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THE PHILOSOPHY OF A CAMERA BAG – CRUMPLER SEBANG REVIEW

Bag as home

Okay lets get to it. A camera bag is a home for a camera. And a home provides  a safe space for ones things in an aesthetically personalised environment. So, if you were your camera what home would you choose?

Do you need the mansion of camera bags with security features that is uncrushable and water proof. Or a modest home with space for multipule bodies and modular in arrangement? Or perhaps, like me, you are tiny house kind of person. Where function and needs meet whilst cutting out the fat. So remember a camera bag is the home for your expensive equipment, an should only be purchased after thorough investigation of your needs, with consideration for your taste and within your budget. *Caveat – I found that by having eight bags over ten years as a photographer drew me to understand my needs through trial an error.

I say “Better a camera bag that provides freedom to a photographer through minimalism than one that confuses through useless options.”

The journey to a better home

What drew me to search for a new camera home was travel.  The pure experience of fretting over baggage weight at checkin or the dread of squeezing a cumbersome pack into a packed standing room only Indian bus weighed on my mind. Having travelled previously with a 5D Mark II, 24-70mm f2.8, 70-200mm f2.8 and a 50mm f1.4 I was keen to pair it all back to the Fujifilm XT-1, a three lens prime kit and one tiny bag. As with most of my life I followed my bodies directions, and whilst delivering a job to Melbourne CBD I spotted out of the corner of my eye an old friend. An old friend whom HAPPENED to work at Crumpler. You know, Crumpler, the great Australian sling bag manufacturer whose origins began in a Ballarat shed. Whom bravely manufactured in Australian’s an then went off shore some years ago.  *Political an economic dart throwing aside. I was chatting with my friend about finding a solution to the ultimate bag that ticks the four boxes:
  • Inconspicuous – looks as a simple sling bag an doesn’t scream STEAL ME
  • Small enough to fit into a day pack
  • Self reliant – able to be carried on its own
  • Large and padded enough to house three prime lenses and the XT-1 body

Did Crumpler, omnipresent demi god of sling bags, have what I need? No. But in the discontinued stock there was a bag titled “Outpost Sebang” that did. A quick search found one for sale on eBay, an twenty dollars later I had one coming to my door. With a spotters fee and my Sebang in hand I returned to Crumpler.  Once in this beautifully lit show room the bags whispered sweetness to me, so one-by-one I grabbed they off the shelf and tested fitting the Sebang inside. Only when I arrived to its companion item, the Outpost day pack, did the stars align. I must say it was a good, soft and supportive fit. My Sebang had a safe home to enter and exit at will, whilst maintaining its own independence, reminiscent of those first days as an 18 year old. Style wise I was a man heading to corporate colour tone safety – blue on blue with hints of grey and black. Blue doesn’t show up dirt and I wanted to get into, the, dirt.

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The Crumpler Outpost day pack with the Outpost Sebang in its pouch.

So. Good story Max. Now tell us how it works in the field.

The Crumpler Outpost Sebang Review:

Crumpler Outpost Sebang (s)

For my work I’m a professional advertising photographer based in Melbourne and in late March, 2016, I was working on a film set. The brief was to shoot during filming and in breaks. The need to be quickly changing lenses whilst standing and taking up tiny physical footprint was imperative. Being able to have my camera in hand and three prime lenses, spare batteries and SD cards in my shoulder bag was fantastic. Tick here for the bag. During the trip mentioned earlier I’d go for a short photographic skirmish, leaving the day pack at home, and taking the Sebang. Chasing the rising sun through dense pine trees with only a light pack is as close to joy and stillness I experience. The down side to the Sebang is that SPACE IS LIMITED. Though that is the idea. Less IS more.

Being a professional advertising photographer onset with the Outpost Sebang and Fujifilm XT-1. Credit: Lindsey Fisette

Lets talk about the nitty gritty. The bag is made of a material that seems natural and yet is waterproof. Like a thick cotton. I enjoy the feeling. All zips, buckles, clips, velcro strips and stitching are of a high quality material. An best of all, fully covered by Crumpler’s life time warranty.

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The bag consists of a front pocket that houses small things such as spare batteries, business cards, and SD cards. In the main pocket there is one large space that contains to removable velcro pads to create three smaller spaces. This is the camera and two lenses home. At the back of that pocket is a opening for glasses, passport or mobile. Something special and safe.

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In summary I respect this little bag. For its flexibility as a protection case that doubles as a discreet shoulder bag. Also my desire to keep it local and having quality products when I purchase means a philosophical alight with Crumplers intention to repair goods over a life time. And with this bag forces me to carry a small which focuses my attention on shooting. An who really needs more than the perspectives of 35mm, 50mm and 85mm prime lens in advertising? The Sebang gold for me is discovering how a small bag can narrow my choice. Historically, constraints are the playgrounds of creativity. May this bag, other bags or some small bag bring about in you a focus to channel your creativity. I’ve found mine.  I wish to say it is a joy-filled experience when your camera and bag become part of your luggage, instead of being your only luggage. Let us know your experience in finding the perfect camera bag in the comments below.

Crumpler Outpost Sebang (S)

 No longer made
 Second hand for approximately $20-$40 AUD

 

Crumpler Outpost Blue

$195 AUD

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