on 19 September 2012
I'm new into DSLR photography and am buying all new kit (I was active with film about 20 years ago). I did tons of research before choosing this bag. I have a Canon 7D with grip, three lenses, tripod, flash and other stuff I might want to carry on a day out. I wanted something that was big enough without feeling like I was lugging the kitchen sink. I was advised not to go for a small bag or I would be buying another larger bag as soon as my collection grows and I want every penny I have towards glass, not bags. This one felt about right. I don't think it's the prettiest bag around, but it's ideal for me in that it has just enough space in the bottom section (camera etc.) and a decent size compartment at the top which fits my jacket, small pod, butties and all the small bits needed on a good day out. It's comfortable to wear, although a little firm. Has good support round the chest and waist and doesn't move about unless I want it to. The foot pocket for the tripod is a great idea although I've yet to try it out in earnest. The weather proofing is a bonus, although I won't be intentionally out in the rain. It's got good access when on the shoulder and the padding is substantial. My heart told me to buy a good looking trendy bag, my head told me to buy the most practical that suited my needs. I opted for the latter and haven't regretted it so far, although I do think it looks a bit naff. However, as a camera bag I think it's great and highly recommended.
on 25 February 2013
I bought this bag because it takes all my gear, protects it and is comfortable to carry.
I wanted a bag that had a side opening, would take my Nikon D7000 with my telephoto lens attached (55-300mm) and still have room for the 18-105mm zoom, 50mm prime (next purchase!) and SB700 flash. This does it all without using the top compartment. I tried a Fastpack 200 but it was too small to accommodate the zoom on the camera and the spare lens felt crammed into the pocket and vulnerable.
I considered the Fastpack 250 however while they are great packs I was concerned that the waist strap was too chunky and might cause problems getting it into an overhead locker on a plane.
The padding on the 250AW feels thicker than on the Fastpack series and the camera compartment has plenty of room for the lens. My 18-105mm zoom is tight in but the padding around it means I have no concerns. Being an "AW" model, it has a rain cover attached at the bottom which should keep the worst weather out.
While this model does not have the padded waist strap of the Fastpack 250, it does have a webbing one which when combined with the chest strap means that the load is very stable on my shoulders when walking. The shoulder straps are well padded and cope well with the weight of my kit.
Other good points are the straps etc on the side for carrying a tripod and the top compartment which, while not massive, will carry most of what I might want on a day hike in the mountains. It does have a laptop compartment which I will probably use more for waterproofs or the like and a stretch side compartment for a water bottle.
All these features mean that the pack is a little heavier than others however that is worth it for the capacity and protection it offers. It is expensive against the Fastpack range but given the cost of the gear it is carrying, it is still a small price to pay for the peace of mind.
on 11 January 2015
Like a lot of people, I did a lot of research in camera bags and even bought and returned a few when I realised they were not for me. This LowePro bag isn't perfect, as I will detail below, but it's the best compromise I've found so far.
Firstly, my camera kit, because we all like gear and it's the best way to judge if you're in a similar situation. I'm a micro-4/3 shooter. I have 2 cameras, the Panasonic G6, and the Olympus OMD EM-5 with battery grip always attached. I've got 3 lenses for it, a gorillapod, a flash and some other small miscellaneous bits. All of this fits in the bottom part of this bag (the padded camera section).
Firstly the negatives, because there is no point in going through the positives if one of these puts you off buying:
1. Security. This bag being based on the fastpack means it is easy to open (and thus steal equipment). But only at one end (the camera bit - you have to drag the zipper a long way to reveal the whole contents). But more crucially, there is no decent way to lock the bag. Unlike others which have a couple of extra metal loops on the zips to put a token lock over, this bag lacks. Not only that, the zipper pulls are string too, so although you could tie the ends together, it's no metal lock.
2. The top part of the bag isn't padded. So although this is aimed at DSLR video shooters, encouraging them to put their headphones and audio equipment in the top section, it is not as protected as the bottom part which is annoying as some of that equipment can be more expensive than the cameras and lenses.
