Thom's m4/3 Bag

Updated 1/28/2015

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 RRS vertical plate 
  • Olympus OM-D E-M10 body (with one of many of the small pancake lenses)
  • (sometimes) Olympus 45mm f/1.8 with hood
  • (sometimes) Olympus 75mm f/1.8 with hood
  • (soon) Olympus 7-14mm f/2.8 with hood
  • Olympus 12-40mm f/2.8 with hood
  • Olympus 40-150mm f/2.8 with hood and tripod collar
  • 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 14-300mm 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 EM-10. That's really about having a significantly smaller option without (significantly) changing how I work. That's partly because I often stick a small camera/lens combo into my jacket pocket instead of the bag. I tried using the smallest Panasonic for this, but it’s too different in settings and controls for my taste.

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) with the small Uniqball head. 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. 

text and images © 2015 Thom Hogan -- All Rights Reserved
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