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Date: 21/10/2013 | By: Heather

Not too big, not too small: 10 great mirrorless camera bags

best mirrorless camera bag

Not too big, not too small: 10 great mirrorless camera bags

When Mathieu first went completely mirrorless, one of the first problems he encountered was that every camera bag that he owned was oversized relative to his gear. The camera bag he had once used to carry around his Nikon D700 and three lenses now seemed to swallow up his Olympus OM-D E-M5, Fujifilm X100s and three Micro Four Thirds lenses. The only solution was to pick up a new bag that would suit the small size of his mirrorless gear.

In the end, we went with two bags: the National Geographic Earth Explorer Medium Pouch and the LowePro Event Messenger 150. We’ve been extremely happy with both so far.

  • The National Geographic Pouch is perfect for walks around the city, day trips and simple jobs. It will hold one camera plus a small lens, such as the X100s or the OM-D E-M5 with the 12mm attached. If your camera is as compact as the X100s, you should also be able to fit your wallet and smartphone into the main pouch.
The National Geographic Earth Explorer Pouch
  • The LowePro Event Messenger 150 is the bag Mat uses for professional assignments or long trips abroad. It can hold an OM-D E-M5-sized camera plus two to three lenses in the adjacent pockets. There is also space for a tablet, batteries and a smartphone.
The LowePro Event Messenger 150

While we love these mirrorless camera bags, we know that they aren’t the only, or even the best options out there. As such, we decided to poll our photographer friends on Facebook and Twitter about which camera bags they use to see which would come out on top. The results are shown below!

1. Think Tank Retrospective 5

best mirrorless camera bags

The Retrospective 5 by Think Tank was the most frequently mentioned by our fellow photographers. Kristin on Facebook states that it is small, fits all his gear and most importantly, doesn’t look like a photo bag. Similarly, Justin on Twitter cannot believe how many pockets it has.

According to its product description, its minimalist outer appearance conceals the fact that it is a camera bag with expensive equipment inside. With its hook-and-loop sound silencers, the bag doesn’t make any noise when you open it. It is constructed well, with sturdy zippers and seams, and is light to carry around. Many have stated that, at 7.7 x 9.4 x 4.5 inches, it is too small for a DSLR kit but the perfect size for MFT, NEX or Fuji X.

Find it on Amazon / B&H Photo

2. Think Tank Retrospective 7

mirrorless camera bag

In second place comes another product from Think Tank, the Retrospective 7. Andy on Twitter uses his to carry around his Fuji X-E1, 35mm lens, and miscellaneous non-photo related items like his wallet. Olivier on Twitter says that he is really happy with this bag and uses it for his Fuji X100s and X-E1.

The Think Tank Retrospective 7 differs from the Retrospective 5 mostly in terms of size. It is 19.7 x 11.8 x 7.9 inches, enough room for a standard DSLR, lenses, a tablet, wallet or anything else you can think of. Of course, if you’re using it for your mirrorless camera(s), you could easily fit more than one along with a couple of lenses.

It comes with Sound Silencers to make opening your bag a soundless operation, a cushioned shoulder strap, zippered pockets and a removable divider set.

Find it on Amazon / B&H Photo

3. LowePro Messenger 160

mirrorless bag

Having owned the amazing Messenger 150 for a few months now, it doesn’t surprise us that a similar LowePro product made it onto the list! Jeff on Facebook says that the LowePro Messenger 160 is discreet, roomy, doesn’t scream “camera bag,” has quiet opening (magnets) and a rain cover. Nicole on Facebook agrees, saying that it is small, comfortable, has lots of useful compartments and is very durable.

According to the product description, it also has a removable and adjustable grab handle and a fully padded and adjustable interior. It will easily fit a mirrorless camera, a few lenses plus extra accessories and/or personal items.

Find it on Amazon / B&H Photo

4. Kelly Moore B-Hobo Bag

kelly moore bag

Fellow X100s-user Rachel on Twitter decided she wanted to speak for the lady photographers out there by suggesting Kelly Moore. According to her website, she uses the Kelly Moore B-Hobo bag because of its adorable appearance and the amount of gear it can hold.

The great thing about Kelly Moore bags is that you really wouldn’t mistake one for a camera bag on the street. What’s more, the feminine appearance of these bags doesn’t clash with the way women dress as many camera bags would.

This bag is made of water resistant material, has two straps (one for your shoulder and one for cross-body use), and will fit a mirrorless camera and a number of lenses.

