Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Outdoor Camera Bag Review

If you have been following this Blog for a while you might recall that quite a few months ago a few of the contributing photographers received a sponsorship from Singer Photographic which included a range of camera bags and backpacks.

The guys have been using these bags every day when doing game drives and bush walks so you can be sure that they have been thoroughly tested in the great outdoors!

Here are some of the photographers feedback on the different bags that they have been using.

David Guest - Lowepro Flipside 200

The bag has helped me tremendously in avoiding dust on my gear, the last bag I had was a complete embarrassment compared to Lower Pros.

I have done walks with it where sometimes I get a bit attached to the prominent thorns on trees by accident, this however leaves the bag still in one piece, it has good rigidity. Obviously it hasn't rained yet so can't give any feed back on their endurance in rain. All the compartments are a real bonus for anything and everything. I have used it for camera bits and pieces to documents, from stationery to samples from the bush.

The bag works well in this environment. No pics of it on me. You no us we're never in our own photos!

Riaan Kruger - Lowepro Flipside 200

The bag works wonderfully well when one does a walk and take just a few lenses and the body with you. Once you start taking filters and a lens cleaning brush there aren’t really little pockets or sleeves to store smaller accessories (there is one on the side for memory discs etc.) If one travels a lot the chargers and extra batteries need to be put in a separate bag as no storage for that. The charger is actually a minor problem as this does not go our when shooting but rather the smaller accessories.

The zipper is also on back side of the bag where the slings are going over your shoulder. When you on a vehicle and do a lot of driving and you have to take your camera out of the bag more often the camera hooks on to the slings.

The biggest plus about the bag is that it is compact when you are travelling and you only take your selected equipment with you. All of the above is from a very critical point of view and the overall bag is fantastic.

Grant Marcus - Lowepro Vertex AW 300

First I would like to thank singer photographic for the sponsorship by Lowe pro. As wild life photographer you always need a good bag or case to protect your gear against the elements. Singer photographic supplied me with a bag that does that and more. With all equipment there are pros and cons.

- The bag is big enough for any camera body with a big lens up to a 70-200 and additional lenses and bodies.
- The bag got enough space inside for all your accessories. Outdoor storage panels provides easy and quick access for my digital accessories like filters.
- Very important are the zips, they are wide and strong YKK zippers with a canvas strip covering the zip to keep the dust and moisture out, I like!! Normally it is the first thing that packs up of a camera backpack. This one looks and feels stronger than any of my other bags.
- Most of the bags you get are not padded enough for heavy equipment, but the 300 are very sturdy on the out and the inside and your camera is very well supported on the bottom, top and sides. That’s the first thing I look for when buying a bag because I am outdoor and in a 4x4 vehicle most of the day, that goes apart with a lot of bumping around.
- All the straps on the bag are very comfortable for when walking long distances with your equipment and they are very supportive to the lower back. Another bonus is that the harness is so lightweight and comfortable.
- The material used for the 200 are excellent and specially for outdoor use well that is what I think and I am sure most wild life photographers will agree!!
- The reason you would get a bag like this is to protect your equipment against the elements. especially in the summer , I do work when it is raining. This bag has its own all weather cover, well tugged away at the bottom of the bag, neatly zipped away. Very important….. it is easy accessible! - There are three areas on the bag where you can fasten your tripod with an adjustable glide lock.

I really don’t have anything negative to say about the bag. The only thing for me is the time it takes to get my camera out of the bag is an issue. I loose that vital first few seconds of the shot. This is where I think a hard case is better, especially for me on the vehicle.

I really can not fault the Vertex 200 I am honestly very happy. It is the best bag I have ever owned. This bag gets a 9/10 from me especially for protection and padding.

Gerry van der Walt - National Geographic Medium Photographic Backpack

Initially I was not quite sure how this bag would measure up against the various Lowepro bags we received from Singer Photographic in Johannesburg. National Geographic is obviously very well known for it's outdoor adventures and I was keen to see whether this bag would live up to these high standards.

To start with, this bags has the looks. It looks good on your back, next to you in the game drive vehicle or even a shopping mall. There are a lot of small, hidden compartments which makes it possible to carry everything from business cards to binoculars and even a 17inch laptop without it getting mixed up with your actual camera gear.

Even though it is a relatively tight fit, I was able to fit the following equipment in the bag:

  • Nikon D300 with Sigma 50 to 500mm lens
  • Sigma 28 to 200mm lens
  • Macro Filter Set
  • Nikon SB600 Flash
  • Sony T100 Digital Camera

There really was not anything major I could find wrong with this bag. If I had to be picky I would say that it takes a few seconds to get the zip open and your camera out but our circumstances are unusual. For anybody who is looking to get something like this to travel or hike with it would be perfect.

When you walk the bags sits extremely comfortably on your back. I also quite liked the way the bag gets more and more attitude as you use it. The zippers last well and even the small pockets that closes with Velcro has lasted perfectly even after being used every day in very hot and dusty environments.

As the rainy season approaches I will have to relook my options as this bag is not waterproof and when it rains in Africa you know about it! Apart from that I could highly recommend it to anybody looking to get a good looking, rugged and functional camera backpack. Even when I move my camera gear to a Storm Hard Case for the rainy season I will keep this bag for my own personal non-camera use.

This bag lives up to National Geographic's spirit of adventure. Great look. Great functionality. Great product!

We are all going to continue using these products and will give periodic feedback. If you have been looking at any of these products and still need more info before purchasing please do not hesitate to contact me. I will be happy to supply you with any hands on info but know that you can use any of these products with confidence!

A great big thanks goes out to the guys at Singer Photographic for supplying these bags!

Will be back soon with more wildlife & nature images as well as an update on all the 'upgrades' done to the various Photo-Africa sites.

As always I look forward to hearing from you.

Until next time.


No comments: