Monthly Archives: May 2010

Black and White Steps

Here’s another shot from the Arnold Arboretum. I wasn’t really 100% sure what I wanted to do with this shot when I took it…I just knew those lines where great.

Black and White Steps

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Arnold Arboretum – Boston, MA

A few weeks ago, as an early mother’s day fun-time event, my brother and I took my mother and grandmother to the Arnold Arboretum in Boston to check out the Lilacs. If you live in the area and you haven’t checked this place out, you’re missing out. The grounds and plants are amazing…it’s a real oasis in the city.

Anyway, below are a few shots from our outing…

Lilac Bloomed

Lilac Buds

My Review of Lowepro Versapack 200 AW Dual Compartment DSLR Backpack – Black/Gray

Lowepro Versapack 200 AW

My New Go-To Camera Bag
 

 

4out of 5

Pros: Strong Construction, Versatile, Roomy, Easily Accessible Equipment, Adjustable Harness, Comfortable

Cons: Included Dividers, No Exterior Pocket

Best Uses: Travel, Transporting Gear

Describe Yourself: Photo Enthusiast

Let me just start off by saying I would give this bag 4.5 stars if I could because I think it is THAT good. This is now my go to camera bag.

I have a few trips planned to go overseas this year so I was looking for a backpack with the following:
–> Security/inconspicuous looks t deter pickpockets and thieves
–> Comfort – I’ll be wearing this bag all day, every day so it needs to be comfortable. I really wanted a backpack with a waist strap and a sternum strap.
–> Flexibility – I wanted a bag that could have the camera storage section removed so the bag could act as a small day pack if I decided to leave the DSLR at home.
–> Storage – I needed to be able to carry a jacket, bottle of water, map, personal electronics, and other travel items. It also needed to carry the following camera equipment: 5D, 17-40, 50mm, 70-200.
–> Quick access – I wanted a backpack with quick access to my camera similar to many of the sling bags that are on the market. I’m not a big fan of walking around with a camera hanging off of my neck, so quick access is the way to go for me.

To keep things short and sweet, I’m just going to list out the pros and cons I’ve discovered in the shot time of owning this bag.

Cons
–> Provided Dividers – The dividers that are provided with the bag are OK, but they really only allow you to “top load” your gear into this bag. If you try to load your gear horizontally through the side access pocket, you have to remove ALL of the padding and dividers and simply “drop” your camera in with one lens attached and that’s ALL you can carry in the lower camera section. This is kind of ridiculous if you ask me. If they are marketing this bag as being able to have quick access, they should include dividers to support this horizontal setup. Luckily, I was able to use dividers from my other camera bags to come up with a pretty good setup. Lowepro should include these dividers so they can sell this bag as a true dual setup. I showed my custom horizontal/quick access setup in the video attached to this review.
–> No Exterior Mesh Pocket – OK, this may seem nitpicky but it drives me nuts that there is not exterior mesh pocket for a water bottle on this bag. I’d rather there only be side access on only one side so they could have included a mesh pocket on the other side. Oh well, looks like I’ll be buying the SlipLock water bottle holder.

Pros
–> Comfort – This bag is BY FAR the most comfortable bag that I own. It may just be me, but I feel like the majority of camera backpacks feel like a shoebox with straps; they are just ridged and awkward to carry. This bag is different. The lower camera section has some structure to protect your gear, but the upper part is more flexible to fit to the contours of your back. Because it contours to your back, the bag has a very low profile which is great for travel. Also, this bag is longer than most camera backpacks which complements my lanky frame. The shoulder straps are perfect and the sternum strap and detachable waist strap are great for long treks.
–> Versatility – Like the name suggests, the bag is pretty versatile. The middle divider can be removed along with the camera dividers to create a decent sized backpack. Also, like I said above, the camera section can be setup for top loading or side access…if you have some spare dividers. It also has a built in rain fly and hidden tripod attachments.
–> Size/Weight – This bag weighs practically nothing…right around 2 lbs. when empty. I can load it up with all of my gear and it is still very light compared to my other camera bags. Also, this is just about the perfect size for travel. It can be broken down for easy storage and it can fit under an airplane seat with no problem. It can also store just enough stuff for a full day’s trek.

