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Thread: Converting Daypack to Camera Bag for NEX & 2 Lenses

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    Member LizaWitz's Avatar
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    Converting Daypack to Camera Bag for NEX & 2 Lenses

    We spent the last 10 months out of the USA, and have discovered that airlines are getting really desperate to force people to check bags. So, having a carryon sized bag is no longer a guarantee of being able to carry on. So, we're switching strategies.

    Now I have a small daypack (20L actually) that I'd like to convert to a camera bag, at least part-time, by putting an insert into it.

    I did find the Crumpler Haven, and I might buy that, not sure about the fit. Hard to know without trying in person.

    The backpack isn't an actual rectangle, so eyeballing it I get: 9" x 4.5" x 6-8" high.
    With a ruler, I get: 12" x 4" x 9.5" (max height)
    Or 10" x 6" x 9.5"

    http://www.crumpler.com/us/Camera-Ba...anguageCode=EN



    I'm starting this thread, figuring some of you who use shoulder bags might be using one with a modular system where you can swap out the internal configuration based on your kit.

    I'd like to store an NEX-5 (possibly NEX-7 in the future) the 18-200 (possibly on the camera) and the new 50mm f1.8 lens, along with the flash, and our 4 spare batteries, all in this one compartment. The haven appears very close.

    I've just started looking though, so I'll update the thread as I find stuff.

    Thanks for any recommendations in advance as well.
    Last edited by LizaWitz; 26th September 2011 at 08:21.

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    Member LizaWitz's Avatar
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    Re: Converting Daypack to Camera Bag for NEX & 2 Lenses

    Here's one option. I am looking for something relatively light... don't want bells and whistles that add ounces, because I count ounces. So, useless leather trim like this bag has is useless to me.

    http://photojojo.com/store/awesomene...ra-bag-insert/


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    Member LizaWitz's Avatar
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    Re: Converting Daypack to Camera Bag for NEX & 2 Lenses

    I think I hit the goldmine. I heard the name domke on this forum before, but didn't realize they made inserts.

    http://www.tiffen.com/results.html?s...ablename=domke

    There's so many variations, I just need to figure out what combination works for my needs.

    I think if I stitch in some velcro to the inside of the bag, I can then put these inserts in and essentially build a custom bag.


    ===========

    Also, found the Clik Elite Insert (and many more, now that I understand the right search terms I'm finding them much easier)... this one seems to be just the right dimensions but haven't found a picture that shows the interior... assuming that it is velcro and so the partitions can be adjusted.

    http://www.clikelite.com/products/small-camera-capsule/



    ===================

    And more:

    http://www.tenba.com/products/Messen....aspx#overview


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    Re: Converting Daypack to Camera Bag for NEX & 2 Lenses

    I use the mountainsmith kit cube
    http://amzn.to/nBRSMy

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    Member LizaWitz's Avatar
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    Re: Converting Daypack to Camera Bag for NEX & 2 Lenses

    The Mountainsmith is a rather nice kit. I think I like the drawstring closure on top more than a flap/lid. The drawstring should stay open when I want it to, while he lid might fall down and get in the way...


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    Re: Converting Daypack to Camera Bag for NEX & 2 Lenses

    The mountain smith is a little bulky, I have it. I think the click one is better.
    Bare bones dividers check out Domke
    I aslo have one by Kata that I like a bit better but you would need to figure out the dividers



    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...nsert_for.html

    This is probably too big
    http://www.guragear.com/chobe-19-24l/

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    Re: Converting Daypack to Camera Bag for NEX & 2 Lenses

    For me the Nex is all about minimalism, therefore I keep mine in the lightest thing possible. I use a built ny 10" netbook bag as a sort of mini shootsac. It works great and was very inexpensive although I wouldn't use it for any extreme situations.


    What's in my bag, street shooting that is... by PeteTsai, on Flickr

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    Re: Converting Daypack to Camera Bag for NEX & 2 Lenses

    How do you divide up an protect the lenses sitting next to each other?

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    Re: Converting Daypack to Camera Bag for NEX & 2 Lenses

    it has 1 partition, so one side is the full interior and the other is split in two. I keep the body and lens in the big side, think where the netbook would go. The other side fits 2 lenses, one on each side or 3 if you tape 2 lens caps together and have a lens stacked. The Ned fits nicely in the half pockets so sometimes I keep the large area open and use it as a quick change staging erea. This little bag works really well for me and is discrete to wear, it forms with my body and the neoprene does a decent job of protecting things.

