By February 1, 2013 12 Comments

The Micro Four Thirds Camera Bag Challenge

After receiving my new Panasonic Lumix G5 last week I found myself in quite a dilemma. I did not have a bag that fit it. The current LowePro Edit 110 I was using for my GF3 was not big enough, and my other bags were too big.

Watch as I continue my migration to mirrorless and attempt to find the best camera shoulder bag for the Micro Four Thirds compact camera system. I have started the Micro Four Thirds Shoulder Bag Challenge where I must meet 4 requirements for the perfect bag.

1. It must be locally available.
– I can only find bags which can be bought at a local store like Frys, BestBuy, and Target.

2. It must be within a budget of $50.
– Price is still a big concern and I’ve limited myself to only $50 to spend on a bag.

3. It must be able to fit a Panasonic Lumix G5 with 1 lens attached and 2 additional lenses.

4. It must have some extra storage.
– I must find a bag which can hold in addition to my camera, a wallet, cell phone, passport, iPad SD Card Reader, Square Credit Card Reader, Business Cards, and a few accessories.

Due to these new mirrorless cameras having such a small size advantage, the normal camera bags out on the market are usually too big or too small for a compact camera system. I have reviewed 6 different camera shoulder bags in this challenge, The Lowepro Edit 110, LowePro Edit 130, Lowepro Adventura 140, Manfrotto Bella VI, Golla Generation Mobile dSLR + Tablet, and The Lowepro Event Messenger 100.

Find out which bag I have chosen as the perfect Micro Four Thirds bag for me!

About the Author:

Steve Lynch is a portrait photographer based in Los Angeles, CA. He has over 12 years of experience with photography, television and film production and engineering, and has been shooting professionally for the past 5 years. As a single father of 2 girls, he recently returned from taking 18 months off after his youngest daughter Savannah was born. He's refocusing his photography business towards a commercial / advertising direction while incorporating eProducts and Talking Portraits into his workflow.

12 Comments on "The Micro Four Thirds Camera Bag Challenge"

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  1. Matt says:

    Nice review. Most photographers I know have a closet full of bags, including me. What I have found best for my current needs is the the Timbuktu Snoop Camera Insert. It can be used with any messenger style bag, which of course will not look like a regular camera bag. I have the XS size which fits perfectly in a small size Timbuktu messenger bag, but I usually use it in my size medium Timbuktu bag. It is great for travel and fits my Olympus Om-D E-M5 with several lenses and accessories. In my medium bag I can also fit a 13″ laptop, some books, and various other things. I travel to Asia pretty regularly and this is a great combination for me. If I decide to use a different bag, I can easily pull out the Snoop insert and stick it in another bag. And the XS size is only $29.

    Matt

  2. Steven Lynch says:

    Hi Matt that sounds like a great option. I have heard good things about these types of inserts so I’m definitely going to check it out. Thanks!

  3. adrianw says:

    Steve, thanks for the interesting review.
    I do have a Lowepro Event Messenger 150 which is great for all the reasons you mentioned.
    But when I go on a trip it would be useful to have a bag that packs flat and would go in a suitcase.
    So I’m looking at the relatively new Lowepro Passport Sling II.

    I don’t know whether it would fit your budget but from what I read it would tick most of the boxes for a day’s shooting with my OM-D, a couple of lenses and some personal stuff as well.
    Has anyone else evaluated the Passport Sling II?

    Adrian

  4. Steven Lynch says:

    Hi Adrian! Your very welcome. I have actually checked out the Passport Sling and I find it to be a very intriguing idea. It was a little over my budget for this challenge, but I can see where you would want to use it for storing and traveling. This would probably work very well. My only real issues with the sling are that it has a lot of pockets, but they are not vey secure. Also even though it’s highly configurable it feels rather large. I can see where traveling and using it as a bag for not only the camera but store trips and things like that might be good.

    Not sure if you’ve thought about this or not, but with my Crumpler bag I was able to take the dividers out and make it pretty flat for a Suitcase on a trip last year. I’m pretty sure I could also do this with the Event Messenger.

    Thanks for the info!

  5. adrianw says:

    I tried removing the dividers from my Event Messenger 150 but the bag itself was a little too rigid to fold easily.
    Hence my interest in the Passport Sling.
    The Passport Sling seems to have been round a while, but the Sling II is fairly new.
    Are the pockets in the Sling II any more secure?
    I’ve found it hard to discover online what’s the difference between the two versions.

