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Best carrying strategy for Micro 4/3 camera and lenses

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    Best carrying strategy for Micro 4/3 camera and lenses

    I’m really enjoying taking my Olympus EM10 Mkii on days out and short trips. Although I like to travel light, I also enjoy getting some great photos.

    I typically take the camera with a couple of small prime lenses. Ironically the kit is so compact, I’m struggling on how best to carry it.

    Anyone else carry a small camera and lens setup and which bag do you use? (and most importantly, how do you organise the items inside)? Do you use padding or some kind of camera pouch insert?

    For reference, I’m thinking I’d mostly be using an S19 or Pilot.

    If anyone has a perfect setup for this, I’d love to hear it. Thanks.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Aeronaut 45 (Navy/NWS), A30 (Black/Island), Tristar (Steel/Island), Western Flyer (Steel/Island), Pilot (Steel/Island), Synapse 25 (Mars Red/NWS), Synapse 19 (Black/Island) & (Burnt Orange/Steel), Ristretto 11 (Navy/Steel), Small Cafe Bag (Navy/Steel) & (Mars Red/Dawn), Daylight Briefcase (Cloud/Dawn), Side Kick (Mars Red/Dawn), Travel Cubelet (Mars Red)

    This is something I have struggled with as well with my Sony A5000 mirrorless with a couple of lenses. At times I bring extra lenses in OP tech soft pouches https://optechusa.com/fold-over-pouch.html and the camera in a similar neoprene pouch and then just put them in whichever bag I want to use. I have found these to be decent protection. Other times I will use a Peak Design field pouch to contain my miscellaneous camera gear https://www.peakdesign.com/products/field-pouch . Good luck!
    "Do one thing every day that scares you." - Eleanor Roosevelt
    "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it." -Ferris Bueller


      I have the same camera, and I use a camera wrap https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B00XHRW9TI in whatever bag I'm carrying. I tend to have 3 sides of the wrap velcroed, and the 4th open like an envelope flap, for ease of access when I'm out and about, so that I'm not always re-wrapping the camera. I have a crossbody strap on my camera, which is no problem to coil and contain in the wrap. I wrap my lenses in bubble wrap and keep them in some fabric pouches I picked up at a craft fair. I keep spare batteries, spare memory cards, memory card reader in a mini OP that's kept in with the lenses.

      This setup worked well when I had my Maker's bag. And it's been easy to turn whatever bag I'm using into a camera bag. I think it will also work well with my new Luminary 15. I'll probably keep the lenses in the side pockets (just got this bag, haven't really had a chance to try it out as a camera bag yet).


        I used to shoot with an Olympus E-M5 but have switched to Fuji gear. My first Fuji camera, the X-T10, is comparable in size to your Olympus E-M10. Fuji prime lenses have to cover a larger sensor so are a bit larger than their micro four thirds counterparts. I usually carry one prime lens mounted on the camera with along with one or two addtional primes.

        I have tried many combinations of TB bags, padded camera inserts, lens pouches, and camera wraps. I’ve also benefited from some very good posts by others forum members.

        For my lenses, I use the same OP/TECH Fold Over Pouches as @NWHikergal. These are a great lightweight solution. I use a piece of gaffers’ tape on top of the pouch to identify the lens inside.

        The camera wraps suggested by @rose read (or similar ones from Domke or OPTECH) are also a very good way to go. I often just wrap my camera and attached lens in one of these soft wraps and toss it in an EDC bag, such as Daylight Backpack.

        About ten years ago, @marblejbc posted a thread describing the use of a Billingham Small Hadley Camera Insert inside a PCSB to carry a DSLR with zoom lens and a small backup camera. https://forums.tombihn.com/photos-vi...amera-bag.html.

        I purchased one of these Hadley inserts and found that it fits perfectly inside the PCSB. The insert is very well made (as one would expect for $75), has excellent padding, and provides structure to the PCSB. In my view, it adds a little too much structure. When carrying the PCSB cross-body the bag does not flex, so it feels as if you are carrying a small box, albeit a very lightweight one.

