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bag help needed, regarding billingham/domke/thinktank
Old 11-17-2012   #1
Marc G.
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bag help needed, regarding billingham/domke/thinktank

hi there,

yeah i know... bags. many hate the topic, in fact i love it.

gear: M6 with 50 1.4 asph, M-E with 50 2.5, 28/2.8 asph, 90/2.5, jch film case, sekonic lightmeter, spare battery/sd

currently in use: billingham hadley large (cons: too deep, gotta reach in deep to pull out the cameras)

been looking at infos regarding:
-messenger style bags with
-silent opening,
-rainproof without cover (even at the corners)
-strap needs to be long enough to wear it around chest (204 cm tall)
-shouldnt look like a standard lowepro camera bag

candidates so far (partly caus of looks, partly because of lower price):

domke f5xc (loud opening, not sure about waterproof and if all stuff fits in)
billingham hadley small (not sure if everything fits)
billingham leica combination with 2 end pockets (dont know if fits)
thinktank retrospec 10/20 (had the 5, too small. are those bags waterproof without the cover to a certain degree? I hate using those things...)


so far billinghams are the only options that fulfill all points my bag should achieve. the most valuable information would be if my stuff fits into the other 2 billingham choices, the small and leica combination together with 2 leica end pockets

since I've just bought the hadley large without much information regarding other manufacturers I'm open for suggestions.

I hope I do not offend anyone by opening such a thread as this is no trolling or meant to be unmannered. I'm seeking help with a problem I cannot solve by ordering (many have 30+ days delay) or via youtube/forum search.

Thank you in advance for your help.

Greetings from Germany

Marc
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Old 11-17-2012   #2
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I recommend the Domke F6 for the gear you want to carry. Two bodies, four lenses, a meter, and a few extra small things; just about the right size. It's what I use for that amount of Leica gear.

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Old 11-17-2012   #3
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think tank retro 7 should fit all that easily...'better' sized than 10/20...20 is big.
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Old 11-17-2012   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob-F View Post
I recommend the Domke F6 for the gear you want to carry. Two bodies, four lenses, a meter, and a few extra small things; just about the right size. It's what I use for that amount of Leica gear.

The padding besides the 4-slot-compartment seems very... fragile for me I'm afraid. same reason I dismissed the F803 from domke. how does it sit against the body? could you acquire more dividers/padding? the velcro line on the back goes on to the left of the padding

Quote:
Originally Posted by back alley View Post
think tank retro 7 should fit all that easily...'better' sized than 10/20...20 is big.
Hey back alley you seem to be the professional for thinktank bags

what about the rain, theres a cover provided which I usually leave at home. how fast does the water go through?

1 reason I like the billinghams. water just pearls off, doesnt even go into the material

both options look really great... just love bags

thanks for the help
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Old 11-17-2012   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marc G. View Post
The padding besides the 4-slot-compartment seems very... fragile for me I'm afraid. same reason I dismissed the F803 from domke. how does it sit against the body? could you acquire more dividers/padding? the velcro line on the back goes on to the left of the padding



Hey back alley you seem to be the professional for thinktank bags

what about the rain, theres a cover provided which I usually leave at home. how fast does the water go through?

1 reason I like the billinghams. water just pearls off, doesnt even go into the material

both options look really great... just love bags
think tanks are my bag of choice these days, for sure.
i walk in the snow more than the rain and so far the bags have held up. i don't use the covers either.
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Old 11-17-2012   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by back alley View Post
think tanks are my bag of choice these days, for sure.
i walk in the snow more than the rain and so far the bags have held up. i don't use the covers either.
thanks havent tried the thinktank 5 in the rain during the short period I had it but it was just much too small. gear had to be crammed in and it was only the M6, X100, 50 1.4, 28 2.8 and film there. now it's the M-E with lens attached instead of the X100 and the 90 summarit.

is the 7 significantly bigger than the 5? I really dont trust technical specifications of bags taken from the web
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Old 11-17-2012   #7
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7 is bigger for sure...carries well.
i emailed think tank sutomer service about water proofing but they are closed on the weekends...i used to put 2 cameras with lenses attached and 2 extra lenses in the 5 but no film...
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Old 11-17-2012   #8
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... I'm not sure exactly what the large is like, but after the Hadley pro there is nowhere else to go, if you don't like that you may as well just give up photography altogether, there is nothing better ... sorry
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Old 11-17-2012   #9
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If everything fits, stick with the Hadley large. There's no better bag in the rain. If you have to reach too deep into it to retrieve your camera, shorten the shoulder strap!
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Old 11-17-2012   #10
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@back alley:

i got one of those film cases from japan camera hunter. seems pointless to some but I shoot a lot film when I'm out for a while. carrying 10 films (for the number and for the choice of different ASA and b/w, slide, color neg) is vital to me. this box adds quite a bit to the bulk though.

