Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: Tamrac 5788 Evolution 8 Photo/Laptop Sling Backpack Bag (Black)
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on February 25, 2012
I have owned this bag for over a year now and have travelled all over the world with it in all kinds of conditions and in all types of scenarios. I use it, fully loaded almost everyday, and have taken over 30,000 photos with this as my primary bag. To say the least, I have put this thing through its paces.

Coming from a lowepro fastpack 100, I loved the speed with which I could pull my camera out and get a shot of something happening rapidly in front of me. I also loved the comfort, durability and water resistance of the fabric, but I wasn't a fan of how inconvenient and unsteady it was to switch lenses on the fly. Around the same time last year, I purchased some big boy lenses and, thus, needed to expand and basically keep what was good about the fastpack while upgrading the areas that needed improvement.

When I was shopping for a new camera bag last year, my qualifications were:
1. Have side openings for FAST access to camera.
2. Be able to fit a Canon 7d with battery grip, 70-200mm 2.8 ISII, Tokina 11-16 2.8, Tamron 17-50 2.8, tamron 60mm 2.0, Canon speedlite 430 exii, 15" macbook pro, and conveniently carry a modest-sized Tripod.
3. Be able to access and switch to any of my lenses quickly and safely.
4. Be composed of fabrics that can stand heavy/rough use and have excellent water resistance.
5. Be comfortable during extended use.
6. Won't slow me down when hiking or doing more strenuous activities.
7. Be small enough to fit underneath an airplane seat.

For the most part, I am thoroughly pleased with the basic performance of the Evolution 8. It does what it says it will and it has a lot of options for accommodating your unique setup. Generally speaking, access is fairly intuitive. It was designed with the active photographer in mind.

Unfortunately, however, over the past year I have uncovered just about anything that could annoy you about the bag, and it happens quite frequently due to my setup and shooting needs. I will address as many of these as I can, focusing on the negative aspects of the pack. Anything I do not discuss is something that I would consider livable and a non-issue. I find that these are generally the most helpful reviews anyway.

First of all, Tamrac advertises that you can easily fit a 70-200 2.8 in the bag. What they don't mention is that this severely limits your options for doing anything quickly. With a battery pack, the 7d fits snuggly. With a tripod foot attached, it is a very tight fit from top to bottom, and depending on your tripod foot, it easily gets stuck on the zipper and seams. With a 70-200 attached, it is very snug against the side doors. With your tripod ring and lens hood mounted on reverse, it gets really tricky to get your camera out quickly without yanking the thing out and risking dropping it. Even the Evolution 9 wouldn't remedy this issue.

What if you don't want your 70-200 mounted on your lens when storing it?
Say you are walking around a small market and are anticipating shooting closer up to your subjects so you just want a 17-50mm attached when you are ready to shoot. -Well you're going to have to sacrifice a lens or two to make a foam section that will fit your 70-200. Then when you switch back from that smaller lens to the 70-200, you are forced to put your small lens into the cavernous foam section that you made so your 70-200 would fit. Now you've got your little lens flopping around violently inside your pack as you walk. I have tried putting a smaller lens inside the top compartment, but it has the same issue up there because there is no adjustable foam padding to keep it from flopping around. Any solution you could come up with to secure the lens would severely limit the speed with which you could change to that lens, which, after all, is the fundamental reason why you bought this pack over something like the the Tamrac Expedition.

Let's move on to the build materials. The pack has been pretty durable thus far, but where it fails on all counts is water resistance. Sure the pack comes with a great waterproof rain cover that makes water bead up on contact, but the pack's fabric itself should be capable of keeping water from absorbing. In even a slight rain, the evolution 8, if uncovered, will soak up water like a sponge. Obviously this is not ideal when you have thousands of dollars of electronics and glass insider your pack. Simply put, you absolutely have to use the rain cover if your environment has any kind of precipitation or else the equipment inside will get wet and will not dry until you take it inside. Not ideal when shooting on location or traveling. Furthermore, once you have the rain cover on, you can't access anything inside your pack! It gets annoying, trust me.