    What model Crumpler were you using?

  6. Steven Lynch says:

    I’m not sure what the differences are on the slings. My guess is that they are very similar. Lowepro often comes out with a new version that is just a little bit different color schemes or organization arrangement. For example, adding memory card spots vs. Film holders.

    I actually remember now. I took the dividers out of my bag and I stuffed some of my clothes in the bag. That way it hardly took up any extra room. May want to try that! I have the 5 Million Dollar Home.

    Cheers!

  7. freedda says:

    Steve, it’s interesting that you go through this exercise and pretty much come away saying “I couldn’t find a bag with the features I need at this price.”

    Maybe you need to change the parameters? Say, include bags that might cost more? Or that you get via the internet? Or?

    I’m a bit in the same boat: I have a Lumix G3 and want a smaller bag than what I was using for my DSLR.

    Along with the camera, I want to carry four lenses, a number of batteries and memory cards, filters, step-up rings, maybe the battery charger, and other stuff.

    I want the bag to have a a good-size pocket for carrying all my ‘stuff’, be able to zipper close the main compartment and include a rain cover (because I live in the Great North Wets). I want a shoulder bag and am looking for one that is maybe narrower and taller than the standard bag.

    My requirements aren’t too much!

    Up until now I was using an Eagle brand ‘Scout’ bag, which doubles as a camera bag. It is no longer made, but has been a great small bag, until I got a 100-300mm lens, and now the camera and all my stuff no longer fit into the bag!

    I’ve narrowed my search to the following shoulder bags (all available at B&H):

    Tamrac – 5564 Explorer 400
    Tamrac – 5562 Explorer 200
    Tenba – Discovery: Mini
    M-Rock – 5060 Grand
    M-Rock – 5020 Cascade

    I’m a bit suspect of the last two M-Rock bags, not because of quality, but mainly because they don’t seem to have a main pocket for gear, but instead focus on providing a laptop sleeve (which seems odd to me for a camera bag, but may works for some people).

    I was also looking at the Tamrac – 5607 Ultra Pro 7, but this might be too big for what I need, though I do like the shape and features of this bag.

    All that said, I plan on ordering these bags, trying them out, hopefully picking one, and then sending the others back for a refund. (I’m not opposed to shopping locally, but I live on an island, it’s hard to get to the two camera stores in the Seattle area–via the ferry–that have a good selection, no one store carries all of these bags, and some of the bags aren’t at either store.)

    Best, David

  8. freedda says:

    Matt, I looked at the ‘small’ size Timbuk2 snoop (the smallest is the XS) at REI. Though it is well made, I didn’t think it would work for me.

    First, between the actual shoulder bag and the insert, it seems like too much of the product is made up of the ‘walls’ of the bag, leaving less space for actual stuff.

    Also, though I like the look of the Timbuk2 bags (half the people I see commuting seem to have one!), it seemed like too small a bag to carry all the gear and seemed to skimp on a gear pocket, those included being too thin and small to be of much use.

    Finally, between the non-rigidness of the bag and the space taken up by the insert, it seemed a bit difficult to access the bag to get your camera and gear in and out easily.

    A very well made bag, just not working for me.

    Best, David

  9. DaMacGuy says:

    Hi Steve,

    I recently purchased a Case Logic SLRC-205 sling bag. I use it with an OM-D with a 12-50, 40-150, and 17. I put the lenses in neoprene pouches because the bag doesn’t have pockets for lenses. Next time I think I would get the Case Logic DCB-308 SLR Camera Sling since that has pockets for lenses and I can dispense with the pouches and get more storage space. I like slings because I don’t have to take them off to get gear out. Just swing them around and pull stuff out. Both slings are less than $50 at Amazon.

    Thanks,
    Walter

  10. bheaman says:

    Hi Steve. I have a Panasonic Lumix G2 with 2 additional lenses. I was struggling with finding a bag I liked as well, and ended up going with the Lowepro Photo Traveler 150. If you like a backpack model, I would recommend it. You can find it on Amazon for less than $40. I picked mine up at my local Wal-mart. It has room for everything I wanted – extra batteries, sd cards, etc, plus a pocket for my iPad. Also, as it is so compact, it fit right inside my carry-on bag, so kept my camera nicely protected on my travels.

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