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31 Reviews
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40 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tons of space in a stylish package
As a frequent traveler, I was looking for a bag large enough to carry my photography gear as well as all the things I need for work and I must say, this bag covers those needs quite nicely.

PROS
I've loaded the bag with my gripped Rebel DSLR and 5 lenses including my 70-200 2.8 mounted to the body in the center compartment with 1.4x TC and lens hood...
Published on August 27, 2011 by Ken

versus
36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Thin straps ruin an otherwise great design
As a current owner of the Tamrac Adventurer 9 and a wedding photographer, I really wanted to love the Evolution 9 backpack. And in almost every design aspect I did. However, the achilles heel is the strap system.

PROS:
It holds a ton of gear. I was able to carry a custom bracket (flash bracket), LED lights, lens hoods, and a 36-pack of AA batteries in...
Published on June 7, 2012 by Nathan Johns


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40 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tons of space in a stylish package, August 27, 2011
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This review is from: Tamrac 5789 Evolution 9 Photo/Laptop Sling Backpack - Black (Electronics)
As a frequent traveler, I was looking for a bag large enough to carry my photography gear as well as all the things I need for work and I must say, this bag covers those needs quite nicely.

PROS
I've loaded the bag with my gripped Rebel DSLR and 5 lenses including my 70-200 2.8 mounted to the body in the center compartment with 1.4x TC and lens hood reversed. I also tested the bag with a 400mm 5.6 mounted to the camera body and although things begin to get a little tight at this point, it still fits with lens hood reversed. With all of my current kit loaded, I've got tons of room to spare, I'll be upgrading to a much larger camera body this year so the extra room means I won't outgrow this bag. The camera compartment is very well padded and completely configurable. Having access to my equipment via the side panels is also quite convenient. The built in tripod holder on the front and included rain cover are nice useful touches.

The laptop compartment holds my 15" Dell Latitude 6520 with extended battery and my Motorola Xoom tablet with room to spare, I have no doubt it could easily hold a 17" model although it would probably be a somewhat snug fit. It's also very well padded and I have no concerns about the safety of my laptop, it's so well padded that I don't feel the laptop pressing against my back while wearing the bag. The top compartment holds my external hard drives and the various power cables and accessories I travel with, there's a lot of room here and I've even managed to fit my 10" tablet there in a pinch. The side compartment holds my passport and cell phone with no problem which the Evolution 8 could not do.

CONS
There aren't many with this bag and I would call them minor annoyances as opposed to outright cons. My first issue is with the quality of the zippers, while they are of decent quality, Tamrac could have invested just a little bit more. For example, the zippers on the Tamrac Expedition bags are a lot more sturdy than these. I don't think these zippers are prone to failure as they are quite sturdy but I would have liked them to be a bit "beefier" considering the size of the bag and the weight it will generally carry. I would have also liked the ability to lock the bags with integrated lock loops on the zippers. I could make the same criticism about the straps, they should be more than adequate but could have been a bit thicker, although they are quite comfortable.

The tripod pocket while a nice touch seems a bit small to mount some of the larger tripods. I had to remove the padded feet from my tripod to feel comfortable about the fit, but once it's strapped in, the tripod ain't going anywhere so I also consider this only a minor annoyance.

OVERALL
Overall, this is a high quality bag and exactly what I was looking for. It's far more stylish than the LowePro Fastpack 350 and just a bit roomier in my opinion. While the bag is very large, it's not nearly as large as I thought it would be. I'll be trying it on my 1st flight next week and I'm curious to see if it will fit under a standard airline seat, I have my doubts about this but it will fit in most overhead compartments with no problem. Also be conscious that because you can literally carry everything, the bag can get quite heavy. With everything I've listed included, my bag weights in at a little over 23lbs, not really heavy for me, but it may be for some and with this much weight, it might not be practical to use this bag in a sling configuration so be aware of how much you load up.

I highly recommend this bag for those with a need to get it all in so to speak, I can't imagine anyone needing more capacity in a walk around type bag.
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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Thin straps ruin an otherwise great design, June 7, 2012
By 
Nathan Johns (Austin, TX USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Tamrac 5789 Evolution 9 Photo/Laptop Sling Backpack - Black (Electronics)
As a current owner of the Tamrac Adventurer 9 and a wedding photographer, I really wanted to love the Evolution 9 backpack. And in almost every design aspect I did. However, the achilles heel is the strap system.

PROS:
It holds a ton of gear. I was able to carry a custom bracket (flash bracket), LED lights, lens hoods, and a 36-pack of AA batteries in the upper portion of the bag. In the lower portion, I was able to fit a 5D body w/grip, 24-70, 70-200, 14L, 24L, 35L, 85L, 135L, 100L, and 580 flash with attached bounce. The double access panels and the abundance of zippered pouches were really convenient for quick access to gear. I love the design of my Adventurer 9 bag and the Evolution 9 really increased the overall convenience and functionality.

