I am feeling happy once more. My frustration with not taking my camera out has subsided somewhat. At the weekend just gone I was up in the Lake District with my new camera at one of the best locations you can imagine – Haweswater.
Unless you are familiar with the Lakes it’s unlikely you have visited this spot and yet it’s one of the most spectacular. It lies near to Penrith and is away from the usual tourist destinations. It has one narrow lane that leads to a dead end at the head of the valley where the lake also ends. Well, I say lake but it is actually a manmade reservoir. When it was created the designers were careful to create a number of features that blend it into the landscape. I suspect they must have been photographers as it’s so picturesque.
The purpose of this blog is not to bore you with details of the location but to share a new problem now that I have gone totally lightweight. I couldn’t find a bag that suited the equipment I wanted to carry.
For the day I had decided to take the Olympus OMD and the GX1 Infrared body. In addition to batteries and memory cards I also took a few lenses; the Olympus 9-18mm, Panasonic 14-45mm, Panasonic 45-200mm and the Olympus 12-50mm that came with the OMD. This was too much equipment to fit my small shoulder bag but it wasn’t enough to warrant carrying my Lowepro Mini Trekker. At the same time, because we intended to walk one of the ridges leading up to the summit of Highstreet, so I also needed to take a traditional backpack with outdoor gear. Oh yes, I also wanted to take the Sony RX100 as a backup. I did think of using a Sling shot but it would have been that little but too heavy and I need to watch my back/neck.
Interestingly my friend had the same issues with his kit which is also Micro 43. As you can imagine, the conversation soon turned to the inadequacy of most camera bags to cater for Compact System Cameras such as the Olympus and Panasonic. Particularly those of us who want to combine this with day treks in the hills.
Since returning I have been scouring the internet trying to find something that meets my needs but most of the bags are either a shoulder bag or designed for DSLR sized cameras, making them quite bulky and heavy.
What I am really looking for is a lightweight bag which is either a back pack or a front pack. If it’s a backpack it needs to hold my waterproof clothing and extra layers in winter as well as food and of course the camera equipment. It needs to be the correct size for the Micro 43 camera as I don’t want wasted space of lenses rattling around. The alternative I think would be a front pack and I think this would be more practical as it would allow access to gear without needing to remove the bag. It should however be light and again suitably sized for the Micro 43 equipment. If it’s a front pack it needs to include some sort of shoulder of neck strap to prevent the pack hanging too low as you walk. It must also allow me to still wear a backpack for my clothing, emergency shelter, first aid kit, food etc.
Now I don’t think this is too much to ask for but I haven’t yet found it. I did come across some bags last night that look promising. They are designed for press photographers who work in the field and need to keep mobile and on their feet. The bag strap to your front and over one shoulder to allow easy access to kit but I need to do more research; they may still be too bulky.
If you are a bag manufacturer and reading this, let’s see some serious bags aimed at Micro 43 cameras and don’t try to brush us off with your SLR line rebadged. If you are a Micro 43 photographer who has cracked this problem I would love to hear your solution.