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Thread started 30 Mar 2012 (Friday) 16:25
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Review: Lowepro Pro Messenger 180 AW

 
jrmy
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Mar 30, 2012 16:25 |  #1

First, allow me to preface this review by saying it's a work in progress. As I get more use from the bag I will edit this review with updated thoughts and opinions. To those considering the bag, or just curious, please feel free to ask questions or request additional photos. I will do my best to respond.

And please standby for photos. I'll get them up ASAP.

I'm a fan of Lowepro and always investigate their offerings first. I had considered the ThinkTank Retrospective 20, opting for the Lowepro as I preferred its looks. I bought the Lowepro Pro Messenger 180 AW (external link) a few weeks ago and I've had a chance to put it though its paces.

Below is a quick breakdown:

PROS

  • Looks great
  • Very well-made
  • Inconspicuous
  • Lots of pockets, pouches, and places to store gear, personal items, etc.
  • Excellent protective padding
  • Comfortable ergonomic padded strap
  • Handy top handle
  • Easy to remove/put away gear
  • Front flap features large velcro fasteners; uses magnets when in "quiet mode"
  • Water-resistant (proof?) all-weather cover
  • Zippered panel for sliding over rolling luggage telescopic handles
  • Dedicated, windowed business card slot


CONS

  • Bulky if overloaded, though this is the case for all bags
  • Depending on load, can be a bit top-heavy; tips easily without balanced load
  • Nylon fabric wears rather easily after repeated contact with clothing, ground surfaces, etc.
  • Relatively expensive, though priced similarly to competition
  • Internal velcro dividers can be a bit of a **** to position, but that's always the case, isn't it?
  • Cat hair magnet


The main compartment has two full length vertical dividers, effectively creating three sections, and two smaller horizontal dividers. There are also two pockets on either side of the interior and one zippered pocket for lens caps, cleaning accessories, condoms, lip gloss, whatever.

The bag will accommodate a pro body with grip and 70-200 attached (hood reversed) in the main compartment plus four smaller primes, or four smaller zooms, or two more 70-200 in the side sections. You'd likely have room left over for one or two flashes in the side sections and a might even be able to shove a second pro body in the front pocket. It'd be tight and uncomfortably heavy, though.

The front exterior pocket is quite deep and has a secondary pocket for accessories, a credit card-sized pocket, two memory card pockets, and two slots for pens.

The bag's exterior is flanked by two stretchy pockets, each capable of holding a large bottle of water or additional lenses and/or flashes. In addition, each side features six fabric loops for attaching even more crap.

Given the most commonly complaint levied on messenger and shoulder bags is that they're uncomfortable when loaded down, I feel compelled to remind people to wear the bag as it was intended: with the strap across your chest and the bag positioned in the middle of your back. This will better distribute the weight of the bag and alleviate most of the discomfort.

Finally, Lowepro describes the bag "slate grey" but it's more of a green-grey.

Overall, I'm quite happy with the bag thus far. It's a good-looking, protective, functional, and comfortable carry solution. Please feel free to assault me with questions and I'll do what I can to respond ASAP. Again, please standby for a photos.

UPDATE!

Recently returned from four full days in Chicago. Had the bag with me most of the time, lugging it around town on foot, to a Cubs game, into restaurants and shops, in bars, on the subway, etc.

I carried a gripped 60D, 17-55, 55-250, a 50 1.8, and a handful of accessories. At times there was a water bottle jammed into one of the exterior stretchy pockets. I even balanced a Slik Sprint Pro travel tripod across the top of the bag, under my arm.

I wore the bag across my chest, at my lower back, above my ass. Only at the end of the fourth day did I begin to notice the slightest discomfort. I had no issues getting my gear in or out of the bag. The weather was good so the only time I used the AW cover was at the Cubs game, to protect it from spilling beer.

Very happy with the bag's performance. Comfortable and inconspicuous. Never got in the way. Highly recommend it.

Check out my site (external link), as well as my gear and feedback.
5D Mark III | 16-35 II | 24-105 | 50 1.8 II | 70-200 2.8 IS II

  
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jrmy
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Mar 30, 2012 19:53 |  #2

Reserved for photos.


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Check out my site (external link), as well as my gear and feedback.
5D Mark III | 16-35 II | 24-105 | 50 1.8 II | 70-200 2.8 IS II

  
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PG1
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Location: Australia & Nth America
     
Mar 30, 2012 19:58 |  #3

Thanks. Good review. Look forward to your photos. I have the TT Retro 20 but am considering getting the Lowepro P M 200 AW.


Too much gear, not enough skill or time!
5DIII, 6D & 7D; 16-35 L, 24-70 II L, 70-200 f/2.8 II L, 100-400 L, 135 L, 35 L, 24 TSE L, 50 1.4, 85 1.8
Extender 1.4 II. 580 EX. Gitzo 1541T, 3541LS, Markins Q3T, Q20.

