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FORUMS Gear Reviews Bag Reviews
Thread started 15 Dec 2011 (Thursday) 10:17
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f-stop Guru, reviewed by Sirrith

TOGGLE RATINGS BETWEEN ALL AND Sirrith (showing now: Sirrith)
Overall Rating9.5
Value for Money9.5
Must Have10
Got What I Expected10
Build Quality9.5
Carrying Comfort9.5
Fast Shooting5
Durability9.5
Compartment Logic9.5
Versatility9.5
Security10
Weather Protection8.5
Ownership Status: "own"

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List all reviews of f-stop Guru
 
Sirrith
Cream of the Crop
10,545 posts
Gallery: 50 photos
Joined Nov 2010
Hong Kong
Dec 15, 2011 10:17 |  #1

**UPDATE I** The Guru no longer comes with gatekeepers, you have to buy them as separate accessories, and the zipper pouch on the right hip belt has been replaced by MOLLE webbing as on the left hip belt.

**UPDATE II** Grey Mist colour is discontinued.

**UPDATE III** The medium pro ICU is now no longer sloped as it was when I wrote this review. The new design is the same depth the whole way through and will not fit well in the Guru. The old sloped design is now an entirely new line of ICU labelled "slope".

**UPDATE IV** The Guru now comes in Malibu Blue colour in addition to black and green

**UPDATE V** The Guru has been updated with:
-Built-in compression straps (1 on each side) which eliminates the need for gatekeepers for carrying tripods, the gatekeeper loops are still there if you want to add more straps
-Metal D-rings in the shoulder straps instead of plastic
-Neoprene padding instead of mesh on the shoulder and waist straps
-Elastic loop on bottom of bag


Hello ladies and gents, its the Christmas season again, and that means good food, family, and empty wallets.

I've been eyeing this bag for nigh on a year now, and have finally gotten the courage to splurge a bit on something photography related that doesn't actually take photos!

Why f-stop? Because of all the glowing reviews out there, their awesome photo newsletter, the fact that their bags are properly designed for hiking and carrying loads for a long time rather than just holding camera gear and then adding straps and padding as afterthoughts, and the general awesome looks.

Why the Guru? I wanted something relatively "normal" sized that could still hold all my gear + extras and not make me look like a teenager on a backpacking gap year with his every last belonging stuffed into a gargantuan monster of a bag when I am out in the city.

So I opted for the Guru in foliage green with a medium pro ICU. It comes in 3 colours by the way, foliage green, grey mist (white), and black:

IMAGE: http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7023/6516316609_47e81c8fcc_b.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: http://www.flickr.com ...s/noobography/65163​16609/] (external link)
161211-1 (external link) by noobographer (external link), on Flickr

And after that bit of rambling, here's the review.

The bag and ICU came in separate black cloth bags which I somehow managed to forget to take photos of. That speaks volumes about the quality of the product; no cheap environmentally-harmful, child choking, mountain of plastic wrapping here, oh no. The bags that come with the, well, bag, are nice enough quality and can be re-used say for carrying a spare pair of shoes or some shopping.

The Guru itself is very nicely made, water and abrasion-resistant material, it has a metal frame inside to keep the weight where it should be, great for your back and shoulders. The padding on the back of the bag is very nice, plenty thick enough, and same on the waist belt. You access your camera gear from the back of the bag, so you have to take the bag off completely. No quick access here. First you have to open the flap on the back of the bag:
IMAGE: http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7158/6516317945_8d7e9b9225_b.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: http://www.flickr.com ...s/noobography/65163​17945/] (external link)
161211-2 (external link) by noobographer (external link), on Flickr


Then you open the ICU itself, there are elastic straps in there to stop your camera from tipping out when you open the bag:
IMAGE: http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7012/6516319289_f72f2f6cf1_b.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: http://www.flickr.com ...s/noobography/65163​19289/] (external link)
161211-3 (external link) by noobographer (external link), on Flickr

This is how much space is left with a medium pro ICU in the bag:
IMAGE: http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7142/6516325801_0781dbf393_b.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: http://www.flickr.com ...s/noobography/65163​25801/] (external link)
161211-8 (external link) by noobographer (external link), on Flickr

Here's the space being partly filled up by my 70-200 f4 to give a sense of scale, there's still plenty of space left, I could probably fit another 2 of them in there quite easily with hoods on:
IMAGE: http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7165/6516327093_71186d911b_b.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: http://www.flickr.com ...s/noobography/65163​27093/] (external link)
161211-9 (external link) by noobographer (external link), on Flickr

-Tom
Flickr
F-Stop Guru review | RRS BH-40 review

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Sirrith
THREAD ­ STARTER
Cream of the Crop
10,545 posts
Gallery: 50 photos
Joined Nov 2010
Hong Kong
Dec 15, 2011 10:17 |  #2

There are a ton of pockets on this bag, there's the frontmost pocket which is the vertical zipper, where you can store a thin jacket or a magazine or something along those lines:

IMAGE: http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7032/6516315529_550715ed83_b.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: http://www.flickr.com ...s/noobography/65163​15529/] (external link)
IMG_9978 (external link) by noobographer (external link), on Flickr

