I was faced with a problem many photographers have when trying to figure out what camera bag to use. This is the problem of owning a high quality bag not explicitly made for cameras. Suddenly this bag that you know every feature and detail of is not getting as much use because it does not accommodate or protect your camera assets. The bag in question for me was a Bailey Works messenger bag that my little brother gave to me as a gift 5 years ago (Thanks Kevin, I love this bag). I have taken the Bailey Works on trips to Italy and Morocco, multiple camping trips, and have used it to cart drum equipment around my hometown of Columbus. It's a lifetime bag that can accommodate almost anything, so why stop using such a high quality piece of gear? I discovered the Snoop Camera Insert from Timbuk2 which I believe to be a great solution for converting your "anything' bag into a camera bag.
The Snoop comes in three sizes, XS, S, and M. I went with the small version, even though from pictures and looking at the dimensions on the Timbuk2 site, I still was not totally confident of its size (hopefully this review helps illustrate how large or small it is). The small has worked out great because it leaves ample room in the main pocket of my messenger bag for a laptop in a sleeve, a folded reflector, and small articles of clothing in addition to holding the Snoop (see photo below).
The Snoop is made of a gunmetal colored nylon fabric with a rugged single zipper enclosure, and features a single handle for easy lifting. The inside of the bag is lined with an anti-scratch tricot lining (meaning: SOFT) that has walls that velcro to the sides of the bag to configure a variety of shapes. I found the velcro very robust and hard to disattach from the lining, both good features of this insert and surprisingly something other bag makers pay little attention to. The Snoop seems durable enough from every angle to keep your gear protected inside of a larger bag.
Here are photos depicting the interior of the bag. The top picture shows how I used the inserts to create extra padding for my gear. The bottom gives you a good idea of what the inserts look like partially removed. The Snoop is great for transporting a minimal array of gear. I fit my full frame DSLR with lens attached in the center compartment, my rangefinder film camera to the left, and an extra lens for my DSLR in the compartment to the right. It's possible to fit a tiny bit more gear in here, but it would have to sit on top of other gear which is not ideal. My messenger bag has ample pockets and stowaway spots for other photo accessories like batteries, memory cards, and rolls of film and because of the design, Timbuk2 assumes you will use your messenger bag in this way too.
So my feeling is that the Snoop is great for a lot of reasons. First off, it's affordability is unparalleled in the world of camera bags (the SM is 49.99 from Timbuk2's website.) The Snoop is ideal for those who simply cannot afford some next level bag, or otherwise do not need it. Secondly, it gets the job done in a compact and secure package. If the Snoop is zippered inside your messenger, someone sticking their hand in your bag would just find another bag that they could not secretly remove. The bag's padding and inserts will keep your camera safe in most situations, adding a necessary layer to your piece of mind. Thirdly, the Snoop could possibly be named after a rapper, which anyone listening to hip hop since the 90's will appreciate. The Snoop would NOT be good for: 1. Photographers with lots of gear. The Snoop just isn't made to be the end all design for that purpose. 2. Photographers with telephoto lenses. Again, this little guy is just not made for Terminator type glass. 3. Photographers who relish the ability to pull their camera out of their bag with lighting speed. Get a sling pack for that. All in all, I commend Timbuk2 on a very cool product that is well suited for it's intended design. Don't hesitate to snag a Snoop for transporting a minimal (but still important) amount of camera gear in a bag that you already know and love.