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    Member LizaWitz's Avatar
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    Re: Converting Daypack to Camera Bag for NEX & 2 Lenses

    Thanks very much for the suggestions and help! Hopefully this thread will be useful to others as well.

    Have just ordered this insert. Similar dimensions to the tenba, but with a lid:

    http://www.bbpbags.com/camerapaddy.html

    http://www.amazon.com/DSLR-Camera-Pa...7087767&sr=8-5


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    Re: Converting Daypack to Camera Bag for NEX & 2 Lenses

    Camera Insert arrived. It is floppy like a boonie hat, so it doesn't quite fit as well as the tenba insert we tried in a local store. (Which is stiffer. Though the store only sells tenba bags, not inserts.) Anyway, it serves the needs well enough. Went out last night with the backpack loaded with two NEX bodies, with the 18-200 and 18-55 lenses, the extra lens, flash, etc. Even had room for a manfrotto modo steady folded up in one of the pockets (or it fits across the top with the flaps down... its possible I could find a really compact tripod and fit it too.

    I felt the padding was insufficient, so I bought some closed cell foam to put in a pad at the bottom of the backpack.

    Overall, though, this is a good solution. I doubt anyone will guess that there's a laptop and camera equipment in here. More importantly, its shape and size will not be questioned by the airport personnel.

    Here's what the pack looks like, though in this one they've stuffed the top to fill it out, on mine that area is mostly empty so it has more of a teardrop shape.



    This is not the speedy-shooting setup, for that I might get one of these belt clips:
    http://photojojo.com/store/awesomene...e-camera-clip/

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    Re: Converting Daypack to Camera Bag for NEX & 2 Lenses

    Liza that plate on the bottom of the camera will be pretty big on a NEX 5. It will protrude out in all directions.

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    Re: Converting Daypack to Camera Bag for NEX & 2 Lenses

    Good point. The modo-steady's quick-release plate sticks out quite a bit itself. And of course, swapping out incompatible quick-release plates doesn't ultimately save you any time.

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    Re: Converting Daypack to Camera Bag for NEX & 2 Lenses

    Liza, Im just curious why you wouldn't use a strap rather than something like this belt-QR setup?

    Cheers,

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    Re: Converting Daypack to Camera Bag for NEX & 2 Lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by simonclivehughes View Post
    Liza, Im just curious why you wouldn't use a strap rather than something like this belt-QR setup?
    For the past year I've been using the PacSafe strap below. It is very secure, it has steel cables in it, and it is not easy or quick to get on and off the camera. This is great for theft protection, but I find it gets in the way a bit. It doesn't help me when shooting video because I hold the camera up higher and closer to me (So no tension on the strap.) I also have gotten tired of walking around with the camera around my neck like a tourist, and find myself constantly moving the camera in and out of the backpack or coat. For much of the year (when it isn't summer) I carry the camera in a coat pocket, and the strap adds quite a bit to the bulk and hassle of getting it in and out of the coat pocket.

    This upcoming year I have a modo-steady which I'm hoping to tune to do steady cam walk-and-talk shooting. (I know it's not the nicest choice, but it is very compact, light and we're very highly mobile.) The moto-steady also support shooting with a rifle-stock configuration in the shoulder. We've upgraded our bag situation a bit, since we have to check bags anyway, and I will probably be carrying a real tripod.

    Thus there are many shooting configurations:
    1. In and out of pocket.
    2. "steadicam"
    3. Rifle-stock/shoulder mount
    4. On tripod
    5. Summer where there's no coat pocket, which means in and out of backpack.

    I think a wrist strap might take care of 1 & 5 for the most part, making it easier to get in and out of the coat or pack, without the hassle of the big strap.

    I have also been looking at the rapid over the shoulder strap: http://www.blackrapid.com/ but not sure it won't be a hassle. Sometimes, for instance in museums, cameras are not allowed so I can't just walk around with the camera out.

    2&3 use one quick release, while 4 uses a different one, which gives me the prospect of switching quick releases (the moto maxi tripod, which I think uses the same quick release, seems to be off the market, otherwise it seems to fit my needs pretty darn well and would resolve that.)





