Storage/carry advice, please? Two systems + extra gear. How to store & move around?

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by AnttiV, Jun 2, 2012.

  1. AnttiV

    AnttiV Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 19, 2012
    Hi, I'm in need of advice in how to store/carry my equipment. I don't currently carry my stuff that much around, so I think I should ask those of you that do travel and move your inventory from place to place on a regular basis. What do you think is the easier way to store and move your gear?

    I did read a quite bit of the bags, bags and more bags -thread, but there's more specific models suggested instead of ways to carry. While I do appreciate specific model (or brand) suggestions, I'm more in search of help in HOW to arrange my stuff. I'm not really used to having this much photo gear, I used to have just one body and two lenses + a flash and those are pretty easy to carry around.

    First a bit of how and when:

    * I don't travel that much, I only do short walks locally and almost always with family. I usually carry only one system with me at a time.
    * We do occasionally travel (for short whiles), but it's always just from place A to place B, not that much actual traveling. These time I would need to get all my stuff with me.

    I currently own five bags that I stuff my equipment in. This is nearly not ideal and taking just one system usually consist of at least two bags. And I don't have a place to "store them all" at home, the bags are just sitting there together. (Plus, I don't really have a good bag to fit my Sigma.)

    I do have a Tamrac Aero-something that fits my G3 with whatever lens, a battery and a couple of filters but nothing more. I usually move stuff from other bags to this and grab it when I go for a small walk, but then I don't have the option to change lenses on the way.

    I was thinking about two different ways to store (well, more actually, but anyway).

    * One big bag that holds everything and has a bit of room to expand. I've been eyeing Lowepro's Steal Reporter D650/D550 bags or Tamrac's Pro 12/13.
    * Two bags to hold each system, these should ideally be slings (like my current favorite, Tamrac's Velocity 7x-9x). The sling bags should hold the entire system inventory, but as I don't have THAT much stuff, would ideally still be easily carried/used on the move.
    * Another variation would be to have the "big bag" to actually hold the system INSIDE the smaller sling bags. That way I wouldn't have to pack/unpack the equipment to/from the smaller bags to/from the big bag and could just stick the smaller bags inside the big bag and go. The big bag should then of course still have room for the other stuff that isn't in the slings.

    * Just two bags, preferably slings and/or shoulder bags (like one of my fav that I've looked at, the Lowepro Nova 200 AW) that should hold one system plus a few extra lenses/stuff when needed.
    * A variation would be then to have a storage closet/chest/other container at home (that isn't movable) and store all "excess" inventory in that when not needed.

    The advantage of the first one would be easier way to just grab all stuff and go, but a disadvantage of having to have more separate bags. But also could use two smaller bags and one bigger that I wouldn't have to carry all the time. I find myself liking the idea of sling bags more than backbacks/shoulderbags, so this would be more ideal for smaller slings.

    The advantage of the second one would be to have just two bags to worry about, even if they end up a bit bigger than the two small bags from the first setup. Also would be easier to have MUCH more room at home for the growing collection of "extra" stuff that isn't always carried around. I'm currently using just shoulder bags and while I do really like them, I think I would like slings more. So it would be a question of finding the right sized sling bags maybe. But I find I really like the Nova 200 AW's ability to have full access to the contents even when the weather cover is installed, I haven't seen that functionality in a sling yet.

    Each bag should have the ability to fit a small-ish tablet computer (smaller than iPad, the exact thing is Samsung's Galaxy Tab 7.7) somewhere there. But it really isn't that big and I can usually just stuff it somewhere along the other gear. (It fits in "document" pockets just fine, being just shy of 8mm thick.)

    System 1:

    Sigma SD10 (w/ any lens attached)
    Sigma 18-50mm/3.5-5.6 w/ Wideangle SA
    Sigma 28-200mm/3.5-5.6 SA
    Sigma 70-300mm/4-5.6 SA
    Petri 50mm/2 PK
    Flash (in-body tilt)
    Batteries + Chargers
    + caps, rubber hoods and assorted Things(tm).

    System 2:

    Panasonic Lumix G3 (w/ any lens attached)
    Panasonic 14-42mm/3.5-5.6 MFT
    Photax or Unigor 200mm M42
    B&H 135mm/2.8 PK
    Pentacon 50mm/1.8 M42
    Industar-50 50mm/3.5 M39
    0.45x Wide Adapter
    2x Tele Adapter
    M42 Adapter (probably attached to lens)
    M39 Adapter (probably attached to lens)
    PK Adapter (probably attached to lens)
    Flash (tilt & swivel)
    Battery + Charger
    + caps, rubber hoods and assorted Things(tm).

