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Buying a camera or a camcorder can be a digital nightmare: there are so many different manufacturers, reviews, and functions that it can take ages to choose one. For me, one of the most important elements about choosing somewhere safe to store it is practicality. Choosing a camera bag doesn't need to include worrying about any technical specs or how good your footage or pictures are going to be. Surely, it's just about having a bag to put it in, right?
Or so I thought. When I was tasked with finding a bag for a recent camcorder purchase, it proved to be as much a minefield as getting the camcorder itself. There are so many things to try and work out, such as storage, portability, protection, durability and of course, how the thing looks! Aesthetics can make a difference.
The Lowepro Clips 110 looks like a practical and easy to carry bag, and having done the necessary measurements online, I bought this one for around the £13 mark from amazon. It was part of a larger order, and included a number of various things, so buying it online was the easiest thing to do at the time. The only problem with this way round as opposed to buying it in the shop is that size perception is nearly impossible to gauge.
And so it proved, and when it arrived in the post, my initial thought was that it was far too small. I have a Canon MV750i, so not the most modern or compact of camcorders, and I was really worried it wouldn't fit in the case. My fears were confirmed, as I found that I could squeeze the camcorder in, just about, but zipping it up around the camcorder seemed to strain it a bit. The other problem with this is that the necessary charging cables definitely wouldn't have fit into it.
So, for me, it wasn't the most practical of purchases at the time, but then this is likely to be my fault and not a slight on the case itself. We did find another, slightly smaller camcorder that we managed to fit in along with the charging cables as well, so it wasn't a completely wasted purchase.
The bag opens from the side, with the part of it facing you in the accompanying picture coming out to the side that sort of folds out. Inside, you can see the deceptive nature of its size compared to the space for storage is down to the padding it entails. This is, of course, very good if you want security in protection for the camcorder or whatever else you decide to store in it. The foldout has a velcro separator in it, so you could have two different things in it without them bashing together. Needless to say, we had to take the velcro out in order to fit the camcorder in. Each separated compartment would probably be big enough for the tiniest camcorder or a digital stills camera, the other side perfect for cables, etc. But again, not a huge amount of space.
There are three other compartments, two flip zip pockets at either end, and one flatter and longer one on the front. As with the main part of the bag, these are deceptive in terms of space. The front pocket is heavily padded, and probably has just enough room for a short USB-miniUSB cable, or some other small cable or accessories. The two side pockets aren't quite so padded, and are probably best for memory cards and batteries, etc.
The whole bag comes with an adjustable shoulder strap, and this does result in transport being very comfortable. I'm quite broad, and it fits comfortably around my neck and shoulder, like a satchel, so a slighter person would have no problem adjusting it to a smaller strap length. It's not heavy or cumbersome, and considering the amount of padding, it's very light indeed.
The material used feels very smooth. It's quite easy to clean, although getting into the various parts of it could be a bit of a pain, so it's probably just to use it for the purpose it's intended as opposed to carrying something messy. The best way of describing the feel of the bag's exterior is like a honeycomb effect, very slightly ridged, which gives it an even sturdier feel to it. The clips are solid plastic, none of the fiddly little malleable clips that you can get on things like this. It's a sturdy and strong bag all around on the outside. There's also a top handle, which is comfy to hold and means you don't have to rely on the removable shoulder strap all the time. Inside, the material is somewhat smoother and more padded. It's silvery, and reminds me of jumpsuit padding and the reflective nightwear gear you get with fluorescent jackets. It's certainly well designed.
The only thing I will say is that it's deceptive in terms of space. The whole thing is designed to be protective as opposed to space efficient, which is commendable. Just don't be fooled, and do your research into it properly. I can happily recommend buying it if you want to know something is going to be protected properly. However, if you're looking for something to just fit in without over padding, then I'd look elsewhere. Recommended, but be aware that space it limited.