        I think this setup has a place and would be a very good combination if you are traveling by plane or anywhere you need good protection for your camera.

        For normal travel or when I am just out and about taking photographs, I swap out the Hadley insert for an Ape Case Cubeze 33 padded bag. https://apecase.com/product/cubeze-33/ . This bag is not up to the quality, padding or build Hadley, but has several advantages. The Ape Case is lighter, a tad smaller, and more flexible than the Hadley. It also does not completely fill the PCSB, as the Hadley does. As a result, the PCSB + Ape Case conforms to my body when carried across one shoulder. There isn’t a huge difference in weight, but there is a significant difference in carry comfort.

        I use a small organizer pouch tethered inside the front zippered pocket to care extra memory cards, a spare battery, and a lens cleaning kit. The zippered pocket is also a great place to put a lens cap.

        Either one of these setups works well inside a Daylight Briefcase (DLBC), especially if you need to carry more than just your camera and lenses. In fact, the DLBC is one of my favorite daily carry travel bags.

        These setups will also work in the main compartment of your Pilot. The Hadley’s stiffness works in its favor here; the Pilot carries better the Hadley than with the Ape Case.

        Here a few photos to help you visualize all of this.

        The Hadley, PCSB, X-T10 and one additional lens.
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        The Ape Case and same gear
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        The Hadley inserted into PCSB. Note how it fills the PCSB
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        The Ape Case inserted into the PCSB. Note how "floppy" the setup is.
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        Finally the Hadley inserted into the main compartment of my Pilot.
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          Thanks everyone for your comments. Lots of ideas to go and try out.

          Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
          Aeronaut 45 (Navy/NWS), A30 (Black/Island), Tristar (Steel/Island), Western Flyer (Steel/Island), Pilot (Steel/Island), Synapse 25 (Mars Red/NWS), Synapse 19 (Black/Island) & (Burnt Orange/Steel), Ristretto 11 (Navy/Steel), Small Cafe Bag (Navy/Steel) & (Mars Red/Dawn), Daylight Briefcase (Cloud/Dawn), Side Kick (Mars Red/Dawn), Travel Cubelet (Mars Red)


            Best carrying strategy for Micro 4/3 camera and lenses


            I’m going to point you to my post #42 dated 03-23-2015, in the Best choice for a Camera Bag thread. This embeds a YouTube video that @Ilkyway found made by Victoria Diaz, who shows her setup for the Daylight Briefcase and the Packing Cube Shoulder Bag. What may also be useful is that she mentions getting custom camera inserts made on Etsy. There are other vendors there who also make custom camera inserts.

            Finally, I show the few remaining pictures of the Billingham Small Hadley inserts in use in the PCSB from the original post that made it into
            the blog, and that I quoted in another post after the original hosting site for the post’s photos went down and before we lost access to those old blog posts on the TB hosting site.

            If you want to see some more detailed views of the inside insert, I think there are two detailed views with camera components in this B&H Photo product listing — it’s a particular model Billingham camera bag that uses this size insert (Billingham Hadley Small Pro Shoulder Bag (Sage FibreNyte & Chocolate Leather) ). You can probably find more information locally, since the manufacturer is in the UK.



            I’ll update this later with some links to earlier forum discussions about the APE case inserts.

            ETA: This is excerpted from a Ravelry post I made (January 4, 2016) that summarizes some of the APE case use context discussion posts in the Tom Bihn forums. I’ve had to convert the formatting so that linking matches the vBulletin standards used in this forum, and also so that the URLs match current conventions where the forum prefix is “forums.tombihn.com” instead of “tombihn.com/forums/” used for the old hosting site.