    Other Stuff:
    Photax or Unigor 200mm M42
    Reflecta 55mm/1.8 M42
    Prinzflex 28mm/2.8 PK
    Sigma 24-70mm/3.5-5.6 SA
    Soligor 0.5x Wideangle Adapter (52mm)
    Body caps, hoods, filters, other smaller stuff.
    Macro Extension tubes for M42 & PK

    Planned Additions:
    Panasonic 45-200mm/4-5.6 (will replace at least the 200mm M42 and probably the 135mm PK from the G3 set)
    85mm/~2 PK or M42 (added to the G3 set)
    TTL Flash for G3
    TTL Flash for Sigma

    What would you suggest I go with? Three bags or two bags with a possible storage at home?
  2. Joe777

    Joe777 Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 11, 2012
    A truck ????????
    • Like Like x 1
  3. AnttiV

    AnttiV Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 19, 2012
  4. Al.

    Al. Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 3, 2010
    Hull, East Yorkshire, UK
    sell the lot............. and keep the G3 and buy a couple of primes and the 45-200
    = one bag

    how many pics do you miss juggling gear?
  5. Hikari

    Hikari Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 26, 2010
    You carry more than I do. Do you really carry everything with you?

    My advice would be to figure out what you work with. For me that is a medium-format digital system and one m4/3 body. I have a photo backpack with no dividers (not made anymore, but a LowePro Mini Trekker) and my lenses in a ThinkTank belt system with my cameras just on straps in a thin stuff sack. Everything goes in back when traveling and then when working I just put the belt on and carry the empty backpack on my back. I kept the Mini Trekker because it has this great pocket on the cover that can hold tons of stuff like coats and, I am sure, a tablet computer.

    Shoulder bags are really not a great way of carrying tons of stuff nor having on your shoulder when shooting. For a small bag when I just want to carry a few things, I use a Mountainsmith Tour or Daypack lumbar pack with a padded insert. It can be a shoulder bag or I can swing it behind me and attach it to my waist.
  6. AnttiV

    AnttiV Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 19, 2012

    I *REALLY* wish I could've done that when I first bought the G3. But the sale value of the Sigma accounts to practically nothing (I got an offer of 200€ for EVERYTHING I had, body, all lenses, flash, batteries, chargers, bags, memcards, etc. And that was the best offer.)

    And I do like the Foveon sensor enough to not let it go at that price and kept it. Also, I like shooting with legacy glass. "A couple of primes and the 45-200" would costs orders of magnitude more than I could get for anything I could sell. That's simply not possible for me, no matter how much I wished it would.

    And, I don't think I was that clear in the first post seeing people misinterpreted that. So, clarification:

    I don't carry everything with me all the time. I carry one system at a time. I take everything with me (in a car) when I change places for a longer time (like in summer if we leave for a week to see relatives or something). Usually I keep everything at home and just grab a bag with either camera and a couple lenses when I go for a walk with my family.

    Whatever system I carry with need to be equipped with a variety of lenses simply for the fact that I don't shoot "one style". And I don't like to miss shots just because I didn't take "the other camera". (That happens quite a lot now when my only good tele is on the Sigma and the better wide is with the G3.)

    so my gear (at any one time) consists of:
    one body
    3-4 lenses
    filters, battery, cards, etc.

    Our walks are not that long (distance-vice) that I couldn't carry a larger bag with everything under one "system" in the original post, but enough that I'd consider leaving some lenses home when I don't specifically plan to use them. (for example, I don't carry the Unigor with me if I don't plan to go "play" with it because it's quite a heavy lens, but not that heavy that I couldn't carry it and I have sometimes missed it when it wasn't with me.)

    That's just the thing, really. Carry a "complete system" (one at a time) every time (and no requirement for "excess" storage), or leave something home (in a big bag or storage closet) and carry fewer gear with me?

    EDIT: Just to specify more, my current bags hold:

    Bag 1:
    Sigma SD10, w/ 28-200mm lens
    either of 70-300mm or 17-50 w/ Wideangle.
    batteries, filters, stuff + Tab

    Bag 2: (and this is really full).
    Lumix G3, w/ 14-42mm kit lens + wideangle adapter (not attached)
    Petri 50mm
    B&H 135mm
    batteries, filters, stuff + Tab

    (And Bag 3: the Tamrac fits only the G3 with any lens, if I choose to go light).

