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  1. #1
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    Tom Bihn ID Bag vs Crumpler SoupandSalad

    From an earlier thread, I asked if anybody used a TB ID bag for holding a dSLR camera. I'm thinking mainly of having a readily accessible bag on my side to reach in and grab a lens, or when I'm traveling to just have my camera close by.

    The other day, on a bit of an impulse, I was in Toronto and picked up a Crumpler SoupanSalad messenger bag. Kind of nice: it's not very wide across the body, and is taller and is more generously proportioned (deeper away from the body) for bulky things (i.e., not thin profiled for holding a laptop exclusively). https://www.crumpler.ca/flash/flash....d-ss0106a.html

    Unlike the ID, it has no top zipper: just a large flap that is held down using velcro and a buckle. This means quicker access to the camera. It also means a little less security from inquisitive fingers and less water proofing. There's also no water bottle/external holder, but I'm sure I could add something fairly easily (e.g., LowePro water bottle holder).

    ... but I had forgotten about the TB ID... has anybody used the TB ID as a camera shoulder bag? Convenient? Not so convenient because of the top zipper? Is it padded? Does the padding make it too stiff to comfortably mold and rest on your hip when at the side? (Something I've noticed with my Empire Builder.) Would a largish camera (D300) in a body sleeve type casing be too thick? I think the ID is ony 5.5" deep, and my D300 is practically that same width.

    I'm avoiding dedicated camera shoulder bags because if I want to use it for something else (e.g., lunch, jacket), the built in camera padding is a disadvantage (I already have the LowePro slingshot). I have the OpTech neoprene case for the camera already to provide some protection. So, I'd a like a bag that can do double-duty for all sorts of outings, camera-intense or not.

    Any insights would be greatly appreciated!

  2. #2
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    Well... since nobody has any insights, how about if I can ask what other TB bags people find the best for lugging around/quick access to dSLR and assorted camera gear? Thanks.

  3. #3
    Registered User lpotr4's Avatar
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    My cousin is a professional photographer and he carries most of his equipment in his Tom Bihn Western Flyer. He packs along several Nikon bodies and lenses and he swears by his TB bags so much so that I am now also hooked on it too. I know he uses packing cubes and padded pouches for segregating several items within the bag as well. Along with his Western Flyer, he sometimes lugs his MacBook Pro 17 separately in a Brain Bag, which he also uses if he needs additional stuff to carry for a larger photo shoot requiring different camera setups, on the spot photo edits, and creation of albums. I'll try to get photos of his bag with equipment when I see him this week.
    Luis P.
    If it doesn't fit in your Tom Bihn bag, leave it behind

  4. #4
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    Huh... interesting... never thought about the western flyer. Not sure if I'd want that given that for me, it might not work as an "odds and ends" bag, but something I'll have to look into!

  5. #5
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    If you are open to the messenger style then almost any TB sholder bag would work. My problem is that I don't like not having any padding on the bag. First it doesn't protect from the outside but maybe even worse it lets the gear dig into you from the inside. I hate for the bags to swing so I try to keep them tight to my body and when you do that you get jabbed with anything hard in the bag.

    As of this second (I change my mind on this topic a lot) my favorite bag for camera carrying is the Red Oxx Gator due to the protection and the somewhat ease of use to get in and out of. But the comfort isn't that great and it does swing around.

  6. #6
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    Thanks... I ended up ordering the ID to give it a try... and about $500 worth of other TB gear (for my wife too, of course :-))!

    I actually tried out more thoroughly using the SoupanSalad and it doesn't quite work as well as I thought. Precisely because it has no padding, it doesn't keep its shape as well. While this means it hugs the torso better, it's harder to retrieve things out of it because the opening sort of bends and collapses on itself a bit as it wraps around you. I'm hoping the ID is a bit more rigid; just not as rigid as my Empire Builder (which distressingly I don't use as much of, because as a professor I can be a bit more casual, and nothing beats my 8 year old black Brain Bag for versatility).

  7. #7
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    I am a sports journalist that spends about 25% of my time as a photographer, so I have to carry my camera and two lenses (wide angle zoom 2.8 and telephoto zoom 2.8) along with my laptop and some other gear. I think it's safe to say I am a different type of photographer. I mainly use my bag to get my camera to my destination, and then set the bag down. I'm not usually carrying my bag while I'm swapping lenses -- I've settled down at a work area, and just use the bag for storing whatever equipment I'm not using at the moment.

    That said, I have a Super Ego, a Brain Bag, and a new Smart Alec (one of the recently redesigned models). I use all three with a brain cell for my laptop, and all three have done the job for me.

    The Super Ego was stretched a little wide with both the laptop and the camera lenses. If I didn't need the laptop with me, I think the Super Ego would have been *great* for the camera equipment and other gear, because they could more efficiently use the space. Now I use it as my "one bag" if I'm doing an overnight mixture of laptop, clothes, and toiletries. The Super Ego can hold a LOT, and it all feels well protected.

    For most of my travel (5-8 days per trip), I combine my Aeronaut (for clothes and toiletries) with either my Brain Bag or Smart Alec (for laptop and camera gear).

    I currently prefer the Smart Alec, which is primarily one open space, accessible from the top. My laptop is in its brain cell along the back, and then I put my Snake Charmer on the bottom (acts as a cushion), followed by my telephoto lens in a case, with my camera on top. (The wide angle lens usually stays on the camera, both in a small case with a little extra protection.)

