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Thread started 06 May 2010 (Thursday) 10:16
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Kata Bumblebee-222 Overview - Never a Backpack Guy Until Now

 
fensterbme
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May 06, 2010 10:16 |  #1

I've never been a backpack camera bag guy, until now.

I have a number of camera bags and cases, but I've never found a backpack camera bag that I thought was really well designed or constructed that would work for me... until now. I purchased the just released Kata Bumblebee 222 , it's just fantastic and exactly what I wanted.

I will be spending over two weeks in europe this next summer and wanted something that could carry enough camera gear for some day trips, but also carry other non-camera related items. I didn't want an 'all camera' type of backpack and I wanted something that was light weight and looked very much not like a camera bag, and was both big enough but also not too large to make it practical.

I did a quick not real well planned out video overview of the bag with my Canon 5DMkII... It's much easier to show on video some of the aspects of this camera bag.

3 Min Video Overview of the Bumblebee-222 (external link) @Vimeo

Forgive the lack of editing, me saying "Uh.." every five seconds and the wildly off white balance (the MkII just can't get it right, will set a custom value before recording next time).

You can read a bunch more on Kata's web site for all the specifics of the bag:
Kata Bumblee-222 (external link) @ www.kata-bags.com/ (external link)

Front

IMAGE: http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4063/4583684687_bcfdc92747.jpg
Larger Original Image Available on Flickr:
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Back
IMAGE: http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4007/4584310346_80652eb881.jpg
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This two photos below are a close up of the camera compartment (which is fully customizable). In this photo I have the following:
Canon 5D w/ grip
Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS
Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L
Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L MkII
Canon 85mm f/1.2L MkII
2X Canon 580EX II's (I could easily fit three actually)

Open:
IMAGE: http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4016/4584251198_26da9dc13d.jpg
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http://www.flickr.com/​photos/fensterbme/4584​251198/ (external link)

Close Up:
IMAGE: http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3316/4584246838_93a94d4767.jpg
IMAGE LINK: http://www.flickr.com/​photos/fensterbme/4584​246838/  (external link)
Larger Original Image Available on Flickr:
http://www.flickr.com/​photos/fensterbme/4584​246838/ (external link)

My Gear: Doesn't Matter, but I have more than my fair share of it.
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oxepyonxo
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May 06, 2010 12:48 |  #2

That is a very nice bag. I have the kata 3n1 30, but this bag looks like it would be more comfortable.




  
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gisk
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May 06, 2010 13:22 |  #3

Great video review. Love the raised mesh design. I'm a college student and I bike to campus so I've been looking for a pack that can hold my camera gear and my laptop + notebooks, without making me look like I'm in a wet t-shirt competition. This looks like a good solution. Will definitely check it out. Thanks for the review!


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pixelshooter.net
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May 08, 2010 13:31 as a reply to  @ gisk's post |  #4

Thanks for sharing the video and pictures.

I currently own the Crumpler Karachi Outpost, and I find the capacity of that bag and the Kata Bumblebee 222 to be almost similar. The biggest and probably the only problem I have with the Crumpler is that accessing gear can be slow. It is a multi step process, involving removing the bag, finding a place where I can lay it on the ground, opening up the zips all the way to finally get to what I want to remove.

I would like to hear your experiences with the Bumblebee with respect to gear accessibility. How easy is it to retrieve your camera and lenses when you are on the street?

Thanks in advance!


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fensterbme
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May 08, 2010 16:00 |  #5

pixelshooter.net wrote in post #10144804 (external link)
I currently own the Crumpler Karachi Outpost, and I find the capacity of that bag and the Kata Bumblebee 222 to be almost similar. The biggest and probably the only problem I have with the Crumpler is that accessing gear can be slow. It is a multi step process, involving removing the bag, finding a place where I can lay it on the ground, opening up the zips all the way to finally get to what I want to remove.

I would like to hear your experiences with the Bumblebee with respect to gear accessibility. How easy is it to retrieve your camera and lenses when you are on the street?

Thanks in advance!

Honestly it's probably not too far different, and it's one of the reasons I've not really been a fan of backpacks, instead favoring Crumpler shoulder bags (I own a $7M, $6M and a Complete Seed from Twin Six (external link)with a Bucket) for lighter more urban settings where I'm moving around a lot. Or one or more Pelican cases if I'm shooting for clients in a given location and if I'm using my lighting system.

But, I've pretty much realized that there are some situations where I need more equipment than I can shoulder, but not so much that I need hard cases or if I'm continuing to move around a good bit. So it's why I bought the backpack specifically, it's kind of a bridge... and works when I need to carry something all day long (where a shoulder bag really starts to drag on you).

