The Think Tank on the other hand has been superb. Just right in terms of compartments, extremely well made, and very discreet (doesn't suggest camera bag at all). It was a toss up at the time between the Retrospective 6 and 5 (5 is identical except not as long) but haven't regretted it for a moment

Not a camera bag but works for me with a little camera like my GX7 or X Pro 2:


I used a $1-2 US Army standard field gas mask bag, bought at the Army-Navy store (remember those?) in Chicago for about forty years. It was soft inside and out, held an old Leica M2, three lenses, maybe four, and a dozen cans of film, hand wound Tri-X. And a light meter, maybe other stuff. I might see if I can get another. They are about 10X as expensive today when you see them on E-Bay. Not waterproof, of course.

One other follow up to my previous comment... The Domkes are nice because you can cut the labels off of them pretty easily, and without damaging the bag at all :)

I stopped using Domke bags after an expensive lens rolled out of the huge gap between the bag and its closed lid while being handed over as we were unpacking the car.

I now use a Think Tank backpack when traveling with a long lens and multiple bodies (e.g. on safari or otherwise photographing wildlife). But more often I use a standard black JanSport backpack with a couple of old sweatshirts for padding. In addition to camera gear, the water-resistant backpack can carry a bottle of water, laptop, real headphones and snacks. It can be used as a backpack or a shoulder bag. And it doesn't draw attention the way a camera bag does.

So, yes, I think there is a perfect "camera bag" that can last nearly forever - it is just that it is made for college kids carrying books.

Mike, sorry I didn’t see your reply to my comment regarding Tenba Cooper bags. I have the smallest Cooper version and it does indeed have the zipper access on the flap. I love mine, I just presumed it may be too small for your needs so I didn’t mention it.

Hi Mike
I have lost count of all the camera bags I have owned - and used, in 60 odd years of active photography, but probably around the 60-70 mark. Now I just have two - a CCS Number 11 - a bag you may never have heard of as it was made in the UK and not sold widely overseas. This is my 'big' bag and I love it for its sensible Gladstone top opening. My 'small' bag is a Lowepro Passport Sling. It doesn't shout Lowepro, it doesn't have a detachable shoulder strap (but the fixed one has never slipped off my shoulder and can be used across the body as well as straight) and it doesn't have a rain proof flap to cover the top zip opening (but in short showers it has never let water through). BUT it is cheap, doesn't look like a camera bag, is comfortable, holds my OLympus E-M1 with the grip uppermost and 12-40mm f2.8 fitted, two fixed focal length lenses or a tele zoom, a small flash, a couple of filters, spare batteries etc in 2 small velcro pockets, has three outside open pockets for odds and ends, maps, guides, my hat, gloves or anything else I don't want encumbering me when working. It's very lightweight and by removing and folding the insert it flattens out and can be easily packed in a suitcase.
On day trips I just use the Passport, on longer trips I take the Number 11 as hand luggage with the Passport packed away in the hold suitcase. For me this has become the near perfect combination.

I second the Sharpie suggestion, do it all the time, with everything. Stealth matters, especially when traveling.

The Artisan & Artist bags are very nice, though a bit spendy. I have one (apparently no longer in the line) that just looks like a messenger bag, no badging anywhere. Discreet, well-made, weatherproof enough - perfect!

Very late to the party here... but having tried many of the Think Tank bags (they are all very well made), I actually prefer either the Speed Changer (GX8+4 lenses+filters+batteries), or the Hubba Hubba Hiney.

The Speed Changer in particular has a full size front pocket that is great for batteries, filters, etc. Both are easily worn as shoulder bags, or adapted to a waist belt (my preferred option).


Oh the tyranny of Materialism. That the perfect bag is a myth is only reliable guide in selecting bags. Each bag suffers at least one big design fault in a zip, or Access, or lack of space for Accessories. Yet it has +ves but if only they had added the key feature....

There are just too many variables, which change on Where one needs to carry What and on What transport [plane, long vs short hikes etc]. The main Variables:=
1. Protection - rain, dust, submersion;
2. Maximum Space;
3. "Urban crypsis";
4. Compartments;
5. Access - speed and flexibility etc;
5. Ergonomics e.g. to carry the loaded bag across a mountain range etc

Thus, genre counts. I have mobile systems for both Wildlife and Landscapes, in which the Nikkor PF telephotos and dinky wide angles work with a Z7, and....

...Wildlife photography in a vehicle/hide with heavy exotic telephoto (400 f2.8) + too many lenses, with 3 cameras.

The 400 with hood on a D850 needs dustproof protection; thus a Lowepro 600 in a vehicle or to carry the rig ready to deploy...

So it's 4 different bags to try and get different selections of gear + stuff to destinations.

Airline travel raises its own challenges, where I have come to reconcile with the circumstances that the PD TravelLine and/or f-Stop Sukha is the best strategy to get the heavy system into a cabin. A waistcoat with n+ pockets is also an essential tactic.

The Vanguard Alta Sky B'packs work well for hiking but only if one has still space for accessories in the main part. Top and rear-flap access are important +ves but is the design stupidly lacks even basic pouches that actually work for accessories.

The TV station where I work is full of Porta Brace bags for lights, cameras and other kit. I did not realize that they also make a limited number of bags aimed at the still market.
Porta Brace bags aren't hip, they aren't stylish but they never ever wear out no matter how much abuse you heap upon them. They also are not cheap. Worth a browse if you have a minute.

Pro tip- have a cat hork on your bag and it's like a cloaking device!

I guess my working man's rugged wear F-3X Super Compact, the one that has been my main bag for ten years now and actually looks better than the day I bought it, will have to do me another tenner, at least.

Mike, you have missed the big picture (pun intended).
All these bags will hold cameras and lenses (size depending on how many you want to use), extra batteries, cards or film, lens cleaning stuff, etc, but what really counts is there's also got to be protected space for a sandwich, a bottle (or can) or water, coke, or beer, packs of M&Ms, some paper towels, some plastic bags, a cell phone, pencil and notebook, flat pocket for paperwork such as boarding passes, a few extra dollars, and (if you're using a digital camera) a real instruction manual.
Otherwise we're back to the one camera, one lens, and hang it around your neck or from your shoulder.

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