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  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jun 2014

    Synapse 25 vs. Smart Alec for laptop and mirrorless camera system

    I currently own the Tri-Star and love it!

    I'm needing help choosing between the Synapse 25 and the Smart Alec for EDC.

    I typically always carry a 13" Macbook Pro and a Fuji X-T1 with one lens attached to the body and a spare lens. I'm looking to get something like a Crumpler Haven medium (22cm x 22cm x12cm) as a padded insert for one of the two backpacks (Unfortunately TB has no add-on to protect a small mirrorless camera system).

    Does anyone have a similar setup? Perhaps the padded insert can fit in the bottom compartment, drink compartment or hooked at the top of the Synapse 25? Or maybe the the insert can fit into one of the large side pockets of the Smart Alec? What has been your solution, and can you describe a bit about the ergonomics of your setup?

  2. #2
    Volunteer Moderator tpnl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Toronto, Canada (GMT+5)

    Perhaps this thread might help concerning the Smart Alec:

    In the thread, taminca speaks to using the Crumpler Haven medium as well and there are many other links to people using the Smart Alec as a Camera Insert (makes me want to get a full on camera just to try it out )

    Here is a thread concerning the Synapse 25:

    Last edited by tpnl; 06-01-2014 at 02:55 PM.
    S25/SA/Pilot/Cadet/TS/WF/A45 (Black/Iberian), Zephyr/BB/Co-Pilot (Black/Black/Steel), DLBP (French Blue), Ego (Black/Black/Steel with Indigo Stripe), CPF (Black/Indigo/Steel), EB (Black/Steel/Steel), Vertical & Horizontal Brain Cells, Vertical and Horizontal FS, Camera I/O, PCBP/PCSB/TT (400d Nordic), SE (Black/Iberian), Lead's Pocket (Black), Tall YSS (Iberian)

  3. #3
    Registered User Ilkyway's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    GMT +1 Germany, North
    But what about your timeline? The Smart Alec is not available right now because it is soled out, did you take that in account?

    @tpnl I can recommend getting that camera. I always here people saying that with handys and the point and shots SLRs become obsolete. I disagree on that.


  4. #4
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Costa Rica
    Take a look at this:

    I bought the same insert for my Olympus OM-D EM5 plus kit zoom lens and it fits perfectly in my Synapse 19 with room to spare. I was able to slide my iPad and a small notebook in next to it and a light fleece jacket on top. Just compare the Crumpler dimensions with the insert's. Hope it helps.

    The insert is $20 on Amazon in case the Crumpler is too big.

  5. #5
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Thanks for the links to the other threads and videos. It helped me along, though not really ideal solutions.

    I have an solution that may work, but will need some input from you guys. It goes with the Synapse 25 (Though I prefer the look of the Smart Alec, the cavernous space may be too hard to manage as I want the camera near an opening for quick access).

    I'd get a camera holster, like this one from Apecase (Thinktank also has similar one).
    ACPRO600 Compact DSLR Holster - Ape Case - Camera Cases and Accessories

    Then either:

    Place it in the central drink bottle compartment. My question for Synapse 25 owners is whether this holster (cross section area is about 17cm x 12cm) will fit in there. Also, how tight it would be to get a small camera (about 13cm x 9cm) in and out of this opening frequently? Thirdly, are there 2 attachment loops near the top of this compartment, so fix the holster as close to the opening as possible -- and if not, would TB do custom additions?

    Attach the holster to the 2 attachment loops on the lid, inside the main compartment. Can anyone tell me how far apart these attachments are from each other? Hopefully is is wider than the 17cm width of the camera holster.

    The spare lens can go anywhere inside a padded pouch, like this one from Apecase.
    ACLC8 Adjustable/Attachable Compact Lens Case - Ape Case - Camera Cases and Accessories

    Alternatively, if I use the thinktank holster (Digital Holster 10 V2.0 Small DSLR Camera Bag | Think Tank Photo), I could place a spare lens inside and have the camera on top.

  6. #6
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    @ilkyway No major rush. I currently carry my camera and laptop in 2 separate bags. I want to consolidate it into one. I don't see the point of having a good camera unless you always have it with you =)

  7. #7
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Just an update for those interested. I got the Synapse 25 and the aforementioned Apecase compact camera holster. This setup gives me quick access to my camera and laptop.

    I attached it with these triangle gatekeeper's. 1" on the right, and 1.5" on the left, because the case was wider than the attachment points on the lid of the bag.

    Below is the attachment on the right with 1" triangle gatekeepers.

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    Below is the attachment on the left with 1.5" triangle gatekeepers.

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    Below is the empty holster.

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    Below is my with my camera in the holster.

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    Below is another photo with my camera in the holster. I would put the camera in this orientation if my lens was longer than above.

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  8. #8
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Below is a photo showing the outline of the holster in the Synapse25. I pushed down the sides and bottom. I would place my spare lens in a padded pouch and put that in the bottom of the middle drink bottle compartment. The two side pockets are also fully usable.

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    I'm not sure if the above setup will fit a Synapse19, due to the combined thickness of the case and laptop as show in the picture below.

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    I tried putting the holster in the middle drink bottle pocket. Though it fits and I can get the camera in and out, it was a tight fit and I find the above method better. I may switch it up again later though, if I come across a more snug holster.

    Hope that helps anyone trying to do something similar.

  9. #9
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Another update. I changed the attachment method to the camera holster. It utilises the belt loop on most of these holsters, and does not depend on the width camera holster. It makes for a cleaner attachment.

    Below shows 2 x 1" triangle gatekeepers, attached to the font inner lid of the Synapse25.

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    Below is the belt attachment on the camera holster.

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    Below shows the attachment without the camera holster attached. The webbing I cut from the included shoulder strap that was included with the Apecase camera holster.

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    Below shows the attachment with the camera holster.

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    Finally, below shows final setup flat against the bag.

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