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Thread: Design help wanted: 4/3rds users

  1. #1
    FStopIan
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    Design help wanted: 4/3rds users

    Hello Everyone,

    If you don't know I develop camera bags for F-Stop Gear. We are relatively small company from the US. Our product is little different than most of the others. Basically we use a system called an ICU (Internal Camera Unit) with our adventure photography based shells.

    We currently have 4 sizes of ICU's. Small, Medium, Large and XL. They are all designed around a Pro sized DSLR. If you need a visual on what I am referring to take a peak here - www.fstopgear.com/images/pi_10/icu/

    The reason for this post is we are in the beginning stages of making ICU's for 4/3rds and MF gear.

    I am hoping that I can get some real world opinions from the users of this site as both styles of photography seam to be very popular here... and Guy has allowed me to ask you

    So if you have any input for me, it is much appreciate.

    I am looking for info on:


    - How much gear do you put in your bag? List it if you can.


    - Limitations with current methods of carrying your gear


    - Any thing you would like to see in a product like this.



    Thank you

  2. #2
    Senior Member RichA's Avatar
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    Re: Design help wanted: 4/3rds users

    Quote Originally Posted by FStopIan View Post
    Hello Everyone,

    If you don't know I develop camera bags for F-Stop Gear. We are relatively small company from the US. Our product is little different than most of the others. Basically we use a system called an ICU (Internal Camera Unit) with our adventure photography based shells.

    We currently have 4 sizes of ICU's. Small, Medium, Large and XL. They are all designed around a Pro sized DSLR. If you need a visual on what I am referring to take a peak here - www.fstopgear.com/images/pi_10/icu/

    The reason for this post is we are in the beginning stages of making ICU's for 4/3rds and MF gear.

    I am hoping that I can get some real world opinions from the users of this site as both styles of photography seam to be very popular here... and Guy has allowed me to ask you

    So if you have any input for me, it is much appreciate.

    I am looking for info on:


    - How much gear do you put in your bag? List it if you can.


    - Limitations with current methods of carrying your gear


    - Any thing you would like to see in a product like this.



    Thank you
    I hate gear bags. They serve purposes, obviously, but they add weight and bulk and impede the fastest use of a camera compared to hanging around your neck, or slung off a shoulder. However, one design attribute no bag maker has addressed is to conform the bag so it fits the human wearing it better. If the bag were curved on the bottom, it would allow (I think) for a more comfortable fit to the body since it would curve around the person's waist. Even a semi-articulated bag (2-part) would fit better than current ones. I realize, however, this would compromise its use for long tele lenses though.

  3. #3
    FStopIan
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    Re: Design help wanted: 4/3rds users

    Hi Rich,

    Our packs all have aluminum frames which contour to the back. Also our bags are much lighter than most off the bags out there. We basically build a mountaineering pack for photography.

    Not sure if you have tried our bags but they have a way of making a heavy load a much lighter one. We do not make your traditional camera pack.

    Like you say around the neck is a much faster method but that does limit ones range when it comes to what and where they can photograph.

  4. #4
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    Re: Design help wanted: 4/3rds users

    Quote Originally Posted by FStopIan View Post
    Hello Everyone,


    So if you have any input for me, it is much appreciate.

    I am looking for info on:


    - How much gear do you put in your bag? List it if you can.
    GF1 with Lens, two to four additional lenses in bag depending on where I am going and how long I am going to be gone. Also two extra batteries and memory cards and at times some different filters and adaptors for different lenses that fit on the GF1.

    One possible configuration: GF1 with Lumix G - 20mm F1.7 Aspherical on camera with: Lumix G Vario - 7-14mm F4 - F22 Aspherical; Lumix -- Leica D Vario-Elmar 14-50mm F3.8-5.6 Aspherical; Ernst Leitz GmbH Wetzlar - Elmar 9cm f4; Ernst Leitz Wetzlar - Hector 135mm f/4.5; Panasonic 4/3 to m4/3 adaptor; Leica M mount adaptor with LTM Screw to M adaptor ring; spare batteries; spare memory cards; filters and cleaning cloth.

    Second possible configuration may be GF1 with Lumix G - 20mm F1.7 Aspherical on camera with: Lumix G Vario - 7-14mm F4 - F22 Aspherical; Carl Zeiss Planar f2 - 16 / 45mm T*; Carl Zeiss Sonnar f2.8 - 22 / 90mm T*; Contax G to m4/3 adaptor; spare batteries; spare memory cards; filters and cleaning cloth.

    . . . . . then there are the days when it is just the GF1 with a lens with a spare battery and memory card!



    - Limitations with current methods of carrying your gear

    Right now I don't believe I am limited with the bag I use.

