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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on March 22, 2012
Verified Purchase
I bought a Kata 3N1-35 PL to replace my LowePro Fastpack 350 camera backpack.

A few key points

1) The padding of the LowePro around the arms and back is much softer and thicker compared to the Kata bag

2) Inside space is about the same actually although the upper storage space in the LowePro is much larger. The lower camera storage space might be slightly larger on the Kata. It does seem deeper.

3) Inside padding is about the same on both bags.

4) Access to the inside of the bag is better in the Kata with openings on both sides

5) The Kata offers many more configurations for shoulder straps

6) Kata comes with a tripod mount

7) Kata comes with a rain cover

The last few points are the main reason why I bought the Kata bag. Overall I bet I use both bags at different times.

The LowePro comes with a nice little internal zipper bag as well as memory card slots.

Which bag is better? Very hard to say. I lean slightly toward the LowePro but they both have pro's and cons overall.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on May 11, 2012
Verified Purchase
I quite like this bag. This review will cover what I like and dislike, and also compare it to a couple of other bags you may be considering.

I had been struggling with a Lowepro Slingshot 200 for some time and it just wasn't working for me. The sling configuration isn't comfortable for long days, and it was just too small for what I wanted to do with it: No configuration would hold my 80-200 f/2.8 attached to the body and still close, and the top area was too small to be very useful for anything. Although the camera access area is a good fit for a full size DSLR body there was no good configuration for my smaller mirrorless body, which got lost in it. Moving to a mirrorless pushed me over the edge to look for a new bag.

I first purchased the Case Logic "large" DSLR shoulder bag (model slrc-203). It's really fantastic, and I MUCH prefer it to the Slingshot for any outing that I would otherwise have used the Slingshot. It's good for a shorter outing with a body, a moderately sized zoom and a couple of primes, a mic, battery, etc, and maybe a snack. But being a shoulder bag it's not for longer days, hikes, etc, and being pretty small it can't really carry a big tele at all.

Liking the CL bag but needing something for longer hikes with a larger lens, I looked for a backpack. I wasn't wild about the CL slrc-206 backpack, so I looked at Kata and tried this PL-3N1-35 as well as their Multipro-120. I settled on this one.

With that out of the way....

This Kata bag is big. It's a full-size backpack that can hold a 17" macbook pro (just). Empty it's over 4 pounds. It's got a two-part interior, the lower of which has a large camera area, and the upper is open for personal items. The upper area is fully padded so you could toss an extra big telephoto in there, or your camcorder with mic attached. I keep binocs, food, and odds and ends in the top generally. I keep an ipad in the laptop area on most days, and ipad 'stuff' in a side pocket. The other side pocket has filters.

Good:

- Very high quality
- Great side access to gear from both sides. Either side can be easily accessed while wearing it as a backpack by slipping one strap off and bringing the bag to your side.
- For loading and access the whole bottom opens up when needed.
- It can swallow quite a bit of gear. Think big zoom, a standard zoom, several primes, a flash, mini tripod, charger, maybe even an extra body.
- The external pockets are all well placed and designed. The upper side pockets are mesh-backed so you can see their contents from inside the top compartment.
- Comfortable straps and waist strap, ALL of which can be tucked away.
- Comes with rain cover.
- Comes with detachable tripod mount that can legitimately hold a decent sized tripod, such as my Slik 400 with video head on it. the tripod holder can be mounted in one of two positions, low or high.
- Fits a full-size 80-200 f/2.8 attached to a body, no problem. (Lens hood reversed)
- The loops meant for the tripod holder are perfect for slipping a carabiner through, for water bottle, etc.
- When unused, both the tripod pocket and the rain cover fit together in one of the front pockets.
- The barrier between the top and bottom section can be zipped out to free up the entire interior.

Gripes:

- Sling configuration is not very practical with such a big bag. It would be better to ditch the extra strap connection rings at the base for regular dedicated straps.
- No chest strap. I will sew one on at some point.
- The parachute pulls on the zippers are not very smooth to use, and generally I find the zippers a little finicky. They seem tough though.
- I would like it to be less deep. I have no requirement for it to be a full 6" deep internally, myself. But on the other hand, my NEX-7 body fits in with mic attached to the hotshoe, so I guess this one's a wash.
- The little straps on the very top could be longer. They can hold a very light windbreaker rolled up, but not much more.
- I wish it had a pocket inside the side doors for a lens cap.

