The Lowepro Fastpack 200 is a great all-round backpack for your SLR camera gear. I bought it in the Arctic Blue, which is reasonably attractive, even if it's still not the most stylish accessory around. But it's not all about looking good! This is a quality bag for carrying and protecting your kit, as you would expect from Lowepro, the biggest manufacturer of camera bags and cases for all requirements.
So, probably the most important question for a bag in my opinion, what can it carry? Here are the official specifications of the bag's capacity:
Interior: 11W X 5.9D X 9.3H in./ 28 X 15 X 23.5 cm
Exterior: 12.4W X 8.1D X 18.1H in./ 31.5 X 20.5 X 46 cm
Hmm, I don't know about you, but that just read as 'number x number x blah blah blah' to me. Here are some real world facts of what I carry in mine, probably far more useful:
- Canon 450D with battery grip. A surprising amount of camera bags and cases won't fit a pro DSLR or camera with grip attached. The Fastpack 200 has room for an even bigger camera than mine however.
- 18-55mm IS kit lens
- 70-300mm Sigma APO DG MACRO. A decent sized telephoto (although not pro size). Note that it must be fully retracted and with the lens hood reversed to fit.
- 50mm 1.8. Small prime lens, but could probably fit a larger one in its place.
- Canon Speedlite 580 EX II in its case, a tad snug of a fit, but it fits nonethless
- Practically all of the accessories I'd ever want with me: various filters, lots of SD cards, remote shutter release, cleaning kit, Gorillapod SLR Zoom; the usual photography junk.
- And there's plenty of room for non-photography stuff! Drinks bottle at the side, and a big top compartment where for example I put my iPod, DS and PSP, food... it's not enormous but it's very useful all the same.
Bear in mind that any of the lenses will fit actually attached to the camera, even the Sigma telezoom (although it might just take some slight adjustment from the default layout to allow this).
If this sounds too big or too small for your needs, there are the Fastpack 100 or 350 respectively that will fit less or more. Alternatively, the 250 is the same size but has an extra laptop compartment. This is handy and only costs a few pounds more, but I chose not to opt for this version, to avoid excessive weight and keep a slimmer profile. You may think you 'might as well' have the option, but it will bulk the bag out more with unused space.
The side compartment is a fantastic addition setting this apart from a standard backpack; like the perhaps more famous Lowepro Slingshot, the bag can be turned to the side and your camera easily accessed from a zipped compartment. This is not quite as easy as the Slingshot because it has two straps instead of one, but for optimum comfort this is far, far better and does not trade off much convenience. This function performs well, however does not allow you to change lenses, just to access your camera.
The bag is impressively well padded, both around your gear and on the back and straps for your comfort. I have back problems but have had no complaints carrying this round with me for hours. Wonderfully well designed in the comfort area, and instills a definite sense of security, reassuring your gear's safety.
The pricing is not cheap, but fairly reasonable at least. Mine cost £42.99 with delivery, which is not a huge amount to ask for when considering the high quality on offer.
Overall there is little I can fault with this bag whatsoever. Perhaps my only gripe is that lenses cannot be changed from the side, but that would have required a total bag redesign. There is also no proper AW (All Weather) cover to protect against rain, but the material seems to be naturally water resistant anyway, and has so far not been an issue for me. For what the Fastpack 200 does (and it does a lot) it is a fantastic backpack that I would recommend to anyone needing space for a decent amount of gear, non-photography items and the convenience of easy access.
There are many top producers of camera bags but they do not come much better than Lowepro. Lowepro have an amazing range of camera cases and bags, from simple cases for point and shoot compact cameras to massive backpacks suitable for carrying huge DSLR`s, lenses and laptops.
The Lowepro fastpack 200 is a middle of the range backpack from Lowepro, it can be purchased in three colours, black and blue, black and red or all black. The back pack itself is very lightweight and comfortable allowing you to stuff it full with as much heavy equipment as you might need.
Outdoor photographers rely on backpacks like this to enable them to carry all their camera equipment as well as some personal stuff too. The lowepro fastpack 200 can comfortably carry a DSLR body with a mid-range lens attached, 1 or 2 extra lenses, a flashgun and still have room for things like an IPod, spare memory cards and even a bite to eat and a tin of juice.
These backpacks are very versatile and also waterproof so no need to worry should the rain come on as it invariably does in this country. The backpack has two sections, the top section is designed for carrying some lunch, a tin of juice and perhaps things like a set of keys or your mobile phone.
The lower section is for your camera gear and this section has foam dividers that can easily be moved to exactly where you need them allowing you to set out your equipment safely and securely exactly how you want it.
The straps on the bag are of course adjustable and can be tightened to suit the smallest framed of people, perhaps thin female photographers or loosened to fit the backs of overweight, sweaty, hairy male photographers (what do you mean like me)??
The bag is very comfortable when on your back and even packed with heavy equipment it can still be carried fairly easily.
As well as being very useful this backpack also looks stylish which for me is a must, I would not be seen dead wearing some of the camera backpacks that are around. When it comes to buying this you have to take care because the price varies dramatically from place to place.
I have seen it as high as £58.99 but as low as £35.99, I personally paid £42 for mine and have been very happy with my purchase.
Size(Interior): 11W X 5.9D X 9.3H in./ 28 X 15 X 23.5 cm
Size(Exterior): 12.4W X 8.1D X 18.1H in./ 31.5 X 20.5 X 46 cm
WHAT I CARRY IN MINE:
A Sony A900 DSLR body with kit lens, a 70-300mm zoom lens, a macro lens, a Sony flashgun, various filters and a lens hood.
A portable storage device, My IPod, My mobile phone, a case with four memory cards, a spare battery for the camera and a set of spare batteries for the flashgun.
My car keys, a set of tiny electrical screwdrivers, a set of lens cleaning equipment, a notepad, a few pens and a pair of photographers gloves.
I also usually have a tin of Coke and a Mars bar in the top section and the backpack could still carry more believe it or not (not much mind you)!
This backpack will be perfect for most people and in fact may well be more than most need, as I mentioned earlier there are both smaller and larger versions of this backpack and they are all excellent both in versatility and style. I recommend this backpack strongly to anyone that does a lot of serious outdoor photography.
There is also a elasticated strap on the side which might appear to be of no purpose but this allows you to slip a tripod on to the backpack so you have everything on your back and your hands are free for whatever, all good outdoor photographers will know that there is little or no point in setting out without a tripod and they can be a real nuisance to carry, but most of today's pro tripods are carbon fibre and therefore light enough to hang from the backpack no problem.
Thanks for reading