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    Re: Converting Daypack to Camera Bag for NEX & 2 Lenses

    Liza,
    I was just in the Crumpler store in SF and they have a new line of camera inserts. They are styled like the mountainsmith but come in three sizes. Depending on your lenses the NEX may even work in the smallest. I was going to head back there tomorrow with a camera and lenses or two. In the meantime, have look on their website.

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    Subscriber and Workshop Member MGrayson's Avatar
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    Re: Converting Daypack to Camera Bag for NEX & 2 Lenses

    I use a bunch of Domke wraps for my M lenses, then just throw them in whatever bag or briefcase is handy.

    Best,

    Matt

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    Member LizaWitz's Avatar
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    Re: Converting Daypack to Camera Bag for NEX & 2 Lenses

    Terry-
    Are you talking about the Crumpler Haven? I linked to the the Large size as the first link in the first post... It has shifted in and out of being a contender as I work explore my options. My thoughts on the best approach have turned out to be fluid. The cheap BBJ bag I linked to earlier is too flimsy. Tonight I bought a LowePro Adventura 140 at Walmart ($24).

    It fits in the bag much better, but the flap used to close the bag is very long and problematic when the lowepro is inside the backpack. So I'm thinking about getting the LowePro Apex 140 (second picture) which opens from the top and has no flap. I think I can put it in my backpack and zip it mostly closed to keep the camera in.

    With the Adventura, when the top is open, if I shift the backpack on its side the camera comes scooting out, so it isn't secure enough.

    While I'm at it, I bought the Mountainsmith Kit Cube as well, since it is free shipping both ways on Amazon.

    I figure I'm going a bit overboard here, but I really want to get the right setup. When things are just right this will be really cool-- carrying a laptop, and complete camera kit and looking like I'm carrying nothing.

    Also, with these new options (though maybe not the mountain smith) I can fit the modo steady to the side of the bag, and possibly, a tripod on the other side-- if I can find a small enough tripod that fits will handle the max weight of the camera (2 lbs. Found one that folds up to 11", but had a 1 lb. weight limit.)

    @MGrayson - Thanks for the recommendation of the dome wraps. Unfortunately, the backpack space is a big open area, and I want to divide it up...would take up less space if I went with your approach but doesn't really fit my style.




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    Re: Converting Daypack to Camera Bag for NEX & 2 Lenses

    Liza,

    A couple of thoughts...

    I have one of the original "Y-Straps", very similar too, but much simpler than the Black Rapid strap. It actually works quite well and the camera can be easily removed from the strap. I find it works best under a jacket, where the camera is still very easy to reach, but for the most part, is out of sight.

    Another possibility might be something like the Lowepro Rover AW series backpacks where the camera bag insert section is in the bottom of the pack and the pack hinges open for relatively easy access. The upper portion of the pack is then free for normal daypack usage. It might be too big for your needs though, but anyway, you can see it here:

    http://products.lowepro.com/product/...II,2024,14.htm

    I took the Lowepro badge off mine to keep it low-key, and have used it many, many times. It can carry quite a comprehensive M43 or NEX kit and it is a very comfortable bag, with the full harness etc. Also, a fold-out tripod carrier is built-in.

    Good luck!

    Ciao,

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    Re: Converting Daypack to Camera Bag for NEX & 2 Lenses

    Liza - it was the Crumpler....forgot to go back to your first post.

    OK here is the backpack I'm using each day for work. Timbuk2 Amnesia. It has a big open compartment, separate padded laptop area and some other pockets. It actually may be interesting for you because you can get to the gear pretty easily.

    http://www.timbuk2.com/tb2/products/...nesia-backpack

    Sorry the pictures are not my best but I need to go out and scavenge for some breakfast.

    The mountainsmith right now has the kit lens on left, NEX5 with 18-200 center and Alpha 50 f1.4 with adapter on the right. Right now there is too much space and it would need additional dividers to get the stuff snug. This is where the Crumpler in a smaller size might work pretty well.

    You can see the laptop compartment on the side. That is a 15" MacBook Pro showing.

    There is plenty of space to put a jacket or other stuff above it in the bag.