thanks for the mail!!! would you mind keeping me up to date on that?

great information provided so far, thanks a lot

would love to hear some voices of the owners of hadley small and the leica combination bag
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Old 11-17-2012   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sparrow View Post
... I'm not sure exactly what the large is like, but after the Hadley pro there is nowhere else to go, if you don't like that you may as well just give up photography altogether, there is nothing better ... sorry
the large is well... larger all billinghams are pretty much of the same quality, which is superb. there is nothing better than that. the others are just compromises due to budget. would take me to save up for one of the others. most interesting thing would be to know if my gear fits into those

the hadley large would stay as a bigger travel bag or back up (which I currently dont have and bothers me a little bit..)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuck Albertson View Post
If everything fits, stick with the Hadley large. There's no better bag in the rain. If you have to reach too deep into it to retrieve your camera, shorten the shoulder strap!
reaching deap was meant like the stuff tends to drop to the bottom of the bag so I end up not being able to easily reach the camera. already tried a better fit on the velcro dividers but it's perfect already. this is why I'd prefer a bag thats not so deep

usual fit on the shoulder strap is maximum length at my height
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Old 11-17-2012   #12
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FIXING THE TOO DEEP PROBLEM...which is far more secure than the too shallow problem.
Cut some lightweight foam blocks to put below the gear. Too deep problem solved. Or, as I do with some bags if there is velcro in the right places, I use small bag dividers to separate the tall compartments. Stuff I don't need quickly in the bottom. Stuff I do need quickly in the top.
Next question?

Wayne
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Old 11-17-2012   #13
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I use Billingham small and really happy with it. I allways have Zeiss Ikon, Zeiss 50mm planar,sonnar, Zeiss 28mm biogon + viewfinder, some spare film rolls and I can easyly fitt 2 more lens and have two pockets fore other stuff!... There is planty of space for ewerything. I had the large version before and this is much more useable that large.
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Old 11-17-2012   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marc G. View Post
..
gear: M6 with 50 1.4 asph, M-E with 50 2.5, 28/2.8 asph, 90/2.5, jch film case, sekonic lightmeter, spare battery/sd

currently in use: billingham hadley large (cons: too deep, gotta reach in deep to pull out the cameras)

been looking at infos regarding:
-messenger style bags with
-silent opening,
-rainproof without cover (even at the corners)
-strap needs to be long enough to wear it around chest (204 cm tall)
-shouldnt look like a standard lowepro camera bag
Bags are very personal purchases and there are a lot of bags that would do the job.

I had the Billy Hadley Pro in the past, that's closest to what you are looking for I think, but a similar bag that I replaced it with is the Black Label Bag "Oskar's One Day Bag Mark II" from Photo Village in NY:

http://photovillage.com/product.php?...7&cat=0&page=4

This bag is just a bit trimmer than the Hadley Pro, nearly as waterproof, and packs a bit more due to its more squarish profile. I've never used a water cover on it and I've carried a kit similar to what you mention above about with it quite a lot in a fair dousing (in NY, in the UK, etc). There's velcro to hold the flap closed without securing the quick-release leash ... a little work with a shaver to remove half or three-quarters of it and the noise disappears.

The Billy Hadley Pro is a bit more waterproof ... better gusseting on the over-flap and top. In all other ways I prefer the Black Label Bag. The only thing I didn't like on the Black Label Bag were the strap ladders used to affix the strap to the bag: they allowed the strap to twist too easily. I replaced them with stainless steel caribiners from the boating industry which are much stronger and a snugger fit to keep the strap from twisting.

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Old 11-17-2012   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by venchka View Post
FIXING THE TOO DEEP PROBLEM...which is far more secure than the too shallow problem.
Cut some lightweight foam blocks to put below the gear. Too deep problem solved. Or, as I do with some bags if there is velcro in the right places, I use small bag dividers to separate the tall compartments. Stuff I don't need quickly in the bottom. Stuff I do need quickly in the top.
Next question?

Wayne
that would be the easy thing but as I've intended to get a back up bag anyway it's no big deal to get one that fits my gear perfectly and have the bigger hadley as a back up. I've tried putting the lens pouches beneath but it doesnt work properly...