    I currently use the 'Crumpler 6 Million Dollar Home' camera bag and I like it a lot. It has great padding, great inserts, a padded long strap and the bag is comfortable to wear when walking. It pretty much accommodates everything I need to carry when out for a walk or on a trip. If I needed a larger bag, I may buy the '7 Million Dollar Home' camera bag!



    - Any thing you would like to see in a product like this.

    Yes a different shape. The square box type of bag shown in the pictures looks like it would be mighty uncomfortable to carry. As stated in the previous response, a bag that is more body conforming, perhaps a backpack style bag.

    The four thirds camera and lenses are not as large as those displayed in your photos. Hopefully you can build a bag that works and sized to fit the four/thirds - micro four thirds cameras that we carry.



    Thank you

    Hope that helps.

    Life is Grand!

    Dan
    ~

  5. #5
    FStopIan
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    Re: Design help wanted: 4/3rds users

    Hi Dan, those are not the bags, they are ICU's (Internal Camera Unit) they go inside the bag. take peak here please.

    http://fstopgear.com/en/loka

    What were are doing is making an ICU for 4/3's cameras and that is what I was hoping for feedback on.

    Thanks

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    Senior Member kweide's Avatar
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    Re: Design help wanted: 4/3rds users

    What i use:

    Oly E-P1
    Oly M. Zuiko 17 mm
    Pana 20 mm
    Leica R Summicron 90 mm f 2
    mFT to Leica R Adapter

    Traveling light ....

    Regrads,
    Klaus
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    see more ( NSFW ) on : http://www.klaweide.de

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    Re: Design help wanted: 4/3rds users

    I have a tiny hand held bag (half the size of your small if not smaller)that has two padded off compartments. I can fit the camera facing lens downwards with the 14-140mm on it and next to it in the other compartment a 50mm zeiss prime with adapter and the 20mm ontop of that. I switch between the kit 14-140 and an 85mm depending on what i am shooting. This is why I love the gh1 so much, its darn small compared to conventional dslr's. I am always surprised that I can fit so much into this tiny bag. It is small enough in that I don't mind taking it with me and not leave it in the car for thieves to see. What the bag lacks though is dedicated padded off compartments for my ND filter and step up rings,oh and my H4n audio recorder. I am also about to add the 7-14mm to my setup so an extra compartment along side or on top would be nice =)

    I guess what I am looking for in a M4/3 bag is a small travel bag, not a rucksack/backpack, something I can carry around with my hand and throw around my shoulders via a shoulder strap. Kinda like an over sized man purse in a way. This allows me to swing the bag back and forth if i need to quickly put the camera away or take it out. The whole taking the back pack off, laying it down and taking the camera out doesn't appeal to me unless I am on a planned location shoot where I know I won't be moving much or at all. It has to not look like a camera bag for me and that means none/minimal/subtle branding(I actually took the badge off mine) that doesn't advertise my gear =) Then again I am not a professional so my needs may differ to others. If you can design something for the light traveler i would be interested. If I had the resources I'd probably design my own as designing is what I do..lol

    Here is my list and I think you will soon see certain lenses are a must for m4/3 users.
    Panasonic GH1
    14-140mm kit lens optional
    20mm - must have
    50mm or 85mm prime + adapter - must have
    7-14mm optional
    ND filter x1 - must have (I do alot of video so have to keep shutter speed at 1/50 or 1/125)
    Stepup rings x2 - must have
    Spare batteries x2 - must have
    Remote shutter trigger - must have
    Blower - optional
    H4n Audio recorder - optional (for video sound)
    Last edited by MRfanny; 30th July 2010 at 07:09.

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    Re: Design help wanted: 4/3rds users

    Quote Originally Posted by FStopIan View Post
    Hi Dan, those are not the bags, they are ICU's (Internal Camera Unit) they go inside the bag. take peak here please.

    http://fstopgear.com/en/loka

    What were are doing is making an ICU for 4/3's cameras and that is what I was hoping for feedback on.

    Thanks
    Thanks for the link.

    The ideal ICU for me would be something that would fit inside the Loka (or other packs you offer) and could also be used as a day carrier. The Loka looks like it could work for traveling or hiking. But once at a destination or campsite, I would not want to carry the whole pack everywhere I go. So if the ICU could be designed to suit more than one purpose it would be a selling point for me. Otherwise I would still be backing a smaller camera bag.

    One other suggestion that I would like to see would be for you to remove the "F-stop" name from the backpack itself. It is great for promoting your bags but for me it is like walking around with a big sign on my back that says, HEY I AM CARRYING A BUNCH OF EXPENSIVE CAMERA GEAR IN HERE. . . . . . or perhaps offer an optional velcro reflective strip that would fit over the name.

    The other idea for me would be to perhaps just pick up a bag and see if my Crumpler bag would fit inside.


    Life is Grand!

    Dan
    ~

  9. #9
    Senior Member ggibson's Avatar
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    Re: Design help wanted: 4/3rds users

    - How much gear do you put in your bag? List it if you can.

