Like Charlie Brown and the football, I decided to try again for a small bag to carry some of my camera gear when I only want a minimal kit, and a bag that does immediately identify itself as a camera bag. I mostly use Domke bags for my camera equipment, and have a variety of Tom's bags for general use. I have an insert that fits nicely into my Imago, and I can place my old E=MC2 case inside my MCB, but neither was small enough for my intended purpose. Two years ago, I tried to find a TB bag to meet this need, but gave up unsuccessfully. Having had the itch again, I headed off to the factory showroom with camera gear in tow, to see if I could find success this time.
My initial candidates were the relatively new Side Effect, and a second attempt at the Field Journal. Both bags proved too small to properly hold an M4/3rd's camera body with lens attached, and possibly a second lens or flash. Had the Field Journal had a bit more depth (front to back), it might have been perfect with its binder removed. I like its design because it looks like a mini brief, but it was just too small, and the Cadet was just a bit too big, albeit it too needed a bit more depth.
The Co-Pilot has the depth, but is just too big for my needs. The Packing Cube Shoulder was also too large, and none of the other cubes or pockets seemed to work as well. The small Ristretto was closer, and it had a padded compartment, but it too also needed a bit more depth to handle my gear. While I was ready to again call it a day, like Charlie Brown laying flat on his back, but I decided to try one more bag, the Small Cafe Bag.
The SCB is notably smaller than the MCB, and is about the size of a bag that I had initially envisioned. I did bring one home to see if it could be adapted to use with some Domke wraps, or possibly an insert, but what I really want is something that Tom has not been able to address. A bag that is slightly larger than the Field Journal, but smaller than the Cadet, but that has more depth than either bag. Ideally, the bag would be lightly padded, perhaps lined with ultrasuede or a material that would accept movable padded dividers. Think equal parts Camera I-O interior, Small or Medium Cafe Bag form, or alternately Field Journal/Cadet form. Or perhaps a shorter, fatter Ristretto, called Goldilocks? I know that we all want our own personally designed TB bag, but a guy can dream, can't he?