Top critical review
Great bag - which comes with a free flock of geese (sound effect only)...
25 November 2017
I was looking for something a bit smaller than my Thinktank Retrospective 20 to house a couple of Fuji bodies and a couple of spare lenses for a recent trip to York. I'm finding more and more places are having bag size restrictions these days, the Jorvik Centre being one of them. This bag was well within their stated size limit (38cm x 30cm). At least they show the maximum size on their web site so you know before you get there (though I was thinking "so 38cm x 30cm x 300cm is ok??").
I was impressed with the construction of this bag for the price (£20 when purchased in November 2017). The stitching all seems to be robust and the zips feel like they'll last well enough. Good storage options with the usual velcro dividers for the main compartment. Plenty of pockets and flaps to stuff your bits and pieces like filters, lens cloth, mini tripod, cables etc and there is space for a 7" tablet in the main compartment. Protection from knocks and bumps is fine and the fabric used would keep a light shower from getting into your kit.
So now we have to move to the shoulder strap or more accurately the fastenings of the shoulder strap. The actual strap is fine. The lugs used to mount the strap to the bag squeak incessantly. I had read reviews here mentioning a creaking sound before I purchased, I thought "how bad can it really be?". Well, with my bag it sounded like a flock of Canada geese honking with every step I took. This became embarrassing. I was in York for 4 nights so I had to stick it out. The worst of it was in York Minster - it felt like I could be heard all over the building. I went down into the crypt and one of the guides they have watching over things told me she could hear me from around the corner. I popped back in later in the week and the same guide spoke to me again saying that she remembered me by my creaking camera bag! We had a laugh about it but this does illustrate just how loud this is, especially in a quiet place.
All that said I think I like the bag enough to explore ways of fixing the noise. It's the plastic on plastic of the fastenings that is making the noise. Maybe I can find a spare shoulder strap with metal fastenings, although that would then probably wear through the plastic fastenings on the actual bag.
Of course none of the above comes into play if you just carry the bag by hand. I was finding myself using the shoulder strap but lifting the bag with my hand tucked under it - anything to stop the noise - but you really shouldn't have to do that.
So three stars... Would certainly be a resounding five stars if not for the creaking noises from the strap. If Amazon can put together this bag with metal fixings for the straps at a similar price point (make it £25, if that's what it takes) then I'd dive in to buy another. It's a very useful size of camera bag. Meanwhile I will look into a DIY solution and also possibly make use of it carrying by the handles.