The tripod carrying system built into the evolution 8 is feeble to say the least. It might work for a tripod designed for a small point and shoot camera, but a normal sized DSLR tripod will be sticking way in the air and swinging around wildly while walking because the clip to secure it is positioned so low. If you are carrying around a pack as large as the evo 8, you surely will have a large camera and lenses. These need a pretty solid tripod, which the evo 8 is unable to properly support, so I consider this an obvious design fault. My workaround has been to buckle the waist strap tightly and put one of my tripod legs through it so that it is strapped to my hip. You kind of have to see it to understand, but it allows me to have the tripod secured while avoiding it from hindering my mobility too much. I also like that it doesn't stick straight up into the air as it would normally.

Many users of this bag complain about it not having convenience features like a place to keep a water bottle. As annoying as this can be while hiking, it is just something that is inherently impossible with the dual side access design, so I consider this and other similar missing features to be livable and not a deal breaker.

After touring around Europe every day with the evo fully loaded on my back for over a month, I really got to know how uncomfortable this pack is for extended use. The ergonomics of the bag are not great. I consider the sling options to be virtually unusable because even a decently full pack will be quite heavy. The straps are not wide or soft enough to distribute the weight evenly across the shoulders, especially when used as a sling. Another annoyance is that the straps have so much extra slack in them that it becomes a hassle to keep them tucked away. When you have to worry about things like keeping the straps from dangling around, you are going to be consistently missing out on possible photos.

To put it simply, the more focused you are on your photography and not your bag, the better your work will be. As cliche as it sounds, your pack should be an extension of your body. You shouldn't even notice that it's there, it should just work predictably and efficiently. That is what I was striving for when I was researching camera packs.

Over the past year using this bag, I can honestly say that for most people with smaller lens/camera body setups, the evo 8 will be perfect. For people who are trying to squeeze all of their equipment into this bag, you will find yourself limited and inconvenienced, often creating complicated workarounds to minimize the issues you come across. It's a give and take with this pack. On one hand, I could never see myself using anything other than a side access camera backpack, but on the other, as I acquire new lenses and equipment, all my gear would never fit into such a bag. Convenience does not go hand in hand with large, customizable storage.
That said, I plan on keeping this as my primary pack for a long time. Even in light of the annoyances I just stated, this bag performs. It allows you to really excel in your photography by giving you the ability to get the shot when others would still be unzipping their packs.
If you are reading this review and still have some concern that I didn't address, just assume that the evo 8 is either good in that area or it is something that I consider a non-issue. I have covered basically everything that I can think of that is worth sharing with a savvy concerned potential buyer.

I realize this review was entirely too long, but I felt led to write a realistic and detailed review so that the people like myself who research things to death could accurately get an idea of what it is like to use this product every day, highlighting the issues that are not noticeable until you are truly acquainted with the product. If you decide that the issues I mentioned are negligible, go for it. This is the one for you, stop researching and buy it. Although $150 for a foam-padded backpack is a bit absurd, we are dealing with camera equipment here. It is the nature of the beast:)

I hope this helped someone out there! Get out there and put it to the test!

***UPDATE: 7/11/13***

Everything I stated about this pack still stands. Good for most things, annoying for certain things. BUT, I have a few other things to add after another year of use....
The fabric of the pack has proved to be decently strong, but the definite Achilles Heel in this pack has been the ZIPPERS! The first area to go was the top compartment. I would say that I use the top compartment the least out of any. Which is why it was surprising and disappointing when the entire zipper line broke out of its stitching.

Obviously, that kind of means game over for my pack. I think something that exacerbated the weak stitching was the zipper handle design. Rather than a conventional metal tab, it has a fabric loop tied onto it. This is normally very convenient for opening and closing. But since the zipper itself isn't very sturdy and doesn't slide very smoothly, when you tug the zipper handle, it doesn't apply the tension evenly down the zipper teeth. You get a lot of lateral movement that puts strain on the zipper seam if you are in a hurry to zip or unzip something and unknowingly pull it sideways a bit.