    The Brain Bag is my best bet if I'm carrying documents with my laptop and camera gear.

    That said, the two best purchases I've ever made regarding travel are my Aeronaut (I love that I got the forest green before it went out of stock; thanks, Darcy!) and my Snake Charmer. I am continually amazed by the Snake Charmer -- if I only pack a little in there, it takes up very little space. If I pack a lot in there, it swallows everything without becoming too bulky. I also have several organizer pouches (various sizes), and as useful as they are, the Snake Charmer is the MVP of my lineup.

  8. #8
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    ... what a coincidence...

    ... BJ Nemeth... I also have the Aeronaut - in forest green! It's a great colour. I really wish Tom Bihn still offered it. I got the ID the other day and it seems to work fairly well. I actually tested it against the Crumpler and to be fair, after filling up the bags with respective loads, the Crumpler is actually a bit more comfortable because it's more a "traditional" messenger bag. However, it's not quite as functional: not enough side pockets, some pockets are hard to get to, and the stabilizer strap is actually pretty awkward. So, I'll probably stick with the ID.

    I also ordered a large cafe bag, and I wish it was actually forest green too!

  9. #9
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    Did you try the QAM strap with the ID? I'm not trying to talk you into spending more money, but I wasn't happy with my Imago and the stabilizer strap but the QAM was a nice compromise between shoulder and backpack style. But I don't carry a lot of weight in my Imago.

  10. #10
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    Yes, I order the QAM strap with the ID. Seems to work nicely, and while the Crumpler is really comfortable, I find the Tom Bihn much easier to get the stabilizer strap adjusted.

    ... now I just have to decide which lens to take with me to my brother's wedding...

  11. #11
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    The Crumpler SoupanSalad looks like a great tote-bag style carryall. It lacks dimension and seems to lack padding, making it less camera friendly than the ID Bag. Indeed, I Use my ID bag a lot when I carry a 13" laptop + Nikon Coolpix5000 plus other gadgets on short trips. For longer trips that may involve the use of my 17" laptop, the SuperEgo is the one and for 5-7 day ultralight trips the Aeronaut + 17" laptop in Brain Cell are my go to bags. For strictly photo assignments, the Nikon Camera lives in a Big Tamrac case with all it's necessary accessories. Oddly, I don't own a 'professional' size camera with big fat lens anymore- but that may change soon.
    I have a lot a luggage and enjoy the luxury/flexibility of mixing and matching luggage and gear as the context dictates.
    I can't give up: Super Ego, ID Bag, Aeronaut,Tamrac or my latest bag, the Petrol bag PDRB-4 (Video Gear).


    Quote Originally Posted by ozone View Post
    From an earlier thread, I asked if anybody used a TB ID bag for holding a dSLR camera. I'm thinking mainly of having a readily accessible bag on my side to reach in and grab a lens, or when I'm traveling to just have my camera close by.

    The other day, on a bit of an impulse, I was in Toronto and picked up a Crumpler SoupanSalad messenger bag. Kind of nice: it's not very wide across the body, and is taller and is more generously proportioned (deeper away from the body) for bulky things (i.e., not thin profiled for holding a laptop exclusively). https://www.crumpler.ca/flash/flash....d-ss0106a.html

    Unlike the ID, it has no top zipper: just a large flap that is held down using velcro and a buckle. This means quicker access to the camera. It also means a little less security from inquisitive fingers and less water proofing. There's also no water bottle/external holder, but I'm sure I could add something fairly easily (e.g., LowePro water bottle holder).

    ... but I had forgotten about the TB ID... has anybody used the TB ID as a camera shoulder bag? Convenient? Not so convenient because of the top zipper? Is it padded? Does the padding make it too stiff to comfortably mold and rest on your hip when at the side? (Something I've noticed with my Empire Builder.) Would a largish camera (D300) in a body sleeve type casing be too thick? I think the ID is ony 5.5" deep, and my D300 is practically that same width.

    I'm avoiding dedicated camera shoulder bags because if I want to use it for something else (e.g., lunch, jacket), the built in camera padding is a disadvantage (I already have the LowePro slingshot). I have the OpTech neoprene case for the camera already to provide some protection. So, I'd a like a bag that can do double-duty for all sorts of outings, camera-intense or not.

    Any insights would be greatly appreciated!
    Last edited by Zephyrnoid; 07-29-2008 at 05:59 AM.

  12. #12
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    Well, I must confess my sins... I'm on the "holiday" portion of my trip and not doing much photography. However, just prior to departure, I filled up both the ID and the Crumpler SoupanSalad with what I figured I need to carry onto the plane, and surprisingly, the Crumpler won out. It's because it has a squarish shape and can expand out depth wise that it held my dSLR (a largish Nikon D300) better than the ID. And, during the week I was taking shots of my brother's wedding, the Crumpler proved to be pretty good and easier to get in and out of for changing lens, grabbing things, etc. The Crumpler has this oddly angled flap (just like some of the TB bags) that proves less cumbersome to slip my hand in and out. What would have made it perfect if it had an interior key ring loop and a grab handle like the ID.

    Of course, this is specific to moderate-to-heavy photo use. I think it might be different for a business trip where I have more files, etc. that need to be stored and handled. I can see the ID being much more handy in some ways.

    ... my wife, on the other hand, loves her Imago! Fits her smaller D40 and other essentials just fine.


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