This Camera Bag

By Low Teck Mee

When I travel, I want to minimise the amount of bags and such that I carry. The thing is, when I have my camera—the Sony α7—with me, I always bring a small camera bag. This is a hard case that does not fit into the over-stuffed rag I always take along into the aircraft. So I end up carrying two bags, which, to me, is one too many for the limited space of the cabin. Until I met this nifty little pouch from the Japanese bag maker Artisan & Artist.

When I first saw this, I thought it was a toiletries bag! It is soft and it sure is sized like one. But when I freed it from the broad elastic band that held it secure (like our parents once did with books) and opened the flap cover, I realised that it is padded to house a camera or a couple of lenses. There’s something about the bag—I can’t quite describe now—that makes it extremely desirable to hold. Maybe it’s because it’s not too structured. Maybe it’s because it fits beautifully in the palm. What’s unmistakable is its construction.

As the story goes, A&A, as the brand is affectionately called, answered to the request of Japanese TV star Rina (not to be confused with model/pop sensation Rina Sawayama) for a small bag that can be used to house her Leica M series (fancy!) and be placed in, say, an overnighter. The result was the Rina Case, a zip-top, neoprene-interior, cosmetic-pouch-like bag that no serious photographer, even using a Leica, would be seen in one.

A&A was quick to react (read: listen to their customers) and the update on the Rina Case is this ARCAM-75 camera pouch. This is nothing fancy and its lack of bombast makes it especially attractive. The Japanese-ness can’t be missed: this could have been a kinchaku bento pouch minus the drawstrings. In fact, I was most impressed by the ARCAM-75’s lack of hardware. All it has to secure the flap cover to the body is the elastic band. Inside, it is roomy enough to hold a small camera system or two not-especially-long lenses.

Simple and functional, and a total contrast to the high-tech kit it is expected to hold. I like.

Artisan & Artist camera pouch, SGD109, is available at Zeppelin & Co, Sim Lim Square. Photo: Jim Sim