Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Looking for a camera "day bag"

After carrying my Lowepro SlingShot 200AW bag around for just a few hours in downtown Atlanta one day, it became obvious that this was not the right bag for me. The Lowepro is a nice bag and seems to be built very well, but the design puts the weight in an awkward position and resulted in a lot of neck and back pain within the first hour of wearing it. I even took out most of my gear, just bringing my Canon 30D, three lenses, a spare battery and some filters. Fully loaded, there's no way I am carrying this around.
Lowepro Slingshot
It was probably more a case of my equipment outgrowing my bag much more quickly than I thought. I decided that I would need a larger backpack to carry everything when flying or taking a road trip, plus a smaller bag for short day trips and walking around town. The backpack can wait a little longer so I went on the hunt for a comfortable, good-looking camera bag that could hold my 30D plus a couple of extra lenses. After looking for days and days I made a decision to get the Domke F-2 bag in the cool olive-drab color. I loved the military look and the F-2 seemed to get nothing but good reviews. But the day after I placed the order I discovered the Crumpler line of bags. These looked too good to pass up, so I ordered one to compare, knowing that Amazon would accept a return for the bag I didn't want.
First to arrive was the Domke F-2:
Domke F-2 outside
This bag fits the requirement of cool looking, and will easily hold my 30D and 4 extra lenses with lots of room in the pockets for other stuff. The inside has a 4-hole padded divider that can move anywhere in the bag from side to side.
Domke F-2 inside
The first problem I have with this bag is the two metal hooks that secure the top flap. They are kind of hard to open and close with one hand and a little sharp on the bottom. The flap has some Velcro to hold it as well, so I suppose you could leave the hooks unfastened when walking around. The other problem I have with this bag is the way the divider makes the interior space a bit awkward for putting my camera in. You really only have the choice of putting the camera in the end not taken up by the divider.
Domke F-2 inside with camera
It just didn't feel right trying to get my camera in and out when pushed all the way to one side. I was afraid of hitting the metal hardware that holds the strap too. I would prefer to have two separate dividers so that the camera could sit in the middle. The only other issue I have with the Domke F-2 is that it is just a little too big for what I need. I like that it's made in the USA and I am sure it would be a great long-lasting bag, but once I received the Crumpler, my decision became pretty easy.
Crumpler outside
I opted for the Six Million Dollar Home model after reading reviews and discussion boards. It seemed to be about the right size I was looking for, and it was. The exterior color scheme is great but I am not 100% crazy about the interior green. But I can live with it.
Crumpler inside
What I love about this bag is that I can put my 30D right in the middle and still have plenty of space on either side for two larger lenses or 4 smaller lenses. With my longest lens, the Canon 100mm f/2.8 macro, the bag has plenty of depth. It could probably handle a larger, longer lens too.
Crumpler inside with camera
I like the single quick-release latch on the front flap. It only takes one hand to get this bag open. The strap seems strong and comes with a matching pad that wraps around the strap wherever you want it. The build quality seems very good and a little stiffer than the Domke. I feel a bit more secure carrying around the Crumpler.
So the Domke is headed back to Amazon and my barely-used Lowepro SlingShot will be up for sale soon. Now to pick out a backpack!

1 comment:

Tasche said...

Very good tip! I have a Crumpler Jimmy Bo. After I got taken on a new DSLR, is now such a large bag in question and Crumpler is always a good choice - for the small photo tour, eg Sightseeing, walking, etc., so for camera with lens and possibly one other interchangeable lens. Thank you