So despite a great run with the evolution 8, I am in the market for a new bag. I still highly recommend this bag! I have a friend that bought a knock-off vivitar version of the evolution 8 and it fell apart completely within a few months, so that says something about the Tamrac's build quality. It doesn't last forever, but you will likely have at least two years of good use before something like this happens.
As if this review wasn't long enough already... but I just wanted to follow up and inform people about this vulnerability. But who knows, perhaps Tamrac has updated the evo series and remedied these issues and more.

But for me, I have heard great things about Clik and F-stop bags so I will probably move that direction. Plus, that will be a license for me to change up my lens setup a bit :)
1111 comments|135 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on November 2, 2010
Many of the reviews state this bag is so close, and I have to agree.

First, the things I don't like:

1. It will NOT fit a 15.6" SCREEN laptop as the literature suggests. I have a 15.4" laptop and it won't fit. It will fit a 15" laptop with the overall physical diagonal measurement of 15.6", but not a screen size of 15.6". Methinks Tamrac doesn't know how to measure a laptop.

2. I am a tall guy - 6'2". The sternum strap is too high, and would like to choke me. I was able to remove it, as it is not used that much anyway.

3. While the bag will fit a lot of stuff, there is a downside to it; it can get pretty heavy, and the backpack straps are not quite designed to carry heavy loads comfortably. And when the bag is too full, using a single sling strap is not really practical as it's just too heavy to move around.

4. I like the way the bag converts to a sling bag, but to do that, you have to shove the unused straps into the bag. Unfortunately, the straps are hard to shove into the bag for me as I am a big guy, and I cannot even get my hands into the slots. I have to use a monopod or some such thing to shove the straps into the bag.

5. The bag is missing the little extras, such as D-rings, keychain clips (that I use for securing my pocket-pixel rather than keys), and M.A.S attachment straps. Those little additional things often make a difference.

The Good news...

The good news is that this is almost the perfect bag. I have a rather unique use for the bag, and that is that we often go on cruise ships, and this is just about perfect for that. When traveling on cruise ships - and I suppose any other kind of vacation - I often take a lot of toys. This bag is perfect for that, especially with the open ruck-sack like top. On my last cruise I took the following items:

1. Nikon D90 with MB-D-B80 battery/grip and 18-105mm lens attached.
2. 70-300mm telephoto lens.
3. 10.5mm fisheye lens.
4. 50mm prime lens.
5. SB-600 flash.
6. Canon FS 20 Camcorder.
7. Tamrac MX5388 pouch with 5 lens filters.
8. iPod Touch.
9. 3G Kindle (In addition to books, I put my owner's manuals for photo equipment on the Kindle).
10. Acer Aspire 10.5" netbook (I like to take it rather than a full-sized laptop anyway).
11. Gorillapod SLR mini-tripod with ball head.
12. Gorillapod mini tripod.
13. Nikon Coolpix S570 Point & Shoot camera.
14. Virgin MiFi 2200 (WiFi/3G hotspot) mobile broadband hub.
15. Think Tank PeeWee Pixel Pocket Rocket.
16. Think Tank Cable Management 10 case full of chargers and cables.
17. Think Tank Cable Management 20 case full of chargers and cables.
18. Nikon Lens Cleaning case.
19. Belkin mini-Surge Protector/dual USB Charger.

These are the major items; at least the items that tend to take up space. Not included in the above list are other items such as individual cables, pens, tablets, and so on that fit into the various pockets in the bag.

Needless to say, the bag is heavy with all this stuff. When I get to my stateroom, I typically off-load most of the non-photo stuff to lighten the bag for "normal" photo use.

And it can handle a camera with a battery grip or oversized "pro" DSLR like a Nikon D3.

One editorial note: I am running Ubuntu (Linux) on the netbook and use Gimp for photo editing. I originally bought the netbook with Win XP on it just to have a larger screen for viewing photos. I never intended to do any photo processing due to the low performance of the machine, but running Ubuntu has changed that. It now runs like a rocketship.

