on May 7, 2010
I have been using a Lowepro Micro Trekker 200 for the last several years. It's been a great bag and has held up very well. The problem is, it's just not comfortable enough to wear for an extended period of time. I usually set it down somewhere (leave it in the truck). The camera comes out and gets hung around my neck. If I need to switch lenses, I'm out of luck unless I walk back to where ever I set the bag down. I wanted something easy and comfortable that would allow me to carry just enough equipment to get the shots I wanted.
After doing a lot or research on line and in store, I found the Slingshot line of bags. I chose the 202 because it was the smallest bag that would fit my camera with a mid range lens attached. My go-to setup is a Nikon D5000 with the 16-85mm lens. As small as this combination is, it won't fit in the 100 series bag unless you detach the lens first. I chose the 202 over the 200 because the 202 has a strap to carry a tripod built on to the side of the back pack.
**Update 11/12/10 - I recently purchased a Nikon 70-300 mm VR lens. The lower camera portion of the 202 will fit the equivilent of 1 DSLR and up to 4 Nikon 70-300mm VR lenses and still have enough room for a charger & spare battery. (I know there is no reason to carry 4 of the same lenses. I share this because it gives you a maximum point of reference.) The 70-300 lens attached to the camera will fit comfortably. The other 3 will fit, but tightly! The equipment I use most often is a D5000 DSLR, 12-24mm, 16-85mm, 70-300mm, 35mm F1.8 and an SB800 flash. You can comfortably carry one DSLR, any 4 of the above, and a battery charger & spare battery in the lower portion of the bag. There are still front and top zipper pockets for other gear and/or your lunch. - End of update.**
I also bought the Lowepro Bottle Bag which I highly recommend. It attaches via built-in straps on the side or back of the slingshot. So now, I can even carry a drink. Lowepro sells a variety of accessories like the bottle bag that can attach to their camera bags.
From a pratical standpoint, the Slingshot series of bags allows a photographer a considerable amount of convenience and freedom. The bag is comfortable on your back. You can carry as much or as little equipment as you want. When you need it, the bags "slings" around to your front without taking it off your shoulder. You pull out your camera, take your shot, put the camera back, and move on hands free. With the bag in the front position, it even makes a steady spot to rest your arm/support the camera for those longer exposure shots. The Sling Shot even has a built-in all weather cover that you pull out to protect the back pack and your equipment in the event of rain or snow.
The one odd thing I found only affects you if you buy the bottle bag or some other accessory like I did. The only logical place to attach the bottle bag and be able to easily reach it, is on the same side where the tripod strap is. (The other side of the bag has the flap that opens to the camera.) If you do this, you can't carry both at the same time. You can attach the bottle bag to the front (back of the back pack when it's on your back), but you'll never reach your water bottle without taking the back pack off or "slinging" it around. This is not a problem or a design flaw. It is just something to be aware of if you take my advice and buy a bottle bag or other accessory.
The one complaint I have... The opening where the camera body sits is considerably wider than it needs to be. It turns into waisted space. Lowepro should come up with a use/design to take advantage of this wasted space. If they are reading my review, it would make a great spot to install a small compartment/wallet to hold spare batteries and a charger, add one more divider to hold something like lens hoods, or extend the existing divider so you could fit a longer zoom lens.
In the reseach I did, I couldn't find a better back pack. It is so near perfect that unless something better comes along, I have to give this bag a "highly recommended" to anyone considering it. I would happily buy it again.
I pretty much have to agree with other reviews that talk about the small size of this bag. It's definitely quite limited in what it can carry....but it does work for me in some situations. It *does* hold my Canon 40D with Tamron 18-270mm super-zoom attached along with my 540EX flash and a extra 50mm lens, so would be a reasonable bag for me to use on trips when I am not able to bring a selection of lenses with me. I am not a person that can carry much equipment with me in the field due to physical problems, so I really need a bag that is comfortable and can handle at least this amount of equipment. I do wish the interior dividers and velcro had a few more optional placements, you're pretty restricted in how they can be placed.
You'll find many, many interior compartments and stuff hidden away in this bag, including a nice rain cover for the camera on the inside, and for the entire bag on the outside. The tripod holder flap can be tucked inside, as well as the additional waist strap. There almost to me seem to be *too* many compartments. I don't need so many that I end up having to remember where I put what item and unzipping a dozen pockets to find it. But I'm sure a lot of photo geeks love that kind of thing.
