As promised: Digital bags!

13 Nov

I don't know about the rest of you folks, but digital came to me after a really lean spell in photography … no money, no time, invalid wife, etc. etc. So I really hadn't done much with that loverly equipment in the last post, mostly because I couldn't afford film and processing. My daughter and her husband had bought a digital camera, and I was not impressed. Only 2 MPixels, as I remember, and the colour was all funny. I kept reserving my enthusiasm until I suddenly came upon a little (actually, it was kinda bulky by today's standards) Kodak 4MPixel camera, for $100 off the going price/MPixel. I gotta say, it's not often that I have cash in my pocket when I find a bargain, so I bought it. It was a display model, and the 16MB card that was supposed to be with it was gone, so the store gave me a 128MB card for free, and a battery. I got out to the car, opened the package, and took a picture of the store front. I could SEE it! In the little LCD screen! WOW! I was DIGITAL, baby! How to carry the thing around immediately came to mind, and I thought of my little Cherokee belt bag. It fit just great, and I was flying. Here it is; it's on my belt, and those are my pants lying under it (Yeah, I took my pants off for the photo. So sue me.):

"Not bad", I thought, and that bag and cam were constantly on my belt. I took it off for showers and going to bed, but not much else. I used that camera with increasing frequency for a good five years, until my picture files began to get really unwieldy (Ha! You oughta see 'em NOW!). I learned to use Photoshop to make the pictures look right, and that's still going on.
And then the little nagging dissatisfactions began … and, to be honest, I really ached for the kind of flexibility that I'd had with film, so I began casting about for something a step or two above the Kodak, which was almost equivalent to George Eastman's original box camera … "You press the button, we do the rest." I was nosing about for a DSLR when my Scottish Lassie reminded me that all the dust and dirt on the CCD of her Nikon D100 (that I had been taking out of her shots, via Photoshop) came from the changing of lenses, and more importantly, it cost her Β£100 and a trip to London (from Loch Ness!) to get it cleaned off the CCD itself, the home-cleaning kits not having been invented yet. That put me on my back foot, you can bet! But at just this time, a new "Ultra Zoom" from Olympus came onto the market, with a 1:18 zoom range (from 28mm to 504mm!) and 7.1MPixels, to boot (my Lassie's D100 only had 6MPixels!). Not much need to change lenses in that camera! So, I bought one, online, at a considerable savings over list. Here it is; I shot these the day it came, and the peel-off stickers are still there.

And the back (Hey, look, Elina and Deb … a viewfinder! LOL):

Sorry … had to rub it in.
Now, this little beastie wouldn't fit into my little waist bag, and even if it had, it was an awkward shape. I finally decided on no bag at all, but rather an elastic harness intended for hunters to carry their binoculars. It holds the camera tightly in the center of my chest, where it looks a little unusual, but it's very handy, and one side can be detached, allowing the camera to dangle under my coat, out of the way. I have no picture except this, which isn't too clear, but I'm using the camera to take the picture:

Yes, it's in a public washroom … I do this whenever I find one with a good mirror. It amuses me.
But, I still wanted a DSLR, especially since the CCDs had started to be protected, the home-cleaning kits were available, and … well, dammit, the Oly was not much good for moving objects, since the viewfinder blacked out when the shutter button was pressed. I got a few birds in flight, but damned few.
So, as in miracle plays, a bunch of money came, totally unexpectedly, and I bought the Nikon. Yeah, I needed a new car … but I always need a new car. The Nikon won. This is what I got:

A Nikon D3100, kit 18mm-55mm zoom lens, and a 55mm-200mm zoom lens. Battery and charger, "flower" shade for the 200mm, Body cap, rear and front lens caps, extra 4GB card, and a bunch of little doodads that seem to be choke coils or something, and a viewfinder cap. The filters (2 1A skylight filters and a polariser) came from my daughter's Nikon FG outfit. That's the Nikon-issue neckstrap, BTW … I covered up the "Steal me!" logo with black marker … it's only here 'til I get something better, then it's landfill time.
The first bag I tried was the bag from my daughter's Nikon FG:

It's kinda big, there's no shoulder strap, and it's bulky. My stuff bashed around in it. The FG was a big outfit … she had at least 4 lenses and a bunch of other stuff, including a flash. And it looked like a camera bag. I like "stealth" camera bags. So, I knew I'd better find something else.
What I settled on was this:

It's a Domke F-5xb, in brown. That diagonal stitching on the flap held a big "DOMKE" label … that came off first, you bet! It's kinda pricey … just under $80 from Amazon, but it seems to deliver. Here it is, open:

Those two dark patches are the loudest Velcro in the world … that's gonna be fixed soon, too. It came with two dividers in olive colour. with Velcro strips to hold them, and boy, do they hold them! This is the arrangement I've settled on:

The vertical one at one end makes a compartment for the long lens, with shade attached. The other divider is actually about an inch off the bottom of the bag, providing a compartment for the filters, the battery charger, and spare battery. The camera with the short lens attached fits on top of the divider. Here, you can see the pocket between the padding and the bag front:

And here you can see the filters peeking out. The battery charger is in there, but not visible:

Stowing the extra caps in the front pocket:

Stowing the misc. doodads:

And the long lens in its cubbyhole:

The camera in place so a quick grip can be achieved, and the camera withdrawn:

Zipped up; the extra card in the outside front pocket:

And the front flap down, hiding everything. Notice the strap; it's adjustable and removable; those two grey stripes are "grippy", I don't know how, but it keeps the bag on my shoulder. If you're some kind of compulsive, there's a "tunnel" on the back that you can thread your belt through.

All in all, I'd have to say that it meets all my criteria … it holds everything I'll need (and then some), it's not too bulky, and it doesn't look like a camera bag.
cheers, all!


Posted by on November 13, 2011 in Uncategorized


24 responses to “As promised: Digital bags!

  1. mimi_s_mum

    November 13, 2011 at 11:11 pm

    (Hey, look, Elina and Deb … a viewfinder! LOL):

    Your camera bag looks good. I like the inconspicuous non-camera bag look. :up: When I went to buy the camera bag after buying E-620 over the net. it took me a lot longer to decide on bag than choosing the camera itself. :p

  2. serola

    November 14, 2011 at 2:11 am

    Great article dW :wizard: Enjoyed a lot reading it :up:And :yes: the best camera bag sure should not look like a camera bag πŸ˜†

  3. studio41

    November 14, 2011 at 4:11 am

    "Yeah, I needed a new car … but I always need a new car. The Nikon won." nuff said enjoy the works! happy for you πŸ™‚

  4. derWandersmann

    November 14, 2011 at 10:11 am

    Thanks, all.

  5. Weatherlawyer

    November 15, 2011 at 4:11 am

    Originally posted by derWandersmann:

    Yes, it's in a public washroom … I do this whenever I find one with a good mirror. It amuses me.

    Felix and Butthead and Der Wandersman do America?

  6. Lilua

    November 16, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    Originally posted by studio41:

    "Yeah, I needed a new car … but I always need a new car. The Nikon won." nuff said enjoy the works! happy for you πŸ™‚

    πŸ™‚ you know how to make your priorities 😎
    It is so worth it when it works.

  7. Berith1

    November 19, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    I must admit those pictures of the bags made me laugh! Or smile. I am impressed.Most of all I liked the picture of you!:up:

  8. derWandersmann

    November 19, 2011 at 5:11 pm


  9. SittingFox

    November 20, 2011 at 3:11 am

    I've never really used a film camera. I started off with digital and I'm really glad, because with wildlife you obviously end up missing a lot of shots and, well, that would get very expensive with film processing!

  10. derWandersmann

    November 20, 2011 at 11:11 am

    Yep. That's why the pros have lots of really expensive stuff, and charge high prices for a story.

  11. cakkleberrylane

    November 21, 2011 at 5:11 am

    I like the way it doesn't look like a camera bag too. I carry mine in a backpack so if I have to leave it for a few minutes it isn't so obvious that someone might try to steal it.Be careful of your spare card, maybe poke it down a little so it doesn't fall out.

  12. Weatherlawyer

    November 21, 2011 at 6:11 am

    Originally posted by cakkleberrylane:

    I carry mine in a backpack so if I have to leave it for a few minutes it isn't so obvious that someone might try to steal it.