3. The camera storage area is not flexible in how the partitions can be arranged. This is really poor form by Lowepro, as basically what you see in the photos on how the kit is arranged is basically your only option on how to store things. As a u-4/3 guy, this is a pain as my kit is smaller than dSLR stuff and there are not many bags designed for us, let alone good ones. Even dSLR shooters will find it a bit restrictive. For example the area to put a flash in can't be widened to take a lens. Meaning, flash or nothing. I've gotten around this by having the partitions just flap around in the bag and using my stuff to hold it all together, but really, the bag should hold the equipment, not the other way round.
4. The entrance is of poor design when it comes to use of space. You can see in the photos that the entire opening of the bag needs to be filled by the camera body, and no camera body is the shape of it, not a pro-level dSLR, let alone a amateur one or a u-4/3 shooter like myself. I have however, managed to put 2 of my camera bodies in this space (which shows just how gaping it is), and it works well, although would be better if I could velcro partitions in correctly as I mentioned above, to really minimise this flaw (which is probably the biggest design flaw in the bag, as the others are just LowePro taking cheap shortcuts).
5. The tripod mount and bottle holder are in the same position/side. So it's either/or. Not both unless you store a bottle inside the bag.
6. You can't combine the top and bottom compartment to take something larger or use it as a normal backpack if you wished too.
7. Depending on how it's loaded, it can be difficult to get under the seat in front of you in a plane. I've done it, but it's not the easiest bag to do that way due to the center of the back have a horizontal shelf affecting flexibility. I'm a guy who likes to keep my bag down there during flights, as I'm always pulling out bits during long flights to entertainment myself with.
That said, I'm sticking with this bag, after a 2 year search for the perfect bag, as it's as close as I'm going to get for now. I wanted a split/2 compartment bag, and this does it well. I wanted a rear opening and a safe area for my laptop but this is difficult to design and no company has done it right yet. This bag does make decent compromises all round.
So onto the good points:
1. It doesn't seek attention. Meaning I don't think it's going to attract much attention from thieves. LowePro as a brand shouts camera stuff inside, but the logo is black matching the bag so they have toned it down. I personally coloured the tripod pouch orange label in black too to match. Although the outer material is a big high-tech looking close up with it's honeycomb structure, anyone further back than a metre wouldn't notice what it it.
2. It's of a very nice size. The size is exactly what I wanted for my kit. It's not wider than shoulder width like the 350 size one is, so difficult to overload, and not as slim (and a bit silly looking on men) 150 size. It also leaves plenty of space at the top for bringing a lunch or other day trip items.
3. Support is good, and waist belt is hidden well. When the waist belt is tucked away, it's not noticeable. The shoulder straps are well padded but not excessively so. They do not dig into armpits like I have found other brands do, even when fully loaded with considerably weight (camera kit, plus laptop, plus liquids filling up the top compartment).
4. The included cable bag is genuinely useful. I maybe biased here, as the 2 interior pockets fit my Panasonic and Olympus battery charger perfectly, keeping them neatly together as well as the cables all in one. From memory I don't think Canon or Sony chargers are considerably larger, so you may find that too if you have one of those brands. It's also good that if you're not happy with this, then you can just leave it out.
5. The tripod mount and all weather cover are non-intrusive and well hidden. You can easily forget they are there, and they are not a pain to tuck away once used either.
6. The bottle holder mesh is of decent quality and doesn't seem like it's going to break any time soon.
7. Interior pockets in the top are of good size. I wanted the top compartment to mostly stay out of my way and it does. I can fit in currency, passport, and tickets into the pockets and still leave all the space there for books, sandwiches, headphones, extra equipment, etc. There is also a hook which comes attached to the bag which is useful. The only negative is there are no pen holders/loops, which is always useful for notes or writing information out on a plane quickly when having to fill out visa information.
8. Laptop compartment is very nice. I have a retina-macbook pro 15 inch in there, and can put in my 9.7 inch iPad too without issue. I have no worries about it keeping the laptop safe in bumps.
So overall I would recommend this bag, whether you are into video or not. It's a good side, and has a well thought out top compartment and general exterior features. The camera compartment would be significantly better if it could have partitions velcro'd anywhere, and there were options to lock it up, but for now, this one's a keeper.
on 15 February 2014
I purchased this backpack as it used to hurt my shoulder to be carrying my camera equipment over my shoulder, and I needed some more space.
I've had a few Lowepro bags in the past and I've found them to be great - I've still got one from about 5/6 years ago that is absolutely fine.
