Bags for Leica Ms

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by carbon_dragon, Nov 8, 2018.

  1. Ok, let's talk bags. There seems to be a couple of general approaches to carrying a Leica M and a couple of lenses (or any kind of similarly sized mirrorless camera, it really doesn't matter). There's the all leather luxury mode where the bags are quite expensive (sometimes in the hundreds or even $1000+ range) and also are usually very nice camera bags, and there's the more utilitarian style where the bags may still be expensive for feature reasons, but generally aren't and can start under $100.

    I've tried a bunch of bags over the decades. I've had Tamrac backpacks and bags (still have a lot of those, see the grey one in back of the first picture, now used mostly for storage at home) as well as a variety of old bags. The one in front (Domke F5X-B) is the one I'm using now that holds just a camera with the lens and a couple of more small lenses. I has a little side pocket I put my memory cards and batteries in. It's not bad actually.

    I was wondering what other people were using. The Domke doesn't screen expensive cameras quite so loudly, but I could do without the big label. I like leather, but I'm concerned it makes me to much of a target. Show me some pictures and tell me what bags you like and about what they go for. Thanks.


  2. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

  3. I haven't travelled much on aircraft in the last few years, and though I love rollers, they don't do to well on even easy hiking paths. It's an idea if I do travel on planes. Are think tanks what you use? I can't browse camera stores anymore, so I'm trying to go for pictures of similar cameras in their bags to get a feel for what they look like and what their ergonomics are. I bought the Domke online blind and it's working but I would SO much prefer going somewhere and actually trying them out. Sadly no longer possible.
  4. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

    I don't use rollers or backpacks - prefer shoulder bags - one Urban Disguise & 2 Suburban Disguise. I use a small inexpensive fishing bag for my mirrorless system. I use an insulated 6 Pack carrier for the Leica D Lux, since the only accessories are the tiny flash and a spare battery. My film Leica has a pair of fitted Leica cases from "back in the day".
  5. In buying old cameras, I accumulate old camera bags as well.

    So I've got a LOT of old camera bags, but I do find that my favorites to use are often the Tamrac ones.
    Sandy Vongries likes this.
  6. I keep a lot of old Tamrac ones for storage, but don't like to actually carry them anymore. I don't have the back strength to carry the backpack either, good as it is. Fortunately I'm not carrying a Contax RTS III and all the lenses anymore. I've got an old bag I used for years that no-one in their right mind would steal, but it was awkward to carry and tough to fish stuff out of the bag. I'm tempted by the ritzy ones with butter soft leather etc. etc. but I know I'd be nervous about ever taking it anywhere.

    On the positive side, the Domke is "reasonably" non-descript while being pretty good cushioning for the gear and relatively light. It also forces me to travel pretty light. But maybe there's something better. I don't think the Domke is particularly rain proof beyond a light rain.
  7. SCL


    I've had probably 25-30 bags, including special purpose ones I made myself. These days I just put the camera and any xtra lenses in cut down heavy duty socks fitted with drawstrings...if I need a bag, I usually put them in a shoulder messenger bag (in their socks). Protects them well, light weight, and doesn't scream CAMERA CAMERA CAMERA
  8. This was my bag for years. It has fabric sacks hanging from the inside sides of the bag where you can put lenses or cameras. The big ones fit Leica Ms and the small ones fit the lenses. Then outside the sacks you can put other stuff. But digging into those sacks usually ended up with fingerprints on the filters of the lenses unless I was very careful or used lens caps. It was just a pain after a while. Very much didn't look expensive, but I'm looking for better utility. Besides there is a limit for just how ugly a bag I want to carry these days!:eek:

    charles_escott_new likes this.
  9. In my experience, camera bags only come in two sizes, too big and too small.
    carbon_dragon and Sandy Vongries like this.
  10. The thing that screams to everyone that you are carrying an expensive camera is to take your expensive camera out of the bag and photograph something with it. This is not unique to Leica, even though Leica is a good one to worry about. Using it is a dead give-away.

