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Thursday, 26 March 2015

New camera bag

Finally I have taken the plunge and purchased a decent camera bag.

With an Olympus E-M10 mirrorless camera sizing is not easy because most bags are targeted for DSLRs although that is improving.

I have been using a camera bag insert found on eBay for under £5 and it is a great solution and fits in the bottom of my rucksack nicely. The rucksack is a good solution when carrying other gear but suffers from having a relatively narrow entrance point at the top, which for me means my gear ends up scattered during the day as I carelessly return items to the bag.

So for casual walks and vehicle based photography trips I wanted a bag that is accessed on the long edge and carried messenger bag style. Another criteria was not looking too camera bag like. So the Lowe Messenger 150 for instance looks like a good solution online but in the flesh looking really boxy.

Enter the Tamrac Apache range. I decided that the separate compartment for a tablet would be good because the Olympus' support for its android app seems pretty good. I also didn't want to go too large but preferred large to small, after all how often do I travel without a phone, wallet, keys, coins and assorted other clutter.

That means something that is not a day back (space for snacks is desirable but a day trip worth of food is non critical) but is more than a camera bag is useful.

Hence, I decided that the Apache 2 would probably be too small and the Apache 6 too large and the Apache 4 has been duly purchased (£65, new from eBay).

Tonight is the first loading so no outdoor experience yet so observations so far...
- the bag is actually smaller than expected, it will be fine but the Apache 6 may actually have been closer to what I expected in my mind.
-the clip on the front is tragic, I've fastened it perhaps half a dozen times and had to use a screwdriver twice and brute force once to open it, it's a design that does not positively slide in place and needs concentration to use. Is the Velcro fastenings are likely to be the mainstay.
-the strap holding the clip has no adjustability, adding to the fight with the clip when wearing the bag and meaning there is insufficient leeway to carry a tripod of any size under the flap.

That's all sounding rather negative so for balance :
- build quality appears excellent and the design does appear to have been though out carefully
- looks good
- wide, comfortable shoulder strap.

What did I get in the bag, well I had to take my phone out for this picture but with that and
- only em10 with 14-42 pancake
-45mm f1.7
-1 filter in its oversized box
-4 macro filters and lens adapter
-spare battery
-charger and cable
-box of SD cards
-cleaning pen and blower
- hot shoe mountable flexible led macro lights
-Google Nexus 7
The bag can be declared full.

Clearly I won't be doing a day trip with all of those things so I would say the bag definitely has room for another lens or two (or a flash) and the aforementioned snacks or with careful packing a sarnie.

So looks like a great bag with a lot of flexibility to accommodate a range of different sized cameras and bits but I would not be surprised if I have to replace that clip.