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How to carry my GF2?

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by jbxberg, Jan 28, 2012.

  1. jbxberg

    jbxberg Mu-43 Rookie

    Dec 16, 2011
    Hi everyone,

    I recently upgraded from my point & shoot camera and am now a proud owner of a GF2+14mm lens (Browsing this site has been a great help with the decision btw., thanks!). I'll probably also buy the Panasonic 45-200mm. This spring I'll be travelling Burma for a month with my girlfriend. For that trip and also for everyday use I'm still looking for a convenient way to store and protect my camera gear.

    During the trip, we'll be taking a large backpack each as well as a daypack. The large backpacks we'll only take while getting from A to B and the daypack will be with us all the time. Also, when home, I have my small backpack with me most of the time, so that's where I'd like to store the camera. After some searching, I came across this: Lowepro Photo Sport 200 AW. - Looks like a good solution to me (I generally prefer those top-loading backpacks, since there's no zipper that can break). However, it comes at a price. Does anyone have experience with this particular model? I also feel the camera compartment's size is a bit large for my current setup.

    Any other ideas? I'd generally like something that makes the camera easily accessible and that doesn't involve another separate bag or the camera dangling around my neck, etc. Right now, I squeeze the camera into my old point&shoot's bag and carry that in my backpack, but this obviously won't work with a zoom lens.

  2. turbodieselvw

    turbodieselvw Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 29, 2010
    You may want to get a small shoulder sling bag that will fit both the GF2 and zoom. You can carry that slung over your shoulder and still carry your backpack. That will allow you quick access to the camera without having to deal with taking the backpack on and off to access the camera. You may also want to bring along some spare batteries just in case your primary one runs out of juice.
  3. flipGTO

    flipGTO Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 8, 2010
    San Diego, CA
    there are a lot of options for you out there. kata, clik elite, and crumpler make good daypacks.
  4. I use a grammar school insulated lunch bag with shoulder strap. First it looks like a lunch bag, while in real life it holds my E-P2 and GF-2 one with the 12mm the other tha Panny 20mm 1.7 attached. It also easily held the kit 14-42 Oly and the 100-300 Panny. There is an outer pocket for the chargers and a sandwich. Plus a net for a water bottle.

    Cost was ten dollars at CVS Pharmacy.
  5. adelorenzo

    adelorenzo Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 9, 2011
    Whitehorse, Yukon
  6. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    My Kata backpack (which like the Photo Sport has the All-Weather cover and can be worn as a sling bag or backpack) also has the dedicated side access door, but I don't find that to be very useful at all. I can't remember ever pulling stuff out of the side door, but rather take off the backpack and open the whole back instead. It makes a difference though, if you use the single-strap sling style or double-strap backpack style. The side compartment is only made to use with with the bag as a sling bag with only one strap across the chest. This is good for short-distance, but will make you sore on long distances. Good thing these bags have the choice of both!

    In short, having all these options together does make for a really good bag when it's put together (mine is the Kata 3N1, btw). However, each individual is going to use one feature more than another, and some of these features may not be as useful as they appear on the video... to you. I would still suggest a bag like this...

    If you like this one though, I would also highly suggest looking at the Kata 3N1. Kata quality is significantly better than Lowepro. Although Lowepro does make great, innovative products, they are on the affordable end of the scale - which may be good or bad depending on how you look at it. ;) 

    Also, for just the GF-2 and a couple lenses, any 200 series bag would be way too big! You won't need more than a 100-series bag, from Lowepro or Kata (ie, Lowepro Photo Sport 100 AW or Kata 3N1 100). They both seem to use the same sizing numbers, for whatever reason. In fact, you could probably go smaller than a 100, but I don't know what exactly is available in these kind of bags besides 100, 200, and 300. There are 20, 50, and 80 series bags, but I don't know if they're available in the daypack style. I've only seen them as shoulder bags.

    There are also Lowepro slingbags which may be more economical and compact, but can only be worn as a sling bag with one strap. This is as I mentioned not as comfortable on long hauls or for heavy loads (you'll feel the unstable weight as you swing the bag on and off), however for what you're carrying (GF-2 and a couple lenses) that should not be a problem!

    Personally, for such a small kit I would stick with a shoulder bag. But then, I've always been fond of shoulder bags and not much on backpacks except to carry full lighting accessories. That's more of a personal thing, but I thought I'd mention it... I've always considered one of the great things about the Micro Four-Thirds system to be the ability to lose the big bags. What I needed a backpack for before, now I just need a satchel. For what I needed a shoulder bag before, now I just need a belt pouch.
  7. MizOre

    MizOre Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 26, 2011
    I found a small bag in a local store (Nicaragua) that is a purse that looks like a small camera bag. I added some padding and it is now a small camera bag that looks like a purse.