My overall impression is that the bag is almost perfect; and if Tamrac improved on the few things that are incorrect with the bag, it would be everything anyone would want in a bag. I wonder if Tamrac does any customer field-testing, as I think some of these deficiencies would have become immediately apparent.

Long term Update---

I ended up selling this bag. I sold it for 2 reasons:

First, it is just a bit too heavy when you fill it up with stuff and attempt to use it as a sling bag. All that weight on a single strap is just too uncomfortable. And I see Tamrac now has a larger version of this bag - hope they improve the comfort of the straps.

Secondly, I bought a Nikon 80-200mm f/2.8 lens - which is just too large to fit into the bag. I replaced the bag with a Think Tank Streetwalker Pro which will accommodate my 80-200mm with camera attached.
0Comment|40 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on February 25, 2012
I have owned this bag for over a year now and have travelled all over the world with it in all kinds of conditions and in all types of scenarios. I use it, fully loaded almost everyday, and have taken over 30,000 photos with this as my primary bag. To say the least, I have put this thing through its paces.

Coming from a lowepro fastpack 100, I loved the speed with which I could pull my camera out and get a shot of something happening rapidly in front of me. I also loved the comfort, durability and water resistance of the fabric, but I wasn't a fan of how inconvenient and unsteady it was to switch lenses on the fly. Around the same time last year, I purchased some big boy lenses and, thus, needed to expand and basically keep what was good about the fastpack while upgrading the areas that needed improvement.

When I was shopping for a new camera bag last year, my qualifications were:
1. Have side openings for FAST access to camera.
2. Be able to fit a Canon 7d with battery grip, 70-200mm 2.8 ISII, Tokina 11-16 2.8, Tamron 17-50 2.8, tamron 60mm 2.0, Canon speedlite 430 exii, 15" macbook pro, and conveniently carry an modest-sized Tripod.
3. Be able to access and switch to any of my lenses quickly and safely.
4. Be composed of fabrics that can stand heavy/rough use and have excellent water resistance.
5. Be comfortable during extended use.
6. Won't slow me down when hiking or doing more strenuous activities.
7. Be small enough to fit underneath an airplane seat.

For the most part, I am thoroughly pleased with the basic performance of the Evolution 8. It does what it says it will and it has a lot of options for accommodating your unique setup. Generally speaking, access is fairly intuitive. It was designed with the active photographer in mind.

Unfortunately, however, over the past year I have uncovered just about anything that could annoy you about the bag, and it happens quite frequently due to my setup and shooting needs. I will address as many of these as I can, focusing on the negative aspects of the pack. Anything I do not discuss is something that I would consider livable and a non-issue. I find that these are generally the most helpful reviews anyway.

First of all, Tamrac advertises that you can easily fit a 70-200 2.8 in the bag. What they don't mention is that this severely limits your options for doing anything quickly. With a battery pack, the 7d fits snuggly. With a tripod foot attached, it is a very tight fit from top to bottom, and depending on your tripod foot, it easily gets stuck on the zipper and seams. With a 70-200 attached, it is very snug against the side doors. With your tripod ring and lens hood mounted on reverse, it gets really tricky to get your camera out quickly without yanking the thing out and risking dropping it. Even the Evolution 9 wouldn't remedy this issue.

What if you don't want your 70-200 mounted on your lens when storing it?
Say you are walking around a small market and are anticipating shooting closer up to your subjects so you just want a 17-50mm attached when you are ready to shoot. -Well you're going to have to sacrifice a lens or two to make a foam section that will fit your 70-200. Then when you switch back from that smaller lens to the 70-200, you are forced to put your small lens into the cavernous foam section that you made so your 70-200 would fit. Now you've got your little lens flopping around violently inside your pack as you walk. I have tried putting a smaller lens inside the top compartment, but it has the same issue up there because there is no adjustable foam padding to keep it from flopping around. Any solution you could come up with to secure the lens would severely limit the speed with which you could change to that lens, which, after all, is the fundamental reason why you bought this pack over something like the the Tamrac Expedition.

