Top positive review
53 people found this helpful
on September 17, 2010
I've been more than happy with my Amazon-purchased Ape Case camera bag (medium) -- a great value and a terrific bag. It's a workhorse that still looks new after two years.
But I've wanted a backpack camera bag. Shopping around, I kept coming back to the Kata 3N1 for its versatility: regular backpack, left or right sling with quick access on either side, and criss-cross to go from backpack to sling in seconds.
But which one? The 20 or the 30? I didn't need the netbook / laptop compartment, since I don't plan to tote one. The 30 sounded a bit large.
I ordered the 20, then changed my mind and chose the 22 -- WITH the netbook compartment. Because I realized I would use it for manuals and bounce cards. And maybe a netbook, if I like . . .
The Kata 3N1 22 arrived in four days and it's been everything I hoped. Beautifully designed and constructed; high quality; amazing in operation.
Right away, out of curiosity, I wanted to see how I could configure it and load it up. Here it is, packed, at 14 pounds. (3 of those are the bag, so that's 11 pounds of gear in a deceptively compact and comfortable backpack.)
580 EX II Speedlite (in its case, with stand)
430 EX II Speedlite (in its case, with stand)
8 spare AA batteries for Speedlites
RIGHT EXTERIOR POUCH
Second Canon camera battery
Canon battery wall charger
LEFT EXTERIOR POUCH
Polarizing and other filters
Tamron 70-300mm and reversed hood (on camera)
Canon 50mm 1.8 prime (hood separate)
Canon 28-135mm (hood reversed)
Tamron 17-35mm (hood separate)
Tamron 28-200mm (hood reversed)
2-pc Vivitar wireless remote (in mesh pouch, not included)
3pc Cowboy wireless Speedlite triggers (in mesh pouch, not included)
Rain cover in pouch
Media kit -- with extra compact flash cards
"A Better Bounce Card" Bounce Cards
And there's still room for a card reader, binoculars, LED flashlight, small miscellaneous items.
Will I walk around every day with it loaded like that? Probably not. Then again, why not? Leaving out a couple or three lenses and one Speedlite doesn't reduce the weight by THAT much. (Though it's an amazingly comfortable everyday run-around backpack / sling if I leave a few items at home.)
All I have to do is sling my tripod (in its case) and light stand / umbrella (in their case) over my shoulder, or hand carry them, and go. An easily portable highly versatile studio for locations.
Does the 3N1 system really work? And how!
I have had none of the problems a few others have mentioned. I'm 6', 200 lbs, 42" waist. The adjustable waistband fits me fine, with inches to spare.
Yes, wearing it as a regular backpack is the most comfortable over time, as everybody mentions.
But the criss-cross position is almost equally comfortable, with the advantage of instantly converting to a sling. I don't feel "choked" by the straps at my neck, as a few have mentioned. Yes, I adjust them more often because of the configuration. But I don't mind, having the option to instantly go to a sling.
The adjustable padding on the straps is comfortable and effective. The quick-release buckles are strong yet easy to fasten or open. Yes, you really CAN pull the side flap open with one hand and grab your camera from the bag on the fly. The zippers are heavy-duty but smooth.
Sling position (I'm right-handed) works as advertised, with rapid access to my camera without opening the main bag, plus the stabilizing factor of resting my elbows on the bag, now slung around and lying across my front, while shooting.
Sturdy, solid protection for all that gear, plus a rain cover if needed. And yes, I'm glad to have the netbook compartment. I knew I'd use it and it's worth the extra $20.
Now that I've seen how MUCH gear I can pack, it's a daily exercise to decide what I really WON'T need when I go out, and enjoy this versatile backpack / sling at its lightest and for all it's worth. Because it's so brilliantly sized and configured that, backpack or sling, it doesn't feel clumsy or oversized at all, as you use it.
Of course, you're carrying as much as 14 pounds of gear or more in this seemingly compact case -- so it's not like toting an iPhone in your pocket. You feel it. The trick is HOW and how much you might be strained by the extra weight.
The Kata 3N1 22 distributes the weight perfectly and is hands down and fully loaded the most comfortable backpack I've ever worn. You can even use it as an ordinary backpack if you like. The padded partition separating the upper from the main compartment unzips to create one large interior space (by removing the remaining velcro-strapped padded dividers).
I'm impressed. This is an organically designed ergonomic camera equipment transport-protection system that can literally change from day to day, or hour to hour, according to your personal / professional needs and schedule. Priced as well as it is designed and constructed.
Great job, Kata.