    I've also used Temba wraps in a waist lumbar pack (the UK folks find the US name to be rude and almost vice versa).
  8. Domke F-5XB

    When packing light (no checked luggage) I pack the GF-1, LVF-1, 20mm & 45-200mm & accessories into the Domke F-5XB. Allows leaving either lens mounted on the body and getting quick access to the gear without needing to juggle stuff around. The Domke is small enough to slip into a small size Timbuk2 messenger bag. Fills ~1/2 of the small sized T2 bag. If you don't mind juggling gear around you can pack significantly more gear into the bag. I've packed the G2 + 14-45mm, GF-1 +20mm, lvf-1, 9-18mm oly, spare batteries & cards and grey card plus cleaning aids.

    Inserts alone may work for you since you plan to carry a small backpack almost all the time. I use the Timbuk2 Snoop as my big bag. The inserts are nice. XS,S & M sized. Sized to fit inside the corresponding Timbuk2 messenger bags.

    If just packing the 14mm I would just use a butt pack. I wrap the GF-1 +20mm in a microfiber towel and toss it into an old, relatively small (<1L vol) Lowe fanny pack.
  9. jbxberg

    jbxberg Mu-43 Rookie

    Dec 16, 2011
    Wow, thanks for all the suggestions, guys!

    I'd rule out a sling bag, since I'd really like to have two straps when walking longer distances.
    Another requirement is that the main compartment closes without a zipper (so I can squeeze stuff in if necessary, and not worry about breaking the zipper). That unfortunately rules out almost all daypacks that offer a dedicated camera compartment. The Lowepro actually is the only one I could find.

    I already own a daypack. In the hood thing that closes the main compartment there is a pocket that would be big enough for my camera stuff. However it's made of unpadded and relatively thin fabric (that's where I currently store the camera within the small bag). I was already thinking about getting a slightly bigger bag that would hold the camera with a zoom lens attached. Leaving that bag open within the backpack's small top compartment should allow fairly quick access.
  10. gsciorio

    gsciorio Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 29, 2011
    Miami, FL
    That lowepro photo sport is a really cool bag! If you like it get it! The camera bag is the true man-purse so don't feel bad if you want another bag soon after you get it. I got about 12 bags! I currently enjoy using a skateboard backpack and I wrap up my Pen with a neoprene wrap and throw it in. Works great for my adventures which usually require a hood pass.
  11. adelorenzo

    adelorenzo Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 9, 2011
    Whitehorse, Yukon
    Great points Ned.

    I should have mentioned that my own primary interest is mountain biking and other outdoor sports, so backpacks are a requirement and sling bags aren't an option.

    I have an excellent (non-photo specific) backpack but the whole process of taking it off, putting it down and pulling out the camera is a bit cumbersome, especially in the winter when everything tends to get covered in snow. The ability of some of these bags to just swing a pack around and get the camera out looks like a killer feature.

    When biking around town I use a large messenger bag and the camera just tumbles around in there with everything else. The nice thing about the GF2 is it fits into a jacket pocket so that is where I carry it when walking around.

    Checked out Kata, they make a LOT of different bags! Impossible to really get a sense from the website but will keep my eyes peeled if I am ever in a camera store.
  12. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Oct 1, 2010
    I don't use "camera bags." The thick padding is IMHO unnecessary and it creates such bulk. I go for light or no padding and have never had a problem. I also don't roll my camera bags down flights of concrete steps.

    Since you're talking backpack anyway, you might try a backpack with PALS webbing and attach something like this: 4.5" x 6" Padded Pouch - MAXPEDITION HARD-USE GEAR Tactical Nylon Gear for Military, Law Enforcement, Tactical Concealed Carry; Tailored to Perform Tactical hung on the side. That pouch will take, though a very tight fit, my G1 with the 14-140. I have a camera in one of those on the side of my PALS equipped sling bag when I fly.

    When I arrive, I have one of these Special Operations Technologies folded flat in my carry-on, together with additional bodies, lenses, etc. packed in tube socks. The So-Tech bag is then my working bag. It easily takes two MFT bodies with telephotos, another lens or two, and a GPS. I have added 1/4" of closed cell foam padding to the bottom but it's otherwise unpadded.

    I also have one of these: Response Pak Rucksacks - Response Pak Black Tactical - Response Pak Military - Leading Suppliers of Clothing & Sleepingbags - snugpak.com again with a little padding added to the bottom. It's smaller than the So-Tech bag but sometimes suits my needs. It may be plenty for you. You could easily stuff it into a daypack for everyday use at home.

