Over the past eighteen months I have purchased three bags. The first was the Lowepro Fastpack 250, which I found good for its general purpose of walking around with reasonably fast access to the camera.
The next was a Kata T216 Torso Pack. I needed this because I was already carrying a belt for my work as a tv cameraman and wanted something I could wear that would hold a 40D and three lenses. This pack did the job that was required as well. But it was very compact and I needed more space for my growing kit.
Enter the Tamrac 5612 Pro 12. This shoulder bag is one of Tamrac’s larger offerings boasting enough space for two bodies, four lenses and a flash (according to their promotional material).
Whilst I don’t have two bodies, I have managed to fill this bag quite easily with the following:
40D with grip
EFS 17-55 f2.8 IS usually attached to the camera
EF 70-200 f2.8 IS
EF 50 f1.8 II
Tokina 11-16 f2.8
580 EX II Flash
2 x Vivitar 285HV Flashes
Skyport radio trigger with three receivers
Medium Rocket Blower
Assorted chargers, cables, memory cards and manuals
The internal dimensions of the bag are 15W x 6 3/4D x 8 1/4H.
There are pockets with Velcro closures on each end of the bag for such things as cleaning accessories.
There are two zippered pockets on the front of the bag under the weather flap. These have pouches for memory cards and batteries and further zippered see through areas to store cables and small accessories. The pouches also have what Tamrac calls its Memory and Battery Management System. Basically it involves a red flap that you can fold out over the pouch to show that its contents have been used. I feel this feature is a bit gimmicky but I’m sure others would find it useful. I use some of these pouches to store my Skyports.
The inside of the lid on the main compartment also has two zippered see through pockets for manuals and other flat items. Because these pockets intrude into the main compartment and therefore the gear below, they need to remain fairly flat.
I really like Tamrac’s Lens Bridge System. It basically allows the camera to lay horizontal on the top of the dividers and the lens is cradled in a cut out divider. This allows the camera and lens to have a snug, almost custom like fit in the bag. Rather than just floating around in a compartment not specifically shaped to the camera.
The top flap keeps everything secure. It can be zipped up and then closed with four plastic buckles, or if quicker access is needed then only the buckles need be used. When this bag is loaded up it is heavy although this isn’t a fault of the bag. I wouldn’t want to carry the full weight of the bag around by the handle with just the buckles done up, not because they are no good, but because of the substantial deformation in the lid when the zipper is undone when under load.
The shoulder strap is substantial. It’s well padded, wide and shaped to the shoulder. I haven’t used it for extended periods but it’s as comfortable as expected. One thing I don’t like about it, is the fact that it isn’t easily removable. It can be removed, but lacks the metal spring clips that you see on Lowepro shoulder bags.
There are also some tripod straps on the front bottom of the bag. Whilst these are functional I probably wont use them because adding my Manfrotto 055XPROB / 488RC2 combo adds considerable weight and bulk to the bag.
In conclusion I would recommend this bag to anyone looking for a sizable shoulder bag that is considerably cheaper but just as well made as the Lowepro equivalent.