CONS
However, because the designers were trying to add sling functionality (eliminating one of the straps), they designed straps that are ¾" to a full inch narrower than more traditional backpack straps. In addition, the padding is far thinner than other photography backpacks I've used. I shot two outings with this bag, the first was for 4 hours and by the end of it, my back and shoulders were very sore. After the first outing, I wanted to return the Evolution 9, but I loved the other design elements so much that I decided to give it another try. I purchased 2"x10" foam Seat Belt Shoulder Pads - MOMO Style #1 Black/Red - Pair for the straps, hoping that the additional width and padding would make the bag more usable. The next opportunity I had to use it was for 2.5-hour evening shoot. By then end of it, I knew I had to return the Evolution 9, even with the extra padding, my back and shoulders were really sore.

My feelings on the bag are mixed. With the exception of the strap design, I love every other design element. But in my opinion, the strap design is not adequate for the amount of gear that the Evolution 9 is designed to carry.

My recommendation depends on your usage scenario. If you carry your gear to a location and leave it sitting there until you need to travel to a new location, then the Evolution 9 could be a very good solution for you. However, my style is to carry my gear with me as I hit multiple locations in a short amount of time, and in this usage scenario, the thin strap design make the Evolution 9 completely unusable.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Great functional design, terrible comfort, September 22, 2012
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This review is from: Tamrac 5789 Evolution 9 Photo/Laptop Sling Backpack - Black (Electronics)
I travel a lot for work (both domestic and international) and take side-trips for photography. So I needed a good backpack to carry all my gear: 5D2 + 15 fisheye + 16-35L + 35L + 50/f1.4 + 70-200/2.8 + flash + 15.6" laptop + accessories (adapter, charger, filters, Kindle, etc.). Since a lot of my travel photography is in urban settings, I wanted a pack with side access. The Tamarac looked perfect.

The functional design is fantastic -- love that the camera compartment can be accessed from both right and left sides; means I don't have to stack lenses and root through them to get to the bottom -- I can access all 4 of my extra lenses just by opening one zipper. Laptop compartment is roomy. The storage compartment on the top can hold my Kindle + space for adapter, charger, etc. External zippered side storage holds my passport perfectly. Lots of internal storage slots for cards, filters, etc.

The build is disappointing though. The zippers are not as beefy as on my Lowepro, ThinkTank, or ClikElite bags -- they may work fine, or they may not (found out later from a friend he had his front access zipper fail on a trip). The biggest disappointment are the straps -- very thin with a lot of extra length that just flaps around. The shoulder straps are the deal-breaker. I wore it around the house with just my camera gear and after 45 minutes my shoulders were itching to get them off. The straps are quite narrow so they don't distribute the load well and they're also a bit abrasive. Not the cushiony feel of a Lowepro or ClikElite (did a 12-mile hike yesterday with my fully-loaded ClikElite in complete comfort). No way could I imagine walking around for 10-12 hours with the Tamarac.

Despite the great design, I ended up returning the Tamarac. Got the Dakine Quest instead -- camera compartment is quite a bit tighter than the Tamarac, but way more comfortable to carry.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Case, August 10, 2011
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This review is from: Tamrac 5789 Evolution 9 Photo/Laptop Sling Backpack - Black (Electronics)
The case is an excellent addition for my travels. Not only was I able to carry my equipment, but there was enough room for me to also carry a number of essentials that I needed for our hike in the Colorado Rockies.

I would highly recommend this bag for serious camera buffs. Other than the high price, this is a great case.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Best photo backpak I have owned, July 1, 2013
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This review is from: Tamrac 5789 Evolution 9 Photo/Laptop Sling Backpack - Black (Electronics)
I am a serious amateur photographer. I purchased this backpack for our family vacation to Disney-world. I packed a Nikon D800 with a 20mm and a 24-120mm zoom for this trip. This backpack is big, it would barely fit under the seat in front of me on the USAir flight to Orlando. Lay the backpack on it's back and slide under the seat in front, be careful not to pack to full or it will not fit between the floor and the bottom of the seat in front. Padding and configuration is mostly standard compared to the other camera bags/backpacks I own. The sling feature works well for me.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Jack of all trades, master of none., June 17, 2013
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This review is from: Tamrac 5789 Evolution 9 Photo/Laptop Sling Backpack - Black (Electronics)
Pro:
This bag has a lot of room and packs equipment nicely. In the main compartment, it fits my two zooms (one on camera), two prime and a macro plus external flash and DSLR. There's a little room left over, I suppose one could get creative and fit even more. The top case is separated from bottom by a removable insert, so you could conceivably take it out and have one huge pack, but you'd have to individually pack equipment at the top since there's no velcro on the side to use partitions up there. So I just have it as-is, with a couple point and shoots thrown in, batteries, battery charger, polarizers, lens cleaner, etc. The back sleeve fits my 15" MacBookPro and cord. The tripod strap/pocket works just fine with mine (Oben AC-1400 4-Section Aluminum Tripod with BA-00 Ball Head)- snug and secure. The side pockets are small for AA batteries and SD cards- not super helpful, but better than nothing. Rain cover is nice touch. Essentially it's a one stop shop to store my gear and can be used to transport in car or on a flight (would easily fit in overhead- same size as my rollerbag).

