Inserts in a m4/3 size

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by jopasm, Aug 1, 2011.

  1. jopasm

    jopasm New to Mu-43

    Mar 7, 2011
    I'll be doing some airline travelling soon and I'm hoping to avoid checking bags. The trips will be both for business and pleasure, so I can't carry my current messenger bag with my photo gear (it's too small to fit a laptop + camera). I'm thinking about picking up something like a Timbuk2 hidden messenger to use with an insert. For the flight I'd pack the insert in my carry on along with the folded messenger. This gives me the option of using the messenger as extra space on the return flight while staying under the 2 bag carryon limit.

    So far most of the inserts seem to be much larger than I really need. I have an Olympus E-PL2 with the kit lens, kit zoom, and the pancake lens, my entire kit will just about fit in the same space as a dSLR w/ kit lens.

    I've been looking at the Camaroo Compact II or the Mountainsmith Kit Cube. The main issue is...they both seem a bit bigger than what I need.

    Does anybody have either one of these? How well does it work for m4/3 gear? Any other recommendations for inserts sized to fit smaller m4/3 gear?
  2. Offriver

    Offriver Mu-43 Regular

    May 17, 2011
    Hi - I have tried both of those inserts and found both to be too big for my needs. I am trying to fit an insert into a timbuk2 xs netbook messenger. My equipment is 14-54 + hood reversed w/ E-pl2 attached, 100-300 (+ hood reversed) and old legacy 50mm w/ adapter. Bigger lenses than the ones that you are trying to fit. I thought the mountainsmith was just about a perfect fit into the bag, but just too stiff and bulky. It Offers good protection though and fit my stuff. I'd imagine it would be too big for your kit. The camaroo 2 was just too big for me (I bought the one w/o the attached lid). Much less stiff and less padded than the mountainsmith, but had a strange Velcro divider - my lenses shifted back and forth. It just didn't work for me. It took up too much of the bag and I couldn't fit my third lens in the bag or insert when it was all put together. The camaroo would probably work better for your stuff than it did for mine, but I'd recommend the mountainsmith if I had to choose between the two. I've also considered the clik elite small camera capsule. I haven't ordered it, but I like how it zips up. So...for me, for now, it's neoprene lens and camera pouches until I find the right solution. Please post if you try any other inserts. I'd be interested to hear how things work out.
  3. Offriver

    Offriver Mu-43 Regular

    May 17, 2011
    Just read your kit description again. Don't order either bag, I think your stuff would be swimming in either one. Also have a look at the Crumpler Haven, comes in small, med, & large sizes.
  4. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    Why not a "real" camera bag with movable/removable dividers? You know you'll be getting more lenses/accessories in the future, right? :)

    Here's what I use:

    Yes, I am carrying a lot more gear than you, but the dividers can easily be removed, freeing up that area for your other items.

    It has been allowed on Firefly airlines ATR - they have super strict size/weight restrictions for carry on, and the smallest overhead I have ever seen, and it fit no problem.

    The only concern I would have is what size laptop, as that is going to drive the size of the bag. I got rid of the laptop for an iPad when traveling, saving a ton of room/weight in the process.
  5. zettapixel

    zettapixel Mu-43 Veteran

    Aug 12, 2010
    I know Domke makes inserts for their messenger style bags, these 2 might work, although they're a little tall: 720-230, 720-220. Both Amazon and B&H sell them.

    For my photo bags I used Kato divider kits, I would recommend Modi vers 20, here's link to Kato site. Basically you can cut them into any shape you want. Building the whole insert from scratch might be overdoing it, but if the bag has padding already this kit is great for building dividers.
  6. Howi

    Howi Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 23, 2011
    Real Name:
    I use a lightweight rucksack and a Crumpler (not sure on model) that I had to carry E3 +2 lenses + spare batteries etc
    With m43 I can get GF1 + 20mm +14mm +3 4/3 lenses, spare battery, spare memory cards etc etc
    all this goes in the crumpler(excelent protection), the crumpler then goes in the ruchsack. It JUST fits inside, taking up about half the capacity. i can then get other items in such as chargers, adaptors, leads, paperbacks, etc etc and comes in usually about 5kg which is usually the limit for hand luggage, although mine has never been weighed yet.
    The Crumpler then gets used normally, the rucksack gets left in the room unless we are going for long walks and require food and water.

    Note - if you are found to be overweight at checkin (if the actually check!) just put a couple of lenses in your pockets, then put them back later..... job done.

    Note 2 - the rucksack always goes down by my feet, not in the overhead locker...
  7. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 All-Pro

    Oct 1, 2010
    I'm looking at the same problem on a planned trip in November, where I'll be adding a G1 body with 100-300mm lens to my usual G1/14-140mm & 9-18mm. I may also be carrying a Metz 48 flash. My tentative plan is to just use a bunch of heavy cotton tube socks as containers, possibly doubling them up for a little extra padding. IMHO with a little care (like not bashing the camera bag on big rocks) the heavy padding beloved of bag manufacturers is mostly unnecessary bulk.

