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Tom Bihn Forums: Community discussion on travel bags, laptop bags, and backpacks. Tom Bihn has been designing and making bags since 1972. The best materials and innovative construction.

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  1. #1
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    More camera bag ideas

    In this other thread Tom Bihn Hybrid Photog Bags ? there were some good suggestions but I wanted to add a few generic ideas instead of mucking up that thread.

    The problem that I'm trying to solve is a DSLR bag that protects my equipment and carries my stuff when I travel and when I hike. Right now the best solution I have is my Kata R101. It does a great job at protection, it's light, and comfortable but still not perfect. Here's what I think the bag should do:

    1. Small enough for personal item carry on.
    2. Be comfortable on a hike. To me this means back pack with ergo straps across chest and/or waist. Maybe others think shoulder is fine but not me personally.
    3. Protect the equipment. However there is some flexibility in HOW you do that.
    4. Space for a laptop. I don't carry one on photo trips but I can see where others would require it. My Kata has room for a small one. I think the space should be enough for a magazine or 8.5 x 11" so I can print travel documents and carry them easily. That's something I need. Needs to be easy access.
    5. Space for at least 2 lenses.
    6. Some way to store various sundries like cables and such.
    7. Room for other travel stuff like iPod.
    8. Easy access zipper for camera only (Kata has this).
    9. Not scream camera bag?
    10. Server other purposes?


    I was thinking that maybe a regular padded bag with some smaller specific safety containers could meet a few needs. For example, if you could buy a sleeve for your lenses like you do for a laptop, and the sleeves where secured inside the padded bag, then you wouldn't need the pre-molded solution that most people have today. Many bags use inserts and velcro but I think something else could be done.

    Big problem with camera bags is there is so many equipment specific needs it's impossible to please everyone. For example, I don't take a tripod but some people do. Anyway, just some thoughts I had on the topic.

  2. #2
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    *bumps*

    *chants* Camera bag! camera bag!

    *prods* Is it ready yet? :-)

  3. #3
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    I'm starting to think a better solution would be a well padded bag that is very generic. It's dimensions would need to be wide enough to handle the camera sitting flat but it's shape could be just about anything. With some kind of padded inserts a user could make it fit various needs. It would be great if it could be messenger style like the Imago but I'm not sure something that has padding (and thus semi rigid shape) could be worn this way.

    I did try to use my Imago as a camera bag and while it worked decently it left me concerned on the safety of the equipment.

  4. #4
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    I think that consensus says that TomBihn inner modules that are photo-gear specific make the most sense as there are MANY excellent camera bag makers and bags out there already.
    Keep in mind that the Tom Bihn core competency is laptop friendly bags.
    A case in point is that when I'm in Photographer or Videographer mode, I shift my gear around between bags depending on my assignment.
    I use the Aeronaut and Super Ego as hybrid camera + other gear bags.
    When I'm in fullphoto mode, I drag out the camera bags I have and insert submodules as needed. I've actually done this to my audio and lighting gear as well.
    I see little point in yet another camera bag competing in a crowded market of SMEs
    Tom may feel differently though

  5. #5
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    WHile I agree that the camera bag market is already saturated if not over saturated, I'm not sure that is a reason to stay out. The same could be said for just about every product that TB also makes. But I do agree with you that TB may not want to try and design a specialized bag for much of the reasons mentioned. That's why I'm more leaning towards a generic approach where the bag could do more than just cameras. As I said, the key is outer protection so something like the Imago isn't really good unless the material for the laptop cells is used. More and more I'm becoming a fan of the Red Oxx Gator bag for an all around camera bag.

  6. #6
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    How about using inserts by others in TB bags

    Just an idea. How about foam inserts by other manufacturers inside a Tom Bihn bag.

    A few manufacturers that come to mind include Tenaba, Domke, and Billingham. Here are a few links to what I am thinking of:

    http://www.tenba.com/pc-957-12-photo...nger-bags.aspx

    http://www.tiffen.com/results.html?s...e+Camera+Bags&

    http://www.billingham.co.uk/prodbuy.asp?id=85

    I'm sure that there are a lot more options out there. The advantage is that you could be very incognito with a stylish Bihn bag and you wouldn't have to wait for Tom to design a camera bag. Cheers! -Alan

  7. #7
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    Yes exactly my strategy! I actually also LOVE 'wraps' that close with velcro. Another of my tricks is to use smaller camera bags for sub-containment and basically nest things into gradually bigger bags. I just received a MASSIVE bag from 511Tactical that is basically a rolling soft-trunk. So I pile subunits into it. I find that more most of my loose gear, the TB organizer pouches with my round tags added are amazingly efficient. Tenba is an old fav of mine.
    More than camera bags, we really need for someone like tom to come up with a cool Photo/Video vest maybe. I love my 511Tactical vest but it's not ideal for Video shoots etc etc. I need to do an internship with Tom maybe .


    Quote Originally Posted by thalweg View Post
    Just an idea. How about foam inserts by other manufacturers inside a Tom Bihn bag.

