Review of the S-Zone DSLR Camera Insert – No, the S-Zone DSLR camera insert was not created solely for use in a purse. But for me, this is specifically why I bought it. As many of you know, I often prefer packing my DSLR in a plain-looking cross-body purse.
Often, it’s when I’m using the local public transportation (BART, subways, crowded buses) or walking through unfamiliar neighborhoods. Or when I’m flying on an overcrowded airplane and under no circumstances want to be separated from my camera. (Nobody’s gate-checking your purse, thankfully).
Unfortunately, too many protective padded camera inserts are simply too boxy or too bulky to use effectively inside a purse. But fear not. I’ve found a solution that’s working great for me and may be just the solution for you, too.
If you find yourself in places where a camera bag or camera-branded backpack that screams “I’m toting expensive camera gear!” is not desirable, you may also like my post on The Best Travel Purse(s) for a DSLR Camera I’ve Found, as well as this post on the new insert I’m frequently using in it. Read on, my friend…
Note: I purchased my S-Zone on my own dime and this independent review contains affiliate links. Thanks for supporting this site with your click-throughs!
Which S-Zone DSLR camera insert do I use in my purse(s)?
After trying myriad configurations of thin sweaters, scarves, padded lens covers and searching for a just-right sized camera insert that would actually FIT in my favorite travel purse (and its cousins) without looking too much like a big padded box, I found it. The 7″ x 9″ x 4″ is ideal for fitting in my Baggallini Cargo Bagg.
It’s providing an extra measure of shock-proof, bump-proof protection (reassuring when you squeeze through turnstiles while lugging a suitcase). And it also provides protection from moisture and rain, which is great when you find yourself out in the elements on city streets or in queue for a monument far longer than expected.
Better still, the S-Zone camera insert also provides extra help with much-needed organization in my bag.
How I use the S-Zone DSLR camera insert in my purse:
When your purse doubles as a camera bag–but still has to serve as a purse–a little help with organization goes a long way. Sure, this camera insert comes close to filling my purse from end to end. Yet I found there is just enough room to slip my travel wallet and keys between its exterior and one end of my purse. This is helpful because my wallet feels securely out of the way as I get my camera in and out, yet my wallet and keys are exactly where I expect them when needed. (That’s the strap of my travel wallet I’d just accessed showing on the left end in the photo below.)
On the other end, there’s just enough room to slip a narrow notepad and pen or pack of travel tissues.
Here’s a sneak peek at it in my purse as I stood in an airport security line. I can quickly retrieve my camera and place in the security bin beside the purse.
The slim side pocket of this camera insert doesn’t seem too noteworthy. Yet it’s great for slipping in your press badge, a map, or other paperwork you might need to quickly access.
This model of S-Zone DSLR camera insert comes with movable or removable padded dividers. It’s cover for the top is also fully removable (with Velcro). However, I’ve mostly used it in my purse without any of these.
In my typical travel or photojournalism scenario, I head out with a single lens of choice on the camera ready for action — often a good-size Nikkor 28-200 on my D750. Using it without the lid helps the top of the case take the shape of your purse, helping to conceal it.
My camera body and larger lens pretty much fills it along with my Peak Design camera strap (Love it! See it here.). Though I have slipped a 50 mm in below the lens barrel and still managed to get it zipped. 😉 I still use the outer pockets of the purse to keep a lens cloth, brush, cards and backup battery handy. The inner pocket of the purse is reserved for personal items.
S-Zone also offers a slightly larger padded camera insert at 12″ x 5″ x 9″, and also the same size I am using with carrying straps. You can see ALL of these options at Amazon.