    What makes you imagine thieves are so discerning?If a junkie wants a fix, he will steal anything and everything to get it.If you have ever seen the face of a young man arrested in a shop for stealing, you will realise he doesn't care that much. He is resigned to the next course of the law and will be getting a fix from the doctors at the police station.He will steal a tin of rice pudding if it is all he can get. And if things carry on like this much longer, that kind of a person will carelessly, insouciantly even; cut the straps to anything you are carrying if he wants to see what's inside.

  13. derWandersmann

    November 21, 2011 at 11:11 am

    LOL … there are straps which anticipate the cutpurses … they have a steel cable hidden inside them. And if he steals a can of rice pudding, he deserves it.Lois: The card is only sticking out for the photo; the pocket is quite deep enough.I've always rather approved of booby-trapped bags … if I can't use my camera, no one can.

  14. Weatherlawyer

    November 21, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    Anywhere out of a crowd you are as safe as you can be. In a crowd you think there is safety in numbers but the opposite is true.The best thing to do in crowds is to keep a look out. If you go around intent on whatever else besides observing people who are closing in on you you are a mark.When you approach ashop window use it to just check ou your surroundings. You might spot somene tailing you. Just quickly assess people as they approach.City dwellers tend to look the other way once they get close enough to feel their personal space is invaded. Rural people do he opposite. They want to know who you are.Of course that could invite trouble from people in cities who don't like you staring. So what, they aren't getting my hard earned rice pudding.

  15. MrLeffe

    November 22, 2011 at 11:11 am

    I enjoy this post and indeed the camerabag is really nice πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  16. PainterWoman

    November 28, 2011 at 11:11 am

    Great post dW! Loved the photos, especially the one of you. Last week, I looked through the ads for digitals and was almost going to shop on Black Friday to purchase a Vivitar for $35. I decided I didn't want to deal with the crowds so, instead, we all stayed in to watch movies and eat. Speaking of film, I've got four rolls from my first year in Fargo to get developed. Wish it wasn't so expensive. The photos were taken with my old Pentax SLR. Still love that thing but might actually buy a digital SLR one of these days. I'm in the same situation with having the money at the right time for a good deal.

  17. studio41

    December 1, 2011 at 2:12 am

    Originally posted by PainterWoman:

    to watch movies and eat.

    :up: πŸ˜€ Originally posted by PainterWoman:

    buy a digital SLR one of these days

    it's hard to go back to film for me now- although I never thought I'd say that. it's fun to point and shoot and see immediately…

  18. PainterWoman

    December 1, 2011 at 8:12 pm

    Originally posted by studio41:

    it's fun to point and shoot and see immediately…

    I have a feeling I'll feel the same once I actually get to use a digital. There is something about that instant gratification of looking at what you just took a photo of.

  19. derWandersmann

    December 1, 2011 at 9:12 pm

    Pam, if you want to get an idea of the digital cameras available, with critical comments thrown in, have a look at this site:, he talks mostly about high-end stuff, and he's real up-to-date on what's available, but you can just look through everything he lists … I will add one thing that he never seems to touch upon, and that is: Just because your camera's just become "obsolete", it doesn't make the pictures it takes any less good. The camera companies fail to point this out, but if you buy the model that's just been superseded, you'll pay a whole lot less, and get a camera that's not significantly worse than the one that leads the list.

  20. derWandersmann

    December 3, 2011 at 5:12 pm

    I thought I might put this up, in case any of you are searching for a camera bag. It's pretty comprehensive. It has reviews by (presumably) independent photographers who have actually used the bags. They show how they've set the bag up, and they can comment on what they like and don't like.

  21. roshmma

    December 4, 2011 at 7:12 am

    Originally posted by Berith1:

    I must admit those pictures of the bags made me laugh! Or smile. I am impressed.Most of all I liked the picture of you!:up:

    Me too , liked the picture of you. Your picture is a pleasant surprise . πŸ˜€ :coffee:

  22. derWandersmann

    December 4, 2011 at 11:12 am

    'Scuse me, while I preen.

  23. Weatherlawyer

    December 4, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    Ah, the hell?!?!You in a toilet again?

  24. brunozbruna

    January 10, 2012 at 7:01 am

    You have a great self-portrait! πŸ˜€


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