EOS mE wrote in post #13822573
ok, i've narrowed my searches down to the following:
f-stop kenti - $269
kata multipro - $250
kata owl - $150
tamrac evolution 8 - $160
lowepro fastpack 350 - $122
I went on a similar quest about a year ago. I tried (and returned) the Vanguard Uprise 43 (nice design & execution, a little small for my needs, couldn't be used as a backpack), the Kata 3N1-20 (didn't love the design, access to the cameras was too small), checked out the Lowepro in store, and finally ended up with the Evolution 8.
I typically carry:
- Canon XSi w. 24-104 w. hood attached
- 10-22 w. hood removed
- Sigma 120-400 w. hood removed
- Velbon Ultrek 40L tripod (w. ball head)
- assorted stuff--batteries, memory cards, cleaning cloth, etc.
Those items all fit inside the bag, though the tripod runs the length from the main (camera) compartment up to the small top section. Most of the top section is empty--leaving enough room for lunch, a guide book, or an external flash w. pistol grip.
One thing that guided my choice was that I insist that the bag must hold the camera w. lens in a position where it's easy to grab & shoot and change lenses. For me, that means when I swivel the bag off my back and in front of me, the camera is vertical (lens down), so that it's easy to grab, and the other lenses are in the same orientation, so that I can change lenses without removing them from the bag. In other words:
I open the bag, put my hand though the wrist strap, raise the camera an inch or two, remove the 24-105 that's normally mounted (letting it slip back into the bag), open the flap over a different lens (already stored vertically with the back upmost), remove the rear cap, put the cap onto the 24-104, raise the new lens enough to mount it onto the camera body. After a little practice, I can do this without looking down into the bag (without taking my eyes of the subject).
It took longer to type up that description than to change lenses.
EOS mE wrote in post #13822573
right now i'm leaning towards the evolution 8, as it can be converted to a sling as well, which i like versatility. the kata owl looks nice to from all the reviews on
I wear the Evolution as a sling over my right shoulder 98% of the time, but the option to change shoulders or wear it as a back pack is nice. I really like that it doesn't look like a camera bag.
The bag itself (empty) is fairly heavy, but that's inevitable given the padding & capacity. I did a few things to make it lighter--replacing the metal snap-clips with plastic, shortening some of the straps, etc.
I modified the bag by removing some of the foam in the top section and using the 'extra' space to put in 4 more internal pockets. I attached a small (large jewlery sized) snap clip near all the zipper pulls, so that they can be 'locked' into a closed position for a little more security when traveling in crowded urban settings. I added an elastic cord in a zig-zag across the back--it's a terrific place to strap on a rolled-up rain jacket, newspaper, hat, etc. I also removed some of the foam in the laptop sleeve.
The laptop sleeve makes a great pocket for a small hydration bladder (camelbak).
The bag has held up very well on a couple of extensive international trips & lots of daily carry--there's some 'fuzz' on the main strap, but no loose stiching, all the zippers are good, etc. Fully loaded, the bag will easily fit into an overhead luggage compartment, and will squeeze under most airline seats, if you don't mind loosing some legroom.