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My first DSLR was a Canon 400d which fitted nicely in an in-expensive Jessops bag without any bother.
My first full frame Canon camera needed something a bit bigger.
I browsed and found this exact LowePro bag for DSLRs on Amazon.co.uk and bought it for about £15.99.
It comes with Velcro separators that divide your bag into sections on the inside. To fit my large camera in I had to remove all of these. Even when I did I realised that with a zoom lens attached I would find it hard fitting my camera in and it would have to sit LCD screen facing down.
So I think I may have made the wrong decision buying this size bag. Never the less I still use it. It has a shoulder strap and two side pockets. Both have zips but only one is a proper pouch in a mush as it is an individual pocket you can store batteries or memory card in. The other takes you through to the inside of the bag itself in order for a quick route to what you may have stored inside the bag.
At the top of the bag there is a robust handle made partly out of rubbery plastic. This and the shoulder strap are very comfortable carrying around. The bag clips shut and is very nicely padded with soft material on the inside and so provides some protection against knocking. It has a very thin tuck-in pouch at the front of the bag also for loose pieces of paper. Personally I would have liked a few additional pockets too.
I would rate this bag well despite not being able to house my camera.
I purchased this shoulder bag for a relatively small price (around the £20 mark) from my local argos as i needed a better way of carrying my canon 450d around, this seemed perfect not being too big and something i could throw over my shoulder.
The bag is a really nice build and has a nice finish to it which makes it very sturdy. The bag seems to have two compartments one being hiden under a clip like mechanism which is really quite small particuarly with the all weather cover being stored in here too, so the only real item i can get in here is a set of batteries and perhaps a memory card or too. But for me this area of the bag remains relatively unused.
The main interior however is different alltogether and has a rather large storage area for the bag which is sealed by using a zip of which the top comes almost all off for very easy access. The main interior also comes with a divider column where by using velcro can be adjusted at the bottom of the bag. I find this function useful for seperating the camera body from the lenses that i also store in the box, preventing them from clashing together and causing any damage. There is also a small piece of material which is incredibly soft which can be left along the top of the stored equipment to offer an even greater level of protection from dust and what not. But this fabric cover attached at one end has actually started fraying for me which has left bits of fluff at the bottom of the case which has been a bit of a nuisenance in some circumstances.
The main compartment aslo features a netting like feature at the bottom of the bag which i use to store a small external flash and also has a compartment on the lid of the bag which i find most useful for storeage of memory cards, as it is sealed by vecro itself so i can be assured that the cards wont come loose and get lost!
In all the bag can store the main camera body, a flash and a lens, although without the lens could accomodate two lenses. This bag is therefore not ideal if you wish to carry more gear than this, but is rather designed for light travel which is often most suited to myself. The only problem that bothers me with this shoulder bag at times is the clips which attach the bag to the shoulder harness, i feel that these are rather delicate and could be open to theft. So may not be ideal for busy commutes etc such as the underground as the bag could be pinched relatively easily by unhooking the bag at one end and pulling at it.
Another problem is the all weather case, when pulled out is a grey cover with an elasticated edge which is supposed to fit over the top of the bag to prevent its contents from getting wet, im not happy with this cover however as the cover doesnt want to sit on top of the bag and it just comes off, this would be particuarly annoying in a windy area when it starts to rain, it offers little protection and may result in damp equipment.
I generally dont use this quite as its designed for instead tend to remove the straps and drop the back into a larger rucksack for travel, as the bag is waterproof and obviously cannot risk a wet camera! The handle on top of the camera case is also one of my favourite parts of the case itself being a foamy light material which makes it perfect for me in terms of lifting it in and out of the rucksack i carry.
In all i find this a relatively decent entry level camera bag, but personally will upgrade as i invest in better and more equipment, as my hobby of photography grows at an alarming rate!
BAGGING A BAG
I recently celebrated my 40th birthday by treating myself to a new Nikon DSLR camera. Having made this significant investment, I needed a way to store and carry the body, lenses, extra battery, memory cards and various other bits and pieces that make up an amateur snapper's camera kit.
Although I buy most things on-line, internet shopping does have its limitations. There is no substitute for actually getting your hands on certain products before you buy them. My DSLR was no exception, and I spent a fair bit of time in Jessops getting a good feel for it before actually ordering it from Amazon for a substantial saving.
