by Dirk Moeller
Every photographer knows this to be the ultimate truth: choosing a bag is the hardest choice to make.
You want something light. You want something that takes a lot of gear. You want something that allows easy access, so that you don't miss a shot. You want something that does not scream "PHOTO GEAR - STEAL ME!". You want something that holds other stuff, too - like an iPad or Macbook or a... <oldschool pause> ...print magazine.
Over the years I've come to realize that it is an impossible task. I can't have all in one. Something is always missing. So I ended up with several bags.
My standard bag is a Domke F-5XB. It is small and light and holds, if packed properly, two camera bodies and five lenses. That is, of course, based on rangefinder systems and Leica-M lenses. The same would work with pretty much any mirrorless system camera I guess.
I also have a Crumbler bag, slightly larger, almost never used. It is also ugly.
My "being prepared for anything that is thrown my way" bag is a Kata 3N1-PL35. It is a backpack that is also useable as a slingbag for lefties and rigthies.
Here's a snap from a setup tes last year, shortly before the Dorset Photowalk:
This holds pretty much anything that I need. Two to three cameras, 7+ lenses, flash + batteries, loads of accessoires like filters, cleaning equipment, adapters, etc.
The bag itself is rather light, so that the complete package is somewhere between 7 and 9 kilos - not something that one would use everyday.
You see, what I missed so far is a bag that holds some stuff, can be used for day travel and still protect a camera and maybe a lens. Something not too touristy, but practical. And good looking, too.
In comes this year's birthday present, a messenger bag.
Large flap covers stuff but also allows easy access. High quality leather allows for a certain ruggedness while looking nice at the same time. A manufacturer with tradition of 150+ years in leatherworks/shoemaking allows for longevity of the bag. Billingham bag inserts secure proper and protected stowing.
The best camera, after all, is the one you have with you. I very much look forward to wear this bag a lot.