  
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treck_dialect
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Mar 30, 2012 20:08 |  #4

could you post a picture of you wearing? just so i can see how big it would look like being worn. thanks.


well hello
http://aleccorpuz.word​press.com/ (external link)
Flickr (external link)

  
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jrmy
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Mar 30, 2012 20:48 |  #5

treck_dialect wrote in post #14183492 (external link)
could you post a picture of you wearing? just so i can see how big it would look like being worn. thanks.

You'll have to excuse the hastily snapped, crappy iPhone pic. I'm 6' and 185 lbs, by the way.


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Check out my site (external link), as well as my gear and feedback.
5D Mark III | 16-35 II | 24-105 | 50 1.8 II | 70-200 2.8 IS II

  
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jrmy
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Mar 30, 2012 20:50 |  #6

PG1 wrote in post #14183453 (external link)
Thanks. Good review. Look forward to your photos. I have the TT Retro 20 but am considering getting the Lowepro P M 200 AW.

I'd recommend looking at it in the flesh. It's quite a large bag.


Check out my site (external link), as well as my gear and feedback.
5D Mark III | 16-35 II | 24-105 | 50 1.8 II | 70-200 2.8 IS II

  
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SMP_Homer
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Mar 30, 2012 21:13 |  #7

I have the 250AW and is massive


EOS R / 1D X / 1D IV (and the wife has a T4i)
Sig35A, Sig50A, Sig85A, Sig14-24A, Sig24-105A, Sig70-200S, Sig150-600C
100-400L, 100L, 100/2, 300 2.8L, 1.4x II / 2x II
600EX-II X3, 430EX-III X3

  
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sawjai526
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37 posts
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Mar 31, 2012 04:38 |  #8

I also receive my bag today! Your pros and cons is exactly how i would have word it. Great bag!


60D: |70-200mm F/2.8 ISL USM IS|28-135mm USM IS|50mm 1.4 USM|

  
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treck_dialect
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Mar 31, 2012 07:52 |  #9

Thanks for the pic. Considering getting this one. :)


well hello
http://aleccorpuz.word​press.com/ (external link)
Flickr (external link)

  
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Roxie2401
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Apr 02, 2012 18:58 |  #10

SMP_Homer wrote in post #14183807 (external link)
I have the 250AW and is massive


Do they make a 250AW Pro Messenger? Can you provide a description?

Thanks




  
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SMP_Homer
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Apr 02, 2012 20:55 |  #11

Roxie2401 wrote in post #14199057 (external link)
Do they make a 250AW Pro Messenger? Can you provide a description?

Thanks

They don't actually. I always mistake this and the classified line


EOS R / 1D X / 1D IV (and the wife has a T4i)
Sig35A, Sig50A, Sig85A, Sig14-24A, Sig24-105A, Sig70-200S, Sig150-600C
100-400L, 100L, 100/2, 300 2.8L, 1.4x II / 2x II
600EX-II X3, 430EX-III X3

  
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Roxie2401
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Apr 03, 2012 14:14 |  #12

SMP_Homer wrote in post #14199730 (external link)
They don't actually. I always mistake this and the classified line


Thanks - when you said it was massive, I wondered how heavy a 250 would be....




  
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2mnycars
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Location: Canada
     
Apr 05, 2012 21:07 |  #13

Where can you carry an iPad in this bag?

I have been looking, and looking, and I am thoroughly confused!

I am considering 3 bags...Pro Messenger (which one?), Retro20 Black, Billingham Hadley (which one?)

I spent a hour looking at bags yesterday, and will have to go back.

Gear
...D300S with vertical grip
...either 18-200VR or 70-300VR Mounted, with the other lens carried
at some point I shall upgrade to a better walk-about lens, replacing the 18-200VR

...Sony NEX5 with kit zoom lens
...short telephoto zoom lens

All to be carried in the passenger's footwell of a small sports car...


Dave

  
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jrmy
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Apr 06, 2012 15:43 |  #14

2mnycars wrote in post #14217396 (external link)
Where can you carry an iPad in this bag?

With any of the velcro dividers installed there's no room for an iPad, I'm afraid. You might be able to shove an iPad into the zippered (on both ends) flap designed to slide over a telescopic handles of rolling luggage. I wouldn't advise that, though.


Check out my site (external link), as well as my gear and feedback.
5D Mark III | 16-35 II | 24-105 | 50 1.8 II | 70-200 2.8 IS II

  
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Andrew_WOT
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Apr 06, 2012 17:49 |  #15

jrmy wrote in post #14221625 (external link)
With any of the velcro dividers installed there's no room for an iPad, I'm afraid. You might be able to shove an iPad into the zippered (on both ends) flap designed to slide over a telescopic handles of rolling luggage. I wouldn't advise that, though.

Why is that, works just fine for my Transformer?




  
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Review: Lowepro Pro Messenger 180 AW
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