Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Low Cost, Low Profile Camera Bag

I've gotten pretty sick and tired of trying to cram all of the photo gear that I think I'll need into my pockets lately, and yes, as a hobby photographer/lomographer, we really don't need much. Maybe a cheap tabletop tripod, some film, lens wipes, and some filters. Still, it's more than can easily, safely, or conveniently be carried in jacket or jeans pockets. I tend to pack pretty light (I went backpacking in Costa Rica last year for two weeks with 2 cameras and clothes, and didn't need to check a single bag), but I hate needing something out in the field and not having it.

The time had come. I knew I needed to get a bag of some sort. I needed something simple, something unassuming, and something rugged and padded enough to toss in the car or hike around in the urban landscape with.

Enter ROSS Dress For Less—or, as my drag queen friends lovingly call it—CROSS Dress For Less. It's basically where department store fashion goes to die. There's housewares, clothes, cheaply made gadgets and gifts, perfume, yadda yadda yadda, and BAGS. Every kind of bag you could want. I'm sure most cities and towns in the US have places like this.


So, I'm there and I'm looking for something robust, low-profile, padded, etc. and then BAM. There it is: The Notebook Computer Bag. To be sure, most notebook computers are pretty slim. But geeks tend to demand a more capacious bag than the middle management types. And being in San Francisco, we have lots of both.

Think about it. They're padded, tend to be pretty plain (they are designed, after all, to hold expensive electronics), and they can be slung over the shoulder.

After some digging, I found this little gem for $20 plus tax.
Basic, yet respectable enough.
Roomy enough inside the main compartment to hold my Holga 120N, a Holgon MultiFlash, and my digital camera (not pictured because I'm using it to take the pictures, durr.) There would still be enough room for another point and shoot, or my Nikormat and say, the Holga to sit alongside eachother. The only mod I had to make was to cut out the really narrow laptop holder. There's more than enough padding to compensate, and taking it out doubled the available space.
The front panel has enough room for my light meter (when working out exposures with the Yashicamat, which there is room for), filters and my envelope of theater gels for the holga, extra rolls of film, data cable, cable release, and a mini tripod. Also, there's a pocket for business cards, which I have come to learn is practically inexcusable not to have on hand. Business cards, even if they just have your personal contact info, help move you into the major leagues.
Et voilĂ ! A photo bag well packed and ready to rock!

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