They've very thoughtfully covered the top of the zip with a "hood" of sorts to prevent rainwater from leaking in:
IMAGE: http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7034/6516335957_7fd096bef7_b.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: http://www.flickr.com ...s/noobography/65163​35957/] (external link)
161211-16 (external link) by noobographer (external link), on Flickr

In case water does get in, there's a small drainage hole at the bottom, so don't put any small loose items in there or they might just fall out, its just large enough for me to pass my little finger through it, so things like AAA/AA batteries may slip through:
IMAGE: http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7006/6516337545_ec1fcf7dbf_b.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: http://www.flickr.com ...s/noobography/65163​37545/] (external link)
161211-17 (external link) by noobographer (external link), on Flickr

The zippers are all YKK with paracord easy-pull tags, good stuff:
IMAGE: http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7150/6516328099_ffd0a4b0d3_b.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: http://www.flickr.com ...s/noobography/65163​28099/] (external link)
161211-10 (external link) by noobographer (external link), on Flickr

They're also partly sealed to protect against rain:
IMAGE: http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7164/6516329253_115852f9d0_b.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: http://www.flickr.com ...s/noobography/65163​29253/] (external link)
161211-11 (external link) by noobographer (external link), on Flickr

-Tom
Flickr
F-Stop Guru review | RRS BH-40 review

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Sirrith
THREAD ­ STARTER
Cream of the Crop
10,545 posts
Gallery: 50 photos
Joined Nov 2010
Hong Kong
Dec 15, 2011 10:18 |  #3

Then there's another front pocket behind the first front pocket which has many places to store small items like chocolate bars, your passport, batteries, etc... There's even an attachment with a keyring to attach your keys or wallet to and stop them wandering around in the bag or falling out:

IMAGE: http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7032/6516324523_389d0273f0_b.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: http://www.flickr.com ...s/noobography/65163​24523/] (external link)
161211-7 (external link) by noobographer (external link), on Flickr

There's a velcro'd opening for a hydration tube, you can add a hydration bladder inside a specially made pouch which doubles as a laptop pouch (unpadded) in the main compartment of the bag:
IMAGE: http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7021/6516321201_f501c22a84_b.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: http://www.flickr.com ...s/noobography/65163​21201/] (external link)
161211-4 (external link) by noobographer (external link), on Flickr

And a loop for the tube to pass through on the right shoulder strap to stop it swinging about and being annoying:
IMAGE: http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7152/6516323147_a920a8284d_b.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: http://www.flickr.com ...s/noobography/65163​23147/] (external link)
161211-6 (external link) by noobographer (external link), on Flickr

There are water bottle holders on either side of the bag, which can also double as a tripod holder using the gatekeepers:
IMAGE: http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7015/6516331497_dbee8e23b4_b.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: http://www.flickr.com ...s/noobography/65163​31497/] (external link)
161211-13 (external link) by noobographer (external link), on Flickr

The gatekeepers are basically straps you can move about and use to strap things to the bag like a sleeping bag or tripod:
IMAGE: http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7028/6516313005_28d44a8447_b.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: http://www.flickr.com ...s/noobography/65163​13005/] (external link)
IMG_9998 (external link) by noobographer (external link), on Flickr

And they're spring loaded:
IMAGE: http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7142/6516334343_0b7c865680_b.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: http://www.flickr.com ...s/noobography/65163​34343/] (external link)
161211-15 (external link) by noobographer (external link), on Flickr

-Tom
Flickr
F-Stop Guru review | RRS BH-40 review

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Sirrith
THREAD ­ STARTER
Cream of the Crop
10,545 posts
Gallery: 50 photos
Joined Nov 2010
Hong Kong
Dec 15, 2011 10:19 |  #4

There are attachment points on the front for 2 straps (default configuration) and another 2 on each side so you can strap things to the side of the bag rather than to the front:

IMAGE: http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7003/6516330391_b0ea6ac1c9_b.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: http://www.flickr.com ...s/noobography/65163​30391/] (external link)
161211-12 (external link) by noobographer (external link), on Flickr

I think thats the main stuff covered, at least, its all I can think of at the moment.
Now the random stuff:

There's even a pocket on the backside of the flap you open to access the ICU!
IMAGE: http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7010/6516322311_43308bed55_b.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: http://www.flickr.com ...s/noobography/65163​22311/] (external link)
161211-5 (external link) by noobographer (external link), on Flickr

This bag is pretty much the perfect hiking/day bag, its a great size, not too large, not too small, looks great, is built very well, is extremely comfortable, and is very well thought out. I'd recommend it to anyone looking for a backpack style camera bag for outdoor activities.