Find it on Amazon / B&H Photo

5. Billingham Hadley Pro


As refined-looking bags go, you can’t get much better than the Billingham Hadley Pro. It almost resembles a very handsome briefcase! Rafa on Twitter uses his to carry around his X-Pro1 with a lens attached, four other lenses and his Ricoh GX200, which shows just how roomy this bag really is.

According to the description, this bag has lots of great features including a back zip protected by a waterproof flap, two generous front pockets, adjustable straps for increased loading, an easy-to-open-and-close release system and a removable camera insert. It is well-constructed and durable, and while it looks small, it has been designed to hold a lot of gear.

Find it on Amazon / B&H Photo

6. Ona Union Street Messenger

ona bag

Eric on Twitter owns the Union Street Messenger and uses it whenever he goes out with his two cameras, 4-5 lenses and flash. The bag is handcrafted with Waxwear to enhance its strength and durability, and is accented with leather, base and antique brass. Inside are five dividers, including an area for your laptop. It is lined with a soft protective padding to keep your cameras safe and sound. Like many other bags here, it resembles a work bag more than a camera bag.

Find it on Amazon / B&H Photo

7. Domke F-803


R.W. Boyer on Twitter has gone through three different Domke F-803 bags in a decade, which is testament to his love for this brand. According to his website, the new one he has just ordered is the Domke 701-83A F-803 (long name!).

With its durable waterproof canvas and padded side walls, you know your equipment is well-protected. The waxes and oils that cover the canvas give it a well-loved weathered look and make it look less like a camera bag. With its seven compartments and pockets, it is ideal for a couple of mirrorless cameras and lenses as well as extra accessories and/or personal belongings.

Find it on Amazon / B&H Photo

8. Alchemy Goods Pine Messenger Bag

alchemy goods

The cool thing about this Alchemy Goods bag is that it is made from 100% recycled bike tubes and seatbelts, making it very ecofriendly! It was suggested to us by Emmer on Twitter, who uses it along with an Express insert for M4/3s and mirrorless cameras.

It is durable, water resistant, features a number of pockets and has a super slim profile. As the description on Amazon states, it is a messenger back that has been “distilled to its essential functions.”

Find it on Amazon

9. Lowepro Flipside 200

Lowepro Flipside 200

The Flipside 200, the only backpack in this selection, was suggested to us by Colin on Facebook. It has a back entry compartment which gives you easy access to your gear while protecting it from being stolen. It contains a removable access pouch in which you can store cables, chargers and other important accessories. Made of tough water resistant fabric, it protects your gear even in bad weather conditions. Seeing as this backpack is actually made for DSLRs, you should be able to fit a couple of mirrorless cameras and quite a few lenses into it.

Find it on Amazon / B&H Photo

Another similar LowePro bag was also suggested to us by Martin on Twitter – the Slingshot 100 AW.

10. Cupcake Crumpler 2500

The Cupcake Crumpler 2500, suggested to us by Paul on Twitter, is the one bag we could not find on, but it is available in the UK. According to Paul, it can fit his Fuji X100, Gorillapod, ND filters, cloth and two spare batteries – not bad for such a small bag!

It has a soft protective lining which is waterproof, and side-pockets with integrated love-handles for accessory fastening. It is the perfect bag for those who only carry around one mirrorless camera at a time without extra lenses.

Find it on Cupcake Crumpler 2500

Which do you think are the best mirrorless camera bags? If you already own one any of these bags, please tell us about it in the comments section!

Like our blog? Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter! If you’re planning on buying camera gear, you can check out AmazonB&H Photo and PhotoMADD. Prices remain the same for you, but a small percentage of your purchase value is valued back to us. Thank you!

About the author: Heather Broster

Heather Broster was born in Canada, has lived in Japan and Italy but currently calls Wales home. She is a full-time gear tester at MirrorLessons. You can follow her on Google+, Twitter or Facebook!

  • Mathieu

    Yes it’s an interesting solution but it will barely fit a small camera only such a Fuji X100T.

  • carlin

    Check out the Peak Design Field Bag – it converts easily to a mirrorless camera bag as well.

  • Jacques Cornell

    Everything’s “Tactical” these days. Gonna get me a Multifunctional Titanium Ultra Pro Tactical Cheese Grater in the kitchenware section a Marshall’s. For those times when I have to go SWAT on a tough lump of asiago.

  • Heather Broster

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts about the UTG. It sounds like a good deal!

  • LightForAll

    Using a Lumix FZ1000, its fixed lens and smaller profile than the GH4 system allows for a compact package. I purchased a UTG Multi-functional Tactical Messenger Bag from Amazon @ $22 a year ago. The camera with strap and hood, two additional batteries with chargers, wide angle lens adapter, Sony bluetooth wireless microphone set, Sennheiser EW 100 ENG wireless set, Sennheiser MKE 400 Shotgun Microphone, expandable tabletop tripod, Zomei square filter holder and a 25ft. XLR-miniplug cord all fit inside.