Quote:
Originally Posted by slava View Post
I use Billingham small and really happy with it. I allways have Zeiss Ikon, Zeiss 50mm planar,sonnar, Zeiss 28mm biogon + viewfinder, some spare film rolls and I can easyly fitt 2 more lens and have two pockets fore other stuff!... There is planty of space for ewerything. I had the large version before and this is much more useable that large.
thanks for the info thats what I was thinking! :thumbs up:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Godfrey View Post
Bags are very personal purchases and there are a lot of bags that would do the job.

I had the Billy Hadley Pro in the past, that's closest to what you are looking for I think, but a similar bag that I replaced it with is the Black Label Bag "Oskar's One Day Bag Mark II" from Photo Village in NY:

http://photovillage.com/product.php?...7&cat=0&page=4

This bag is just a bit trimmer than the Hadley Pro, nearly as waterproof, and packs a bit more due to its more squarish profile. I've never used a water cover on it and I've carried a kit similar to what you mention above about with it quite a lot in a fair dousing (in NY, in the UK, etc). There's velcro to hold the flap closed without securing the quick-release leash ... a little work with a shaver to remove half or three-quarters of it and the noise disappears.

The Billy Hadley Pro is a bit more waterproof ... better gusseting on the over-flap and top. In all other ways I prefer the Black Label Bag. The only thing I didn't like on the Black Label Bag were the strap ladders used to affix the strap to the bag: they allowed the strap to twist too easily. I replaced them with stainless steel caribiners from the boating industry which are much stronger and a snugger fit to keep the strap from twisting.

Godfrey

that one looks like the A&A oskars one day bag, except the black label being 1cm wider on each side... is that possible?name is similar, look similar too... I wonder what thats about?!

have you also got information regarding the A&A version? havent looked into those in detail (theres just too many choices around at the moment I guess)

also great tips on how to trim the velcro and adjust the strap thanks
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Old 11-17-2012   #16
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these camera bags are eyeballers for camera thieves in the city.... one girl I know got her m3 stolen simply because she bought a third party camera bag that yells LEICA in red

I have a canvas leather keneeth cole back pack that is low profile..

this


and I have two camera body insers in it with protection...


This whole idea of camera bags are not practical because..

When you go daily street shooting you don't carry a bag with 4 cameras and 3 lenses (I hope) , which means you only carry a bag like this when you are at an airport.. so at the end you don't use them daily..
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Old 11-17-2012   #17
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earlier I used a dslr with maximum of 5 lenses, which I stowed in a sling backpack from kata. I simply dislike the whole idea of using a backpack for camera stuff.. sling shots are easier to access but scream CAMERA BAG. normal backpacks are a pain to access

I prefer messenger style due to my usage of these bags since I've been at the university. easy access to the gear, silent and unassuming... if a thief is trained to steal leicas he knows ALL bags, including bare bones bag, billingham, A&A, domke and pretty much every other brand (they can read the forums too...)

so going comfortable and having a bag that fits the gear perfectly are my top priorities

but if you're used to backpacks, why not.

all I'd carry is already said. might sometimes head out just with one M and the lenses, leaving 1 at home... thus a smaller bag is good anyway

really interesting to see the vast possibilities I havent looked at.. love this forum for how unconvenional it is
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Old 11-17-2012   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marc G. View Post
earlier I used a dslr with maximum of 5 lenses, which I stowed in a sling backpack from kata. I simply dislike the whole idea of using a backpack for camera stuff.. sling shots are easier to access but scream CAMERA BAG. normal backpacks are a pain to access

I prefer messenger style due to my usage of these bags since I've been at the university. easy access to the gear, silent and unassuming... if a thief is trained to steal leicas he knows ALL bags, including bare bones bag, billingham, A&A, domke and pretty much every other brand (they can read the forums too...)

so going comfortable and having a bag that fits the gear perfectly are my top priorities

but if you're used to backpacks, why not.

all I'd carry is already said. might sometimes head out just with one M and the lenses, leaving 1 at home... thus a smaller bag is good anyway

really interesting to see the vast possibilities I havent looked at.. love this forum for how unconvenional it is
yeah to each his own.. I like one main body one lens and a backup compact camera..

when i take it out of my bag I rarely switch or put it back, less gear , less thinking on field more shooting

And that is my backpack to school so i usually bring my camera to school with my notebooks and folders
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Old 11-17-2012   #19
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guess why I moved from that to my M6... it was horrible.