While I do love the sling design in terms of it helping to relieve some of the weight that is so problematic for me, I do have to add that it's not the easiest (or most flattering) thing for many women to wear, particularly if you are, umm, well-endowed shall we say. I basically have to either push the strap up in which case it is practically strangling me, or move it slightly down which umm, pushes other things UP. The second strap which is described as a "waist strap" actually comes up creating sort of an X in front, just making the whole thing look even worse (like a huge push-up bra worn on the outside). I'm not sure there's really a good solution to this, but women might want to try one of these in a local camera store to see how much it bothers them before purchasing.
on April 13, 2010
If you're looking at the Lowepro SlingShot camera bags for the first time, I will start by telling you a bit about how they are meant to be worn. This is a backpack with a single shoulder strap. The strap sits on your right shoulder, diagonally crosses the front of your body, and attaches to the bag again at your left side. The idea is that you can "sling" (pull) the bag around from your back to your front without ever having to take it off. The bag is designed in such a way that when you do this, the side of the bag becomes the top, and the main compartment and zippers are facing you for quick access to you gear. Because of the single "across the body" strap design, the backpack will never sit perfectly straight on your back, rather at a slight angle. To compensate this, there is a padded waist belt, which helps straighten the pack and distribute the load.
The 302AW is divided into two sections; the main compartment (measuring 11.4w x 5.9d x 10.6h") being for your SLR camera (or other gear), and a smaller, top compartment for personal items. There is also a third pouch pocket on the front for things like your wallet, keys, pens, cellphone. In addition, there are plenty of elasticized straps, loops, netted and zippered areas all your smaller items (like flash cards, lens filters), all designed to keep everything organized and easily accessible. The built-in lens cleaning cloth has a use, but it cannot be removed for laundering. Same goes for the built-in rain cover, which is a bit of a double-edged sword. If you're caught in a sudden rainstorm, it's great that you can pull it out of the bottom of the bag, and stretch it over to protect your gear, but you will likewise have to leave it hang out, flapping in the breeze, to dry because it's stitched in.
The SlingShot 302AW has ample padding in all the right places to make it comfortable to wear and to protect your gear. Although built for photographers and intended primarily as a camera bag, on another day this versatile backpack could be used for anything, by anyone after a backpack that you don't have to remove to access. The modular Velco spacers in the main compartment can be easily reconfigured any way you like. I reconfigured mine to carry a 10.1" netbook, compact camera, iPod, and all the associated power and USB cables, and still have room to spare. It's carry-on compatible (according to the tag) so it makes a great way to organize all your essential gear for your next flight.
Premium camera bag or versatile backpack, the SlingShot 320AW is an all-round winner in my book.
on December 19, 2011
I bought this for my Nikon D5100 and it has been perfect; much more convenient than the traditional shoulder bag or backpack. In fact, I love this bag so much that even when I'm not bringing my SLR around, I still use this for other purposes. Here's why it's so great:
Being able to swing the bag to the front is a huge benefit (the biggest reason for using a sling-style). I can get my camera out in about three seconds! The zippers are secure and the extra pockets are well thought-out, especially the small pockets for memory cards and battery on the part that flips open. There are several straps on the outside of the back for attaching various items. If you need a tripod, I would get the 102.
I was going to get the 200 (there's also a 300), but I'm so glad I went with the 100. As an amateur, I don't want to carry around more than I have to. This bag is big enough for my 18-55, a zoom, and a prime. The inside padding can be reconfigured but even the as it came, it fits my camera with the 18-250 attached with no problem.
This is extremely comfortable. The weight of the contents is distributed nicely across my shoulder and I can have this on my back literally all day with no problem. This is part of the reason why the 100 might be perfect since you have no choice but to carry light!
The bag seems very well made. Although I've only used it a few times so far, it looks like it will hold up. Zippers and straps are in great condition and there is nothing flimsy at all.
If you only need to carry the camera with a few accessories, this bag is perfect. This allows you to quickly access your camera while not needing to take anything off your body. It also doesn't scream "hey everyone, I have an expensive camera in here!" unlike some other camera bags. Buy without hesitation.