I love the TurnStyle bags by ThinkTank because they are minimalist yet well designed. The TurnStyle slings across your back, snug but out of the way until you need it; sling it across to the front so it hangs directly in front of your chest, and you can grab a camera and also make quick lens changes without fear of dropping something. It's also very sturdy: Saigon is known for motorcycle thieves for cruise around looking to grab purses and bags from unsuspecting pedestrians, then speed away. I was crossing a busy street when one of these thieves made a grab for my TurnStyle, thinking it was a pack that was just slung across one shoulder. Luckily I had good footing; it almost pulled the kid off his bike before he finally let go.
A Beautiful Lens
Now, recently Olympus released their new 40-150 f/2.8 PRO lens. It's diminutive compared to DSLR equivalents, but it's still a honking monster in the micro four-thirds world. My first thought was, what kind of bag do I need to remain true to my "minimalist" status? After all, that's one of the main arguments for M43 format. And - just how do I match it up with the 12-40 f/2.8 PRO to give me an effective 35mm equivalent reach of 24-300 with serious glass? The answer is the Thinktank TurnStyle 10. After configuring compartments, inside you can lay the E-M1 down sideways in the main compartment with the 40-150 mounted, and drop the 12-40 into a small compartment. Because the TurnStyle 10 is relatively deep, you can also store the 40-150 sideways in the small compartment when the 12-40 is attached to the camera in the larger compartment.
Use two bodies
That works fine, but it's still a hassle to change lenses when you're in a crowd. Luckily M43 bodies can come in tiny sizes and Olympus makes a beautiful little camera, the E-P5 (which I reviewed here); it is much smaller than the E-M1 yet has the dual spinner controls that pro photographers demand. That same small compartment at the bottom of the TurnStyle can actually hold both the E-M1 with 40-150 mounted, and the E-P5 with 40-150 mounted. That added a 'hefty' 15 ounces but now I have instant access to both cameras from the same bag. Now let's take this kit on a test run to Asia.
On the way to Asia, I stopped over in San Francisco for a meeting down in Cupertino, and couch surfed at my oldest daughter's nifty flat in the Mission. She has this Boston terrier / French bulldog mix called, appropriately enough, Dizzy. My first photo with the new 40-150 was this one:
As we were heading out to take Dizzy for a walk, she paused at the stairway landing and looked up at her owner. I switched out to the 12-40 to catch her here:
Not to overdo the Dizzy thing, this next photo illustrates the bokeh and shallow depth of field of the 40-150 PRO. Considering I was standing quite a distance from the subjects, the lens reasonably separates them from the backdrop of San Francisco's port area as seen from the top of Glen Canyon Park.
This used to be a sleepy Portuguese colony across the river delta from Hong Kong; now it's the biggest casino center East of Vegas. Weekends it's filled with throngs from Hong Kong's teeming islands; each day hundreds of Boeing jet foils ferry thousands of people back and forth between the two former colonies. This poor man looks like he's waiting for someone who has much more shopping to do...
Clearly the hot Christmas item of 2014 was selfie sticks.
One absolute "cannot miss" is the Peak Tram. Unfortunately, it seemed that very few people did miss it. When I got to the top, there was a 4 hour wait to get back down. So I walked down. Perfect chance to take some hand-held night shots of the city.
I don't know what it is about Christmas and Asia, but the Grinch was absolutely nowhere to be seen.
After the cacophony of Christmas, just thought I'd seek out some Buddhist calm in the middle of Saigon...