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Thread: Need bag advice: 15" laptop + photo gear...

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    Senior Member bradhusick's Avatar
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    Need bag advice: 15" laptop + photo gear...

    Hi all,
    I need some bag suggestions from my favorite group of gear hogs...

    1. Sometimes I need to carry a 15" MacBook Pro along with 2 Leica M bodies and 3-4 M-lenses (including the noct.) I'd prefer to have two of the lenses attached to the bodies. I'd prefer a bag without wheels, one that can be worn sling-style or over the shoulder.

    2. Same scenario, but this time instead of the Leica gear, I'll carry a pro-DSLR (Canon 1D) with the 70-200 attached. I'd like lens to be mounted on the camera ready to shoot.

    I went to Glazers here in Seattle yesterday and checked out all of the ThinkTank (one of my favorites), Kata, Lowepro, A&A (another favorite), Domke and Billingham bags. None fit the bill. The ThinkTank Sling-O-Matic 30 was a great idea, but it's too deep for the Leica gear (it all gets lost in the bottom) and too thin for a pro-DSLR (it fits a 5D without the grip).

    As a third and fourth variation on the two above, substitute an iPad for the MacBook Pro, so I am looking for four suggestions if possible. It would be nice if fewer than four bags fit the bill.

    Thanks, oh experienced ones!
    -Brad

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    Re: Need bag advice: 15" laptop + photo gear...

    Ah, the eternal bag conundrum ;-)

    What you are trying to accomplish makes for quite a challenge. The small format and lens sizes of the Leica gear will get swallowed in almost any bag that is deep enough to hold a 1-series plus the 70-200 attached. And when you add the laptop, it creates yet another storage issue with respect to overall width of the bag, especially with the 1-series.

    So, you may be stuck with looking for two different bags to accommodate the various loadings. However, if you have not yet looked at something like the Tenba Messenger bags (large or small), you may want to do so. They will hold quite a bit of stuff, and have access points to things that are a bit more unique than standard camera bags. The other nice option is being able to use inserts to hold different gear arrangements or kits. I have a couple of the older, more heavily padded Tenba Shoulder bags that I have been using for years and years in the some of the roughest and ugly conditions, and they still look new. Strong stuff. Both can hold full pro bodies with long glass or wide zooms attached, plus an awful lot more. You may also want to look at something like their Shootout Photo/Laptop bag, as it might also come close to meeting your needs.

    Not repping Tenba, but they have some great bags that generally get overlooked by folks. I have a ton of ThinkTank gear and several larger bags, all of which I love, but I can say the Tenba bags actually get more use for shoulder carry and setting them down while shooting, if needed. I keep my Leica kit in smaller Domke bags, which cannot hold a laptop, but I have seldom needed those things together, while I usually need that laptop with the Canon kit.....just how the stuff gets used for me.

    If you want to stick more toward ThinkTank, you may want to look at their Urban Disguise 60 V.2, as that might be more accommodating. It is more horizontal than the vertical configuration of the Sling-O-Matic, so it is not so deep. It seems more briefcase in design, but can be carried on the shoulder with a strap.

    Good luck in your search. I do think you are going to either have to consider using some inserts for the smaller kit in the larger bag, or think about a second bag. The problem then is finding one large enough for the laptop, but not too large for the Leica gear. That is why I suggest looking at some of the messenger bag configurations, as they may work those configurations better. Just some thoughts ;-)

    LJ

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    Re: Need bag advice: 15" laptop + photo gear...

    Quote Originally Posted by bradhusick View Post
    Hi all,
    I need some bag suggestions from my favorite group of gear hogs...

    1. Sometimes I need to carry a 15" MacBook Pro along with 2 Leica M bodies and 3-4 M-lenses (including the noct.) I'd prefer to have two of the lenses attached to the bodies. I'd prefer a bag without wheels, one that can be worn sling-style or over the shoulder.

    2. Same scenario, but this time instead of the Leica gear, I'll carry a pro-DSLR (Canon 1D) with the 70-200 attached. I'd like lens to be mounted on the camera ready to shoot.

    I went to Glazers here in Seattle yesterday and checked out all of the ThinkTank (one of my favorites), Kata, Lowepro, A&A (another favorite), Domke and Billingham bags. None fit the bill. The ThinkTank Sling-O-Matic 30 was a great idea, but it's too deep for the Leica gear (it all gets lost in the bottom) and too thin for a pro-DSLR (it fits a 5D without the grip).

    As a third and fourth variation on the two above, substitute an iPad for the MacBook Pro, so I am looking for four suggestions if possible. It would be nice if fewer than four bags fit the bill.

    Thanks, oh experienced ones!
    -Brad
    A Think Tank Photo Urban Disguise 50 should do it all, might even do both Leica and Canon kits at the same time with the laptop, but it will be huge for the Leica plus iPad kit. Same for the Timbuk2 Commute 2.0 with a little extra padding/compartmentalization in the storage compartment constructed; probably a little tight on the Canon.

    A Billingham Hadley Pro will work fine for the two Leicas and iPad. It won't fit the larger camera or the 15" laptop.

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    Re: Need bag advice: 15" laptop + photo gear...

    It looks like the ThinkTank Urban Disguise 50 v2 will do job#2 quite well. The v2 has the extra thickness for the pro-DSLR.

    I am going to try a Billingham Hadley insert (holds the two Leicas really well) in a messenger-type laptop bag and see how that works. Perhaps the DSLR with lens will fit in the messenger bag without an insert, although it won't be well padded.

    Keep those suggestions coming if you have them...

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    Re: Need bag advice: 15" laptop + photo gear...

    Quote Originally Posted by bradhusick View Post
    It looks like the ThinkTank Urban Disguise 50 v2 will do job#2 quite well. The v2 has the extra thickness for the pro-DSLR.

    I am going to try a Billingham Hadley insert (holds the two Leicas really well) in a messenger-type laptop bag and see how that works. Perhaps the DSLR with lens will fit in the messenger bag without an insert, although it won't be well padded.

    Keep those suggestions coming if you have them...
    Hmm. My UD50 (which I've had for about three-four years) fits a pro-class DSLR body (Nikon D3 or Olympus E-5 plus battery grip) without any problems. Usually arranged back up, nose down with the lens into a pocket cubicle. It's snug, yes, but it fits just fine.

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    Re: Need bag advice: 15" laptop + photo gear...

    i have a Crumpler.

    it's a Brazillion Dollar Home, i think (i needed to carry my 17" but i've also just carried my MBA in it), but they also have one called the 8 Million Dollar Home. i got it in a special edition red leather and it's fairly outrageous.

    it carries everything and somehow kept it organised, including a front zip pocket for my cables and external cable... the red made it scream and i was never in danger of losing it or mistaking it for somebody else's bag, plus it matched my pair of equally ridiculous red leather travel sneakers.

    i don't even think you can get that leather any more and i actually don't recommend it as it added to the weight. but the bag itself is fantastic and i felt it protected everything beautifully. there's even a rain cover for the gear (added protection) and it is configurable for different camera/lens options, etc. it was really really well thought out.

    and i like Crumpler because it is a step away from the norm and somehow doesn't scream "take me" quite as loudly as most of the other camera bags -- maybe because of the silly screaming figure in the front

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    Re: Need bag advice: 15" laptop + photo gear...

    Brad
    You might want the thinktank ud 40 a ittle smaller then the 50 but plenty of room. for canon gear

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