Let's move on to the build materials. The pack has been pretty durable thus far, but where it fails on all counts is water resistance. Sure the pack comes with a great waterproof rain cover that makes water bead up on contact, but the pack's fabric itself should be capable of keeping water from absorbing. In even a slight rain, the evolution 8, if uncovered, will soak up water like a sponge. Obviously this is not ideal when you have thousands of dollars of electronics and glass insider your pack. Simply put, you absolutely have to use the rain cover if your environment has any kind of precipitation or else the equipment inside will get wet and will not dry until you take it inside. Not ideal when shooting on location or traveling. Furthermore, once you have the rain cover on, you can't access anything inside your pack! It gets annoying, trust me.

The tripod carrying system built into the evolution 8 is feeble to say the least. It might work for a tripod designed for a small point and shoot camera, but a normal sized DSLR tripod will be sticking way in the air and swinging around wildly while walking because the clip to secure it is positioned so low. If you are carrying around a pack as large as the evo 8, you surely will have a large camera and lenses. These need a pretty solid tripod, which the evo 8 is unable to properly support, so I consider this an obvious design fault.

Many users of this bag complain about it not having convenience features like a place to keep a water bottle. As annoying as this can be while hiking, it is just something that is inherently impossible with the dual side access design, so I consider this and other similar missing features to be livable and not a deal breaker.

After touring around Europe every day with the evo fully loaded on my back for over a month, I really got to know how uncomfortable this pack is for extended use. The ergonomics of the bag are not great. I consider the sling options to be virtually unusable because even a decently full pack will be quite heavy. The straps are not wide or soft enough to distribute the weight evenly across the shoulders, especially when used as a sling. Another annoyance is that the straps have so much extra slack in them that it becomes a hassle to keep them tucked away. When you have to worry about things like keeping the straps from dangling around, you are going to be consistently missing out on possible photos.

To put it simply, the more focused you are on your photography and not your bag, the better your work will be. As cliche as it sounds, your pack should be an extension of your body. You shouldn't even notice that it's there, it should just work predictably and efficiently. That is what I was striving for when I was researching camera packs.

Over the past year using this bag, I can honestly say that for most people with smaller lens/camera body setups, the evo 8 will be perfect. For people who are trying to squeeze all of their equipment into this bag, you will find yourself limited and inconvenienced, often creating complicated workarounds to minimize the issues you come across. It's a give and take with this pack. On one hand, I could never see myself using anything other than a side access camera backpack, but on the other, as I acquire new lenses and equipment, all my gear would never fit into such a bag. Convenience does not go hand in hand with large, customizable storage.
That said, I plan on keeping this as my primary pack for a long time. Even in light of the annoyances I just stated, this bag performs. It allows you to really excel in your photography by giving you the ability to get the shot when others would still be unzipping their packs.
If you are reading this review and still have some concern that I didn't address, just assume that the evo 8 is either good in that area or it is something that I consider a non-issue. I have covered basically everything that I can think of that is worth sharing with a savvy concerned potential buyer.

I realize this review was entirely too long, but I felt led to write a realistic and detailed review so that the people like myself who research things to death could accurately get an idea of what it is like to use this product every day, highlighting the issues that are not noticeable until you are truly acquainted with the product. If you decide that the issues I mentioned are negligible, go for it. This is the one for you, stop researching and buy it. Although $150 for a foam-padded backpack is a bit absurd, we are dealing with camera equipment here. It is the nature of the beast:)

I hope this helped someone out there! Get out there and put it to the test!

***UPDATE: 7/11/13***

Everything I stated about this pack still stands. Good for most things, annoying for certain things. BUT, I have a few other things to add after another year of use....
The fabric of the pack has proved to be decently strong, but the definite Achilles Heel in this pack has been the ZIPPERS! The first area to go was the top compartment. I would say that I use the top compartment the least out of any. Which is why it was surprising and disappointing when the entire zipper line broke out of its stitching.