    A few manufacturers that come to mind include Tenaba, Domke, and Billingham. Here are a few links to what I am thinking of:

    http://www.tenba.com/pc-957-12-photo...nger-bags.aspx

    http://www.tiffen.com/results.html?s...e+Camera+Bags&

    http://www.billingham.co.uk/prodbuy.asp?id=85

    I'm sure that there are a lot more options out there. The advantage is that you could be very incognito with a stylish Bihn bag and you wouldn't have to wait for Tom to design a camera bag. Cheers! -Alan

  8. #8
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    Yes exactly my strategy! I actually also LOVE 'Domke wraps' that close with velcro (see below). I find that for most of my loose gear, the TB organizer pouches with my round tags added are amazingly efficient. Tenba is an old fav of mine. I also use tupperware with great results!

    More than camera bags, we really need for Tom to come up with a cool Photo/Video vest maybe. I love my 511Tactical vest but it's not ideal for Video shoots etc etc.


    Quote Originally Posted by thalweg View Post
    Just an idea. How about foam inserts by other manufacturers inside a Tom Bihn bag.

    A few manufacturers that come to mind include Tenaba, Domke, and Billingham. Here are a few links to what I am thinking of:

    http://www.tenba.com/pc-957-12-photo...nger-bags.aspx

    http://www.tiffen.com/results.html?s...e+Camera+Bags&

    http://www.billingham.co.uk/prodbuy.asp?id=85

    I'm sure that there are a lot more options out there. The advantage is that you could be very incognito with a stylish Bihn bag and you wouldn't have to wait for Tom to design a camera bag. Cheers! -Alan
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Last edited by Zephyrnoid; 01-02-2008 at 08:05 AM.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by thalweg View Post
    Just an idea. How about foam inserts by other manufacturers inside a Tom Bihn bag.

    A few manufacturers that come to mind include Tenaba, Domke, and Billingham. Here are a few links to what I am thinking of:

    http://www.tenba.com/pc-957-12-photo...nger-bags.aspx

    http://www.tiffen.com/results.html?s...e+Camera+Bags&

    http://www.billingham.co.uk/prodbuy.asp?id=85

    I'm sure that there are a lot more options out there. The advantage is that you could be very incognito with a stylish Bihn bag and you wouldn't have to wait for Tom to design a camera bag. Cheers! -Alan
    Wow, those look very useful.

    Is anyone currently using foam insert in one of their Bihn bags? Pictures? xD

  10. #10
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    I wish my local camera store carried either the inserts or the wraps so I could try them. I bought some pouches at the local store and regret it because they are kind of a pain. I will probably order some wraps or inserts at some point and give them a try.

  11. #11
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    I like the idea of wraps. When you have an oddly-shaped camera (that is, larger lens attached), it becomes difficult to find a bag that fits "right". I like to be able to just pull out my camera and be ready to go.

    Currently, I'm using my Ego and my camera is often loose inside... bad me. I'd love to see a sleeve that would attach to one of the laptop hooks, which would take up about 1/3 of the interior, with a solid bottom, a flap halfway down, and a zip-close top - it'd be big enough to hold the camera safely in the top, but the bottom half of the sleeve (under the flap) would easily hold spare batteries, extra lens, memory cards, whatever. :)

  12. #12
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    You have to hand it to Domke for coming up with a totally timeless and form fitting solution that's JUST right for certain objects. I have 6 of these and my fav is the Headphone wrap that gets me at my MDRV6's fast and packs them away without cord tangles etc. Slap a velcro patch on 'em and bingo- instant removable labeling. Now you'll get me singing the praises of the Velcro invention ! LOL

  13. #13
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    A couple of years ago, Zephyrnoid pointed me to the Domke wrap to solve a problem I was having with Firewire drives in my Empire Builder. It is still an awesome solution to my original problem. The only problem is I think I've become addicted to the Domke wraps now. I actively look for things that are just a little bit odd sized or whatever - just so that I can wrap them up.
    Jim Hall
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    My TB bags: 2 - Empire Builder 1 - Checkpoint Flyer

  14. #14
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    how long before they come up with a Domke wrap that's got some padding to it ?
    Quote Originally Posted by jehingr View Post
    A couple of years ago, Zephyrnoid pointed me to the Domke wrap to solve a problem I was having with Firewire drives in my Empire Builder. It is still an awesome solution to my original problem. The only problem is I think I've become addicted to the Domke wraps now. I actively look for things that are just a little bit odd sized or whatever - just so that I can wrap them up.

  15. #15
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    I had another thought on the topic of bag structure.

    Another reason I like the idea of a bag with padded walls that supports it's form is that it allows me to open the bag and operate everything off the ground while the bag hangs off me. Most DSLR photographers are probably more patient than me and will take the bag off, unload, and set up the shot. I find that I end up walking around and then finding a shot, taking it, then wanting to walk to my next destination. My process is fairly quick so I want the camera (and lenses) to be quickly accessible. There are "sling bags" that can accomplish this but they don't give you the ability to see your entire bag at once, just the quick access part. With my current bag, I can see everything in the bag and even change lenses inside the bag. The big bonus is that I don't have to take the bag off or put it on the ground which is great when you're hiking.

    Just a thought.

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