Oh, one last thing, mine seems to be having a bit of an identity crisis:
IMAGE: http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7151/6516332653_1d7690ff32_b.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: http://www.flickr.com ...s/noobography/65163​32653/] (external link)
161211-14 (external link) by noobographer (external link), on Flickr

:D

I hope you found this review helpful!

edit:
as requested, a photo of the bag being worn (sorry about the white balance, I had 3 different light temperatures working against me there) for reference, I'm ~175cm tall:
IMAGE: http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7141/6518914915_a6e98f136c_b.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: http://www.flickr.com ...s/noobography/65189​14915/] (external link)
IMG_8607 (external link) by noobographer (external link), on Flickr

-Tom
Flickr
F-Stop Guru review | RRS BH-40 review

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mnml
Senior Member
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578 posts
Joined Apr 2011
Ladera Ranch, CA
Dec 15, 2011 15:37 |  #5

That's a nice looking bag. I like how the compartments are accessible from the back.


Sony A7II | Sony 85/1.4 GM | Sony 24-70/2.8 GM | Rokinon 14/2.8
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rklepper
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8,994 posts
Joined Dec 2003
No longer living at the center of the known universe, moved just slightly to the right. Iowa, USA.
Dec 15, 2011 16:46 |  #6

Can you post one of you wearing the bag. I am really thinking this is my next bag, but can find no photos of anyone wearing one. Thanks


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digital_AM
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5,396 posts
Gallery: 1 photo
Joined Dec 2010
Texas
Dec 15, 2011 19:00 |  #7

Great looking bag and very functional. Good review too. Yes photos with you to give some scale would be nice.


Sony α7R II / ILCE-7RM2, α6000 / ILCE-6000 | Sony Sonnar T* FE 55mm F1.8 ZA | Carl Zeiss Loxia 21mm F2.8, Loxia 85mm F2.4, Batis 18mm F2.8 | Voigtlander Heliar Ultra Wide-Angle 12mm f/5.6 | Tokina AT-X 90mm f/2.5 macro |

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Sirrith
THREAD ­ STARTER
Cream of the Crop
10,545 posts
Gallery: 50 photos
Joined Nov 2010
Hong Kong
Dec 15, 2011 20:12 |  #8

Thanks for the comments, I've updated the last post with a photo of me wearing the bag as requested :)


-Tom
Flickr
F-Stop Guru review | RRS BH-40 review

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RandyS
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1,046 posts
Joined Dec 2009
Minnesota
Dec 15, 2011 20:55 |  #9

Thanks for that review and all the photos. That looks like a great bag.




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boingy
Goldmember
1,052 posts
Joined Apr 2011
Sacramento, CA
Dec 15, 2011 22:31 |  #10

That's a nice bag! What was the total cost for the bag and ICU?


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Sirrith
THREAD ­ STARTER
Cream of the Crop
10,545 posts
Gallery: 50 photos
Joined Nov 2010
Hong Kong
Dec 15, 2011 22:40 |  #11

RandyS wrote in post #13552025external link
Thanks for that review and all the photos. That looks like a great bag.

Thanks! It really is, hopefully it'll stand the test of time. My last bag has lasted around 10 years and its still going, so it has a lot to live up to!

boingy wrote in post #13552387external link
That's a nice bag! What was the total cost for the bag and ICU?

It was $245 for the bag + 1 ICU, its $295 if you want 2 ICUs or $195 for just the bag. I also paid around $30-40 for shipping, can't remember the exact amount.


-Tom
Flickr
F-Stop Guru review | RRS BH-40 review

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triton3k
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3,358 posts
Joined Aug 2011
The Bronx, NYC
Dec 17, 2011 08:36 |  #12

looks like a great bag. How is it with carrying your cam with a grip? Is it snug or a good fit?
I've been thinking of getting a Dakine Sequence backpack.


Denn_Ice
Yashica Mat 124G, Canon A1, Sony A7RII, Sony Fe 16-35 F/4, Sony Fe 28 F/2, Sony Fe 55 F/1.8 Canon FD 24 F/2.8, FD 50 F/1.8, FD 135 F/2.5, Canon FL 50 F/1.4
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Sirrith
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Cream of the Crop
10,545 posts
Gallery: 50 photos
Joined Nov 2010
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Dec 17, 2011 08:55 |  #13

I should imagine it would be just fine with a gripped camera. I don't have a grip on mine, but I can fit it standing on its side in the ICU and still have some room to spare. They market the pro ICUs (other option is shallow ICU) as being designed to fit pro cameras, i.e. 1 series etc...


-Tom
Flickr
F-Stop Guru review | RRS BH-40 review

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triton3k
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The Bronx, NYC
Dec 17, 2011 10:51 |  #14

^kool. I'll keep that in mind to go for the larger ICU if I decide to get the bag.


Denn_Ice
Yashica Mat 124G, Canon A1, Sony A7RII, Sony Fe 16-35 F/4, Sony Fe 28 F/2, Sony Fe 55 F/1.8 Canon FD 24 F/2.8, FD 50 F/1.8, FD 135 F/2.5, Canon FL 50 F/1.4
Check me out on flickr (external link) Tumblr (external link) Instagram (external link) 500PX (external link)

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amachi
Mostly Lurking
17 posts
Joined Aug 2009
Dec 21, 2011 21:15 |  #15

Considering of getting a guru.

A question.. When using medium pro icu, do you find it hard to get lens/camera out of the bag?
From what I see, seems like when the flap on the back is opened, there are certain parts of the icu being blocked.




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