Digital Home Thoughts: Building an Urban Messenger Camera Bag

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Wednesday, November 9, 2005

Building an Urban Messenger Camera Bag

Posted by Jason Kravitz in "HARDWARE" @ 10:35 AM



Figure 7: Loaded bag using the slimmer setup with Domke FA-230.

One of the tamrac pads (see figure 5) fits perfectly on the bottom of the bag. I would recommend using something similar even a piece of heavy cardboard would work. I also place a piece of tamrac padding on the bottom of each slot for extra protection. My typical FA-230 setup consists of the 50mm and 17-40mm (or 24-75mm) in the left slot separated by some tamrac padding. The middle slot holds the 580EX flash in it's case, some filters and other random fillers like energy bars. The left slot holds my 70-200mm lens. I keep the camera body with the 24-75mm lens (or occasionally 17-40mm) on the side outside the insert with some more tamrac padding underneath it. Sometimes when I travel I remove all lenses from the body for added protection and am able to fit the body and one of the shorter lenses between the insert and the edge of the bag. If I am walking around and have the 70-200mm on the camera I occasionally keep a bottle of water in the empty slot. All the cords and extra batteries go in the center pocket. I fold up my jacket and shove it behind the center pocket so it fills out the back of the bag. Other odds and ends go in the zipper pockets. There is a small felt lined pocket for cell phone or iPod on the front inner panel. I stick the umbrella, books, PSP and any other random accessories along the front between the insert and the inner front panel.


Figure 8: Packed bag using Domke FA-230 insert as described.


Figure 9: Loaded bag from the front.

Conclusions
Overall I have been happy with this solution. The bag distributes weight well although after walking around for a few hours it can get uncomfortable. Taking the body and a lens out of the bag makes it considerably lighter so I often will sling the bag over my shoulder and hold my camera or hang it from my neck. There are probably similar style pre-made bags available maybe even cheaper than it cost to build this one but I enjoy the style and flexibility of this configuration and will continue to use it until I find something better.

For those of you looking to try this out for yourself, expect to spend about $70-$100 on the bag depending on where you buy it and about $20-$40 on padding. If you come up with another variation that works for you please share it on the forum.

Jason Kravitz is a software engineer, musician and photographer specializing in the creative potential of the human mind and its connection to the subtle spaces around us. Jason is the creator of the PocketPC game DevilDarts. His current area of interest is the potential of imagery to transcend the boundaries of language. His photo blog can be seen on Aminus3.com.

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