This 3n1-35 compared to the Kata Multipro-120:

- This one is the same width, a little taller. The Multipro is less deep (lower profile on your back).
- This is heavier than the Multipro, by a little less than a pound.
- I like the textile strap pads on this much better than the rubbery straps on the Multipro.
- This bag has better access to your gear while being worn.
- The Multipro has a lot of room for camera gear, less room for personal items. And if you want to use the top access for your body on the Multipro, that eliminates the top section completely for personal items.
- The Multipro has a better laptop compartment, including an expandable panel if you have to put a book or something else in there.

It was a tough call between the two but I decided the 3N1-35 was a better fit for me.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on December 15, 2012
Verified Purchase
Ok, here is the deal. This backpack is really well made; the materials are real high quality materials. It’s really easy to pull out your camera and start shooting, same as your lenses and any other stuff; everything comes out really easy from the top, sides, front bags, etc. From time to time you’ll probably have to put it on the floor when changing lenses (cause I take extremely care of lenses hehe), but I think it’s normal.

The downfall for me it’s that when I use it fully loaded and with the 2 straps after a while my back starts to hurt cause it feels a little bit heavy, so I had to change it to the 1 strap module (I'm talking about my 15" laptop, 4 lenses, my 70-200 2.8 VRII, my camera body, my SB910 in its package, filters and other stuff. Why all these things? Well, because from time to time I have to hehe. But normally it will be all this, except the laptop). Because of this I don't see myself taking a long hike with this thing full of my stuff, but it’s really nice when photographing stuff in the city though.

The tripod bag it has its really neat, you can easily carry your tripods without any worries. It can carry 6 lenses, a 70-200 2.8, and your camera body. The insides are fully adjustable, so you can custom it to your needs. The top part it’s really nice and big you can put way too many things in there.

The laptop compartment fits up to 15" and something laptops, really nice and protects well. It has 2 buckles and the zipper, so it won't open easily.

The rain cover works like a charm, I have already tested it the tropical weather and my equipment stays dry.

So, here is my experience so far. I hope it helps.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on January 9, 2013
First of all, finding this backpack for sale was nothing short of impossible in October - November 2012, when I was looking for it for a forthcoming trip. It showed up on Amazon a couple of times (in all other major retailers it was out of stock), and I bought it. Twice. Never to receive it: both third-party retailers did a horrible job of coming through, stating that it was in stock when it was obviously not. On the first try I waited for it for over a month, sending emails asking about my purchase's whereabouts, no conclusive answer, and finally Amazon itself cancelled the transaction. The second waiting game was shorter because I was wiser... I ended up buying the Kata MultiPro-120 PL Backpack KT PL-MTP-120 -- my review is in the product page --, but was never happy with it.

By chance, during my trip, I found the 3N1-35 in a store in Tokyo and bought it (the MultiPro given to my cousin then and there). It took just a few minutes to find out that my research and my first choice had been right: the backpack for this trip had to do double duty, good as an airplane carry-on and in the field, and this one had everything to perform well in both.

Spacious yet not overly bulky, it sits well on my back even when packed for the airplane -- and it can get quite heavy, with cameras (a D7000 and a V2), lenses, flash, a 13.3" ultrabook, external disk drives, battery chargers, spare batteries, myriad cables and adapters, cell phone and personal effects. The straps are comfortable, not the rubbery material used in other Kata backpacks and to which I did not adapt. Used as a sling it is equally comfortable, although I would sensibly advise that it be a little less packed to put less strain on the chosen shoulder.

To me this is a well dimensioned backpack, with a generous upper compartment (which hosts pockets and a smaller zippered division) for personal belongings, four smart zippered outside pockets and configurable in the bottom part for photo equipment and electronics. Sturdily built, it endured mud, dust, rain and heat, was hauled to and from planes and vehicles, sat in tents, had its insides reconfigured several times -- the top compartment can hold a camera body face down, with a long lens (in this case a 70-200 f/2.8 with a TC 1.7x) facing down, protected by well placed dividers -- for different needs and handled everything well.

