Bags can be an obsession. I've proven that to myself. However, it's not always about obsession or desire for yet another bag to transport my camera and gear. It is really about convenience, portability, and usability, isn't it? I tried lots of bags I already owned when I first bought a micro 4/3 camera, the E-PL3, back in November (http://www.infotor.com/blog/my-mft-kit-how-to-carry-it/ and http://www.infotor.com/blog/went-on-vacation-with-only-my-olympus-pen-e-pl3/). They were either too big or too small for the things I wanted to carry with my new, little camera.
I thought I'd found the perfect compromise when I found the Lowepro Streamline Sling, but I soon found limitations with it too (see article: http://www.infotor.com/blog/journal-the-lowepro-streamline-sling-may-the-perfect-bag-for-micro43/). I thought the limitations were resolved when I returned it in favor of another bag in this new series from Lowepro, the Streamline 250 (http://www.infotor.com/blog/change-of-mind-the-lowepro-streamline-250/).
I have been using this bag for over a month now and it is so far the best bag I've tried with my micro 4/3 cameras. Currently, I have in the front compartments my OM-D E-M10 with 14-42mm EZ lens attached, my 15mm BCL, 17mm/f2.8, and 40-150mm lenses, and two extra camera batteries. In the main compartment I have two small Eagle Creek bags and my recently purchased FL-36R flash in its case lined up vertically. One bag contains extra AA batteries, my Wasabi Olympus cordless charger, extra memory cards, and a portable power pack for charging my iPhone or iPad on the go. The other has miscellaneous items I like to always have with me (e.g., batteries for hearing aids, bandaids, earbuds for my iPhone, etc.). Since shooting a wedding a few weeks ago, I also now carry an old 70's camera strap for when I want to carry the E-M10 around my neck. Usually, I only use a wrist strap (http://www.infotor.com/blog/journal-an-alternative-wrist-strap-for-my-om-d-e-m10/). In the rear sleeve of the main compartment I store my small size ExpoImaging FlashBender diffuser for my flash. With all of this, the 250 is one stuffed bag!
When I am just going out and want to have a camera with me I used to be able to stick it in one of my jacket or coat pockets when it was cold weather. However, now that the weather is warming up, I am less likely to wear a coat so I need to transport it in a small bag that also accommodates the 40-150 mm lens and my extra batteries and memory cards. I recently wrote about how hand this small Moutainsmith bag is (http://www.infotor.com/blog/the-little-bag-that-could-a-small-carry-around-bag-for-mft/).
So, yes, I am back on the hunt for a better bag solution. What I need is one just a tad bigger than the Streamline 250 so it is not so stuffed. What I don't need is one that gives me too much extra space, because I'm afraid I'll find yet something else I think I need to stuff into it! Using the Mountainsmith will, I believe, continue to be a reasonable solution for when I just want the bare essentials with me. Oh, the dilemma of finding just the right bag!
If you have found solutions that work well for you when you want to carry about the same amount of gear as I have described above, please share your findings. You can post comments either on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/billbooz) or Google+ (https://plus.google.com/+BillBooz).
Classes: I will have a morning and an evening offering of my “Mastering Manual: Taking Control of Your Camera” class this summer in June in Lynchburg. As a summer offering, this will meet over a week and a half on a Wednesday, Monday, Wednesday schedule. On a Tuesday, Thursday, Tuesday I will also be offering that class in Charlottesville in the morning. “Mastering Your Camera’s Creative Controls” is a new class I will be offering first in Charlottesville in the evening over the same week and one-half period. In addition to these classes I am also available to do one-on-one tutoring or small group lessons designed to meet YOUR needs and what you want to learn in the area of photography, using flashes, or the use of Apple products and software. Give yourself the gift of learning: http://www.infotor.com/photoclasses! And check out my tutoring bundle: http://www.infotor.com/photoclasses/tutoringbundle.php as well.