Seeing no reason to change this successful formula, I visited a number of local camera shops and looked at a bewildering array of bags before settling on what looked like a fair compromise between quality, size and price. Sure enough, when I finally settled on purchasing the Lowepro Altus 140 shoulder bag, I managed to find it for a whopping £20 less on-line than in the shops.
EXTERNAL LOOK & FEEL
The Lowepro Altus 140 is a roughly square shaped camera bag measuring approximately 8in (H) x 8in (W) x 5in (D) with a top-opening hinged flap secured by an adjustable clip. The exterior material is a rough, robust matt black polyester that I have often seen described as Cordura. There is a padded handle on top of the lid, plus a lengthy, fully adjustable shoulder strap with a shoulder pad that has a slightly rubberised underside for better grip. The shoulder strap is attached to the bag via two hefty and well anchored clips, and can easily be detached if you decide not to use it.
A pair of generously sized belt loops completes the trio of carrying options, although to be fair, once fully loaded, I can't see how wearing this bag on a belt around the waist could be remotely practical. The bag is well constructed and well padded with tidy stitching and excellent finishing, giving it a high quality feel. My only minor criticism would be the absence of rubber or hard plastic pads on the bottom, which would stop the bag from picking up dirt or moisture when placed on the ground.
INTERIOR & STORAGE
The interior is made of a soft, padded grey material advertised as a "tricot lining". Inside the main compartment, you will find two fully adjustable Velcro partitions, which help separate the main camera body and lens from any other accessories you plan to keep in it. One of the partitions completely encloses a compartment which is accessible from the outside of the bag by zipper, and is intended to house a second lens. The other, which is not externally accessible, is suitable for extra batteries, lens caps, or perhaps an externally mounted flash (which I don't have).
There are two further storage areas. The first is under the main flap, in the form of an expandable pocket which runs the height and width of the bag, and the second is a zippered pocket with two smaller Velcro secured storage pockets inside, one of which is helpfully illustrated with a picture of a memory card. The various storage options provide plenty of space for the amateur photographer, but I came to realise quite quickly after buying it that it will also be very easy to outgrow.
OUT & ABOUT
This bag has been my constant companion since I bought my camera in early April, and served me well during my recent trip to Armenia. Safely slung across my body and over my shoulder, it was equally at home on the broad boulevards of the capital city of Yerevan, as it was bouncing around as I scrambled into and out of ruins, caves and mountain paths in the wild Armenian countryside. The padding for the shoulder - which is threaded through the strap - is generous, very comfortable and secure. In short, the bag proved itself a hardy and versatile performer, and, after ten days of intense use, I quickly learned its strengths and, unfortunately, some of its limitations.
The first issue is storage space. I have two lenses for my DSLR. The 18mm to 55m kit lens, which, when reduced to its smallest size, is about 4 inches long. The second is a 55mm to 200mm zoom lens, with detachable hood, which is about 5 inches long at its smallest. As most photographers will realise, for general use and landscapes, the smaller lens is probably the more versatile.
The problem is, the bigger lens does not fit in the specialised side pocket reserved for it, which means that it has to be attached to the camera for the lens and the camera body to be stowed neatly in the bag. Since I use the smaller lens more frequently - which does fit - neatly and safely, into the side pocket - I have to change the lens more often, and every time you do that outdoors, you risk dust and dirt getting into the guts of your camera. I have managed to put up with this inconvenience so far, but it's a point to keep in mind before buying any camera bag. In my case, I hadn't purchased my zoom lens before looking for a bag.
The second issue is the top opening hinged lid. On a minor note, you need to make sure that the outside flaps of the lid actually tuck over the sides of the bag to prevent anything falling out or dirt getting in. However, the bigger problem is that it is incredibly easy to forget that the flap is not secured by the locking clip and pick up the bag from the carry handle which is anchored to the centre of the lid. I have, on two occasions, almost deposited the entire £800 contents of the bag onto the pavement by accident. This issue could have easily been avoided by anchoring the handle to a more stable point.
The bag is robustly constructed with well thought-through storage (the lens issue is mostly my fault) however, given that it's main purpose to protect its expensive contents from harm, the issue with the lid is, in my view, a major design flaw. However, depending on how conscientious you are about closing the lid, the reduced price of £14.99 from Amazon.co.uk may still represent good value. As for me, it'll do for now, but as soon as I add another bit of kit (flash, another lens etc.) I will be looking for a replacement.
© Hishyeness 2010