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on May 5, 2012
I have a small kit - a Sony A55 with 2 lenses, tripod, extra batteries etc. I was looking for a small comfortable backpack that I could use for arduos day treks and access my camera on the fly.

I narrowed it down to the Kata 3N1 series, Tamrac Evolution 6 and Lowepro Versapac 200

I was looking for the following Features:

Backpack with sling option
Quick access
Room to grow
Personal space
Small enough to cart around on a day to day basis
Protection for my gear
Durability
Discretion

I discounted the Lowepro for it being unable to sling and liked the PL series of the Katas for its quality. In the end it was between the Kata PL - 3N1 - 25 and the Tamrac evolution 6. The Tamrac was $50 cheaper but I went with the Kata because of the laptop section and the fact that
it was more aesthetically pleasing to me.

My main concern was the Kata was that it would be too bulky. I was able to find a picture of another female wearing this pack and it looked ok. So, I went ahead.....

It is the perfect pack for me. It is everything I was looking for plus it has the option of carrying my macbook 13" laptop when travelling interstate. The laptop is a tight squeeze and there is no way you could fit anything larger.

There is room to grow for a small photographic operation but not too much. If you have a larger DSLR camera and more than 3 lenses and flash, I would recommend going for the larger size.

The personal space section is smallish and will need to be packed very carefully to accommodate survival kit and food! Oh, please, why cant somebody design a pack with a way of carrying a simple water bottle.... Anyway,

This is a quality bag that is pleasing to the eye without screaming 'look at me'.

The only reason I have not given it 5 stars is that I am still getting to know its many zippers and sections which I am sure I will grow to love. If I change my verdict later I will let you know.
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on February 7, 2013
I have been a serious photographer for many years now. Having gone through several bags, I had finally settled into a routine on vacations where I would transport all of my gear in a Tamrac Expedition to get to our destination. It wasn't practical for hiking or just using as a daypack, so we would also bring small backpack as a carry-on bag. In the bottom of that backpack, I kept the innards from an old camera bag, and would use it as the daypack while on location. The solution worked, but never made me happy, as it seemed like such a hassle. SO, I spent a lot of time researching and stuffing equipment into various bags that I thought might be the perfect combination - one that can hold darn near everything, but still be comfortable enough for hiking. I bought this bag last year, and love it.

On a normal trip, I have in the bag: a Canon 7D with a 24-105mm f4/L attached, a Sigma 10-20mm wide angle lens, a Canon 50mm 1.4, a Lensbaby composer, several gradual neutral-density filters, solid neutral density filters and polarizers. Of course the usual cleaning cloths, batteries, flash cards, brushes, Lenspens, reflector, etc. The bag hols all of this very nicely, and there is some room to spare, so I can throw in a flash or another lens if needed.

That's exactly what I wanted size-wise. I CAN fit more in there if I want to, but not fully loaded it works great as a daypack, and is light enough to not be bothersome. The little compartment on top is big enough to throw in some food or a paperback, etc., if needed.

All in all, I love the bag - and it's very easy to access the camera once you customize everything to your taste.
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on April 5, 2012
The Good: Fits my t2i w/ 17-55mm F/2.8 IS-USM with Lens Hood Attached. Super easy to quick draw, very secure padding, Sits upright on the floor. For me, the pack was comfortable to trek throughout my journey.

The Bad: Doesn't have a water bottle attachment. The loops for the top clips could have another inch of strap, i used it to attach a lightweight shell, but had a bit of trouble with a thicker fleece.

I packed this thing at the base with:

t2i body w/ 17-55mm F/2.8 IS-USM Lens and attached hood
55-250mm lens
Slik mini pro V tripod
giotto large air blaster
there's def. some airspace left for a flash or another 50mm F1.8 prime lens.

The top section housed all my backup batteries, filters, memory, wireless remote shutter, lens pens. I also packed in a GPS, usb charger, and some extra space for some small junk and trinkets.
Housed a 10.1" Tablet with room to spare.

