Camera durability in the bag or backpack

blindinglight

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I'm totally new in the photography hobby so for now, I'm babying my E-M1 a bit. Padded camera bags, screen protectors from day one and what not. After all, these are quite expensive toys. But then it got me thinking, some DSLP shooters moved to the micro four thirds world because of the portability among others. So I was wondering, is the E-M1/E-M5/E-Px durable enough, say with a lens (24-40mm or 45mm or pancakes) to be swimming with your other stuff in your backpack without proper padding and stuff? I guess this can only be answered by people who had their gear for quite a while and if they had experiences with having their cameras in their bags with books, tablets, and other stuff without experiences of lens mount loosening or buttons falling off (I'm not much worried about scratches).

Thanks for your opinions and experiences.
 

OzRay

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My E-M1 with 14-35mm f2 lens often sits on the floor of my 4WD, has flown off the passenger seat into the footwell while in the bush off-road, never been babied. It should definitely be as durable as any tablet.
 
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Mine doesn't swim with everything else but it's always in my backpack and doesn't seem any worse for wear.

Got a compuday pack 250 off amazon ( http://www.amazon.ca/Lowepro-LP36297-CompuDay-Photo-Black/dp/B004M9AS3Y ) has a nice padded compartment for the camera with lense. Laptop sleeve and room for narrower books ( as wide as iPad mini or so ) I've been very happy with it, holds all my stuff for work ( and for kid stuff on the weekend ) and provides easy access to the camera.

It can actually hold the camera and a lense or two in he camera pocket since it's made to hold ye ole dslr.
 

pellicle

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mostly I just use a plastic shopping bag around my GH1 or GF1 in the backpack. The main reason for the plastic shopping bag is to reduce the general dust and rubbish that floats around in my pack, and gives me some sort of cover for it when I pull it out in light drizzle or snow.

I have a small story:

One day I was in picking up my lens from a repair place (it tumbled down a cliff and got a smack on the front element, my drop insurance deemed it was worth repair vs replacement), in walks this fella with a Leica R7 which he wanted to have checked.

The fellow looked it over and asked him a few questions:

do you always leave your camera in this padded camera bag?

oh yes ...

do you always wrap your lenses in cloths while the camera is in the camera bag

oh yes ... its my pride and joy

Well I'm sorry mate, but you've ruined your camera. This is unrepairable as its fully infected with mold. Your prism and mirror are covered in it, as are you optics.

The fellow was just aghast ... "surely this would be covered by warranty, I've only had the camera for a few years".

Sadly it wasn't.

You see these paded cases act to absorb atmospheric humidity when its damp (we live in a semi-tropical area) and slow release it inside when it dries out outside (keeping inside just perfect for mold).

The technician went to great lengths to explain to him that these things were made to be used, and that babying them often resulted in the highest rates of destruction from "storage" and harbor mold spoors too. It seems that rolling stones gather less moss.

Soft cases are made for transport protection, not storage.

I store my lenses and bodies in a dry cabinet (which I built myself, but you can buy them too) and that keeps them at less than 60% humidity during storage.

The other thing is this: lets say you protect and preserve your new bouncing baby love so perfectly that you're afraid to use it. Then in 3 years time you've got a perfect example of a PanOlymic XX-X which is suitable for a museum, but still only worth $200 to sell. Go check out the prices on a GF1 or G1 ... which are still fine cameras ... about $100 for body only.

I usually chuckle a bit when I get a new scrape on my camera and say "ouh , that'll knock the resale value about.."

Take reasonable care of it, but never loose sight of the fact that its a tool to do a job.

Best Wishes

PS: I've once left my lens in a plastic shopping bag and walked off forgetting it (and focusing on what I was photographing, camera on the tripod over my shoulder). I came back 10 minutes later and it was still there. I'm willing to bet if it had been in an expensive bag with "Canon" or LowePro emblazoned on it it would have been gone...
 

OzRay

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Hi

that's the spirit!

which is of course why the foot well is safer ... won't fall as far ;-)
They are afterall just tools, not ornaments.

It certainly won't fall any further when in the footwell, but can be bloody awkward to get to from the driver's seat.

As for mould, where we live, in winter, we need to put dampsorb containers in all the closets or else mould has a field day (especially with leather). Our Drizabone jackets are currently airing out after a good spray of tea tree oil, as they got attacked by mould when they were stored in a spare room. All my camera cases have silica gel bags (the ones that you can regenerate) to keep mould at bay.
 

pellicle

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It certainly won't fall any further when in the footwell, but can be bloody awkward to get to from the driver's seat.
True. Perhaps you could rig some sort of holster to hang behind the passenger sear from the head rest? You could probably reach that as easy as the back seat. Then sudden brake jabs would just press it into the seat?
 