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    Re: Converting Daypack to Camera Bag for NEX & 2 Lenses

    Thanks for the suggestions. I'm working to recreate something like what Terry's got going on there, but with the specific daypack I already have. I need to use this pack because it integrates with my checked bag into one big backpack/rolling bag system.

    Here's a picture:


    In the picture on the right you can see the daypack attached to the larger rolling pack. I'm working to convert that daypack into a camera bag (it already has a laptop compartment.)

    Unfortunately, it is relatively small, around 13" across at the bottom, and about 16" deep at the bottom, with the sides coming in at an angle. The triangle of the bottom shows the actual shape-- so much shallower at the edges than in the middle.

    I was looking at something that wasn't too deep that would fit the whole width and sorta compress to fit the pack, but I don't like that solution. Now I have the adventure 140 small shoulder bag that fits in the center, and this IS a workable solution, but I'm looking at optimizing it further.

    I have looked at packs like the Rover. A small photo backpack like that would probably fit completely in the day pack itself! This kinda neglects the point of the daypack because then I can run around with the Rover. I'm not dismissing it out of hand, it is a good suggestion and I have considered doing something like that a couple times.

    However, one of Terry's suggestions-- the Kata internal compartment that they ship with some of their bags, led me down another path.

    I went to the Kata website looking to see if they sold the compartment by itself. And found the Kata Hybrid, two bags combined into one:


    This was very useful, because it gave me the idea of, instead of getting one bag for the center, getting a couple small, specific bags and a modular belt might work. This way when shooting on location the belt can become the audio recordist's equipment belt, and when in the pack, can separate the modules. I don't need to find just the right sized bag, but just a couple modules... and that's seemingly much easier.

    I'm researching those modules now...
    Last edited by LizaWitz; 2nd October 2011 at 15:40.

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    Re: Converting Daypack to Camera Bag for NEX & 2 Lenses

    That is so funny because I almost added some different photos and was going to say look at the ThinkTank Photo bum bag and a couple of other modular belt pieces.

    I was thinking if you went to a museum where you had to check your backpack you could just take out the critical bits. I have the bum bag and attached a strap from something else to it for a shoulder bag and it can go on the waist strap of a backpack or you can get the ThinkTank belt. The bum bag won't hold the whole kit and the shape certainly isn't optimized for it but look at their modules. The bum bag won't give you the full padding you want but is a useful item to throw in your backpack

    www.thinktankphoto.com




    think

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    Member LizaWitz's Avatar
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    Re: Converting Daypack to Camera Bag for NEX & 2 Lenses

    Thanks very much for the help, and I appreciate the pictures especially. It is so hard to find good product pictures, even on amazon the mountain smith just has 3 studio shots, and studio shots on a white background make it very hard to tell scale!

    Apologies if this whole thread seems a bit OCD. We've got just a couple weeks here in the states before heading out again, and this is a bit of a refitting frenzy.

    Anyway, I stumbled across some things Sony shooters might find useful:

    I've also been looking at tripods. I was waffling between getting one with a "hydraulic" head that was cheap (to do good pans for video) but suspect that cheap and hydraulic do not co-exist. I was looking at this one, which claims to be it for about $40 (dolica MT-600)

    http://www.dolica.com/products/ST%252d600.html

    But the Dolica is too big to fit in the daypack, and Manfrotto has a new compact line that is reasonably priced. So, a video tripod that closes down to 18" and a photo one that can be compressed to 16" but still gets "tall" when extended. I'm getting the MKC3-H01 for about $50:
    http://www.manfrotto.com/product/0/M...OVIE_KIT_BLACK

    16" is pretty compact!

    The Black Widow Holster/Clip. Designed for lightweight cameras.
    http://www.spiderholster.com/black-widow-holster.html



    Even has a solution for my issue with using both the clip and a quick attach plate for a tripod:

    Last edited by LizaWitz; 2nd October 2011 at 21:30.

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    Re: Converting Daypack to Camera Bag for NEX & 2 Lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by LizaWitz View Post
    Now I have a small daypack (20L actually) that I'd like to convert to a camera bag, at least part-time, by putting an insert into it.
    Take a look at the Kata DR-466i... I use it with a Leica M9 and lenses. The photo gear goes in a bottom compartment that opens separately. The divider between the day section and the photo section can be removed and the photo insert pulled out, giving you a pretty decent day pack shell. I've hiked plenty with a small tripod (Velbon Carmagne 520 with Acratech head) strapped to it and it's just fine for that. The tripod may swing a little, but it's no big deal. Most straps can be removed when not in use so there's not a bunch of loose dangly stuff to get caught. Seems quite durable, too, and doesn't terribly look like a photo bag.

