Camera Day Pack Review
I’m not ready to review the camera yet, but the bag is a no-brainer!
When I decided to buy the Olympus EP-2, I knew I would need an actual bag, rather than a camera case. I needed space for lenses, my tiny tripod, extra batteries, etc. My purse was no longer going to cut it.
That said, I’m not a big “bag” person. I know there are women out there who own 63 handbags in various degrees of Coach-ness, but I’m not one of them. I own one purse at a time, usually, and use it until it wears out. Because my shoulders slope, I don’t carry bags on my shoulders, but rather slung across my body. I’m also something of a gear minimalist, so I like a small purse I can just throw a little wallet into and go. I knew if I bought a camera bag, I would want it to be small and to function as both camera bag and purse, since there was no way I was carrying both.
The first thing I did was to google “camera bags.” This brings up a wealth of ugly, black behemoths I would never carry, despite my preference for function over form. Then I googled “cute camera bags,” and got a lot of $200 leather purses that were designed to look like designer bags on the outside, with padded interiors. They were generally huge and often featured no shoulder strap (because women don’t value the practical over the adorable, apparently). Many were pink, which didn’t appeal to me, either. Nevermind that my budget was no where near $200.
It occurred to me that I might be forced to make what I wanted. Now, I’m “crafty,” but not that crafty. I quickly eliminated this as a possibility after exploring several online tutorials.
Then I found Photojojo. If you’ve never been there, it’s worth a look. They sell fun stuff for camera buffs, essentially. Funny low-fi lenses, miniature digital cameras, replacement film for Polaroids, shot glasses that look like lenses, even a telephoto iPhone lens! I personally covet the “Mr. Digital Clover Keychain Camera.” Talk about being portable!
Anyway, there I saw the “Camera Day Pack,” which is a small camera bag that comes in two colors: purple and blue. It was $60, and the perfect size. I ordered a purple one and received it just three days later, packed in a box with a pink plastic mini dinosaur, which my son promptly stole. The bag is made by HelloLulu, whose motto is “Carry Happiness.” Can’t beat that!
The bag is almost perfect. It has a well-padded interior with two removable dividers and a padded lid and floor. There is a zippered pocket up front, where I carry my tiny wallet. You can see it peeking out in the photo on the left.
On top of the lid is a label where you can write your name and phone number on the off chance that some good Samaritan would actually return your camera if you lost it (I know some folks, including myself, would). There’s also a zippered, divided pocket on the top flap, for memory cards or batteries. The fabric here is a tonal print of cameras and accessories. Very cute.
The flap zips securely with two zippers. The shoulder strap attaches with large plastic hooks, and can be easily removed (I do find the hooks rather squeaky when the bag is full and they rub against the plastic d-rings), and they swivel, which is a nice touch.
In a feature I really, really like, the top flap also snaps down over the front of the bag. If I’m using the camera a lot, I can just snap the bag shut instead of zipping it, which would keep most of the contents secure even if the bag tipped violently over (ask me how I know this: thanks a lot, guy who cut me off in traffic and caused the bag to fly off my passenger seat onto the floor as I braked in terror). The best part is the clever way the snap is attached to the bag, by means of a small flap. This means that instead of trying to press the snap into the bag to close it, I can slide my fingers under and snap the bag more easily. See below for visuals of what I mean:
The bag can be carried with the wide, padded shoulder strap (my only real beef is that the padded part is fixed, not movable, which means it doesn’t sit quite right on my body, since I’m wearing the strap across my body. It’s close, but I wish I could slide it around more, to get the fit just perfect). There’s also a wee carry strap that can be tucked into the rear Velcro pocket. At first, I thought this was silly, but it’s a great way to grab the bag out of my car or off the floor, since I keep the shoulder strap so long and picking it up by that strap sends the whole bag swinging around wildly.
I haven’t come anywhere near filling this bag. Here’s everything I carry in it, aside from the camera. There’s still more room than I know what to do with.
And here it is, on my body. I find it small enough to wear in public as a purse (though it is unnaturally “fat,” due to the padded floor keeping its boxy shape). It doesn’t look particularly strange, I don’t think. In fact, it’s rather cute. My previous purse was a very similar size and made of the same sort of indestructible material. It just wasn’t box-shaped. Considering the giant suitcases I see many women using today as purses, I think I look fairly restrained.
I like being able to whip my camera out at any moment. Other people find this very strange, I’ll admit. Yesterday, my colleague popped his head into my class to ask: “Does anyone here have a good digital camera?” He was looking right at me and laughing. “Besides ME, you mean?” I said. He needed someone to photograph cultures in a petri dish for the basketball team, who’d had to leave before their cultures developed. Now, seriously, when you have a bag that lets you carry your camera everywhere, including work, you get to take pictures of very strange things. This bag is just the right size to fit in my work satchel, or come into the store with me so I can take photos of rolls of fake fur (see my previous posts). I wouldn’t have it any other way!
No, I don’t know what on earth those dots mean. And that is in focus: the camera was trying to focus on the name of the company underneath the gel culture!