    Then I have two bags fitted with the rest of the inventory that I don't carry with me.

    I'll grab any ONE bag when I leave. But that's quite a hassle to move when leaving and store at home. I'd like to go with something else, like the two-bags-only style, or two bags plus one for storage.
  7. ckrueger

    ckrueger Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 16, 2011
    I've got a few OM lenses that I'll get pennies for if I sell, so I'm keeping them. Great lenses. But they sit in my cabinet doing nothing. What's a bigger waste of money? $10 in my hand or three lenses taking up space in my cabinet?

    Right now I also shoot with two systems: M43 and EOS. I very rarely take my EOS stuff out in the field because it's enormous and heavy but I won't sell it because the FF sensor delivers images I can't match with my M43 kit in some situations, and my 7D has AF tracking that works infinitely better than my M43 cameras.

    I know everyone is harping on you about how much gear you want to carry, but I think you should consider heading out with either one system or the other. Or if you bring both, dedicate one system to one job and the other to another. For example, I sometimes head out with my 7D and 100-400 and a M43 body with my 9-18 or 45/2.8. No lens swapping, and the M43 camera and lens are still lighter than my 24-70!

    If you did this you could use any old three-hole shoulder bag. I use a Think Tank Retrospective 5 (but your SD10 would probably require a Retro 7 or 10) or a Domke F-3X depending on the kit.

    With the kit you're suggesting you'll need either a backpack and a shoulder bag or a BIG shoulder bag. My Think Tank UD40 will carry a ton of stuff and could probably pull off what you want. Here's the most I've ever managed to put in it, just playing around:

    Think Tank Urban Disguise 40:

    Side pockets (2): Canon 35/2 and 3 Kenko extension tubes
    Front body pouches: Canon 5D, 580EX, 430EX
    Main compartment (middle): Canon 40D with 100-400+hood mounted
    Main compartment (left): Canon 17-40, 28-75/2.8, Canon 50/1.4
    Main compartment (right): Canon 100/2.8 Macro, Canon 28-135, Sigma 70-300APO
    Slim pockets: A ton of accessories... WB cards, batteries and chargers, remotes, and a ton of other less-than-lens-thickness stuff.

    Not something I would do unless the house was on fire, of course. The bag was well over 20lbs loaded with all this junk. I could also replace two of the three main compartments with a Canon 300/2.8IS.

    I use my UD40 mainly for traveling or for hauling all my gear to a shoot. It's too big to shoot out of. Or rather it's too heavy when filled up and I have other smaller bags that will do the job. I've actually put my Retrospective 5 INSIDE this bag... it fits inside 2/3rds of the main compartment.

    Just let me reiterate: I've tried to do what you're doing. Resist! You'll end up with a sore shoulder an hour into shooting and want to head back to the car. Take one or the other and you'll be much more comfortable and won't have to buy an enormous bag. My answer was to bite the bullet and give up on the beautiful FF sensor for the Good Enough M43 sensor, but I understand the Foveon is something special and I wouldn't blame you for keeping it.
  8. AnttiV

    AnttiV Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 19, 2012
    First off, I'm very sorry if this comes out as unintentionally hostile, I don't mean it to.

    That said, do you guys read the posts at all, or do I write in some very hard-to-understand way? I'm betting on the latter, but it escapes me how I can explain myself more plainly.

    Let's try one more time:

    I'm not planning to carry all the stuff at once when I go out shooting!

    The ONLY time I plan to "carry" (or should I say move?) all the stuff is when I leave for a longer while and those times I'll use a car. So the ONLY time I'd have to carry the "bag with everything" is when I carry it to/from the car. No carrying it around on shooting trips.

    And, the question really was in the first post - let me quote myself - this:

    That, in no unclear way if you ask me, says I planned to have AT LEAST two bags, probably a third one. And then - let's continue to quote me - in the next post:

    I'm in the process of evaluating and acquiring good bags for my gear and I've (most probably) decided to go with the "two-bag & storage at home" way.

    Currently I have my newest bag, a Lowepro Slingshot 202AW (not the smallest and not the largest of the set), stuffed with my Sigma system and another old (I think it says "Altex") bag for my m43 gear. The Sigma bag is a bit heavier than the m43 bag, but then the Sigma and lenses ARE heavier in every way. Also the Slingshot is easy to carry around and it doesn't feel uncomfortable in my bag.

