After acquiring the Crumpler Beefy pocket (see this thread) i couldn't resist looking at Crumplers other offerings in the Holy Cow Leather bag series.
So recently i received the Crumpler Master Delhi 510 from Amazon UK which seems to be the only place where you can get this bag, since it seems to be discontinued in this particular size (that's what 510 stands for).
My take on shoulder bags is that they are useful when you need a small amount of gear that you don't need to carry over a great length of time.
I already have a excellent Lowepro Stealthreporter 400AW which takes more then my shoulder likes....
It lacks a laptop pocket though which is the reason i was contemplating getting a new shoulder bag to begin with.
My main use of for this bags is for smaller events where i don't need a lot of gear but where i need to access and change lenses easily. For this a shoulder bag is better suited then a backpack.
***Update "mini review"***
Iv now used the Master Delhi for a few days and here follows my impression of it.
My requirements when acquiring this bag was the following:
- Small as possible
- Fit my 13" Macbook Air
- Fit a A900 with lens attached plus 1-2 lenses
- A bag to use on smaller events/concerts where i don't need that much gear
Onto the bag.
The quality on this bag is excellent as one expect from Crumpler, this bag being in their Holy Cow Leather series make it stand out though.
The stitching on the leather, the zipper, velcro and fabric is all top notch. It really feels like a solid product when you pick it up.
Now of course i haven't used it more then a week so my impression is just based on how the bag looks and feels. Maybe time and use will tell differently.
But for now it get's top scores for quality.
This is not a standard shoulder photobag since it has something called a photo pouch, which makes this bag a lot more interesting at least to me.
This layout and design allows you to remove the photo pouch and use the bag as regular laptop/messenger bag. Which is quite neat if you ask me, and quite logical given the design and looks of this bag.
There is of course limitations and compromises with such a design, for instances the main front pocket "shares" space with the main compartment where the photo pouch is located. Which means that if you want to carry a flash in the front pocket, it wont be possible unless you remove the photo pouch, and once you fitted the flash you will really have to work hard to get the photo pouch back in there since the flash protrude into the bag.
So larger items in the front pocket is only practical if your using the bag as a regular messenger bag.
The "lid" of the photo pouch can be held up with a velcro strap going thru the top handle of the photo pouch this so you will have quick access to the gear inside when you open the main flap. You can of course have it top open/close separately with the zippers on the pouch.
One downside if you do attached the "lid" to the main flap is that the access to the laptop compartment is blocked, now it doesn't take more then a second to undo the velcro and take out the laptop but it's worth mentioning.
You can of course customize the photo pouch with the provided dividers, if you don't need a lens attached the pouch can hold at least a pro body (non gripped) a 70-200/2,8 , 85mm prime and a 50mm prime. (There are dividers so you can stack lenses on top of each other as well)
The laptop compartment is rated to hold 12-13", my MBA 13" fit's perfectly anything bigger then 13" won't fit though.
Inside of the main compartment where the photo pouch sits, there are pockets on all sides, these can be used for memory cards, card readers, wallet, MBA superdrive etc. Thicker items then the mentioned above won't fit when you use the photo pouch though.
Large leather flap has a big zipper pocket that can hold quite a bit of stuff as well, cd's key's documents
The size (510) is perfect for me, but for gripped bodies or for more gear i highly recommend the larger sizes such as the 620 or 770. You don't have much choice anyway since the 510 seems to have been discontinued.
I find the layout to be quite good considering it's compromise between a photobag and messenger bag.
My biggest gripes with shoulder bags, and especially Crumpler shoulder bags have been their boxy design. And to be honest it still is...however if your gonna carry a laptop it really doesn't matter if the bag conforms to your body since the laptop wont...
So i have accepted the fact lol. Should be noted that the Master Delhi is quite a bit smaller then the fullsized shoulder bags from Crumpler. This of course reflects on how much you can fit in the bag, but for my needs it quite perfect.
The shoulder pad is nice and comfortable to wear, the strap it self is heavy duty and the buckle to adjust it is welll…even more heavy duty..
It does have a support strap that can go over your chest (iv tucked it in the shoulder pad on the images) but i never used it.
So while the bag isn't as soft and moldable to your body as a Lowepro Stealthreporter it's comfortable enough. A positive feature of the more robust design is that i feel the Master Delhi will protect my gear a a lot better then the stealhreporter against bumps and daily use.
Top notch quality
Can serve as both a photo and messenger bag
A very stylish design that doesn't scream photobag
Due to it's "dual function design" the front pocket is limited in use, and laptop access can be less straightforward when compared to other bags.
Master Delhi 510 and Beefy Pocket 13" side by side.
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