One of my favorite line of bags to travel with my Leica M-system as of late is the fairly new line of Retrospective Bags from Santa Rosa Camera Accessory maker Think Tank. My newest acquisition is their smallest in the series, the Retrospective 5. Perfect for an M9 with lens along with two additional M-lenses. However, the weak link in this particular bag line is the padding and the very thin dividers that are provided. maybe 3mm thick at the widest.
So what I did with my larger Retrospective 10 (Pinestone) is take the thick and plush inserts provided with my Artisan and Artists “Oskar One Day Bag”, which I wasn’t using and put it in the Retrospective Bag (see below).
Unfortunately, this particular insert is way to big for the much smaller Retrospective 5.
While reading the Leica User Forum I was informed of a fairly new line of products from bag maker Crumpler in a Thread started by Forum member MarkP. The Australian Camera Bag maker has recently introduced the Haven line, a kind of sack with well padded inserts in sizes Small, Medium and Large.
San Francisco actually has a Crumpler Boutique about two blocks from my gym at the Four Seasons, so I brought my Retro 5 in for a quick fitting. I found that the Medium or (M) size was perfect for the bag. I could easily get the M9 with lens attached along with two other M-lenses in the bag (below).
Once you pull the sack string tight, the Retrospective Bag easily closes with it’s velcro fasteners.
Here’s a shot of the Haven outside the Think tank Bag with multiple elastic pockets for SD Cards and extra batteries.
Now you might think, “Why is this guy obsessing over dividers in his bag?” Good question! I like to think of the padding in my bag as sort of an insurance policy. Sure you might of thought ahead and packed all your gear nice and tight so that you can carry it into the aircraft cabin, but if something gets broken or misaligned along the way, well…… their aren’t a lot of Leica stores or camera repair shops in the Lower Omo, Ethiopia (actually NONE).
I just put this system together and haven’t really field tested it but I think Crumpler has come up with a great product at a fairly reasonable price ($50 US). As a warning, i just want to state that both people working at the boutique that these items are selling out as quick as they come in. They come in neon green or orange. I would have preferred the orange but they have no idea when the next shipment is coming in. “A Bird in the Hand….”