A few months ago my son offered me his well-looked-after Nikon D40 camera. As I had only owned a digital compact camera - a Nikon Coolpix S210 - up until then, I was delighted at the prospect of having a digital single-lens reflex camera. Having been given the camera, my first priority was to find a good quality camera bag to carry it around in. I didn't, however, want anything big and bulky, especially as I didn't have any extra lenses or other accessories to take along.
I started by looking at bags that were available on Amazon but decided that I wanted to actually see what I was buying to be sure of the size and quality. I went to my local branch of John Lewis as their prices usually compare well to those of other retailers. There wasn't a huge amount of choice, but the Crumpler Jimmy Bo 400 seemed to be exactly what I was looking for. It has a curved triangular shape that will easily take a DSLR camera and one extra medium-sized lens. I had a small Crumpler bag for my compact camera that was still in very good condition after two years, so I felt quite happy about going for the same make again.
The bag opens by a zip that goes round the top of the curved front section. This section opens out with pleats so that it is easier to take the camera out. Inside the bag there is a flap at the back on the reverse of which are two slim pockets. The back of the bag has a mesh pocket which is quite large but slim and would not hold bulky items.
The bag has a strong, wide, adjustable strap that can be used over the shoulder or round the waist. For those wearing it around the waist, there is an extra, narrower strap, also adjustable, that will fit round the thigh to hold the bag steady. This is perfect for walkers and hikers or for anyone who wants their hands to be free. The extra thigh strap can be tucked away inside the lining of the back if you are carrying the bag over your shoulder. There is in addition a strong fabric loop at the top of the bag so that it can be safely stored on a peg or hook.
The outer bag is very well made from a strong woven material. It is available in red, but the one I have is black with dark grey for the front and olive green piping following the line of the zip. Another colour combination is dark brown and mustard, or there is a white version for those not afraid that it might show the dirt. The back of the bag is in a mesh fabric which feels comfortable against the body. The interior is in a very soft material, so there is no danger of scratches to a camera or lens.
As well as the Nikon D40, the Jimmy Bo 400 camera bag is suitable for the Canon 450D, 100D, 500D; the Nikon D3000, D5000, D90; the Sony Alpha DLSR range and the Panasonic G1 series. It is an ideal size for a camcorder.
Crumpler is a highly reputable firm, and the Jimmy Bo 400 bag is a great one for any photographer who wants something compact and easy to carry. While it will not be big enough for anyone needing space for numerous accessories alongside a camera and lens, it is ideal for those out walking who don't want to be burdened with a bulky, heavy bag. The recommended retail price is £38, but the Jimmy Bo 400 can be found on Amazon for as little as £21.17, or in John Lewis stores for £29.
I have had my bag for nearly a year now and it still looks as good as new. It has been with me on two trips abroad as well as quite a few local ones, and it has proved to be waterproof in the rain. I carry it over my shoulder and it doesn't get in the way at all if I am carrying a backpack as well. I'm happy with the choice I made and would definitely look at Crumpler again if I needed another camera bag in the future.