on 13 March 2011
I only review things if they are exceptionally good or extremely poor.
I wanted a new backpack for the camera and with how much I wanted to spend all I could get from the main manufactures were their smaller bags that wouldn't fit all the kit I want to take out with me as well as my lunch and drink, then I came across the Amazon basics bag, the size I wanted at a price allot lower than I thought I was going to have to pay, thought I'll risk it and see, even if I just use as an interim bag until I could afford something more expensive.
What a pleasant surprise, a simple, plain well made bag that fits all I want to take out on a day at this price. Turns out this will be a permanet bag and not just something temporary to fill a gap. To give you an idea of capacity I typically carry the following on a day
Canon 30d with Sigma 17-70
Canon 70-300 lens
Sigma 70mm macro
Camera and flash remote
Bottle of water
Light waterproof jacket
Monopod strapped on the side
on 9 April 2011
There's no avoiding the main selling point of this pack. For what it is, it goes without saying that the price is excellent. You won't hear any complaints from me, but with the low price come a few obvious tradeoffs. Just be aware of the cons before you buy - you may find it more rewarding to spend a little extra.
Sizewise you're looking at something around the same as a kid's school bag rather than a hefty daypack. Take a look at the sample images of the interior and you'll see it's quite a small bag, and that's no bad thing. Fully laden with an SLR, a range of lenses, flash gun and accessories you can carry this thing comfortably on your shoulder, but I wouldn't want to wear it as a backpack for fear that people would think I'd accidentally picked up my (hypothetical) son's bag :) Right now I have 5 lenses (3 small primes, a 135mm prime and a 70-210mm zoom), 2 flash guns and a Canon 450D loaded into the bag and everything fits nice and snug in the adjustable slots. The two clear pockets on the inside front are perfect for memory cards, filters and what not, and my iPad fits comfortably in the front pocket on the outside (though that pocket isn't padded). My only gripe about the size is that there doesn't seem to be anywhere on the exterior to securely strap a monopod, and it won't fit comfortably inside.
Conclusion? This is absolutely a camera bag, designed to hold only your camera and camera paraphernalia. The additional pockets are quite spacious, but once your camera and lenses are in there you won't be able to fit your lunch or a jacket (worth thinking about if you're planning to carry just the one bag on an all-day shoot).
In reference to the complaint of the guy who gave this one star (that the top carry strap broke), I'd agree that that could be a problem. The weight of an SLR body and a few lenses can quickly add up, and I don't think I'd trust that weight to a flimsy little strap (especially on a generic bag such as this, licensed to Amazon but designed and made God know where). The stitching on each backpack strap, however, runs about 3 inches. If those straps begin to give you're gonna know about it for a long time before they finally detach completely.
One thing I noticed about the quality is that one of the rubberised zipper tags came off in my hand the first time I touched it. The tags haven't been securely connected to the clasps. Also, seriously Amazon? Five brightly coloured zippers to advertise that I went for the cheapest of the cheap? Are you trying to get me beat up for my lunch money? Break out the duct tape and cover those mothers.
I have no problems at all with the interior. The back is fairly well padded, the body is deep enough to keep your equipment from coming up against the unpadded front and the velcro dividers seem strong enough to keep everything basically in place.
At £20 you really can't expect this bag to last a lifetime; at £20 it doesn't matter. It won't outlast you by a long haul, but it will last long enough so long as you don't put it through hell. I'd take this thing with me anywhere in England, but on my next trip to the Gobi it's staying at home.
Conclusion? Quality isn't great, but it's exactly what you'd expect for £20 and a little more.
Hovering somewhere between 3 and 4 out of 5. It's cheap, handy, not really that poorly constructed and it'll do the job so long as you don't really test it. If you're going on a sightseeing holiday you'll be fine, but if you plan to take your equipment anywhere outside of a comfortable western environment you should really be investing in higher quality.
This is where a solid 4 gets knocked down (perhaps unfairly) to a high 3. If you need a bag to carry an SLR and a selection of lenses there's a good chance you'll be travelling to places that aren't exactly child-proofed. You're gonna come up against dust, sharp edges, bouncy buses, packed trains, overhead luggage compartments and people who don't care if your prized Nikon gets dinged up. If you're on a tight budget and you just need something to carry your camera to the local park this is all well and good. If you need it for anything more demanding, spend a few quid extra and buy something from one of the market leaders. Considering the contents of the bag it's probably worth the investment.
When I started writing this review I had a mind to score it as a 4, verging on 5. It was only as I wrote that I really thought about the limitations of the bag. In the past year I've spent time in Mongolia, India, Thailand, Cambodia and the US, and I'll soon be moving back to Mongolia for a long spell - when I look at this bag I have to admit that I wouldn't trust it any of those places. I like it, and I don't think it's a bad product, but I'll be replacing it with something else before I next get on a plane.