Obviously, that kind of means game over for my pack. I think something that exacerbated the weak stitching was the zipper handle design. Rather than a conventional metal tab, it has a fabric loop tied onto it. This is normally very convenient for opening and closing. But since the zipper itself isn't very sturdy and doesn't slide very smoothly, when you tug the zipper handle, it doesn't apply the tension evenly down the zipper teeth. You get a lot of lateral movement that puts strain on the zipper seam if you are in a hurry to zip or unzip something and unknowingly pull it sideways a bit.

So despite a great run with the evolution 8, I am in the market for a new bag. I still highly recommend this bag! I have a friend that bought a knock-off vivitar version of the evolution 8 and it fell apart completely within a few months, so that says something about the Tamrac's build quality. It doesn't last forever, but you will likely have at least two years of good use before something like this happens.
As if this review wasn't long enough already... but I just wanted to follow up and inform people about this vulnerability. But who knows, perhaps Tamrac has updated the evo series and remedied these issues and more.

But for me, I have heard great things about Clik and F-stop bags so I will probably move that direction. Plus, that will be a license for me to change up my lens setup a bit :)
11 comment|27 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on June 12, 2010
I already own a Tamrac Expedition and a Lowepro sling bag. The sling is good for short trips when I want to go light but the single strap can get uncomfortable after awhile. The Expedition holds a lot but access is not as easy- you have to take the bag off. What I like best about the Evolution is the triple access- front and both sides. You can set it up so the camera is accessed on one side and the lenses on the other. And you can use the bag like a backpack for long term comfort or a sling for shorter outings. Even with the Lowe sling getting my camera (Nikon 300D with zoom) out requires a little contortion, but the SLR is right there with the Evolution. It really combines the best features of both bags and has plenty of storage. I will probably get rid of the Expedition and continue to use the sling for quick outings and the Evolution for day trips and my major trip/shooting bag, especially because it has the tripod pocket and the extra storage. Build quality is good and the extra pockets all over the bag are well thought out and enable rational storage of needed items. This bag is really the most versatile I have seen as an all around bag for short hikes and long trips.
11 comment|26 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on June 12, 2010
I already own a Tamrac Expedition and a Lowepro sling bag. The sling is good for short trips when I want to go light but the single strap can get uncomfortable after awhile. The Expedition holds a lot but access is not as easy- you have to take the bag off. What I like best about the Evolution is the triple access- front and both sides. You can set it up so the camera is accessed on one side and the lenses on the other. And you can use the bag like a backpack for long term comfort or a sling for shorter outings. Even with the Lowe sling getting my camera (Nikon 300D with zoom) out requires a little contortion, but the SLR is right there with the Evolution. It really combines the best features of both bags and has plenty of storage. I will probably get rid of the Expedition and continue to use the sling for quick outings and the Evolution for day trips and my major trip/shooting bag, especially because it has the tripod pocket and the extra storage. Build quality is good and the extra pockets all over the bag are well thought out and enable rational storage of needed items. This bag is really the most versatile I have seen as an all around bag for short hikes and long trips.
0Comment|15 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on February 16, 2011
I bought the backpack because I will be taking pictures at indoor cheering events and outside triathlons, where I am constantly on the move and needing to keep my belongings with me. The Evolution holds my Nikon D7000 WITH the 18-105mm lens with room to spare...My 70-300mm mounted will also fit. It has plenty of room for battery charger, filters, Speedlight and other lenses, and help my 15.6" laptop with room to spare. The top is ideal for carrying items you need quickly, which can be event info/race times, a point and shoot camera if needed, snacks, etc.

The construction on this backpack is quality throughout. It is generously padded - more than I expected, has easy to move zippers that are heavy duty and secure. The functionality of the straps is extremely useful. There are times when I want it on my back; and other times when I need to take a quick shot and don't want to remove it - no problem...just pull one arm out of the strap and swing it around like a slingback.

My camera and belongings are secure...they stay put and are protected by thick padding. The ability to change compartment dividers works well and I am extremely pleased with this backpack. I did wind up returning it to get the Evolution 6, which was smaller and still held all my stuff without the extra size. Either bag is highly recommended and a good value!
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on January 9, 2011
I wish I could give it 15 stars.