I took this thing all over France for 3 weeks. So yes, a whole lot of walking around with. It was comfortable, although i did pack enough to make it heavy. The bag was very secure, and the zippers weren't easy to zip on and off. Didn't bother to use much of it as a sling. The straps as a backpack will wrap on the outer side of your shoulders in the front. This thing will basically on fit just your camera gear for shooting with not much room for anything else. The all weather wrap was snug and worked very well in the rain. Good bag, not too bulky - lower profile, but if traveling with a laptop, you might want to consider the 3n1-33 or 35. The whole time, i felt my gear was well protected, so the bag it did its job and i've got some great pics! on to the next journey!
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on July 7, 2013
I really like this camera bag. As far as features go, I don't think there is another bag on the market that can compare. The different carrying options are amazing. Construction is solid and dependable. Interior room is very adequate, I can fit my D600 with a 28-300mm lens attached as well as 2 other medium/large lenses. On top of that I decided to take it as my only pack for an ultralight overnight pack and it worked great. Taken it on many day hikes as well. I also found that I could use the laptop sleeve for a water reservoir and brought the drinking tube out the top and attached it to the shoulder strap (worked much better than expected!!) It is comfortable enough for me (6' 180lbs) but I havent really had it weighed down that much. The top and side pockets are good for smaller stuff, lens cleaners, granola bars, flashlight, etc. The only complaint I have was an incident while carrying, I was wearing it as a sling, thought I had the clip engaged but I didn't, well the clip let go and the bag flew off my back to the ground. More my fault than that of the bag but when you have $2000 worth of gear in it you dont really want that to happen. But like I said, mostly my fault. Other than that, I really enjoy this pack, super happy with my purchase and recommend it highly.
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on September 19, 2012
I had high expectations for this bag, and they paid off the bag itself is phenominal, lots of great ideas brillantly engineered. Tons of space for my DSLR and 3 lens, big flash, little flash, lens hoods and filter cases and i still havn't even filled the outside pockets. The padding is great, really stiff and i could see it taking a hell of a beating (not that ive tryed that haha) the straps are great as well it can be either a sling bag (good for when your shooting and changing lens alot) a back pack (good for when walking any distance or riding a bike) and an X or cross strap (very secure but the straps rode up a bit high and sat on my neck, Im 6'1 with very broad shoulders so i think thats just specific to myself or any of you men out there that are built like a house) the hip padding is a little slight but it does its job and is more than up for the task, and you can see why it is slight when changing around strap configurations as they tuck into a cavity on the back quite nicely. the Laptop portion fits my Macbook Pro 13' but its tight so if you have anything bigger than that i don't think it would fit. The rainhood is great really came in handy on my two adventures trying out the bag, once during a light rain in the forest and again in Melbourne where it was a very heavy downpour and nothing (except me) got wet, which I was very very pleased about. It is also a very comfortable pack walking over 20kms on both trips out with it and didn't get uncomfortable at all obviously the your back gets a little sweaty but when your putting in effort hiking up trails and tromping around cities your going to sweat (if your a normal person {I don't want to offend anyone who doesn't sweat this bag will be great for you to})
My only downside is the tripod holder and strap that comes with it, MAYBE because i have a bigger tripod than a super little travel tripod/monopod OR because i didn't have it strapped on correctly but i found it didn't sit well on the bag and moved around a fair bit especailly on the trails where you vary direction alot I am being a bit picky with this and i did noticed when i changed its configuration around abit it was more secure so it totally depends on your tripod and what your doing with it.
If your a real snappy photographer who changes lens every 5 seconds this is a great bag for you, if your a more measured photographer taking set shots this is a great bag for you, whether you are shooting mountain forests, famous cities or beautiful women in a studio this bag has an application for everyone, I particully found it great being an adventurous photographer it suited all my needs and excelled in areas i hadn't thought of when buying a bag, its not so big that you feel weighed down by all your gear but big enough to carry ample gear to get the job done.
Enjoy your new Kata bag, hope you have some fun out and about with your camera.
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on October 23, 2013
I have 7 camera cases - ranging from large backpack to holster style for just the camera and one lens. Like many photographers, I want the bag that is perfect for the situation and no single bag does that. I bought this bag as an intermediate size for day hiking and because it has a tripod holder. I have two other Kata bags so was optimistic that I would like this as much.

But the bag is stiff and heavy - overdesigned for its size - and I thought the access panel for the camera section was too small so it was difficult to load lenses. I also was unimpressed with the "versatile" strap arrangement. I tried multiple ways to arrange the straps and never found a comfortable setting. I'm only 5'4" so perhaps it just doesn't work well for a smaller frames. And the waist belt was a joke - the belt was long enough but the padded sections didn't extend far enough around to be useful.

I'll keep trying Kata products because most of what I've seen IS impressive. But I returned this bag and bought a LowePro instead.
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on August 21, 2012
I love this bag and it's function is great! BUT, my Macbook 13" Air WILL NOT FIT in the back area. The larger version of this bag is just too big to actually use as a front swing around shooting platform. I had to return this bag, I'm sorry to say.
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on August 1, 2013
The bag is well designed with high quality materials. It's roomy, and has lots of opportunities for customizing the interior layout. It works fine for my Nikon D7100 and multiple lenses/equipment. Access is easy & immediate, albeit with a few difficult-to-use zippers. It's well balanced, though, whether in a sling or backpack position. Unfortunately, the tripod attachment had been modified, but without announcement in the online instructional videos or printed materials. After informing customer service the bag was different than advertised, they told me to send it in for repair (which I did at my own expense). They then admitted they had made changes, but I had no recourse for shipping cost reimbursement. Caveat Emptor!
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on May 24, 2013
When you read the specs this product screams - "I do it all!" However, it does nothing well. The straps in "backpack mode" have no upper adjustment preventing them from hugging your body closely. There's also no cross body clip. In "criss-cross mode" it hugs your body well, but forces you to play find-the-buckle to get in and out of the bag. In "sling mode" you stuff all of the left over straps into the back padding, making it bulge and leaving you with a big ol' tube on your back. Because the bag is so small the hip pads and straps go around your waist distributing the bag's weight to your abdomen, not your legs. Maybe at 6'1" I'm too large for this bag, but it flat out did not work for me in any of its carrying capacities.

What does work for the bag was the bottom compartment, which is GENIUS; the quick pull access compartments, the single zipper that extends through both side access compartments, the layout. It's wonderful. If you can handle the silly strapping system, then the bag itself is great.

IMHO what KATA needs to do is take this EXACT bag (well, maybe the 35), drop the silly straps, and put a solid backpacking harness on it.

Oh well. I returned mine and got a Kenti from F-stop. We'll see how that goes.
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on February 5, 2014
I have read some of the reviews here and understand that camera bags are a very personal choice. For me this was the perfect choice.

Pros:

-build quality (10 out of 10). The internal framing is sturdy and the outer shell and straps are awesome.
-comfort - extremely well padded
-3n1 features - allows you to use it any way you prefer or to suit your travel style
- size and organization - perfect size for my setup (Canon DSLR with battery grip + 4-5 lenses). I can even get a 70-200mm lense into this bag if I switch the inner pockets around.
- tripod holder (awesome!)
- can be used with Kata trolley if you can find one
- easy to carry-on aircraft

Negatives:

- price (if not on sale)
- a bit cramped for the battery grip but it does fit. Easy to fit camera + 24-70mm attached + 4 or more other short/medium lenses. I was tempted to get 1 size bigger but that was going to be near impossible to carry for long trips

Highly recommended.
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