Conclusion:
If you are looking for a comfortable, lightweight, and versatile camera backpack that can carry a body, 2-3 lenses, and your basic travel gear, this bag should be on your short list.

Lowepro Versapack 200 AW

Tags: Bag, Lowepro, Camera, DSLR, How to

(legalese)

UPDATE

I’ve received a few questions since posting this review/video so I decided to make a second video to answer these questions. Hope this helps!





Help Keep the Reviews Coming!
If you’re thinking about purchasing the Lowepro Versapack 200 AW, check out Amazon.com…this is my go-to store for pretty much everything. If you click through to Amazon using the link below, I get small kickback which I use to invest in more equipment to review for you!

Amazon:
Lowepro Versapack 200 AW Camera Backpack (Black/Gray)

My Review of Lowepro Primus AW Premium Backpack – Arctic Blue

Lowepro Primus AW Premium Backpack – Arctic Blue

Mixed Feelings

By pikers from Boston, MA on 5/10/2010

 

3out of 5

Pros: Roomy, Strong Construction, Adjustable Harness, Environmentally Friendly

Cons: Heavy, Cumbersome, Camera Compartment Design, Straps Galore

Best Uses: Transporting Gear, Protecting Gear

Describe Yourself: Photo Enthusiast

I was looking for a bag that could haul a basic travel setup along with a jacket, a bottle of water, maps, and other things you may need while traveling. One other requirement was quick access to the camera. I’m not a fan of having my camera hanging from my neck all day while walking around a city; I’d rather just pull open a flap and grab my camera. This bag looked like it fit the bill so I picked one up at a GREAT price. As you can probably tell, I can get a bit wordy with my reviews so I’ll just list the major pros and cons I found this this bag:

Pros
–> Storage – Once I got the dividers setup in a way that worked for me, I could get my 5D and the following glass in the bottom section of the bag (17-40L, 50 f/1.8, 70-200 f/4L IS). In the top section I could fit basically another day’s worth of clothing and still have room for other goodies. There is also a LARGE external pocket for storage of things you may need to access quickly (e.g. jacket, hat & gloves. This pocket also has a sleeve for a camelback. You COULD fit a small laptop in there, but I wouldn’t recommend it.

–> Construction – This bag is very well made. I’ve never had an issue with Lowepro quality/construction and this is no exception.

–> Adjustability – This thing has all of the harnesses you could ever want and there are a bunch of compression straps to secure all parts of this bag.

Cons
–> Weight – This bag is HEAVY. Even when empty it weighs over almost 7lbs. I really didn’t think this was significant until I loaded up the bag. I guess this is what you have to expect from a big bag that has a huge waist belt, tons of padding and a million straps.

–> Straps – This one may sound kind of silly, but there are just too many straps on this bag. All of these straps get caught on everything which gets old fast. I understand each strap has a function but there has to be a better/cleaner way to secure you gear.

–> Camera Compartment Design – I literally removed ALL of the padding and dividers from this bag and rigged up my own setup using extra pieces I had laying around from other bags. I feel like they spend tons of time designing this bag and 5 minutes thinking about the camera section. I had a hard time fitting 3 lenses comfortably in this bag with the stock dividers/padding. With my setup, I could comfortably fit my 5D, 50mm, 70-200, and my 17-40 with no problem.

Final Thoughts:
It was a very tough decision, but I ended up returning this bag. The bag just ended up being too big and heavy for what I needed. I just couldn’t see myself lugging this thing around all day with my gear and extras.

I hope this review doesn’t deter anyone from considering the bag, just keep in mind that this thing is big and heavy. With all of its straps and belts, you can basically think of this bag as a solid daypack with a camera compartment. If you’re used to and like using hiking/camping backpacks, you’ll LOVE this bag.

Help Keep the Reviews Coming!
If you’re thinking about purchasing the Lowpro Primus AW camera bag, check out Amazon.com …this is my go-to store for pretty much everything. If you click through to Amazon using the link below, I get small kickback which I use to invest in more equipment to review for you!

Amazon:
Lowepro 35092 Primus AW Premium Backpack (Arctic Blue)