    I have too many bags. I like the old Domke canvas shoulder bags because they're comfortable, but I add a bit of padding to mine, an F-2 and an F4AF. They're not good when it rains. I also use a couple of the Domke Journalist series bags, a J1 and a J3, and a small no-name bag that carries a single DSLR with a 24-70mm. I take a Tamrac Big Wheels roller when I need to carry backups to my backups for photographing an event, and a Lowe backpack to carry a body, long lens and tripod to photograph birds.
    carbon_dragon likes this.
  11. Yes, though you have to be a fan to distinguish between a modern Leica digital M and an older film M. With the greater number of mirrorless cameras abroad in the world today, including cameras like the Fuji X100 series, it's probably going to look like one of those unless the viewer knows something about Leicas. I rarely get questioned about it or even a second look, even from other photographers.

    I have to admit I get nervous about it in a way I never did with my Minoltas. I bring them in to the restaurant when I eat rather than leaving them in the car. Which is one of the reasons I don't want that cognac leather $1000 bag, much as I think it would be beautiful.
  12. I've used a Kelty diaper bag I've found for a couple of bucks at a garage sail years ago. Works ok. If you want you can get padded lens sleeves etc. No one knows its a camera bag.
  13. Absolutely!

    A little brown umber paint on the exterior can add to the verisimilitude .
  14. Even some pampers hanging out etc. They'll never see that red dot hiding in there:)
  15. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

    Haven't handled or measured the Digital M Models, but if they are the same size as the film cameras, there are a lot of great old fitted Leica Cases for sale used online, a couple of excellent ones just now.
  16. I bit the bullet after I bought the Nikon S3 rangefinder.
    Second camera bag I ever bought.
    My first was the same bag CD posted the picture of, I bought it way back around 1980. Hated those little interior sacks as well.
    Finally tossed it last year.
    Up until now I’ve used pelicans, firearms range bags, and an old Barbour messenger bag I added neoprene to for padding.
    This one has a rainproof layer sewn into the top.
    Not even broken in yet, first outings being Missouri and Elmwood.
    It is the Small Pro Billingham and seems the perfect size for a bit of casual photography.
    Holds everything pictured plus the little Canon G9X I took the picture with.
    The retainers open and close easily.
    Modular padding. I like that it holds its shape a bit. Bag.jpg
    Pricey but so far seems to be a good investment.
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2018
  17. Larger by about 1/8" in all dimensions.

    An old or non-camera bag makes a perfect disguise when the camera is in your hand or around your neck?
    Moving On and Sandy Vongries like this.
  18. I watch Steve Huff's channel sometimes and he'll be talking about a bag that costs $300-600 or more and about how it looks like a million dollars and there's a place to put his wallet and his cellphone in there along with his camera. Not every thief is going to realize that the little "mirrorless" Leica you have is actually expensive, but I bet the bag would tip them off and could you imagine losing your wallet, phone, AND your camera gear at the same time?

    The Diaper bag is a bridge too far though.:confused:
  19. I just never leave anything I want to keep unsecured, or not concealed.
    That would apply to a diaper bag full of holes with an open can of sardines in it.
    There’s always some Cat that wants what you got.
    Byproduct of living around Memphis I suppose.
    If I was worried about being robbed I’d certainly not take photos with a cell phone in Memphis in certain situations.
    So for me situational awareness contributes more to security than shabby disguise.

    On reflection I suppose two bags would work well.
    An old one with your nice camera in it, and a nice big Billingham with a Cottonmouth....;)
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2018
    charles_escott_new likes this.
  20. Most of the fancy "made for Leica" camera bags look like purses, LOL.

    I've been using a non-camera Maxpedition bag for a long time now as a walk-around camera bag that doesn't look like a camera bag with expensive gear in it. This one could also easily fit a DSLR with 2 or 3 lenses (I've been using it with a Nikon D700 and 50mm + 28-300mm) but there are also smaller versions which would be more ideal for rangefinder/mirrorless.



    Oh, and:

    Last edited: Nov 9, 2018
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