    I usually travel with my GF1 and 20mm, plus two more lenses (right now the 9-18mm and 45-200mm). I'll also carry a couple memory cards, an extra battery, EVF, and two filters (ND8 and CPL). If I'm going somewhere tropical, I'll also take my Sealife DC800 underwater camera and case.


    - Limitations with current methods of carrying your gear


    I use a Lowepro Rezo 160 right now. I find it annoying sometimes because it is tall, so if I want something on the bottom, I can't get to it easily without removing things on top. But I don't usually carry it with me during the day unless I decide I need more than one lens (rare). It's nice to have a shoulder strap though.


    - Any thing you would like to see in a product like this.

    Anything for m4/3 should be smaller than normal DSLR packs. I'd like to see space for the camera+lens and 2-3 more lenses. A place to pack filters (safely) would be nice. Also, I'd want a small pocket for the small accessories like memory cards and batteries.

  10. #10
    mjohnston
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    Re: Design help wanted: 4/3rds users

    M43 is an interesting bag target since the kit can be small enough that weight isn't really the issue. I want a waterproof bag for storing lenses and accessories for the most part. I'd only occasionally want to store the body in there, as normally I would have it around my neck and would only want to store it for bad weather or rough travel. I'd like it if the bag could be put into another bag, like a backpack, or attached to another bag, like a backpack. The bag should collapse well when not packed full.

    For reference, my kit consists of: GF1 w/ 20mm pancake, Nikkor 50mm f1.2 AIS, Vivitar Series 1 90mm f2.5 w/ macro extender, a few c-mount lenses.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Riley's Avatar
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    Re: Design help wanted: 4/3rds users

    body and lens sizes vary a lot between 4/3rds equipment. The E3 is as big as 5D but mFT and models like 420 are much smaller. A similar pattern follows with the lenses, where SHG lenses are vastly larger than kit lenses.

    because of the crop factor the gear (body and lenses) tends to be less than FF kits, as a body and 2 lenses can cover 24-400mm EFL. This makes uniquely different requirements

    My solution would be this, I would make a modular system that is essentially belt carried, perhaps with a webbing or suspension system but could be used without. Such a system is always available for use unlike backpack systems. Modules could carry a body or 2 lenses each with velcro closure accessory pouches on each.

    Additional modules could be slipped on or off the belt, and each module allows the load to both be spread out across the hips while fitting the human form better. Modules can be slipped around the belt for access in the field, and slipped back again for the duration of a journey on foot.

    Modules could be offered in various sizes for different kit structures, so it wouldnt be tied to 4/3rds kit design. And modules allow the customer to buy only what they think they will need, and build on their system if their needs change later.

  12. #12
    Senior Member M5-Guy's Avatar
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    Re: Design help wanted: 4/3rds users

    Well, I use "Bags" to hall stuff, then I leave it the truck... I do have a Domke f6 little smaller bag... but I hate the clips that you have to push in on a flat part and unhook it. I prefer the quick release type were you push in both sides to release the hold.

    I really want a "Waist" pack type similar to the "national geographic" type, but with larger pockets... 3 or 4 would be good... large enough to hold a short SLR/RF telephoto. I carry my Panasonic G1 around my neck, So, I don't need a place that... just a few lenses, But, one of the pockets could hold the camera and lens in case of rain.

    oversize flap that Velcros closed, no zippers.
    I don't like over the shoulder bags. That's so common

    So, A waist pack that can hold 2-3 lenses and the camera and lens in separate pouch.
    One of the pocket size's could be slightly longer than a standard kit zoom (14-45). This should allow a longer lens like a 90mm SLR/RF lens to be held also.

    Canvas NOT Vinyl...It conforms better to the curvature of the waist.

    My gear I might carry on a shoot
    G1, 17mm, 35mm RF lens, 50mm RF lens, Sigma 24-70 f/2.8 DSLR lens
    Last edited by M5-Guy; 30th July 2010 at 10:47.

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    Re: Design help wanted: 4/3rds users

    - How much gear do you put in your bag? List it if you can.

    Camera gear:
    G1 - IR converted + 14-45
    G2
    20mm
    7-14mm
    45-200mm
    20mm nikkor + adapter + extension ring
    filter stack (2 ND's, polarizer, canon 500D)
    CF tripod + Kirk BH3 ballhead
    beanbag

    Not in the bag:

    Nikon D200
    plenty of nikkor lenses

    - Limitations with current methods of carrying your gear

    I use a standard camelback hydration day pack with my lenses in lens pouches. It actually does the best for me for both carrying gear as well as standard hiking gear (raincoat, water, snacks, lunch, flashlight, etc....)

    - Any thing you would like to see in a product like this.