I've acquired my holy trinity of lenses and saving up for the digital body. I know exactly what my gear will be for the upcoming years. this is why I want a bag to fit it like that...

leica combination bag seems quite rare right? not a single opinion from someone using it. or are those busy shooting in the field, not worrying about other bags?
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Old 11-17-2012   #20
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I'd be looking at the ThinkTank Retrospective 30 for the gear you've got listed. You already know about the velcro silencer flaps I'm presuming. It's a bit shorter than the 20 by a couple of inches and about 3 inches wider.
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Old 11-17-2012   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marc G. View Post
...
that one looks like the A&A oskars one day bag, except the black label being 1cm wider on each side... is that possible?name is similar, look similar too... I wonder what thats about?!

have you also got information regarding the A&A version? havent looked into those in detail (theres just too many choices around at the moment I guess)
It is most similar to the A&A ACAM 7100, often sold as the "Oskar's One Day Bag." I have one of those too ... the Black Label Bag version is a bit roomier, the padded compartment organizer is better designed (and takes up less of the space), the zippers are more waterproof, and there is an handy memory card/battery/film pocket on the side, outside the main body (also waterproofed).

My understanding is that one of the A&A folks moved to NYC and decided to open his own company, called "Black Label Bag." His products are made in New York and sold exclusively by The Photo Village. Many of them are very very similar to the A&A products with just a little bit of additional development and detail, and pretty much to the same or better quality standard.

I still think the Billingham bags are slightly better made, but this is such a useful and trim bag in use, with such good design and big capacity for its size, it just works better for me. :-)
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Old 11-17-2012   #22
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A Domke F2 will fit the bill IMO.
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Old 11-18-2012   #23
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Sure is a lot of bag expertise here! Good resource of opinion and experience, thanks.
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Old 11-18-2012   #24
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I've looked at the choices for about 2-3 hours now, looked at prices, tried to search for reviews and so far the billinghams and thinktanks are ahead...

domke is really much more expensive in Germany than in the USA and the other choices get extra tax etc.. making those all more expensive than the billinghams...

I seem to dislike the weight distribution of the broader domkes a bit. the f803 and the f5 series seem to be the only ones that have that thin messenger look

from what I've seen from the pictures I dont need the space for 2 pro dslr and 4-6 lenses... it's just a rangefinder system, although not a 1 lens 1 body setup

@godfrey: so what was the reason for you to switch from billingham to the blacklabel A&A style bag? outer appearance?

thanks for the information provided so far...
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Old 11-18-2012   #25
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Another vote for the Hadley Pro:


Black is this year's black by *monz*, on Flickr
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Old 11-18-2012   #26
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Or Lowepro 140AW (AKA The Tardis) if you want something small and discreet:


The Tardis by *monz*, on Flickr
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Old 11-18-2012   #27
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my ex-compact kit ( I went digital,but now have a Nikon S2 strapped to my body)
2 bodies and 4 lenses
glue 2 lens end caps together
put body covers on
and everything fits in a line in a compact package
http://photovillage.com/images/D/_MG_0001w.jpg
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Old 11-18-2012   #28
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I would avoid zippers
scratches and always hangs up
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Old 11-18-2012   #29
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yeah... zippers arent my best friends either.

I'll wait for some answers regarding the billingham leica bag and back alley's mail from thinktank

thanks
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Old 11-18-2012   #30
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IMHO, the Delsey Cortex are the best bags for the Leica M. They even have a luxurious black leather version called Corium. I have the Cortex 03 for everyday use, a Corium 05 for traveling with all my M gear, and a Cortex 07 that I used for my previous DSLR gear, but it is too big for M gear.
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Old 11-18-2012   #31
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just from the looks those seem to cost equally much as the fogg bags right?
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Old 11-18-2012   #32
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Quote:
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..
@godfrey: so what was the reason for you to switch from billingham to the blacklabel A&A style bag? outer appearance? ..
Complicated, but I'd sold the billy — my pro DSLR didn't fit well in it and I'd switched to that as my only camera in the last gasps of my photo business. Then I closed that business, decided the bulky/heavy camera was not what I wanted for me personally, bought into more compact gear again, needed a new bag, and found the BLB, which did what the billy had been doing but a little better as it was trimmer. The BLB also fit my iPad better than the billy because of the squarer corners.

It was about the same price and has done the deal for me for a yer and some now. Still like it a lot.
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Old 11-18-2012   #33
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I really love my A&A ACAM7000. I'd look into these and the BLB bags. I've been carrying the 7000 for about three years and it has held up extremely well. It was with me nearly every day for at least two years straight. Like Godfrey I've 'de-velcroed' the velcro. I particularly like the flap having an outer zipper. Keeping batteries in the flap weighs it down plenty so the velcro is not needed. There are several sizes of these bags to choose from, one should set you right.