Pros:
1 )Converts from sling to backpack VERY easily
2) Comfortable in either configuration
3) Protects equipment well
4) On the trail, it did not throw my center of balance off
5) Well made
6) lots of little pockets
7) Held all my camera gear (2 bodies, 4 lenses, film, memory cards, batteries) plus water, some snacks and a few other accessories.
8) Includes a rain cover
9) In sling mode, I can actually rest my elbows on it and use it as a somewhat stable shooting platform
10) Can carry laptop, but I see no reason why I couldn't also fit a hydration bladder into that slot if I wanted.

Cons:
1) It is a little heavy on its own. The generous padding and quality materials are kind of a double edged sword in that manner.
2) I wish it had a little more room for extra gear. Not so much photo gear, but general supplies. It's comfortable to hike with, but it can't hold ALL my photo gear AND other hiking supplies (first aid stuff, etc) at the same time. For airplane/car/train type traveling, the bag is perfect.

Very highly recommended.
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on July 8, 2010
I bought this bag as it was said to fit a DSLR with grip and a 15.4 computer. When I got home with it I was in love with the design, but upon trying to fit my camera a Canon 50D with grip in it, the bag wasn't tall enough... You could fit it with a 50mm lens but it still sticks out really bad offering zero for protection to the camera if you bump it.

I am really frustrated because if they would have simply made it a 1/2-1 inch taller it would work perfectly with a grip sized DSLR. So my thoughts are if you don't have a grip sized camera this bag is amazing and you should pick it up for sure, but if you do have a grip sized DSLR it's not going to work out so well....

RECAP: Won't fit pro-size/gripped camera, even if they claim it will...
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on July 29, 2010
Finding the right camera bag is like finding the holy grail, and I have more bags than I would like to admit, so when I saw the video of this bag from Tamrac, I went in search of it to see how it actually performs, and it does as promised by Tamrac.

I did a quick comparison with the Kata 3N1-33 bag, and the Kata is slightly bigger, but more clumsy to use as compared to this Tamrac. The Evo8's zippers are smoother, and the internals are better organized. The Evo8 also comes with the tripod support, but the Kata does not.

The openings to the camera sections could be bigger, but I realized that for the bag to keep its structure and shape, it needed to be the size it is. Nevertheless, you can still access the camera compartment in 3 ways. I also like the back portion of the bag where you can tuck away the slings/straps that you are not using, including the waist support belt and clip.

The laptop/notebook section also fits a laptop snugly. I use a 13" Macbook, and it fits without a problem. Tamrac's specs say that it can fit a 15.6" widescreen laptop.

The padding on this bag is good and the bag feels very snug and secure. How could I resist but get another camera bag!
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on January 11, 2011
I was reluctant to give this bag a shot. I needed a bag that could carry my laptop while not being a huge brick. The tripod capability was an added bonus. When I went to my local camera shop to look at the bag, I was immediately impressed. The bag is well made and just the right size.

The determining factor was whether or not it would hold my 15.6" ASUS G50VT laptop. Even for a 15.6" laptop, this thing is huge. Surprise! It fit! Just barely. This is absolutely the largest laptop you could think of squeezing in the bag. It takes some negotiation with the zipper and don't expect to be able to pull it out very quickly. Speed was not the most important factor to me so I bought it on the spot. The top compartment is big enough to fit the power supply and some cleaning supplies but not much else.

A couple of downsides include that you cannot really carry a water bottle or much else for hiking unless you can fit it in the top compartment. I don't hike with my laptop so that frees some space from where the power supply was. Furthermore, the bag is compatible with Tamrac's limited S.A.S. accessories but not the M.A.S accessories. No big deal.

All together, this bag will hold my laptop w/power supply, Canon 7D, Canon EF 70-200mm F/4L IS (mounted w/lens hood), Canon EF 50mm F/1.4, Canon EF-S 15-85mm F/3.5-5.6 IS, Speedlite 270EX, and one compartment for accessories. In the upper compartment I can keep some cleaning supplies. There are also small pockets on every flap for memory cards, batteries, etc.

This bag is not perfect, but it is close.
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