    The bag I use is this one: Special Operations Technologies with a few mods, including adding a 1/2" closed cell foam floor. The interior pouches keep bigger things (like lenses) separated and there's room for a pair of compact binoculars and a GPS. The support bits (charger, batteries, etc.) are on a Cocoon Grid-It that fits nicely in the front pocket. The bag packs quite flat in my carry-on bag.
  8. hathi

    hathi Mu-43 Rookie

    Jun 10, 2011
    Philadelphia PA USA
    I've been looking for something with the same functions and attributes. GF2, 20mm, kit zoom and odds and ends.

    I've been considering this insert from Photojojo, reviewed in Wired a few months ago. 10 x 7 x 4 inches seems about right.
  9. Plimsol

    Plimsol Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 29, 2010
    Belgium, Antwerp
    You can use any bag you want and make the insert yourself with material from camping or fitness "mat".
    Its almost like the foam they use in the real photo bags.
    Cut it, hold in the wright shape with duct-tape and put a liner around it.
    Made already a few myself to put in a normal bag or backpack.
    • Like Like x 1
  10. jim_khoo

    jim_khoo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 9, 2010
    Kuala Lumpur
    i am happy with the Puleme P7215 Partition Multi Padded Insert Bag bought on ebay.
  11. sprinke

    sprinke Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 5, 2011
    Pasadena, CA
    Real Name:
    Has anyone tried putting lenses into those foam beer can holders?
  12. WJW59

    WJW59 Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 20, 2011
    I use one of these in my messenger bag: Lowepro S&F Utility Bag 100 AW.

    I have a little padding for between items cut from an old neoprene laptop sleeve. I carry the following: E-PL2, VF-2, 14-42, 40-150, 17mm, couple of filters in cases, extra battery, extra memory card, and mini Lens Pen.The bag can be attached to a belt, has loops for a strap, and a rain cover. Not the fastest bag for changing lenses or rearranging things, but I can put a lot in a small space and carry it multiple ways.
  13. dyrmaker83

    dyrmaker83 Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 19, 2011
    Washington, DC
    Real Name:
    I believe M4/3 sized inserts will come out as they become more popular, but I had hoped more would be available by now.

    I found the "Ciesta Arco Flexible Camera Insert" on eBay, and even though it's pretty perfectly designed it's too expensive for what it is.


    There's also the "Matin DCP-20 Partition Padded Insert", which is cheaper.

  14. PatDoody

    PatDoody Mu-43 Rookie

    Jul 29, 2011
    NJ, USA
    Gadget Lab Reader Makes Stealth Camera and Netbook Bag | Gadget Lab |

    good little write up here. I have been wanting to do the same thing. As I have a few timbuk2's from my messenger days that are perfectly broken in, and have the "been around the block a few to many times" charm that you cant find in a new lowepro or similar bag.

    Ive been trolling ebay for those pre made inserts but everything looks way to large for what we need.
  15. Offriver

    Offriver Mu-43 Regular

    May 17, 2011
    Hi -

    This will might be too big of a bag for the OP, but it's exactly what I needed and only $12!! It's a really nice bag. Perfect fit for my epl2, 14-54, 100-300, 50mm, and accessories. I tried going the route of a timbuk2 w/ insert but it ended up just as boxy and more cumbersome. This inexpensive Oly bag is just what I needed.

    Attached Files:

  16. KS11

    KS11 Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 31, 2011
    Busan/Hong Kong
    for a camera insert, i got a mountainsmith kit cube thingy i got from amazon.

    i then got a bag from a fashion accessory place at my local mall...and viola. here's a camera bag that fits 2 camera bodies with 14-42mm kit lens attached to my gf1, and a 20mm attached to the epl1. 1 fast fifty legacy lens, and a om 50mm macro. thats everything i need for a walk around.


    the two pockets in front can hold filters, pancake lens as well if need be. inside main compartment, a zippered enclosure that can hold spare batteries, sd cards, body cap, etc.

    there are removable inserts, and overall, everything fits in nicely with the magnetic buttons, easy to reach and change lens, just tried it today walking around for some shots.
    • Like Like x 2
  17. jopasm

    jopasm New to Mu-43

    Mar 7, 2011
    Thanks for all the ideas. The Ciesta bag looks perfect...except it is a little pricey for a simple insert.

    I have a good messenger style camera bag that I normally use, however, it's bulky and won't fold down. For my upcoming trips I'm trying to keep things simple and go with a single carry on bag. I've got a canvas messenger bag (or I might buy the Timbuk2 I mentioned in my first post) that will easily folding into a small bundle I can cram in the corner of my carryon. Then when I reach my destination the camera in it's cube/insert can get dropped into the messenger w/ a notebook (the paper kind) and anything else I may need for the day. The last time I flew lugging two bags through airports crowded with oversize rolly bags was a nightmare I'm hoping to avoid!