The quest for the perfect bag for carrying gear is an unending endeavor for most photographers! I truly have been trying to "make do" with what I already own, really, I have! It's just not working, though! Using a micro 4/3 camera with a small range of lenses and the other accessories I feel are necessary to always have with me is supposed to require a far smaller bag than what I need when I carry the same gear for my Canon 60D. And it does, but I haven't been satisfied with what I've tried so far. My "go-to" Eagle Creek shoulder bag almost worked and could still work as a day bag when traveling. (http://www.infotor.com/blog/my-walk-around-bag-when-traveling/) I thought my brother's old U.S. Army ammo bag would be cool to use, but it just wasn't practical. (http://www.infotor.com/blog/my-mft-kit-how-to-carry-it/) Then I thought I had found a great solution that also gave me a perfect reason to use a beautiful Moore & Giles leather bag (http://www.infotor.com/blog/is-this-the-final-bag-for-my-olympus/) I have that, since I don't "go to work" anymore, I don't use very often. Nope. No good. Well, "good," but I was stuffing it with too much stuff. It didn't do the bag justice, so I retired it, but I promised to visit it from time to time!
The "extra" necessities I'm speaking of include some alternative lenses (for me right now, that means an old Canon FD 50mm with adapter and a Canon EF 35mm with an adapter, both wrapped in cloth bags), extra batteries and charger, memory cards, my iPad, a Joby tripod, an external flash unit and radio triggers, my FlashBender flash diffuser, plus a few personal things. Nice that my new OM-D E-M10 has its little flash built-in so that' some less item to lose in the bottom of a bag.
So, I was in Best Buy the other day, minding my own business, when, what do you know, I was walking past the camera bag area. Well, I had to look. Right? I'm there already, so what can it hurt? Well, apparently, it's like taking "just one drink" when drinking is a problem or "I'll just have one cigarette," when that's something you're trying to quit. I love and prefer Lowepro bags and I spied one that looked a bit different. It's in the "sling" category, which I also love, and, though small, didn't look as tiny as the Slingshot 102, which, I find is small, but looks really small. Weird, huh? Plus, this one wasn't the traditional Lowepro black, but rather a kind of charcoaly gray. I touched it. First mistake. I unzippered the pockets and thought, "Hmmm?" and "Aaahh!" I put my hands in the pockets to test for room. And then I got hold of myself and left the store! Empty handed. That was earlier in the week. Yesterday, I went back and bought it. Yes, I'm am a sick man! So what?
Do you know what, though? It might just be the perfect bag for me...and, for you! It is small, but the design is very thoughtful as to how one uses one's gear. There is a small side pocket where you have a compartment for a small camera - the OM-D E-M10 with the 17mm, f/2.8 fits great, but so will it with the regular "kit" attached. Next to that is a compartment - both are about 2/3 the width of the bag deep as you reach in - in which I have my kit lens and my BCL lens. A two-thirds zipper opens the top to reveal the interior of the bag. My external flash unit - a traditional size one for a dSLR - slides nicely down into the bag, fitting snuggly beside the camera pocket I described above. On top of that, I can stack, each in its on cloth pouch, my two Canon lenses. Then, I put the other sundries in a small Eagle Creek compartment bag and that fits next to the lenses sitting on top of the outer wall of the camera pocket. On the front flap there is anoth pocket into which I can slide my two extra batteries and their charger.
Finishing it all off, I can stuff a large dSLR style Joby GorillaPod tripod into the expandable pocket on the other side of the bag and my iPad in a back, vertical pocket. Voila! I have fit my camera and all accessories into this nice, small bag! Very cool and very useful and all for only $49 retail. I, actually, got it for $39. [NOTE: Due to questions from several readers, I have taken additional pictures of the pockets in this bag and posted them in a gallery: http://www.infotor.com/blog/gallery-of-streamline-sling-interior-pockets/.]