Bags just seems to keep getting better and better. The problem with bags is there is no one solution, so you need to select a bag that will do the best possible job for the type of shooting you are doing, much the same as you would pick a camera/lens combination. Lowepro’s latest bag is a perfect “get outdoors” type action bag.
There are two versions to the Lowepro Photosport series the bigger back pack which is the 200 AW and the smaller sling 100 AW. “AW” standing for All Weather. Lowepro sent me the 200 AW so I’ll be basing my findings on that.
Everything about the 200 AW screams light weight. The pack is separated into two sections. The camera compartment and then upper compartment which is for general use.
The Camera Compartment
May as well spit it out, the camera compartment is small… is it too small? I think that could be debatable, but if you think about what this bag is meant for then I think it is just about the right size. The compartment can fit a pro sized body with lens attached and one spare lens. When they say pro sized body I usually think the 1d series or the D3 series which are large cameras. You can fit one of these in, Dan Carr proves this on his blog, however it is tight fit. This of course also causes a tight fit for anyone with a battery grip, but at least that is easily removed. I think it would have been great to increase the height of the compartment just a little bit, I’m talking 2 maybe 3 centimetres so these bigger bodies could fit in easily.
This is a sports bag which is light so being forced to only take two lenses is actually a good thing, especially after a long day hiking, or whatever it is you may be doing. Removing the battery grip is up to you, I haven’t done any long trips just yet so I’ve just left mine on. I find the problem with bags is the more room you have the more gear you take, even if you aren’t ever going to use it.
Note: If your going to leave your batter grip on you will need to put your spare lens in first before the camera and put the widest part (usually the front of the lens) in to the bag so it’s upside down.
The camera compartment is a side pocket much like you see on most sling bags, which once you take off the right shoulder strap you can easily swing around and get access to the camera.
For those snowboarders out there, and other active people that require balance, the camera compartment has an option cinch cord which allows you to tighten the camera compartment stopping all movement of your gear. This to me is a smart move and it show the Lowepro designers were thinking about what this bag may be used for. The best thing about it though is it is completely optional. Use it or don’t use it it’s completely up to you and it won’t get in your way if you don’t need it.
The personal storage
The top loading upper compartment holds 13.9 litres, which is plenty of space for a Jacket, some food and even some more gear like filters. In side the main compartment there is a zipper section which also has a key hook (perfect for me as I am always stressing about losing my keys for some reason). This main compartment is also closed up via a cinch cord, so you can really stuff it full of extra gear you might need.
Onto the other storage compartments. There are two zipper pockets in the belt strap which fit my phone and some spare cards so there are always on hand.
There is a top zipper pocket which is large enough to fit a variety of things. I can easily store a Cokin filter holder in there with 1 or 2 filters in their cases.
Lastly there is even a hydration pocket. Unfortunately the bladder isn’t included but the best thing about it is that comfort has been thought about. The back side of the backpack is made of a hard material so anything that you put into this back pocket won’t stick into your back. It would have been nice if the bladder was included however I feel that the price of this bag is so affordable that it isn’t really a negative. Plus I’ve been able to carry my 10″ tablet around 🙂 There is also a side pocket for a water bottle.
Almost forgot there is one last pocket which is on the front of the bag. You can’t close it or lock it up in anyway so you need to make sure stuff doesn’t fall out. I’ve found that it’s a great place to put the centre poll from my Velbon tripod when I need to get down low.
On the side of the bag there are various straps to attach ski poles, or tripods. I’ve found it’s better to attach a tripod to the bottom of the pack as it centres the weight. The specs do say you can attach a small tripod but I haven’t had any problems with my medium sized Velbon Sherpa 603R.
The bag specifications
So the specs read as follows, built in all weather cover, ultra light weight construction weighing just 1.3kg, hydration pocket and moulded airflow back pad.
It comes in two colours black and orange. Lowepro decided I was an orange type of guy but I have to say that it doesn’t look to bad. Black is probably a better all round type colour but I think orange is a bit of fun.
Who’s it good for?
People with an active lifestyle. What does that mean? Personally I think it’s great as a travel bag, landscape photographers and anything where you need to move around a lot.
So if your looking for a light weight pack that is comfortable and kind of a go anywhere solution then this is definitely something you need to look at.
Are there any pros? Well no it’s a bag that is meant to be light and useable and it does that better then anything else i’ve heard of. It’s comfortable and functional. Over the next few weeks/months I’ll be posting some videos of how I go about using the Photosport 200 AW, but here are some Lowepro sanctioned videos for you to look at.
Head to you nearest camera store to check out the Lowepro Photosport 200 AW, it’s an amazing bag. If your in Australia click here to find your nearest stockist. International readers you can find yours here.