The Camera I-O (Insert-Outsert) is designed to help you carry your DSLR body, several lenses, an external flash, and accessories. Originally conceived as a padded insert to be added to our Brain Bag backpack (the Camera I-O also fits in the Super Ego, Empire Builder, ID, and Aeronaut), we've added features so it can also be used as a great, stand-alone, shoot-from-the-hip photo bag.
The front and back of the Camera I-O are made of .25" / 6 mm thick closed-cell foam laminated to an exterior of Durastretch 520Q (a nylon/Cordura®/Lycra® blend) and an interior of hook-compatible brushed tricot. The sides and bottom are 1000 denier Cordura® lined with the same .25" / 6 mm foam and brushed tricot.
Included with the Camera I-O are four padded dividers designed to allow you to optimize and organize the space inside the bag based on what gear you will carry. The dividers are padded with .25" closed-cell foam with an exterior of bright silver 500 denier Cordura® to help you more easily see all that black camera gear inside the bag, and they attach to the interior walls of the Camera I-O with ubiquitous hook/loop fasteners. The smaller two dividers are simple rectangles, pretty much similar in function to the myriad of padded dividers one gets with any camera bag these days — use them to create smaller padded cubbies within the I-O for lenses, flashes, etc. The two tall dividers are a bit different than you might expect, with three unique features: first, when positioned within the I-O, their wedge shape creates some slack at the top so that when you need to flex the sides and open the I-O from the top, you won't tear the hook and loop fasteners apart; second, they are designed so that you can fold the bottom ends up, allowing you to create a shorter compartment either suspended from the top or dropped down to the bottom of the I-O; last, these dividers have padded dog-ears at the top that flop over to protect your lenses (or whatever you put in there). Again, the interior of the Camera I-O is hook-compatible material, so that you can use dividers from other manufacturers as well.
Also included with the Camera I-O is a padded, removable lid system. When traveling from location to location with the Camera I-O inside our Brain Bag or other bag, the lid system is a great way to add an extra level of protection for your gear; when using the I-O on its own, the lids will help keep dust, dirt, and light precipitation out. The lid system consists of two separate lids, both made of black 500 denier Cordura® and padded with .25" / 6 mm closed-cell foam. The two lids fold over one another like the top of a cereal box and secure with four points of Aplix® hook and loop; the hook and loop closures are positioned diagonally and only engage (or overlap) at their vertices, so the lid stays shut but it doesn't take much effort to open it. The position of the hook and loop fasteners allows them to engage when the lids are at any angle and even when the I-O is bulged and overfilled. If you require quicker and/or silent access to your gear, you can simply flop the two lids down in the opposite order and the hook and loop won't engage at all. Alternately, you may choose to remove the lids entirely — they use 1" wide Aplix® to attach to the inside upper edge of the I-O.
Using the Camera I-O as an Insert: The Camera I-O keeps your photo gear organized and protected inside another bag as you travel; it features the same webbing loops on its back as our Brain Cell laptop case, allowing you to clip it securely inside either compartment of our Brain Bag, or in the main compartment of our Super Ego, Empire Builder, and ID. (The Camera I-O will also fit inside the main compartment of the Aeronaut but it won't clip in.) And, of course, you can use the Camera I-O inside any non-TOM BIHN bag big enough to accommodate it. The Camera I-O features comfortable PORON® foam padded handles so you can get a good grip when you're pulling it out of another bag. (While the Camera
Using the Camera I-O as an Outsert: The Camera I-O's PORON® foam padded handles allow you to carry the bag comfortably. Shoulder strap attachment points — designed by Tom, custom-molded for us in Georgia (United States, not the other one), and tested to 250 pounds (each) — allow you to clip on the optional Standard or Absolute Shoulder Straps. Carry a travel tripod or lighting gear? Down the sides and across the bottom of the I-O is a daisy chain of 1" nylon webbing, allowing you to use Annex Clips to attach one or more of our Tripod - Lighting Kit Quivers, which are available in two sizes: 360 mm ($40) and 520 mm ($45). The Quivers can be clipped to the sides or bottom of the Camera I-O, carried on their own with an optional shoulder strap, or packed inside a larger bag. We call them "Quivers" because Tom's brother Dan, who helped develop the Camera
|Exterior bottom and sides: 1000 denier Cordura® nylon fabric|
Exterior front and back: custom-made Durastretch 520Q (a nylon/Cordura®/Lycra® blend — has the stretch needed for the lamination/molding process)
|.25" / 6 mm closed-cell foam padding|
|Interior of hook-compatible brushed tricot|
|Removable/repositionable dividers made of 500 denier Cordura® with .25" / 6 mm closed-cell foam padding|
|PORON® foam padded handles|
|100% finished seams|
|30+ reinforcing bar tacks|
|Made in USA|
|Dimensions: 14" x 11.75" x 3.75" / 355 x 300 x 95 mm|
|Weight: 1 lb 4 oz / 565 grams|
|Volume: 610 cubic inches / 10 liters (ASTM Standard Measure)|
|Included: Four removable/repositionable dividers (two tall, two small) and the removable lid|
As reviewed by Phil Thornton of Phindy Studios, Nashville Wedding Photographers:
"The camera insert is a simple, genius and modular solution. It basically lets you create a custom camera bag system to fit your needs. Below is a quick “what’s in my bag” shot of the insert paired with my Tom Bihn Brain Bag backpack, love it! The camera insert securely holds your camera bodies and lenses and then slides into the backpack. Tom Bihn also has a great assortment of smaller bags and pouches that keep everything nice and organized." Read the full review.
Want to read more reviews? Here's our complete list of external bag reviews.
A Review/Narrative from a Tom Bihn Fanatic (...a Camera Insert Review)
"When we eventually arrived at the Hoover Dam, we decided it would be an exceptionally awesome idea to go out onto the pedestrian part of the new Pat Tillman Bridge and take pictures looking back onto the Hoover Dam. I didn’t want to take my Super Ego loaded with my computing devices—so I just took the [Camera I-O] Insert as a stand-alone with an Absolute Strap attached (the Absolute Strap is probably overkill—the standard strap that comes with the Ristretto or Cadet would work great for this).
After the lovely time taking pictures on the bridge that is absurdly high over the Colorado River (around 900 feet above the water,) we went down to the Dam area. As it turns out, there is in fact a bag size limit posted near the parking lots. This got me sort of worried, as the Camera Insert was only slightly bigger than it—but then I saw a guy coming out of the tour with a backpack on. Still—I chose just to use the Camera Insert to bypass any issues.
The result: I was able to take about 400 pictures with relative ease and not having a huge weight on my back, all while having my camera equipment protected and with me." — posted by misterN
Camera I/O + Tripod Quiver + Brain Bag photos & review
"Tom Bihn's Camera I/O is yet another perfect example of what Tom and company do best - versatility and durability contained within a well-planned, executed, clean, and minimally designed product. The Camera I/O functions as its own camera bag as well as a padded insert for my Brain Bag. My job and travel schedule require rugged, durable gear that doesn't mind being picked up, set down, swung around, walking, running, being shoved under airplane seats, and stuffed in whatever open corners I can find. The Camera I/O is padded insurance for my gear. Prior to this, I wrapped my Canon 7D body in a spare hoodie and stuffed my lenses in winter boot socks when I traveled. Sure, I probably could have found another insert or padded case, but why sell myself short of what my bag setup actually needed? Something designed specifically for it, designed specifically for me." — posted by leviathan