    The lunatic fringe for bags, especially tactical style, gathers here: edcforums.com
  13. FastCorner

    FastCorner Mu-43 Veteran

    May 28, 2011
    I bought the Lowepro Photo Sport 200 AW to complement by camera-only bag. There's lots of room for Micro 4/3 camera gear in the side-access compartment and lots of room inside the main compartment, the hood, and the outer pocket for other things like jackets, sweaters, snacks, etc. Let me point out a few things:

    + Very comfortable to wear even when loaded, especially with the sternum strap
    + Orange color is easily identified outdoors (I bought a black one to be less conspicuous in the city)
    - Despite the outer shell being mostly nylon, the bag is heavier than it looks
    - Solid back panel makes it difficult/impossible to roll up and stow away when not in use
    - Zipper can get stuck in the lower right corner if you're not careful

    Since I basically have the gear you want to put into the bag, here's a few snaps of now much storage capacity you're dealing with.

    View attachment 189801 View attachment 189802

    View attachment 189803 View attachment 189804

    View attachment 189805 View attachment 189806

    As you can see, there's plenty of room for GF1 + 14mm + 45-200mm. If you have a friendly local camera store, I suggest you see if they have any spare velcro dividers to make better use of the extra space. Failing that, you can pad everything with fluffy microfiber towels (used for washing cars) to keep things from bouncing around.
    • Like Like x 1
  14. jbxberg

    jbxberg Mu-43 Rookie

    Dec 16, 2011
    @FastCorner: Thanks for the images, really helpful! Indeed, the camera does look a bit lost in there. But as you suggested, I might fill up the space with other things. How exactly do you put your camera in there with the respective lenses attached? I've read that it's possible to somehow collapse the camera compartment?

    That is the top compartment of my current daypack I was talking about:
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    I would need some sort of insert bag that would keep the items from moving around. Any suggestions?

    I'm also thinking about building some clip/carabiner solution that would attach the camera to the front of a shoulder strap. This way, it would be even easier to reach and the storage compartment wouldn't need to be all that easily accessible.

    Sorry for "jumping around" with my ideas. I don't have a lot of experience with camera storage, but missed plenty of shots in the past due to the camera being stowed away somewhere..
  15. turbodieselvw

    turbodieselvw Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 29, 2010
  16. G.Sal

    G.Sal Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 4, 2011
    The Philippines
    Why not wear it? :biggrin: Gariz has this amazing Gunshot hook.. :thumbup:

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
  17. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Yeah, I do find backpacks to be cumbersome with getting things in and out unless you just put it down and open up the back. Even sling bags are cramped to get at if you swing them around, but I imagine more practice than I've had would be necessary. Personally, what I do is to always keep a small shoulder bag with my main kit, and keep the oversized stuff in the backpack. The shoulder bag always gives me easy access, and can also be grabbed quickly when the oversized stuff isn't needed. Of course, a larger shoulder bag is cumbersome alongside a backpack, but with the Micro Four-Thirds system you can carry a single body and lens in something as small as a fannybag sized camera pouch with shoulder strap (like for instance, looking at your sig, the GF-2 and Lumix 14mm). Something that small is completely unobtrusive to a backpack. :) 

    I've owned a lot of Lowepros and have never really been disappointed by them and love their designs. However, the Katas are in a different world for build quality. If you find one that fits your needs then I would consider it a worthwhile purchase. It's a difference you can feel.

    Camera bags are a funny thing though. I've used everything from everyday bags customized with foam inserts to dedicated camera bags, to even something like the urban leather satchel I now use with no modifications whatsoever. Not all the best camera bags are made to be such. For a backpack though, the difference between a well-designed camera bag is huge. I don't care about fancy camera-specific features in my shoulder bags, but I do in my backpack.
  18. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    That camera holster makes her look hawt! :tongue:
  19. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Agreed, non-zipper closure is a pretty unique requirement for camera bags. If the Lowepro does that for you, then go for it! Lowepro's biggest strength is innovative design - the little things that others aren't thinking of.

    I've used the modified non-camera backpacks before... trust me, going to a real camera backpack will be an immeasurable treat for you! :)  As I mentioned to adelorenzo, the modified non-camera bags work great as shoulder bags but not as backpacks. Backpacks should be specifically camera designed.

    Good choice on opting out of the sling bags... They work for some people, but I've always found them to be awkward to wear over a backpack.
  20. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    I couldn't agree with you more! I think this is especially true in the Micro Four-Thirds world though. We have so many more options for style, without being stuck with those big, obtrusive DSLR bodies.
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