When I’m on the road, I often use the “bag within a bag” approach to carrying a camera so I can keep a low profile in urban settings. This is particularly important when exploring parts of a city that I’m not familiar with.
In this situation, I’ll work with a smaller camera, such as an Olympus E-PL2 and a handful of lenses. In addition to being easier to pack, the micro four/thirds body attracts less attention because it doesn’t look like an “expensive pro camera.” Acting like a tourist adds further to the effect.
A typical kit might be an ILC Classic 50 holding the E-PL2 that is tucked inside an Exchange Messenger. I position the ILC 50 standing upright inside the Exchange Messenger, like a lens case. I keep the ILC unbuckled, but do keep the lid closed using the hook-and-loop fastener. If I need the camera quickly, I just pull back the flap on the Exchange Messenger, then grab the camera out of the ILC Classic.
As I’m walking around, I look like a guy with a small messenger bag. Yet, there’s enough room inside for a light jacket or lunch next to the camera bag.
You can use many different combinations for a similar set up. The idea is not attract attention to yourself, yet still have the protection you need for your gear.
Derrick Story is the Photography Evangelist for Lowepro.