I've been using this bag for about 18 months now, and it's undergone quite a lot of rough treatment.
As expected, the top carry strap didn't last long. It was torn off by an angry Chinese rickshaw driver with minimal effort (and I still had to pay the fare, damn it). The stitching of the right shoulder strap (which I use the most) is a little frayed and probably won't last much longer, but other than that the bag has held up surprisingly well. Even with all the crap it's been put through over the last 18 months the bag is in great shape. For ~£20 it's performed much better than I expected.
So, this review has been upgraded to 5 stars. The problems I mentioned in the original review still hold true, but the build quality is good enough to stand up to rough treatment over the long term, so well done Amazon :)
The AmazonBasics SLR Backpack is simply outstanding value for money and a great camera bag. To my eyes (and against some much larger camera bags in my collection) it looks like a small black backpack that could be for anything (no Lowepro or Crumpler badges saying expensive toys inside here just elegant function Amazon Basic zipper pulls.) Despite its comparative diminutive size it can easily carry a days camera equipment around well padded for both the lenses and your back. After a days hiking my main observations were - its small and light; it does a excellent job of support my transporting camera equipment safely - and comfortably. The negatives were its not as convenient to open as some more expensive bags -and the compressed size does reduce your ability to carry personal affects or lunch!
I took the SLR Backpack out with my light trek camera kit consisting of Canon EOS 7D,Canon EF 24-70mm and a Sigma 70-200mm a few spare batteries and filters also occupying the internal pockets. The 70-200mm is a fairly large zoom lens and it comfortably fit into the bag with room to spare. There is a small issue with larger 77mm Filter size lenses like these is when you are using them in the surrounding pockets in that they are slightly wider than the bag is deep so zipping it up requires some care. I have found smaller lenses like the Sigma 4.5mm will comfortably fit in either orientation so if you have more consumer style lenses you will likely have no issue. EVen with these chunky lenses and the body there was plenty room also in there for a flash and I could easily have carried two smaller lenses too had I wanted the extra weight.
Weight : I learnt long ago that carrying too much equipment in your camera bag just makes the day shorter through fatigue or backache; so I have learnt to carry less lenses that work in a wide variety of situations. For my first outing I walked just over 5 miles along a canal and over a small hill and never once found the bag uncomfortable. The shoulder straps offered enough adjustment and padding even over a coat to make the bag comfortable and on the hill descent the waist strap provided some extra support to stop the bag bouncing.
I did find that the opening mechanism; the entire back of the back folds down to the base, isn't as convenient as the side opening on bags like the Lowepro Fastpack 350 - Black which let you more easily access or stow your camera without setting the entire bag down - but there were enough benches along the way to make switching lens easy; and when necessary I could lay the bag down to get to the lens I was interested in.
I have a written a fair few reviews on camera bags; they are my white whale; I am hunting all over for the right one for every occasion. What i have learnt on my quest is that they are like screwdrivers - each bag has a job and a time when you need it. The amazon basics bag covers a great many occasions due to the flexibility of its design and excellent size. So long as I don't need to take my Laptop or Lunch it covers all the bases; when you do need to take either then a larger bag like the Lowepro above may make more sense.
The negatives I have found on my walks so far are massively overweighed by the positives of function and value. I can't recommend it enough.
on 5 May 2012
As always, I did some research (reading reviews and checking prices with whats on offer here there and almost everywhere to the point where I confused myself about what I actually wanted the camera bag to do let alone whether I actually needed to get one. I'd been using an aluminium case to store and carry camera stuff around but in all honesty, it was too cumbersome and not discrete enough for my needs. I have at times also made use of an old camcorder shoulder bag but wanted something that would allow me to carry a camera, batteries, a couple of lenses and a few other bits and pieces with relative ease without breaking the bank and without making it obvious my bag or case contained camera equipment of some kind. Needless to say, like many others I am also all for saving money where I can.
Many of the shoulder style bags seem expensive for what they are and practically speaking don't allow you to carry that much and whilst you sometimes do get what you pay for I realised some time ago that "cheaper" doesn't necessarily mean you compromise as much as you may think in terms of quality or value for money. Similarly getting the more expensive "branded" item doesn't always mean you are getting value for money either especially when you can end up feeling that you are paying for a brand name and perhaps very little else when you make some direct comparisons between products.
At the end of the day its down to what you can afford, as well as practical and personal preference and don't forget this item does have a one year warranty from Amazon.