I've seen the LowePro (and some other's) try to do the sling route with the side load option and I think it's really interesting, but with the larger packs I'm just not sure how practical that is... I also looked long and hard at the Crumpler backpacks (being a big fan of Crumpler, even writing an article about them (external link) for JPG magazine a while back), but as cool as the Crumpler backpacks looked they didn't look laid out that smart, so I started looking at other backpacks (specifically the Kata R-103 (external link)). But I couldn't find a backpack that allowed me to use it as a photo gear backpack and at the same time allow me a seperate space to hold other non-camera gear, and I couldn't find one both functioned well but also looked kinda cool and not overly 'camera-baggish', so I didn't buy anything until I saw this appear a few months back as an advanced preview before it shipped. I was excited enough that I talked to Kata directly and to Manfrotto (their USA distributor) and was pretty excited to get my hands on it.

So to your question, I have no problems throwing my bag off my back and onto the ground and quickly changing gear. I normally have one camera on my shoulder already, and I also usually travel with other's and I could have them remove something from my pack while still on my back if I wanted (the way the Kata bags are designed you can remove a single piece of gear without everything falling out).

So for me it's not perfect, but between the bag layout, and the high end construction (and inclusion of a aluminum frame) made this bag stand out from all the other backpacks I've ever seen... and was good enough for me to drop the money to purchase one.


My Gear: Doesn't Matter, but I have more than my fair share of it.
My Web Site:
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My flickr:
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Iceaero
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May 08, 2010 18:04 |  #6

Great review! I like the video as well, first ones are always the hardest :)

I'm actually quite thankful I came across this post! I had checked out Kata bags in the past but hadn't found anything I was crazy about...until now. I'm in the market for a bag to be my 'everything but clothes' bag for a trip to Europe and this might be just what I'm looking for, exciting!

Could you comment on the usability without a laptop in the bag? My day-to-day backpack that holds my 17" laptop feels quite strange if the laptop isn't against your back.


Canon 5D Mark IV | 16-35mm f/4L | 85mm f/1.4L | 100-400L II

  
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fensterbme
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May 12, 2010 19:53 |  #7

Iceaero wrote in post #10145925 (external link)
I'm in the market for a bag to be my 'everything but clothes' bag for a trip to Europe and this might be just what I'm looking for, exciting!

Could you comment on the usability without a laptop in the bag? My day-to-day backpack that holds my 17" laptop feels quite strange if the laptop isn't against your back.

This is exactly why I was initally looking at getting a backpack, an everything but clothes type of thing, and something I could load up for a long day out.

The bag has an aluminum alloy frame that keeps the entire pack itself from being up against your back, leaving just a tight mesh with about an inch of space between the mesh and the backpack itself. So it feels exactly the same regardless of what is inside the case including the laptop.

I should also note that the bag holds it's shape/form regardless of what's inside it, which I really like, it's really easy to use and is much more like a high end backpacker's hiking pack than a normal casual backpack (camera or otherwise).

Lastly I got a message today from someone who said they were having trouble finding the backpack. Indeed not many places in the USA are stocking it yet (a number will get as a special order), but in my talking with both Kata and with their US distributor Manfrotto the warehouse indeed has them in stock.

I purchased mine from Outdoor Photo Gear (external link) out of Louisville KY, a company who seems focused mostly on gear for nature/wildlife/landsc​ape photographers. They were great and shipped it out right away and included free UPS ground shipping, so if your interested in this bag I'd reccomend checking them out.


My Gear: Doesn't Matter, but I have more than my fair share of it.
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My flickr:
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gisk
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May 12, 2010 20:32 |  #8

Is this available in any other colors? So far I've only come across the grey.


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fensterbme
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May 12, 2010 21:48 |  #9

gisk wrote in post #10170742 (external link)
Is this available in any other colors? So far I've only come across the grey.

Not that I have seen, and Kata isn't known for releasing a lot of colors for a given pack/bag, etc. The Bumblebee 222 is infact the the most different looking bag Kata sells.

Addtionally there is a lot of little specific parts that are white/grey and would represent a pretty sizable effort to sell in more colors, it's not just as easy as switching out the fabric...

... I love the light/midtone gray combo it looks really nice and stands out, but isn't over the top.


My Gear: Doesn't Matter, but I have more than my fair share of it.
My Web Site:
http://www.fenstermach​er-photo.com/ (external link)
My flickr:
http://www.flickr.com/​photos/fensterbme/ (external link)

  
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theslip
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May 13, 2010 05:20 |  #10

Finally!
A decent colored bag!


