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My New Favorite Shoulder Bag: Tamrac Apache 4

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by perpetualjon, Jun 4, 2014.

  1. perpetualjon

    perpetualjon Mu-43 Veteran

    Oct 30, 2013
    Southern California
    I've been using a Domke F-5XB for a while now and it's been starting to show a lot of design problems:

    1. Opening flap uses only Velcro (noisy)
    2. There is just one side pouch and it isn't secured by a zipper so things can easily fly out (and have)
    3. No grab handle on the top of the bag
    4. No room for a tablet (just future planning here)

    In short, as discreet and compact as it is, it was just too small for me for my all around carry bag --and some of the issues mentioned above are really annoying to me.

    So, it was time to drive down to Bel Air Camera in LA and just put my hands on a bunch of bags. I finally arrived at the Tamrac Apache 4 and boy am I pleased with it...

    --So it's slightly larger than the Domke F-5XB but that's what I'm looking for. I like the padded shoulder strap too. The grippy pad on the strap is a nice addition. The bottom of the bag also has the same rubbery gripping surface.

    --I'm already pleased to see that there's a zipper pouch on the flap for small items (like my sunglasses).

    --The flap opens to a nice, wide mouth so pulling my GH3 with battery grip is no problem and placing it back in the bag isn't nearly the chore it was with my Domke bag. I really like the business card holder in the center. I'm definitely going to be using that with better cards in the near future. As I walk around shooting, people can see my card. Great idea! I'm planning on inserting a thin plastic sheet in the tablet pocket on the back of the bag just to keep things rigid when against my side. I think it will hold up to a 10" tablet (which is what I want to get!).

    --The front pocket is cavernous!! Small pouches, pen holders, Velcro pockets for memory cards, and a zippered pouch on the flap for more storage. This definitely won't have batteries and memory cards flying out if the car hits a few bumps!

    --On the back, there's a 2-zipper strip I think is so you can mount it at the top of a rolling suitcase with a carry handle. However, if you just open the top zipper, you've got another place to store stuff!

    --The inside of the main flap has these funny Velcro flaps that are meant to make it possible to secure the flap with Velcro and not just the clip in the center. I guess if I'm traveling and want to tighten things down, it's a nice feature I'll probably never use.

    --Both sides have expanding pockets (saw a picture of one holding a water bottle but it must have been pretty small). It holds my Galaxy Note 3 in a protective case perfectly!

    --Above the side pockets are these adjustable straps. I'm sure there is a use for them that was planned but I'm not aware of that it is.

    --For me, this is nearly a perfect carry bag for my system. My body is larger than most u4/3 frames but still not as big as a full-frame DSLR. I've finally found the best size for my "in-between" camera. I could probably carry a third lens without too much trouble as well. Mind you, I carry my camera bag with me EVERYWHERE. I never want to miss an opportunity to capture a special moment and this bag allows me to do that quickly, without getting in the way too much, or look like I'm carrying around a camera (for the most part).
    • Like Like x 2
  2. fin azvandi

    fin azvandi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 12, 2011
    South Bend, IN
    Thanks for the review, I've got the F-5XB too and have been considering moving to a slightly larger bag - it would be nice to fit the PEN with VF attached.

    Any chance you could post a couple more shots looking down into the bag with the camera/lenses inside? It looks like you've got the back of the camera against the back of the bag, with the lens pointed towards the front pocket, is that right?
  3. Matero

    Matero Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 22, 2013
    • Like Like x 1
  4. perpetualjon

    perpetualjon Mu-43 Veteran

    Oct 30, 2013
    Southern California
    Awesome video review find Matero!! It pretty much shows off everything I was talking about --and explains those adjustable straps on the sides...

    Here's a shot of the interior the way I have it configured:
    --I carry the Rokinon 7.5mm fisheye and Oly 12mm f2 on the side and usually keep the Oly 45mm f1.8 on the camera. I keep the camera on it's side with the grip facing up so I can just each in and grab it with my right hand and take a shot. This opening was one of the reasons I started disliking the Domke bag. The zipper enclosure and material around the opening would get in the way of placing the camera back in the bag easily.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. maybe lens case for more stuff?

    Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk
  6. perpetualjon

    perpetualjon Mu-43 Veteran

    Oct 30, 2013
    Southern California
    Actually, the video that Matero posted mentions them as straps that allow you to tighten the top opening if the need arises.
  7. jonlong

    jonlong Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 25, 2013
    Glad my video was helpful!

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    • Like Like x 2
  8. Matero

    Matero Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 22, 2013
    Thanks, it really was. I've been looking new bag since converting to u43 and haven't found good one. Some of the videos are nice, but doesn't help you to decide whether you like the bag or not.

    Your video was different and answered all of my doubts. Cheers!
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