    I tend to hang a couple of lens pouches off my belt and my filter pouch off the shoulder strap of my day pack. Color card, and lens cleaning bag go in my pockets. I carry my tripod or hook it through the handle of my bag down to a loop on my pack. This plus my camera around my neck means I have much of what I need at hand.

    An ideal pack for me will have quality waist support, separate compartments for camera gear versus other gear, a belt capable of having gear clipped to it, shoulder straps capable of having gear attached to it, and be lightweight. Pouches on the belt are a plus. Ideally it would also have a glasses pouch somewhere capable of holding glasses IN a glasses case or sunglasses also in a case.

    Make one lightweight but able to extend for an overnighter, and that would be even better, but I'd far prefer a quality daypack over one that compromises to become an overnighter.

    There is a theme on lightweight here :-)... That is after all why I am shooting m43 more and more instead of my nikon gear.

    Doug

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    Member bavanor's Avatar
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    Re: Design help wanted: 4/3rds users

    Hopefully you will decide to make a complete bag at some point and not just ICU's. I need a bag that can be put under the seat in an airplane, can have attachments put on and off (think a netbook/laptop sleeve and lens pouches that can hold cords and chargers or drinks), has both the option of using a shoulder strap or backpack straps, and has access at the top and bottom/side of the bag.

    In the last 2 years I have traveled with a ThinkTank Urban Disguise 50 on airplanes, cars, trains, and boats with my m4/3 system. I have modified the bag to carry a lowepro lens pouch which I put my cables, charger and earbuds in. The other modification I want to do to the bag is add an access point on the side of the bag to access a Really Right Stuff TP-243 tri-pod that has to be packed at the bottom of the bag and is a pain to remove currently, which means I forgo using it when I should.


    - How much gear do you put in your bag? List it if you can.
    Panasonic G-1
    Zuiko 50-200mm 4/3 lens
    Zuiko 50mm macro 4/3 lens
    4/3 to m4/3 adapter
    netbook
    2 small hard drives
    polarizers for lenses
    zuiko macro tube
    panasonic 14-45mm m4/3 lens
    reading paper back book
    magazine
    i-touch
    pens
    extra sd cards in case
    2 small photoflex litediscs
    sketch pad
    cords
    extra battery
    battery charger
    Really Right Stuff TP-243 tri-pod
    Acratech ball-head with Really Right Stuff quick release clamp
    Really Right Stuff L-bracket
    bubble level
    Color Checker passport
    release cable


    - Limitations with current methods of carrying your gear
    no access to bottom of bag.

    no way to add on components (lens pouch or netbook/laptop sleeve bag, which are great ways to lighten loads and reduce bag size once you have reached your destination and are out and about taking photos)

    the backpack strap impedes access to the bag while attached

    - Any thing you would like to see in a product like this.
    a complete bag system not just an icu

    I hope this helps,

    Aaron Britton

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    Re: Design help wanted: 4/3rds users

    For my day trips I normally carry a shoulder satchel that has my GH1+20/1.7, 70-210mm lens, my F-1+35/2, and a 24-48mm lens, extra rolls of film, sometimes a flash. I only tend to carry what I need on that particular trip, and I plan the trip accordingly.
    -Dragos
    Panasonic GH1/G1, Canon FTb(n)/F-1, Mamiya C330F/RB67 Pro SD, Chamonix 45N-2, Nikon F5 + Assorted Lenses

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    Re: Design help wanted: 4/3rds users

    I'd love a "3/4 compartment" version of this:- http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...=STRK:MEWAX:IT

    Contax did make a 3 compartment but rare as rocking horse droppings.

    I have 2 of the ones shown and the first one holds my GF-1, 20mm, 7-14mm, Contax 35, 45, and 90mm, adaptors, SD cards and the second one holds my Contax G2 with 21mm, 28mm, film and filters.

    I ALWAYS carry both and no weight problem.

  17. #17
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    Re: Design help wanted: 4/3rds users

    G2 leather bag is excellent -- mine is filled with c mount lenses.

    The front opening pouch is just the right size for 3 Kern lenses.

    paul

  18. #18
    FStopIan
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    Re: Design help wanted: 4/3rds users

    Hi Everyone,

    Thank you for your opinions and gear lists. Quite a wide range needs from everyone.

    I will keep you updated as things progress.


    Regards

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    Re: Design help wanted: 4/3rds users

    I went with a Kata DC 441 to carry G1 14-45, 20mm, Olympus FL36R flash, polarising filter and odd bits, and in the future 14mm. This version has belt loops. Obviously larger and smaller options
    http://www.kata-bags.com/product.asp...Photo&p_Id=397

  20. #20
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    Re: Design help wanted: 4/3rds users

    Since there are a lot of very small lenses if you put dividers that can be velcroed, I'd like to see a way to divide the height. This would have Velcro on just on edge so you could lift it up and grab a lens underneath. Otherwise I end up stacking lenses on top of each other.

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