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Olympus Branded Messenger Bag Review

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by Fmrvette, Jul 2, 2012.

  1. Fmrvette

    Fmrvette This Space For Rent

    May 26, 2012
    Detroit, Michigan
    Updated! Olympus Branded Messenger Bag Review


    Update: I recently got a chance to take this bag on a road trip and rate it "unacceptable"; the latching system came undone by itself in the car and could have resulted in a catastrophic dumping of gear onto the pavement if not seen in time. The original review follows:

    Having a coupon, I ventured to buy an "official" Olympus messenger bag for the OM-D. EDIT: The coupon is for 10% off, got it when I registered the camera online (U.S.) and is not good for lenses, software, or underwater housings. Including state sales tax my bottom line on the bag is $53.69. Without shipping or tax the bag retails for $49.99.

    The bag does, as advertised, hold an OM-D with grip. Olympus also states that the bag will also hold two "normal" lenses. I managed to fit in the OM-D with 12-50 lens attached, a Panasonic 20mm, and a Panasonic 45-200 with lens shade (reversed or not, still fits). The bag comes with two moveable / removable dividers, attached to the inside of the bag via the usual Velcro.

    There is no pocket on the outside of the bag nearest the carrier's body. There is no room for an iPad, etc., although there is a space inside the bag between the inside carrier that holds the dividers and the bag exterior material that would hold maps, manuals, etc. EDIT: Note that the 'divider' at the back of the bag is sewn in, not Velcro'd.

    Under the flap is a zippered, mesh covered pocket good for holding filters, lens caps, body cap, small bits and pieces. This pocket, when the flap is closed, runs across the top of the bag.

    Also under the flap, on the front part of the bag, are two pockets large enough to handle spare batteries or cards. These pockets are not secured when the flap is open, but are covered by the flap when it is closed.

    There are two small side pockets (I put a lens pen in one, nothing in the other. The side pockets would hold extra batteries or cards, but they are not secured with Velcro or zippers.

    There are two front pockets on the flap, secured by zippers, and they are very tight; they will hold a spare battery or card, but that's about it.

    The top of the bag has an integrated handle (as well as the strap handle that attaches to the side of the bag. Both handles are sewn in and cannot be easily removed.

    Quality of stitching and materials seems O.K.; the inside of the bag is a felt like material and I'm not sure how it will hold up under extended wear.

    There are two fabric "hinges" that attach the flap to the case and fold down when the flap is closed to offer some weather protection. However this bag is NOT weatherproof. I think I will trust it in a light rain or sprinkle, or snow, but not in a downpour.

    The questionable part of the bag is the closing mechanism. Rather than using Velcro to hold the flap down, or a positive latching system such as Domke uses, there is a metal fastener (stamped with the Olympus name) that slides into a sewn in fabric loop. I would recommend that anyone using the bag for actual shooting (as opposed to gear storage) add some Velcro type material under the flap to better secure it to the bag when closed.

    Note that the "Olympus" on the buckle is the only indication that this is a camera bag - there are no other logos or tags of any kind.

    There is adequate cushioning in the bag for normal bumps and grinds; I do not thing it suitable for dropping any distance at all, nor would I stuff it into an aircraft overhead luggage compartment and trust it to protect the gear inside from other suitcases being shoved in on top of it.

    For a day shooter bag it's light, holds just enough gear, and offers easy access to the gear. For inclement weather, rough terrain, or extended usage there may be better choices on the market.

    EDIT: After a little re-arranging, here's the list of gear in the bag:

    OM-D body with grip, attached 12-50 lens, 45-200 Panasonic lens, 20mm lens, Olympus OM-D flash. Those are all in the main compartment.

    Side pocket #1, a Lens Pen. Side pocket # 2, nothing.

    Under flap zippered pocket: FL-300 base in a Targus pouch, body cover and lens cover in a Sandisk pouch, polarizer filter in case, micro cleaning cloth.

    Front pocket under flap #1: Tamrac pouch containing spare memory card, six AA batteries for the flash, spare OM-D battery, two white covers for the grip.

    Front pocket under flap #2: FL-300 flash in pouch.

    Front two zippered pockets - nothing.

    I don't have a total weight for the kit; the electronic bath scale won't register it because it's too light and the kitchen scale is too small to balance the rig on.

    Everything seems to be accessible, except for the 20mm lens sharing it's spot with the small flash; when reaching into that compartment one has to take a moment to choose the correct object.

    Edit 7/15/12: I removed the two internal dividers, placed the OM-D with the 45-200mm lens with hood reversed in the bag, then put one divider where the lens ended. The 12-50mm lens and 20mm lens in the pouch fit in the space created by the divider. This allows the camera to be placed in the bag with any of the three lenses mounted, and improves access to the unmounted lenses. The small flash in it's pouch has been relegated to the zippered compartment along with the body cap and FL-300 base. The Tamrac pouch has been moved to the outside pocket on the left (as photographed) end of the bag. Interior Dimensions (Per Olympus): W (11.7" ) x H (6.0") x D (8.8").

    I'm still having reservations about the lack of a better way of securing the flap cover; I've not had a problem with it opening by itself and the flap seems to stay in place even if the clasp is not secured. However I think this could lead to a situation wherein the flap was left unsecured and the bag picked up by the carrying handle - thus allowing the gear to fall out. Velcro strips would put a second line of defense in the bag closure system and I'm looking at a feasible way to add Velcro.

    Update 8/6/12 The outside surface of the bag picks up lint and pet hair like crazy. If one has cats or dogs this may not be the right bag.

    Attached Files:

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  2. SRHEdD

    SRHEdD Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 24, 2011
    Viera, Florida USA
    Coupon? From where? How much was it without the coupon?

    Nice write-up, looks well made.
  3. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    Good looking bag.

  4. Fmrvette

    Fmrvette This Space For Rent

    May 26, 2012
    Detroit, Michigan
    SRHEdD -

    Coupon was from Olympus store - when I registered the camera online (U.S.) I got a return email:

    "Thank you for registering your Olympus E-M5. Congratulations on your Olympus purchase. As our way of thanking you for completing your registration form, please enjoy a discount of 10% off accessories from the Olympus Store.*

    *Offer valid through July 31, 2012 on any accessory purchase from the Olympus Store, the Olympus Store Canada, and the Olympus Outlet. Coupon not valid on Zuiko Digital/M.Zuiko Digital lenses, underwater housings, or downloadable software. Coupon is limited to one use per customer.

    Apparently good only on this side of the pond.

    So I got 10% off of the bag; I misquoted in the original post (was looking at a different invoice). The bag is $50.00 without coupon and they do charge shipping ($6).

    I'll edit my post to reflect the change in cost. Including state sales tax my bottom line on the bag is $53.69.


  5. ryanlogic

    ryanlogic Mu-43 Veteran

    May 23, 2012
    Antakya, Turkey
    It does look rather nice!
  6. Fmrvette

    Fmrvette This Space For Rent

    May 26, 2012
    Detroit, Michigan
    Gary, I still have to get the Domke you recommended. Can never have too many bags - but I'm waiting for the check from B&H on my sold Nikon gear.

    Cameras are cheap compared to divorces :biggrin:.

    However the Olympus coupon had an expiration date and I couldn't find a review anywhere, so decided to see for myself. I think for local shooting where a bag is required it will be fine. At least it doesn't scream OLYMPUS!!!


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