So, I took the plunge and bought this with it arriving quickly, well packaged and actually, to me, quite nicely finshed considering the "cheap" price. For my needs it is the right sort of size - not too big and not too small - for everyday or general use allowing me to carry a camera, lenses, batteries, and quite a few other bits and pieces that I may need when out and about taking pictures. The zips and tags all seem fine and the velcro "spacers" I have moved around to my hearts content to get them into the positions I want them in without problem and they seem firmly stuck in place. The shoulder straps are padded and adjustable and the carry handle on the top of the bag seems secure enough - as somebody else mentioned I think any wear on any of these items (as well as the bag itself or any other of its parts) would become apparent in good time unless you are particularly unlucky in this respect. The zips work and the zipper tags are still intact and seem secure enough. The bag I feel provides adequate protection for the equipment I carry in it and I wouldn't place my trust in just anything for the sake of it when it comes to camera equipment. There are two straps on the side of the bag for carrying a monopod - I think these will do the job provided you don't attach anything that's too heavy as I think doing so would potentially place too much of a strain on the straps over time as well as upset the balance of the bag from a practical "carrying it" point of view - a small lightweight monopod or small lightweight traveller tripod or similar would probably be okay - I don't carry my monopod attached to the bag for these reasons but I don't consider that to be an inconvenience.
All things considered, I think it's a good bag for what it offers in terms of size and portability and it would probably afford a bit of protection from a light shower to the equipment it contains because of the type of material it's made from though common sense dictates that I wouldn't leave anything out in the rain that I didnt want to risk getting soaked. The bag I have received seems nicely finished without any obvious flaws though long term use will eventually determine how well its been made. My own feeling is that it's like anything - if looked after and not mistreated I am sure it will provide good service and do what I want it to do for some time to come with any potential failure becoming apparent in good time.
So to conclude (unless I need to suddenly amend this review over the coming months and have returned it with the one year warranty in mind) - I am happy with my purchase and am equally happy to give it five stars because it suits my needs and compared to many other similar types of product at differing prices, I think represents good value for money at around twenty pounds.
UPDATE: 22nd November 2013
No issues at all with this which I still use to transport my DSLR, ancillary lenses and equipment - no obvious or apparent signs of wear/breakage as yet (though it did get a bit of an accidental proper soaking when I was caught out by a long period of heavy rain when I was in the middle of nowhere taking photos not long after I had it. Even so and reassuringly, my camera and equipment was protected adequately as though the inside of the bag felt a little damp in places near to where the external zip fastenings are, water had not fully penetrated through to the internal linings to totally "soak" the inside compartments which was my concern at the time. I simply allowed the bag to dry properly before using it again.)
FURTHER UPDATE: 15th May 2014
As I picked the bag up to go out for a shoot, the top carry strap broke on one side! Wasn't expecting that though I had packed a fair amount of stuff into it and had wondered if I was overloading it slightly - well question answered though fortunately bag didn't drop (I had a firm enough grip on the strap and the stitching on the other end of it held and I was actually picking it up off of a sofa). Anyway still in use and the remaining straps all still apparently secure and I may well attempt a repair to the broken strap in any case. Bag has lasted well with a lot of use though I have noticed the price has increased since I bought mine which I'm not sure makes it quite the bargain it was given there are many other bags out there to choose from to protect your kit.
That said and other than the now defunct top carry strap the bag has no other damage or obvious signs of wear and still protects my camera and lenses so, very much still a valuable and useable bit of kit!
on 5 May 2011
I have 2 SLR bodies, a flash, 4 lenses (from UWA to Telephoto) and power supplies and spare batteries for the cameras. It all fits into this bag, along with loads of other filters and cleaning products. It also includes handy straps and loops on the outside for tripods and other large items.
I have only traveled with this bag (long haul) once, and would certainly only use it as hand luggage, but for the money it seems well made and survived the trip with no issues. Longer term I expect it may not hold up as long as a more expensive bag, but then you could buy 3 or 4 of these for the price of some similar bags from other vendors. I also like the fact this bag is very plain and does not scream 'camera bag' when you wear it. All the contents are well protected, the padding is good and adjustable.. plus the straps and external padding make it comfortable to carry.
I would recommend this to anyone who is a 'serious weekend photographer' and needs a good bag for occasion travel and storage of their valuable camera kit.
on 15 January 2012
I bought this backpack to replace my £80 LowerPro bag as my camera kit has rapidly expanded in the last few years. When I first got a backpack for my D-SLR I made the mistake of buying a one-shouldered design by LowerPro, which after a hard days work on your feet gave me backache.
This Amazon Basics bag is very comfortable, balancing the weight across your back with added straps across your chest and round your waist should you require more support. It fits tightly to your back and I've not had any problems with discomfort.