Only niggle for me is the open back pocket which catches snow or rain on occasion. But I've never had anything inside the bag get wet as a result.
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Old 11-18-2012   #34
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I really love my A&A ACAM7000. I'd look into these and the BLB bags. I've been carrying the 7000 for about three years and it has held up extremely well. It was with me nearly every day for at least two years straight. Like Godfrey I've 'de-velcroed' the velcro. I particularly like the flap having an outer zipper. Keeping batteries in the flap weighs it down plenty so the velcro is not needed. There are several sizes of these bags to choose from, one should set you right.

Only niggle for me is the open back pocket which catches snow or rain on occasion. But I've never had anything inside the bag get wet as a result.
thanks for the info regarding A&A and rain

I simply got too much time at the moment... just for fun I compared the weight of the bags and the weight of my equipment (3.5kg)

thinktanks weigh the most. min weight was 700g of the hadley small and maximum 1400g of the retrospective 10.... ah well, rainy sunday afternoons...
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Old 11-18-2012   #35
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+1 on the Think Tank Retrospective 7. I can fit my Mamiya 7 and 2-3 lenses. There is a compartment in the back for an iPad as well. Bags are difficult to tell online in pictures. Perhaps a call or email to ThinkTank would be useful. I have done this. Their staff can make good recommendations based on the dimensions of your gear.

Phone (USA only):
1 866 55 THINK (1 866 558 4465)
Phone (USA + International): 1 707 527 0101
Fax: 1 707 527 0808
Mailing Address: 1105 N. Dutton Ave. Suite C, Santa Rosa, CA, 95401, USA

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Old 11-18-2012   #36
Marc G.
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thanks, I'll make use of the possibility of mailing them. calling from germany would be a bit expensive I guess
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Old 11-18-2012   #37
Godfrey
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thanks, I'll make use of the possibility of mailing them. calling from germany would be a bit expensive I guess
I call europe from California regularly, using Skype. To Skype addresses it costs nothing, to land lines it's pretty cheap.

Talk about a digression ... ;-)

Another bag idea which might work for you, but might be a little tight for your full kit:

Take a Lowepro Teraclime 100
http://products.lowepro.com/product/...00,2115,20.htm
and fit it with an A&A bag divider insert:
http://www.popflash.com/accessories/...ng-insert-new/
(This is the one for the A&A 1100 series bags, ACAM + GCAM.)

The insert drops in nicely, with a bit of room to spare around it, and molds to the bag and the gear you fit in it. I've carried a two-body/three lens kit with it and there's plenty of room to spare. It's reasonably waterproof, has no velcro, has an internal zippered pocket and two external pockets with two pen pockets too. The flap catches are plastic hooks, cloth loops ... no noise at all. The gear is nicely coddled for protection.

I use this setup a lot as a day/casual bag, moving dividers around in the padded section to suit whatever gear I'm carrying. It works beautifully and is very light with a lot of capacity for its size.
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Old 11-18-2012   #38
drew.saunders
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Originally Posted by Marc G. View Post
The padding besides the 4-slot-compartment seems very... fragile for me I'm afraid. same reason I dismissed the F803 from domke. how does it sit against the body? could you acquire more dividers/padding? the velcro line on the back goes on to the left of the padding
I have an F-6 and would recommend it for your needs. The 4 compartment insert you see comes with it, but they make a 2 compartment one that's half the size of the 4, and they make (made?) a 1 compartment insert that's like the 2 but without the middle divider. Conveniently, this page shows all three:
http://www.tiffen.com/displayproduct...temnum=720-226

When I got my F-6, the two optional inserts were less than $20 each (now $25), so I got both and have used various combinations for my M6 when I need more space than the F-5B or for my medium format SLR.

The canvas of the bag itself is not super padded, but it is rather thick, which gives enough padding for me. I think most bags are over-padded anyway which takes away from some of your space. I can fit the M6 with lens (50 or 35) attached, 4 or 5 more lenses (small, infrequently used, lenses can stack on each other in their own little bags) and/or a flash in the 4-compartment insert, plus my Fuji GA645zi in the F6. The two cameras are on either side of the compartment. You could put one of your cameras in the 1-compartment insert if you wanted more padding for it.
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Old 11-18-2012   #39
back alley
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think tank retro 5 next to retro 7
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Old 11-18-2012   #40
Al Patterson
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think tank retro 5 next to retro 7
The retro 7 looks like a great bag.
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