SWF photographer seeks ideal holster bag for romantic walks on the beach

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by sarah_fox, Jan 8, 2009.

  1. It seems I'm still looking for that perfect bag. I'm wondering if y'all have any ideas for me. Here's what I'm looking for:
    • holster configuration for full=size DSLR and long-ish lens. I love the dual zipper atop my Quantaray bag. I just grab the loop, pull it back, pull back the large velcro flap, and there's my camera.
    • room for 1 filter, 1 spare battery, CF cards, business cards
    • a long strap that slings over the opposite shoulder, bandolero-style
    So far I'm good with what I have, but I also want:
    • a pocket for keys and wallet
    • another pocket for cell phone
    • something that doesn't look conspicuously like a camera holster bag and might even look a bit like a casual purse
    • ... and that doesn't cost a mint
    The idea is to carry this bag as my purse -- to keep a DSLR with me always.
    Perhaps there is some sort of system of inserts that would fit inside a large purse, including a half-holster?
    Any help would be greatly appreciated!
  2. Hi Sarah,
    I'm sorry I don't have a recommendation for a bag that meets your specs. I would like to warn, however, about putting everything into one container. If you loose it, by any means, then everything is gone; including money and ID.
    Of course, I may just have less to carry, being a guy. :)
  3. Look into the Think Tank series. They have all kinds of bags and attachments and they generally are very comfortable. Quality is also excellent.
  4. Have you looked at the rather discrete Domke small bag:
    Or there's a whole line that actually looks like a ladies' purse by Jill.e:
    These are kind cool if you ask me.
  5. I'd look at the Thinktank Photo bags / holsters. Women seem to find them very comfortable.
  6. What about a soft cover cooler? Remove any inserts and put small camera bag inside. Or if you have a bag with removeable inserts put those in the bag.
    When my youngest was little, I used to carry photo gear in a diaper bag. Can't do that now since he's 12.
    Also, check sporting goods stores. They might have something that you could adapt.
  7. My wife works in the hospital and she brings home those diaper bags that the hospital gave away to new mothers. The bag is padded and comes in various sizes. I found some very useful in carry a camera.
  8. Thanks for the suggestions!
    Yes, I've looked into Think Tank, but their bags all scream, "Expensive camera inside!"
    Jennifer, I really like the Jill.e bags! Very cool! Definitely worth considering.
    The Domke bags seem to come the closest to what I want. The small-sized bag is really a bit too small for my camera + other stuff, but this one looks more promising:
    I'm probably old enough that I could carry something the size of a large suitcase and not look too out of place. ;-) Of course my preference is to be as small as possible. (My purse is pretty minimalist.)
    How well do the dividers work in these bags? Do they hold in place pretty well? Any issues with the bottom zipper? (I hate to imagine the zipper coming/being undone and dumping the contents out the bottom.)
    I hadn't thought of sporting goods. There's an Outdoor World that sells everything in the known universe. I'll have a look there for coolers and assorted other bags.
    So far the Domke appears the most promising, though.
  9. You might want to check out the Crumplers. I had one they call a "4-Million Dollar Home". Very well made, but I stopped carrying it because everyone thought it was a purse.
  10. Domke bags are great. You could run over an empty Domke bag with a train and I think the bag would still hold up okay for later use. Very durable. The camera store man there told me he'd had his Domke for ever, long after other bags had broken and worn out. It was not the most expensive bag there, so I don't think he had any motive to lie to me. In my experience, the parts stay where they are supposed to, the zippers stay where you put them, and the dividers stay put unless you put some effort into moving them or removing them. The padded dividers are held in place with the usual .75" or 1" hardy velcro on both edges (and maybe the bottom - I don't remember).
    I have two of their small bags, having bought one for each small kit as needed over the last couple of years. If I want both kits, I carry both bags. They are masculine enough that my husband doesn't mind carrying them.
    The Domkes look discrete enough that I feel okay taking them anywhere. They don't say "rob me" quite as loudly as some other camera bags (e.g. the big one for my Nikon), and you can put your ID, money & cell phone in the front pockets if you want. There always seems to be just a tiny bit more room in the bag for that one last-minute item. I don't know how they do that.
  11. Jennifer and Steve, both the Domke and Crumpler bags look like just the ticket. Thanks so much for pointing me towards them. I was concerned about the velcro dividers, but from what you describe (Jennifer) it sounds like they work just fine. Now I just need to shop for sizes and features.
    Thanks again! :)
  12. I doubt anyone is still reading this thread, but in case anyone gets here via the archives:
    I just received my Crumpler "5 Million Dollar Home." It indeed looks like a average-sized (but FAT) purse. From the reviews I read before ordering, I see that many people had issues with the strap, which they said chaffed. I can see how it would chaffe if slung to the opposite shoulder (bandolero style) and carried with heavy equipment. Slung over the near-shoulder (ordinary purse-carrying style), I think there would be no issue. I intend to make some sort of shoulder pad for the former situation. Even rolling the edges of the seatbelt material over and stitching them would probably help considerably.
    I've also read issues relating to the LOUD velcro closure. It is indeed loud. The simple fix is to cover the velcro with a piece of brushed fabric. The fabric can then be removed where security is an issue. (No pick-pocket would dare mess with a velcro closure.)
    The bag comfortably accommodates a full-sized DSLR (5D or 40D) with a long-ish lens. The inserts keep everything nicely in place and seem to work very well. In the "notch" beneath the body and beside the lens, I'm able to fit filters and misc small camera stuff. There is room left in the bag for either a flash, an extra lens (or two, if one of them is short), or (in my case) a wallet. The front pouch (just beneath the flap) has just enough room to accommodate two pens, a chapstick, an inhaler, and keys. The end pockets are the right size for a cell phone, although the buttons occasionally get pressed when I insert the phone. (It's slightly tight.) There's a zipper pouch in the flap that easily accommodates business cards, releases, and other paper materials.
    All in all, I'm pleased with the bag. It looks like a fat little purse and is rather "cool" looking. It does require me to keep the contents on a continual diet, but that's probably a good thing. I might eventually want to pick up a used XTi to cut down on weight and bulk, but I'm pleased that I can also carry my 5D when I need it.

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