OzRay

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True. Perhaps you could rig some sort of holster to hang behind the passenger sear from the head rest? You could probably reach that as easy as the back seat. Then sudden brake jabs would just press it into the seat?
Normally the camera hangs off the headrest via the strap, but the way I now have the camera strap arranged, it tends to swing around a lot more in rough terrain, even the seat belt doesn't quite hold it in place (the smaller body also doesn't help). I just need to be more careful of where I put the camera, depending on the terrain I'm driving.
 

wanderenvy

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A naked camera will pick up scratches, paint dings and nicks. If you are okay with that, go for it. Its unlikely to cause major damage but it will reduce the resale value of the camera.

An alternative to a separate bag would be a soft padded wrap for the camera.
 

wanderenvy

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Agreed. We should either totally baby expensive stuff or (ab)use it with abandon. There is no middle ground.
 

OzRay

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Agreed. We should either totally baby expensive stuff or (ab)use it with abandon. There is no middle ground.
Depends on whether you own a camera (or any other tool) for the purposes of using it for what it was designed, or as an heirloom. Do you buy a hammer so that you can resell it later for near it's purchase price, or use it to hammer nails? If all you are worried about is resale value, then it's no longer a tool.
 

janneman

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I must admit the 'free floating' sensor of my E-M5 caused me some concern when I bought it. I spend a lot of time riding a motor bike, and I was worried the vibrations, especially on long journeys, might do some damage (a fork rattling against an aluminium kettle will work its way through in just one day). Now, well over 2 years with the camera with me at all times (motorbike, bicycle or walking, no problems. Clearly this stuff is not as delicate as I feared.

On the other hand, I see people walking with camera's on tripods slung over their shoulders, or put camera's with long dangling straps on walls and everywhere; all accidents waiting to happen. People on an other forum got all worked up because sun shining into the EVF could cause damage. Duh! Lens, sun, what would you expect? Common sense helps, but it had to be used for it to work. .
 

bassman

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I'd never be accused of babying my gear. But I keep the camera in a neoprene soft case if I'm just putting it in a day pack with other stuff.
 

fortwodriver

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My camera goes wherever I go... It gets tossed into my day-messenger bag. It's only protection is a neoprene wrap. Camera comes out, wrap comes off and I start taking photos. Often, instead of re-wrapping the camera, I'll just set it back in the bag on top of the wrap if I know I'll be taking it out again (for instance, if we're sitting down to eat or something). Otherwise it gets slung across my chest.

Here's what I use:
http://www.tiffen.com/displayproduct.html?tablename=zing&itemnum=501-101
I got the idea for the Zing case from back in the film days when I had them for each of my film cameras - I love them and you can get them in various sizes and they accomodate various attached lenses.

Here's what my camera sits in every single day along with work, paperwork, ipad, and some articles of clothing, meds, "sick bag", and a Metz flash unit:
http://www.crumpler.com/au/moderate-embarrassment
 

dancebert

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I traveled with an entry level DSLR & kit lens for a total of 12 weeks. Carried it in an unpadded drawstring tightly woven cloth bag inside my bicycle messenger shoulder bag, which was padded on the side against my body. The drawstring bag was to protect the camera from trash & crumbs & stuff in the messenger bag, and so I when I retrieved the camera from the messenger bag the neck strap wouldn't catch on anything. Didn't baby the camera but didn't drop the messenger bag either. Camera came through no worse for wear.

I am concerned about carrying an unpadded camera in a day pack. Between many years of hiking, backpacking, rock climbing, mountain biking and carrying books in school, I've long since developed a habit of letting a day pack drop the last few inches to the ground when taking it off. Don't want to risk a camera on being able to break that habit.
 

0dBm

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None of ANY of my gear "swim" in a bag or pack. None. Everything is either in a compartment or pouch within the pack of bag itself. But then again, many of my "gear" is more critical than recreational applications.
 

OzRay

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I don't think anyone is suggesting that you don't take any care of your equipment, but that excessive pandering is unwarranted. All of my lenses travel in a camera bag, but my camera and whatever lens I'm currently using usually travels on my person or floor/seat of car, so that it's within easy reach. My view comes from years of news and sports photography, going bush etc where you couldn't afford to mollycoddle your gear if you wanted to do your job or reach difficult places. That said, all of my gear is still in very good condition, as you learn to take care of your gear in adverse conditions.
 
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