It's spacious and versatile with velcro compartments which you can customise depending on what lenses/ items you wish to fit in.
So far I can fit: D-SLR, battery grip, 2 extra lenses, speedlight + cables, 3 battery chargers (for various size batteries), spare D-SLR, spare memory cards, plus everyday essentials like wallet, drink etc. There is also space for a mono-pod at the side.
Whilst this bag solved many problems relating to comfort and space. I have had to return two backpacks to Amazon due to the stitching breaking on the straps in exactly the same place on both bags. I'm very disappointed and am going to search around for another make. It totally failed on both occasions and was concerned that had one of the straps totally broken I could have ended up with an insurance claim on damaged/ broken camera equipment.
on 2 August 2011
It's cheap, and it's made cheaply, and it shows, but it's a bargain for what you get, loads of pockets, reconfigurable partitions and thoughtful pocket zip covers. Yes it says Amazon Basics all over the zips, but then that's part of it's stealth, nobody would guess what expensive stuff lies within. I use it more for organising my kit into one place rather than backpacking, and it works well for that.
However, the top stitching on the top carry handle pulled away, but Amazon were good enough to swap mine out.
on 21 June 2011
I received this bag extremely quickly, and straight away was impressed, the most impressing thing I have found is its size, it can hold a tremendous amount but will not give you back problems or stick out from your back it also does a very good job at not making it obvious that you have a lot of expensive equipment on your back, this was one the main reason I chose this bag over the lowepro equivalent.
I have inside the bag,
D7000 with battery grip and 70-300 lens attached with hood
50mm F1.8 (hood attached)
35mm F1.8 (hood attached)
18-105mm (kit lens)
SB-700 with all accessories still in the SB-700 holder (keeps everything in one place)
AA charger for sb-700 batteries
All of that and I still have space for my upcoming purchase of Nikon 10-24mm or Tokina 11-16mm
The outside front pockets hold of paperwork and also iPad (now the apple charger makes sense)
The inside clear pockets hold apple charger, spare AA batteries in case, lens cloth, lens cleaning spray, SD card reader, Wireless remote, 4x16GB SD cards in case, Spare lens covers and Rear mount covers.
The bag itself it lightweight and feels well constructed, very comfortable to wear although I refuse to use the waist strap part, these tuck into the back supports.
All in all i can not find any problems with the bag. I love the size and look of it and love the amount it can hold without looking obvious to everyone around me.
on 9 February 2011
This is just a great bag for the money. The build quality is good, it's well padded and there is still loads of space left after I added my 550D, 300mm lens, 50mm lens, stock lens, filters, lens hood, cable release, camera manual and more.
The only thing it needed was some small memory card pockets stitched into the inside at the top where there is a space for them.
on 7 June 2016
Overall I am very happy with this camera bag and think it excellent value at this price. I’ve been using mine for a couple of months now.
Construction is excellent with heavy duty nylon and strong stitching and zips. The back is padded. I find it comfortable to wear and carry. The build quality seems equal to that of some of the big brand names.
The main compartment is spacious; I can fit into it a Nikon D90 with an 80-200mm lens attached, a large flash unit plus a couple of other lenses. I cover quite a lot of events and usually two or three lenses are more than adequate. I’m planning to get a second D90 (2 cameras mean you don’t waste time changing lenses so often) and am hopeful it’ll hold two D90 bodies plus 2-3 lenses.
On the front is a small zipped compartment that can hold spare batteries, SD cards plus my mobile phone etc.
There is a laptop compartment – being honest this is quite small. It would hold a tablet or net book OK, but if carrying a laptop + cables etc is critical for you then I’d suggest you look at something larger. I tend not to use this compartment for much more than tablet, notebook, pens, business cards, sweets etc.
On each side is a fixed loop of strap, presumably for carrying a monopod – I do sometimes carry a medium sized monopod and it only just fits through the strap, these aren’t adjustable or elasticised and aren’t big enough for a decent sized tripod or large monopod. There is another small pocket low down on the front, I don’t use it.
On the sides are two pockets, each big enough for a compact camera or a small drinks bottle etc. One pocket holds a rain protector – I usually don’t take this with me as I tend to be working in places where I can take cover if it rains; but it’d be useful for those that venture further outdoors.
The bag has fixed waist straps. I’d prefer it if these were removable. I find the shoulder straps comfortable and secure enough as it is, but don’t like the waist straps hanging lose. It’s a minor niggle, I guess if I really didn’t want these straps I’d cut them off. Those that go hiking might find these useful.
Overall I have no regrets about buying this and expect to get several years use out of it providing I take good care of it.
For the price it’s a bargain.