    Currently the Lowepro holds these:

    Sigma SD10 (with any lens attached)
    Sigma 18-50mm + Wide adapter
    Sigma 28-300mm Compact zoom (this fits even with lens hood the right way)
    Sigma 70-300mm with hood reversed.
    Sigma 24-70mm (this fits even with lens hood the right way)
    Pentax K-mount 28mm/1.8
    Morris 300TX-D compact flash unit
    Batteries + chargers
    Couple of filters + a "cleaning kit" (blower, cloth pieces..)

    + There is still space for a small lens or two. (Probably going to stick an Industar 50mm/3.5 pancake there once it arrives.)

    My m43 bag holds:

    Lumix G3 (with any lens attached)
    Lumix 14-42mm kit zoom
    B&H 135mm/2.8 K-mount + adapter
    Petri 50mm/2 K-mount
    Unigor 200mm/3.5 M42 + adapter
    K-mount macro tubes
    M42 macro tubes
    tilt & swivel flash unit + collapsible softbox
    couple of filters
    batteries + "cleaning kit"
    0.45x Wide adapter % 2x Tele adapter
    + for caps + rubber lens hoods.
    + space for my Tab 7.7

    It doesn't feel that heavy and isn't "over-stuffed". And, to specify once more: I'll grab either bag when I go, I DO NOT carry them both with me. I'll most probably exchange that Unigor for a lighter 200mm lens or a 45-200mm if/when I get the money for that. The Petri changes to M42-mount 50mm/1.8 when it arrives and then I'll probably put the Petri to the Sigma bag.

    My only complaints now really are just these:

    The Lowepro doesn't have a compartment to hold my Tab. That's not too bad, 'cause I can always carry it in a pocket or something. Just that I'd like to stick it in there.

    The "Altex" bag is too.. er.. "shallow"? I'd need a back a few cm deeper than that to better hold the body + a long lens (the Unigor or B&H + adapter combo). And as it is kinda old, the dividers do not keep their places anymore that well and are quite "crumbled". (And there isn't any nice built-in system for charged/empty batteries or all-weather covers or anything, but that's not really that bad).

    I'll probably try a Lowerpro Nova-series bag for the m43 gear and see if that is something I'd like.

    The rest of the gear stay at home in an old cupboard that I dedicated to camera gear.
  9. When I am headed on a trip, I think REALLY REALLY hard what specifics I want to explore rather than just take everything and guess. I've got so much stuff that carrying it all would just detract from the trip and enjoyment. If I spend too much time being concerned about the logistics of packing and moving equipment around... especially when my family is going along.... then I'm carrying way too much.

    I generally pack my Pelican 1510 rolling case. Its lockable, its hard, its tough, it rolls, its waterproof, it has dividers, its TSA approved (watch the weight though) for carryon. Its a relatively small case but then again, my two most used systems are small. I bring my shoulder bag of choice along and pick-n-choose what to carry on a day-to-day basis. A pad lock and chain is used to lock the Pelican to something in the hotel while I am out and about.

    This is a relatively old picture of what the 1510 looked like when I went on a particular trip. No long own the R-D1, M6 titanium nor the Canon stuff... All replaced with another M body, Micro 43, and additional lenses. But you get the point.


    Honestly, if I carried or even transport the equivalent of yours... across several bags... I would be miserable.
  10. AnttiV

    AnttiV Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 19, 2012
    Thanks! That basically what I meant when I said I'd stuff all of them in one bag and then just take out some when I leave. (I was more specific than that, but you get the point.) My "carry everything" storage just wouldn't be that good, nor would I need it to. I don't need to take it to planes or anything. Our trips are quite short compared to most people.

    But this... I don't really get? Let's do headcount: (note: I'm not exactly sure that all of your "round tubes" are lenses, but correct me if I'm wrong.)

    You, in one container:
    8 lenses
    5 bodies
    + stuff. (I guess you'll be carrying batteries/chargers too, somewhere?)

    me, in two containers:
    9 lenses
    2 bodies
    2 flashes
    + stuff.