I chose this bag for a few reasons. I liked the idea of having quick access to the camera - and I must say this does work. It's nice not to have to take the bag fully off to get the camera out to capture a shot (although you will have to undo the two straps first). This is a great feature for me as it can be quite awkward to take a backpack off to capture a shot. You still have to take the bag off to change lens though, which is a little frustrating when you're all geared up and can hardly move.
The laptop compartment is well padded - it's nice to know that there is a layer of protection when lying your bag on the ground or a rock.
The main camera compartment can be configured to requirements using the velcro tabs.
I have found that with the expansion of my equipment I am running out of room though, and it's hard to fit everything in. The top compartment provides a nice section for personal belongings, or audio equipment as advertised. Some optional dividers may have been nice in the top section.
The bag has an integrated rain cover which is invaluable when you get caught in the rain or are shooting by the sea. It is quite awkward to carry a tripod with the rain cover on though.
Overall, I have found this a good camera bag for the type of work I do, and I would recommend it.
on 2 February 2014
The bag is much larger than I expected. All of my gear fits well, with room to spare. Being able to fit some spare clothes and stuff in the top compartment is a bonus as well!
Inside I have:
15" MacBook Pro
5D Mark ii
Canon 20mm USM
So there's space for a load of gear, and that's just the main compartment! You will however need to come up with your own way of fitting everything in and keeping it padded well, as the default layout isn't efficient, or particularly versatile. I also have a Manfrotto MK294A3 strapped to the side using the handy wee pocket (a detail I really like)
All in all it's a great bag, but the size is something you need to be aware of. It's not an issue for me, but if you're a wee person or you're concerned about sticking out, it's definitely worth thinking about. (I'm making it sound much bigger than it is.)
on 15 June 2014
I have acquired a few different camera bags recently for different events, this one for long days out and treks.
Firstly, let me say that I am reviewing this bag as a DSLR owner and photographer, not videographer. The bag has two main compartments, the bottom section for your camera and a multitude of accessories, and the top section for all your other stuff gear.
Lets start with the camera section. It states that the dividers are modular, which is a bit of a stretch. I suppose they are, but you are limited to where there is Velcro, which is only where the dividers are placed to begin with. The only one Io moved is the central one, just back a few centimeters to allow for a longer telephoto zoom lens to be attached to my camera when stored (a 75-300mm on my 600D).
In terms of what I can fit in the camera section, as I have mentioned I have my Canon 600D, an 18-55mm lens, 75-300mm lens, flashgun, a small bag filled with various small accessories (air blower, lens pen, straps, memory card case, lens cloth, battery etc.) and several filters in a case, and as it stands there is room for an extra lens. My camera is actually a bit small for this bag and moves about, but the amount of padding means this really isnt an issue at all. The bonus is that I could have my camera in here with a battery grip attached if I wanted.
The opening for this compartment covers the back and one side of the bag, which means you can swing this round and grab your camera without having to take your bag off and put it down if its a bit muddy on the ground.
The top compartment is also huge, much bigger than it looks in the picture. I took this bag on a long day trip to Haworth (involving steam trains and the 1940's weekend) and I managed to fit everything I needed for the day in there. A small towel, a raincoat, food & drink for two, and had room to spare. Features of the top compartment are a key-ring loop and, interestingly, a Velcro-fastening loop for headphones (I guess with the idea of video makers in mind, but a useful touch nevertheless.
There is a large, top-loading laptop compartment (also useful for magazines) which is very useful and will fit up to a 17" laptop.
There is a pretty standard small pocket on the front of the bag for small documents, little gadgets or something.
There is a rather large mesh pocket on one side of this bag which will comfortably hold large water bottles.
The tripod holder is stored behind the mesh pocket, and unfolds to hold the bottoms of the tripod legs, while one of the side straps next to the upper compartment will go around the top of the tripod. I have a compact Manfotto MKC3-H01 which I take on walks and this feels very secure (although the bag is so big I have to extend one of the leg sections by a couple of inches.
The All-Weather cover is stored underneath the bag and pulls out through a pocket at the bottom of the back of the bag. It is silver and will thus protect against rain and hot/cold temperatures.
All in all, I have found this bag to be perfect for day trips and occasions where I need to take a lot of kit. It took me a long time to decide between this and the smaller 250AW, and I think I made the right choice, I love the amount of room and the freedom it gives me, would recommend this to anyone!