60D|Kit Lens|Sigma 30|50mm1.8|NissinDi866​|YN460II|PT04NE|Apex 140 AW| Retro10 | 055xprob+498rc2

  
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MR ­ do ­ little
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May 13, 2010 15:52 |  #11
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Thanx for the impression of the Kata 222.

Iv just sold my backpacks as they have been lying around collecting dust, Lowepro Vertex 100 AW and Kata R-103.

This bag looks very good thouhg, and is not soley a camera bag.

Will still need a backpack for when im out riding the MTB trails...


Regards
Paul L.

  
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glhs509
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May 15, 2010 16:27 |  #12

FWIW:
I leave the lens holster at home to minimize weight even more (I know it's not much, but traveling overseas I like to keep the weight down as much as possible). You still have enough dividers for the lenses in the bag itself. Another tip: you may want to have one lens and the 580(s) on one side, and the remaining two lenses on the opposite side to distribute the weight better.

Enjoy the bag! I hiked w/mine for ~8hrs or so (sans laptop) with no aches...


~Ken
Canon 1Dx, 1DMkIII, a backpack full of L and non L glass, a couple of Speedlites, and a Giottos Rocket Blower!

  
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RCengineer
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May 15, 2010 23:32 |  #13

Wow, I saw this in a store a few weeks back and thought that it looked cool, but the price just seemed over the top at $225 or so. But after seeing the video and hearing your review, I wish I would have purchased it strait away. I am new to photography so I didn't realize what a great bag it was. Thanks for the video.




  
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fensterbme
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May 17, 2010 08:26 |  #14

MR do little wrote in post #10175556 (external link)
Thanx for the impression of the Kata 222.

Iv just sold my backpacks as they have been lying around collecting dust, Lowepro Vertex 100 AW and Kata R-103.

This bag looks very good thouhg, and is not soley a camera bag.

Will still need a backpack for when im out riding the MTB trails...

Yeah, I haven't ever been a 'backpack' guy because I'm one to want to get at my gear frequently. Additionally I prefer a more casual looking shoulder bag, so I now have little collection of Crumpler's, but while I liked the styling of Crumpler's backpack's I didn't care for how they were laid out. I couldn't find a backpack that could actually allow me to carry non-camera gear as well. This backpack fit the bill for me.

But I still will use mostly my shoulder bags for going out and shooting around for myself and for smaller shoot's (for the big stuff I have a stack of Pelican's full of junk).

I wouldn't take this thing out loaded up on a Mountain Bike. I mean you definately could, I'd just be afraid if I ditched the bike on some crazy singletrack that I'd break some of my gear...

glhs509 wrote in post #10186663 (external link)
FWIW:
I leave the lens holster at home to minimize weight even more (I know it's not much, but traveling overseas I like to keep the weight down as much as possible). You still have enough dividers for the lenses in the bag itself. Another tip: you may want to have one lens and the 580(s) on one side, and the remaining two lenses on the opposite side to distribute the weight better.

Enjoy the bag! I hiked w/mine for ~8hrs or so (sans laptop) with no aches...

Glad to hear you like yours after the 8 hour hike, I've gone out for a few hours with it loaded up and it has done me well, but I haven't done a full day's hike with it.

Good idea about balacing out the lenses... that glass is the bulk of the weight.

RCengineer wrote in post #10188447 (external link)
Wow, I saw this in a store a few weeks back and thought that it looked cool, but the price just seemed over the top at $225 or so. But after seeing the video and hearing your review, I wish I would have purchased it strait away. I am new to photography so I didn't realize what a great bag it was. Thanks for the video.

The best price I've seen is $274 USD with free shipping... so if you saw it for $225 that would be a very good deal. Yeah if I were just starting out that's a lot of money to drop on a bag/backpack. But this thing is definately built to be able to used by professionals.

It all depends on your budget and priorities, if the budget would allow it's a fantastic pack... but if money is tight and if your kit isn't so large I might choose a smaller shoulder bag and save some $$$ for more core items that will improve one's photography (glass, flash, whatever).


My Gear: Doesn't Matter, but I have more than my fair share of it.
My Web Site:
http://www.fenstermach​er-photo.com/ (external link)
My flickr:
http://www.flickr.com/​photos/fensterbme/ (external link)

  
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Travelller
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May 17, 2010 10:51 as a reply to  @ fensterbme's post |  #15

Great review, thanks :cool:

Just one question, do you use hoods for your lenses? I have a Lowepro Slingshot 200aW and a Kata 3N1-33 and everything always fits perfectly, except for like the last hood... argh :rolleyes:


Traveller
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