Cons:
Overpriced. I don't know the build quality of the Vivitar, but it looks the exact same as this for 70 bucks. Vivitar DKS-25 Photo/SLR/Laptop Sling Backpack - Large (Black)
Zippers: probably my #1 complaint. These zippers suck. Period. They may hold up if you are careful, but no way no how can you swing this bag around in the 'sling' configuration and zip it open and pull out your camera. At that angle, I just don't see these zippers holding up. Even under "careful" use, I don't see these zippers holding up forever.
Straps: read the other reviews about uncomfortable straps. Especially if you are laden down with gear. The "sling" side configuration is just a silly gimmick- you want this bag to hold a lot of gear, and with that much gear and these crappy straps, there's no way I could a) carry it slung on the side for any length of time, or b) swing it around front for "easy access" to my camera in the field. I tried. It's awkward.
Backpack: I could stand to wear this to/from a destination. Don't plan on keeping it on your back for any length of time- even mostly empty is uncomfortable at best. Full it's bearable for transport, but just.
Strap length: this thing is apparently made for a Sasquatch. Extra strapping just gets in the way. Except for the across the chest strap, which is too short. I think the "sling" gimmick drove those decisions, unfortunately.

So I debated between 2 and 3 stars, and gave it three because it does hold all my gear and the next time I'm traveling with ALL my gear, I'll take it. For around town, I really like my "gear on the go" messenger bag (small. It carries about 4 of my lenses and 1 camera stuffed, or 3 lenses + camera comfortably, without much room for more).Timbuk2 The Snoop Camera Messenger Bag
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Makes life so convenient!, January 19, 2012
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This review is from: Tamrac 5789 Evolution 9 Photo/Laptop Sling Backpack - Black (Electronics)
I very much feel that my camera equipment is safe in here. It has plenty of space for a dSLR with a grip and all my lenses, flash, and "junk" (blower, white balance card, etc.). It does have a laptop sleeve, but don't try to use this as a briefcase like I do. The bag only has enough space for my laptop. There's not even room for a thin three-ring binder. Great purchase. I'm happy with it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tamrac Evolution 9, October 21, 2013
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This review is from: Tamrac 5789 Evolution 9 Photo/Laptop Sling Backpack - Black (Electronics)
I gave this bag a 5 star rating as it totally deserves it, even though I had to return it. The bag is 100% fabulous. I could get my 20+ square filters, 1 DSLR w/105mm attached lens, 4 additional lenses, 1 flash and all incidentals packed nicely into this bag. The reason I returned it is that I'm a "shorter/smaller" person and the straps could not be adjusted "tight" enough to hold the bag comfortably on my back (and I unfortunately have a not-so-good back).. It really broke my heart having to return it as I totally loved the bag and how it is designed.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Big and built well, July 30, 2012
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This review is from: Tamrac 5789 Evolution 9 Photo/Laptop Sling Backpack - Black (Electronics)
Wow, it's big. lots of room and build very well. I dropped my DSLR three lenses and flash in. Still have lots of space.
laptop storage is well padded and my 15" altra book droppes right in.
I love the quick acess to my camera and when I set the pack down it sands up in place.
It's more money that the others but well worth it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I think it's great, I just have too much gear!, June 3, 2013
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This review is from: Tamrac 5789 Evolution 9 Photo/Laptop Sling Backpack - Black (Electronics)
I love the bag, and I got it thinking it would hold everything I have. It ALMOST does. The problem lies in the open compartment in the top, but that problem is mine, and not one with the bag. If you have one or two bodies, and three or four lenses, it would be great for you. You can only hold three lenses if you have a zoom the size of the 70-200, but four if you have primes or smallers zooms that are able to sit upright. I have three bodies, all full frame (so they're a bit larger), and six lenses and two flashes with about thirty eneloop batteries. I am using every single bit of space this bag has, and the top compartment is holding loosely my flashes and one camera body and one lens. I have my 85L sitting on top of my 70-200 backwards down in the bottom part. Probably not too safe, but I'm looking into Pelicans now. I LOVE the laptop zipper on the back. I LOVE the compartments everywhere. This is truly a fantastic bag, and I have no regrets buying it. I think I will keep it so when I travel the world, I'll have a bag that holds a couple of bodies, a few lenses, a laptop, and some toys for the kiddo in the top. I've never used this as a sling, and while I guess I could, I think I just have it so full that it's so dang heavy I just don't want to. Hope this helps!
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