  • Mathieu

    Thanks for mention it. We’ll have a look at it 😉

  • aschesiegen

    I know that this is an old article, but when you update or write a new one, check out the ‘Lowepro Flipside Sport 10L AW Daypack’. I tried this as well as the flipside 200 which is featured in your article and found the flipside sport to be a much better bag.
    The tiny bag holds my EM10, EPL2, a 45-200, an 85mm, a fish-eye, a 20mm pancake and a kit lens with room for filters. Oh, and a manfrotto tripod. And it looks delicious in orange :)

  • Heather Broster

    Not sure. You can tell us about it here if you’d like!

  • AZ-Zakwanul Faiz bin Zakaria

    I wonder why lowepro passport didn’t make to the list?

  • BigHank53

    Optech makes a variety of neoprene covers as well as their ubiquitous straps. You should be able to find one that fits your GX7, depending on your lens choice. I keep one on my G3 and just stuff it into my messenger bag for daily carry.

  • Jacques Cornell doesn’t list this bag. The photo you posted looks a lot like a Tamrac Rally, though.

  • Jacques Cornell

    I have a Tenba Messenger Mini, and it’s WAY too big for me unless I need to bring my 13″ laptop. The compartments are sized for 35mm gear, so there’s a lot of wasted space when I put my MFT kit in it. I mainly use my Mini as a computer bag now. A Tamrac Rally 4 is my nearly ideal walkabout bag.

  • Jacques Cornell

    For some reason, a lot of people seem to be overlooking the Tamrac Rally series. It comes in a full range of sizes, some with compartments for tablets or laptops. I love my Rally 4, as it carries a body, three zooms and a small flash, and the exterior mesh pockets come in really handy without adding bulk. Price in the US are extremely reasonable. I think I got mine for under $30. The only compromise: the strap is permanently attached and can’t be swapped for, say, a neoprene strap.

  • Jedalus

    I’ve had a couple of proper camera bags over the years with Micro4/3 cameras, but what I’ve found best is Crumpler inserts that I use in a range of different non camera bags. My gear stays protected and I never look like I am carrying a camera.

  • Brian Jonson

    Hi there — helpful article. You’ve referenced the OM-D EM-5 fitting in the nat geo bag with a 12 mm lens. How about a OM-D EM-1 and a lens (say the the Zuiko 25mm)?

  • Heather

    Nice, thanks for the suggestion Dick!

  • dick ranez

    I find the Naneu Pro Lima perfect for a small mirrorless system. It will easily hold the camera with any lens, several small lenses, a flash, an
    additional “pocket” camera with room for chargers,
    batteries and “miscellaneous”. With the Sierra
    model – a little larger – I can add a small laptop or and ipad in the additional compartment. Well
    padded, a good strap, and inexpensive compared to other choices here.

  • Erman Katerman

    I currently own the the smallest possible Think Tank pouch, it just fits my GX7 with a prime.
    Problem is, I STILL think it’s too big! I’m looking for a bag that fits snugly around the camera without ANY extra space, pouches, zippers and pockets. I keep lenses and memory cards and such in my backpack. I just need a simple pouch that protects the camera when I’m not using it, but still need it ready. Anyone has any ideas?

  • Thomas

    I really like my Timbukt2 messenger bag with the photo inlet. Doesn’t look like a camera bag at all.

  • Peter Cripps

    I love the Billingham Hadley Pro for carrying my OM-D (E-M5) and lenses. So much so I wrote a whole blog post:

  • Nigel

    Hi, I’ve used a Tenba messenger (chocolate) for a few years now, I love it but the Velcro makes quite a bit of noise on opening. I’ve just been tempted by the Millican Christopher messenger limited edition bag dedicated to my new fu,ji X-series kit. It’s producd in the north of the u.k from ethical materials. Included is a felt ‘box’ to protect an x pro 1, xe etc but I found it a bit fiddly so I’ve used the flexible insert from my Tenba, it fits perfectly and can be bought separately. Thanks for yor interesting article- Nigel

  • Heather

    Looks like you might have to hold a garage sale sometime soon to get rid of some of those bags. :) In all honesty, there are so many great mirrorless bags out there, it’s hard to pick. I must say I’m tempted by Billingham however…

  • Adam

    Lowe-Pro Passport Sling is very popular here – almost too popular at the ubiquitous coffee pub stop on a photowalk as there are so many of them piled up! It holds more than enough photo kit plus has room for other stuff, without looking too ‘photo’.