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    Member LizaWitz's Avatar
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    Re: Converting Daypack to Camera Bag for NEX & 2 Lenses

    F-STOP has the "internal camera unit". They have a version designed specifically for mirror less cameras, called the "micro". Unfortunately, it is out of stock right now, but might be in stock for whoever sees this thread in the future.

    http://fstopgear.com/en/product/mountain/icu

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    Re: Converting Daypack to Camera Bag for NEX & 2 Lenses

    Found a source for extra dividers (they also have some camera bag inserts as well)
    kinesis:
    http://www.kgear.com/store/v.html

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    Re: Converting Daypack to Camera Bag for NEX & 2 Lenses

    Got the Mountainsmith Cube in today. First off, two things strike me about this product-- it is extremely light! I thought the box was empty! Still with good padding inside for the camera, but almost no weight. Second, it is super robust. The outside fabric is tough bag fabric, as if it is meant to be a bag on its own. In regards to fit and finish and all that, I absolutely love it.

    I'm having some trouble with the drawstring. It's a bungie and the push lock is covered by some fabric which makes it pretty cumbersome to open and close.

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    Re: Converting Daypack to Camera Bag for NEX & 2 Lenses

    Figured I should post an update. I don't have pictures yet because still finalizing the packing, and haven't had a chance to lay it all out... still tweaking.

    But the solution was a LowePro Rezo 170, with a Click Elite Small Lens Case, and a Pelican 1060 waterproof hard box inside it. Above that is a GatorCases Headphone case.

    This means, in a very small backpack, I can fit an entire studio:
    Macbook Pro
    Manfroto Tripod
    Audio Department: Sennheiser Headphones, 4 batteries, Zoom H1N, Audio Teknica Lavalier Mic, assorted cables etc and adapters, all fit in the GatorCase (which my sound guy can wear as a purse on location.)
    Video Department: The LowePro fits the NEX-5, 18-200, the 35mm f1.7 C-mount "Fujian", and the amount 16mm with the Ultra-wide adapter on it in the lower half. The upper half is the Pelican case-- this gives the LowePro rigidity to prevent the Tripod from pushing into it, and contains about 8 NEX batteries, the Sony charger, the Sony External Microphone, the flash, and my SD card case.
    Also in the backpack is my travel wallet (which is pretty big itself) and the backup drive (in its own case).... and there's still room!

    For flights the tripod goes in the checked bag, and for shooting, I leave out the travel wallet, etc.

    The end result, not only fits in Airplane Carry-on size restrictions (even the really bad ones outside the US) but it is so damn small, and looks so tiny when worn, that I'm unlikely to be questioned about it. Everything in the checked bag is something I can afford to lose-- clothes, a monopod and the tripod, etc. Could even cary the tripod aboard if I wanted to, it looks like, though it was only $60, so replaceable.

    I'm not sure what I'm going to do if/when I get the 50mm f1.8 E-Mount lens, probably give up the fujian and might have to keep the ultra wide adapter stored elsewhere. There's still space in the pack, one good sized pocket that's not even being used yet!

    So, much thanks to whomever suggested the rezo (or another LowePro pack)... that sent me down the path to ultimatly getting this together. I bought and returned several smaller packs before finding the rezo 170 was perfect.

  29. #29
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    Re: Converting Daypack to Camera Bag for NEX & 2 Lenses

    I have not read everyone's response so I'm sorry If I give repeat info. Depending on how much camera equipment you have with you there are a few options. When I travel and need most of my photo gear(camera body, 70-200,about 4 other lenses, 2 speedlights, cards, batteries, I use my lowepro backpack. Another solution is if your not carrying a whole lot of equipment and need more of general use messenger bag is The One Bag from Undfind. Its a great camera bag for a few lenses when you put in the photo insert and great for general use as well! I hope this helps a bit.

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    Re: Converting Daypack to Camera Bag for NEX & 2 Lenses

    this snoop camera insert looks good.

    http://forum.getdpi.com/forum/387465-post2.html

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