Thom's m4/3 Bag

Updated 4/23/2014

Photographers are curious souls. They always want to know what's in other photographer's bags. I don't know if there's a lot to be learned from this practice, but I don't mind people peeking into my bags, so here goes:

I've now switched to a ThinkTank Mirrorless Mover bag to carry the system in. I also like the ThinkTank Retrospective bag. Here's what's in the bag most of the time:

  • Olympus OM-D E-M1 body with half the accessory grip and with 12-40mm f/2.8 Olympus lens
  • Panasonic GM1 body with 12-32mm zoom lens 
  • Olympus 45mm f/1.8 with hood
  • Olympus 75mm f/1.8 with hood
  • Panasonic 7-14mm f/4
  • Panasonic 35-100mm f/2.8 lens with hood
  • Panasonic 100-300mm f/4-5.6 with hood
  • Miscellaneous batteries/cards/filters
  • Small tripod

One note: many of the lenses are in stuff sacks to further protect them. Panasonic tends to provide these with every lens, which makes it a no brainer.

In 35mm equivalent, I'm carrying 14-600mm options with me, plus a lot of prime glass performs at the top of the heap. Here's the kicker: according to my hand scale the total weight is about 10 pounds, and I can easily drop a lens or two and get lighter, when necessary.

There's not much I can't shoot with that kit, and I don't at all feel compromised in quality on anything. Years of dealing with 20-30 pound camera bags makes this bag feel like a feather. 

Some might wonder about one camera choice: the GM1. That's really about having a significantly smaller option. A E-M10 or GX7 could easily go in that slot, but I was looking for the trimmest 16mp option to stick in. That's partly because I often stick a small camera/lens combo into my jacket pocket instead of the bag. 

If there's something to be learned from this little glimpse inside my bag, it's this: you can put together a very competent m4/3 kit in a small protected space and the whole thing doesn't have to weigh a ton.

One further comment. When I'm doing long hikes in the backcountry with my m4/3 gear, I swap most of the contents of this bag into a LowePro Photo Sport 200 AW. I trick that out with a Peak Design shoulder-strap carrying option I have so that a camera always rides on a quick release plate where I can grab it and start shooting almost immediately (plus the GM1 goes in a pocket). 

Why the swap of bags? First, on these long hikes I need to take some survival essentials, including layers of clothing. I'm also usually carrying my RRS Versa 2 tripod (which clips onto the side of the Photo Sport). I need to carry plenty of water (you can use a hydration bladder inside if you're the gambling sort, but I use the bottle pocket on the outside). Finally, the built-in rain cover is a necessity for protecting equipment should the weather change on me. 

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