    Of course I can't be 100% certain, but I'm quite sure all my stuff (that I carry around) would fit into that container too.
  11. Sammyboy

    Sammyboy m43 Pro

    Oct 26, 2010
    Steeler Country
    Sell it ALL.
    Buy the following:
    1. E-M5
    2. mZuiko 9-18 zoom
    3. mZuiko 14-150 zoom
    4. FL-36R flash
    5. Polarizer filter
    6. extra battery & memory cards
    7. High Sierra "fanny pak" or any another small bag of your choice.
    You will be a "born again photographer" and very mobile. :smile:
  12. AnttiV

    AnttiV Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 19, 2012
    You didn't read the posts at all, did you?

    If I sold ALL of it, every one bit - I couldn't even afford the E-M5 body. As I said before the absolutely best price offered to me for the WHOLE Sigma set (excluding the 70-300mm as I didn't have it back then) was 200€. Two hundred. G3 + Kit lens was 500€, I guess I could sell it for 400€ if really pushed as it is quite new. (but NOT to local stores, they don't believe in Panny.) The rest of the stuff is 1-10€ a piece. If I were REALLY lucky I could probably get 700€ for the whole lot. That's nicely just a bit more than HALF of E-M5 body costs around here (1099€)... :) 

    So, no. I really, really tried before buying the G3 but I wouldn't part with my SD10 system for such a small amount of money.
  13. MizOre

    MizOre Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 26, 2011
    If you're carrying things to have them at a location where you pick what you want the next day, consider getting a straight on camping backpack and using inserts to pad it. I use to take a Hasselblad set up and a D300 with some rather long lenses with me, but what I walked out of the car with was a SpeedFreak ThinkTank bag. The camping backpacks have better suspension than most photo back packs and don't look like photo back packs. I used a large day pack from Kelty called the Red Wing. I've used it for carry-on luggage; photo gear, and hiking. Get some lens and camera wraps or smaller bags to put inside it. I didn't go far from the car when I left things in it and covered the bag with a dirty blanket. I like the RedWing because I can use it as carry-on (I no longer have anything except for a GF1 and three lenses), but if you're carrying more stuff, you might look at larger bags.
  14. Its more than just planes or transport. Soft bags are impossible to secure. If you choose to leave stuff unattended (which you will have to), anything but a hard case would leave yourself open to easy theft.

    There are cheaper options than the Pelican.... They may not be as sealed as a Pelican but will still provide the option of security. How about a steel tool box?
    • Like Like x 1
  15. AnttiV

    AnttiV Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 19, 2012
    That's actually a good point, I didn't think that at all. Most of the time I *could* probably leave the bag inside my car when I need to leave it, but.. yeah. I can see the need for that. I do have a couple of old cases around that came with toolsets once. Wonder if I can pad them and use as equipment cases... Thanks for the idea.
  16. stratokaster

    stratokaster Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jan 4, 2011
    Kyiv, Ukraine
    I use a rather big photo backpack to move my gear (I have quite a number of cameras/lenses) from one location to another. I also take a small shoulder bag (good for 2 small cameras w/lenses mounted) with me. Before heading out from the hotel I try to anticipate what kind of shooting I want to do and then take 1 or 2 cameras with no more than 3 lenses. Usually it's enough for a full day of shooting.
  17. I've redone the inside of some old lens cases and such using foam sheets from the arts and crafts show. If everything is in their own pouch then padding the box itself might not be totally necessary.. especially if the contents can't roll around too much. You can find neoprene pouches of all sorts of sizes for just around $10 each.

    I'm usually wary of using my trunk as a secured location.... Thieves watch for people placing valuables into a trunk and walking off. This provides two very important pieces of information: 1) there are valuables which make it worth the risk 2) You will most likely be gone for at least 10 or more minutes. This is especially true for families on vacation; lots of stuff in the car. Rule of thumb... take stuff out of the car only... putting stuff back into a car means you should drive off and relocate your car to another parking spot.
  18. MizOre

    MizOre Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 26, 2011
    I had insurance. If you have a trunk, you can lock things inside the trunk. I had a hatchback and simply covered things up and didn't go far from the car. I had as much as $5K to $7K worth of stuff with me at any given time. Nothing was ever stolen.

    My insurance went up when I had more than $5K worth of gear, but it still was affordable and made me much less anxious about using the gear.
  19. I"m insured too... Of course theft is always a possibility no matter what you do. That's not the point. The goal is not to make yourself an obvious target. Theft is a good way to ruin a vacation.

    If all you cared for was to carry insurance then why go to the trouble of locking the car or even covering stuff up in the hatchback? (hint: rhetorical question)
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