            The Ravelry poster identified the case model under discussion in response to my question:
            It’s the one with the following dimensions:
            Interior dimensions are 8 x 6 x 3 Inches
            Exterior dimensions are 8.5 x 6.5 x 3.5 Inches
            Ape Case Cubeze Interior Case for Cameras - Black/Yellow (ACQB33)
            Here’s an excerpt from my reply:

            OK, That's the ACQB33 model that a number of people use in the Pilot and Co-Pilot. It's a bit tight in the end pockets of the Night Flight Travel Duffel, but can go into the center according to @kkintea’s pictures on the TB forums. @itsablur uses it for his E-M1 and showed it in his video reviews of the Co-Pilot and Pilot (e.g., Pilot review w/Ape Cubeze 33). Nancy (@ncb4) showed this in her Yes, you can carry your camera in a Nordic PCSB! thread inside a Nordic Packing Cube Shoulder Bag with a Size 1 Travel Stuff Sack on the side, for her Fuji xe-w2 camera with 50mm lens. (She uses both this size and the larger 10.25 x 7 x 4" APE Case in the Co-Pilot and PCSB, too, but it's more of a squeeze.) If you want to see pictures of the larger model, which is the ACQB39, in the Co-Pilot, here's Nancy's post with photo


            Last edited by moriond; 05-11-2019, 11:31 AM. Reason: Added reference links to APE case from Ravelry post


              Retired photographer here. There are only a few differences between a professional photographer and a serious shooter. Among them are the abilities to anticipate a good shot, to get the shot, and to sell the results. The first is a skill acquired only with experience and careful evaluation of failed results. The third is a question of skills, taste, and connections. The second is based on how well and how quickly you can get your camera to your eye.

              Even casual snapshooters must have immediate access to their camera. That means it’s hanging around the neck. If you are sporting additional lenses or filters, those should be in a shoulder bag. But, if you are constantly swapping lense, you need two camera. The dedicated camera bag has a simple flap closure for basic protection and retention, supplemented with a more durable and secure closure for protection against weather and dust.

              A backpack is not a good idea for the simple reason you must remove it to gain access to your gear. The backpack is used for lunch, tripod, spare batteries/cards, clothing layers.


                Originally posted by Bogiesan View Post
                The dedicated camera bag has a simple flap closure for basic protection and retention, supplemented with a more durable and secure closure for protection against weather and dust.

                A backpack is not a good idea for the simple reason you must remove it to gain access to your gear. The backpack is used for lunch, tripod, spare batteries/cards, clothing layers.
                +1 for this.

                TB makes a load of great bags.
                REALLY great bags !

                But not a 'proper' camera bag. For those you need to go to a dedicated manufacturer such as ThinkTank, LowePro or Peak Design. A few years ago I traded in a Nikon full-frame system with pro lenses for an Olympus Pen-F and some small primes. Depending on how many lenses I want to take with me, they now fit into a ThinkTank "Hubba-Hubba-Hiney" or "Stuff-It!". These are belt-based systems that allow instant access without the need for padded inserts as the bags themselves are already designed to protect your valuable equipment.

                As @Bogiesan explains, I use my S19 for other stuff whilst out and about, with the camera & lenses readily accessible on my waist. Of course, I can easily put the whole bag inside my S19 (or Pilot / Night Flight) when needed; for example, when going through an airport or during a flight.

                Other belt-based systems of a similar size for Olympus mirrorless are the Everyday Slings from Peak Design or the M-Trekker from LowePro.


                  After my camera was stolen in a home burglary, I just got so overwhelmed with indecisiveness on which platform to go with that I just gave up altogether and got into phone photography. Since I replace my phone every few years anyway, it relieved me of the constant pressure to upgrade with the technology that I felt with digital cameras. Not to mention fulfilling my pathological dedication to one-bag travel.

                  It is definitely more challenging, and requires different techniques and post-processing, which has made it more fulfilling in a lot of ways. I still do spend a good bit on lenses, tripods, and filters; but in addition to being cheaper than an SLR or 4/3rds kit, it's pocketable and more often the "best camera" that is always with me.

                  And if your camera hasn't been stolen, you can always get into it alongside your other photographic endeavors and enjoy it for what it is!

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