    I have a pile of unused bags at home that I used with my old DSLR systems, but which are just too big even for E-M1/HLD-7 + 12-40/2.8 or larger lens.

  • Heather

    Hey, you won’t see me criticising your decision – the GX7 is my favourite M4/3 model along with the E-M1, and I’d be more inclined to take it out for casual shooting because of the size. Let us know how you get on!

  • T N Args

    Thanks Heather. I got the Panasonic GX7. I know the 2 top Olympus bodies are the ‘smart money’ right now, but I wanted the rangefinder format and size. (I want to get well away from the mini-DSLR format and the public perceptions it creates on the streets, in my experience with the Canon 7D I just disposed of. To the average public person an EM1 is exactly the same as a 7D). I am expecting a lot of fun to be had. Let’s hope the GX7 can keep up with the Oly Joneses!

  • Heather

    The absence of sling bags certainly wasn’t intentional though it is true that your average CSC kit doesn’t require much space. This list was compiled after I surveyed many photographers on Twitter and Facebook, and the ones that were mentioned the most made the list. That said, I’m sure many CSC-toating photographers use sling bags as well. The three you’ve mentioned all have very good reviews. (You really cannot go wrong with Lowepro.)

    By the way, congrats on your first MFT kit! Which camera did you choose?

  • T N Args

    Not a single sling bag?

    I have just purchased my first CSC kit this morning, (µ4/3 and mainly primes by the way, give the man a gold star), having sold off my DSLR kit, and I am looking for a travel bag to take them on holiday in Asia next month. So this article is intensely interesting.

    Are the slings being overlooked because a CSC kit is so light that a shoulder bag never tires? I am referring to things like the Lowepro StreamLine Sling, Lowepro Transit Sling 150, and Think Tank TurnStyle 10.

  • Mike

    I just purchased a Think Tank Mirrorless 30i. Along with the EM1. Supposed to arrive tomorrow. I did a lot of research on the bags and feel this one is the one I will be happy with. Light and designed for a mirrorless camera.

  • Mathieu

    Thanks for sharing Marc, seems like a good option.

  • Marc-Andre Lafortune

    I find most of these bags to be way too heavy for my taste.

    I’m very happy with the Tamrac Jazz Messenger 2 (about the fourth of the weight of the Hadley Pro!).

    I posted a review here.

  • Mathieu

    Thanks for sharing this Tyler. It seems a very nice backpack, something I could consider for my travels. Backpacks are more comfortable to carry on long distance walks.

  • Tyler

    Just discovered this site and loving it! Great personal takes on the cameras/gear in real-world usage. Your reviews are helping me narrow my choice on a new camera for Christmas. Anyways…

    The bag I use is a Case Logic CPL-108 (I got the grey, since that’s all they had at the time). It’s a backpack rather than messenger-style bag, but it’s compact and easy to flip around. Since it’s more geared towards entry-level DSLRs, there’s quite a bit of space, allowing me to carry two bodies with lenses. I currently have a Panasonic G3 (typically mated with the Sigma 30mm), a Panasonic GF1 (typically mated with the Panasonic 14mm), along with the Panasonic 20mm, Panasonic 45-200mm, Panasonic 14-45mm, and Sigma 19mm. I’m also able to carry my tablet, battery chargers, lens cleaners, and various cables for connecting other gadgets. It’s held up quite nice on a couple travels, including when I’ve had to stuff it quite full when it served as a carry-on, and I can also verify that the rain cover kept everything dry on two occasions.

    Typing all that out makes my setup seem excessive, but my bag never weighs more than 10-12lbs (never actually weighed it though) and I’ve never been upset about not having the right lens for the shot. One of the benefits of mirrorless…

  • Heather

    Looks like a great bag. Nice design as well. Which colour did you choose?

  • Alan

    I use the Tenba Messenger, great bag, comes in different sizes, easy access and very reasonably priced.

  • Christine

    I am more a bag person as well. I will keep these bags in mind when I get my new mirrorless camera. Thank you, Heather

  • Heather

    Hey, it’s cheaper than some other hobbies like, say, collecting mirrorless cameras? 😉

  • Heather

    I think I found it here on Amazon – is it the right one? (Kata KT DL DR-466) Have you been travelling the world for pleasure or on business?

  • paul

    Been travelling for 18mths with OMD and 4 primes , best bag by far is the Kata Dr-466 G backpack . Takes loads of kit in the camera store base , laptop and ipad and loads of room for extra stuff.

  • Eric

    Nice! I’m really a bag addict. It is shoes for some people, for me, it’s bags. 😉

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