The rain cover actually works, being easy to pull on (but not so easy to fold and put back into the netted bag built onto it!) and providing good protection against water. I had to walk with it through strong rain and everything remained bone dry, outside and in. As is Kata's tradition, the 3N1-35 is built like a horse (I don't think it lacks padding on the outside), its interior and dividers are all yellow and the zippers work well.

This will be, no doubt, my backpack of choice in future travels.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on October 25, 2012
Verified Purchase
I had seen a photographer with a Kata bag when I was visiting Buchart Gardens in Victoria, BC. Good compact bag and looked sharp! I was in the market for a bag as I wanted to carry both my Canon 50D & Canon 7D. I used this when I went on my Costa Rica trip this summer and have to say it performed spectacularly! Had storage for a lot of my camera stuff (zooms, cords, drive,...), also room enough for personal stuff like IDs, passports, wallet.. Caution: Can get heavy with it filled to the brim.
Highly recommend. Amazon also had the best price!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on November 23, 2012
Verified Purchase
Finding the BEST DSLR bag is tough. This bag seemed to be the best of the best, and well...it's pretty good...but not perfect. I love the concept of having a backpack that converts to a sling (and a left or right sling at that), but the thing is that the sling straps are not all that comfortable. The straps could use a bit more padding, maybe wider? padding? I haven't lugged this around on a shoot yet (I just got it after about 3 months of waiting and searching for it!), so I can't tell you what that will be like...but I suspect I'll need occasional breaks from the weight. Now, the design is nice.

My current configuration (all fits in bag)
Nikon D800 with battery grip
Nikon SB900 Speedlight
Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8
Nikkor 16-35mm f/4
Nikkor 35-70mm f/2.8
Nikkor 50mm f/1.4
Nikkor 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6

PROS:
Backpack config
Dual sided Sling
VERY lightweight
All straps are tuckable (can tuck them away when not in use so they don't flap around)
Roomy
Rip-Stop material
Buckles are great quality

CONS:
First and foremost... NONAVAILABILITY! Hard to find and when you do find it the vendor usually wants to charge more than the recommended resale price.
Zippers are not water resistant (you do get a cover though)
Top pocket zippers seem a bit cheap, hope they last (could just be my perception).
Possible protection issues (Not sure that the padding is enough to sustain a drop of much less than a couple feet).
External pockets on front are a bit small
Buckles could have a safety feature built in just in case
Top pocket is a bit small, but sufficient.

All in all, would I buy it again? Probably...there isn't much else out there close in this category. Would this be my ONLY bag? No, in fact I'm thinking of ordering a Lowepro Pro Trekker 300 AW as a travel bag. This is a great photo-walk bag and I think I'll get lots of use out of it. Not a bad purchase.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 4, 2013
Verified Purchase
So I probably have 12 camera bags, small carry, messenger, 3 backpacks. I'm always looking for that perfect bag. The last bag I purchased I thought was this, but it didn't rest well on my back, and when carrying my normal 30+ pound load, it was quite uncomfortable.

The Kata 3N1-35 is still not perfect (could use a few more pockets for small items), but its the best backpack I've owned so far. Very roomy camera area (has my 6D with 70-200 L, plus by 28-70 L, plus a 50mm, plus a 1.4x teleconverter, plus room for a flash.. and still has a couple of areas left for filters, straps, etc.). Couple of pockets out front are OK for small items. The top space is quite spacious, plenty of room for all that "other" travel stuff you need to carry. And the computer slot holds both my Macbook Air and my iPad2, with room left for a small book or magazine.

The side access for the camera actually works better than I expected, with the quick access unsnap/pull being quite effective. The carry handle is comfy, some that is often overlooked for some reason in the multi-use backpacks. The shoulder straps have multiple configurations, and one thing I had not realized is that there is storage in the rear of the backpack for any of the shoulder straps you aren't using... and it still rests comfortably.

All in all, quite happy with the purchase.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on July 23, 2012
Verified Purchase
Kata KT PL-3N1-35 Pro Light 3N1 35 Backpack - Black I received the bag 2 days ago. This bag replaces the KT PL-3N1- 25 PL that was too small. The bag looks fine except the fact that it does not include a "Spine Guard" as specified and as shown on the video describing this bag (At 3:11 min. of the video). After loading the bag with all my gear I noticed that this Guard is crucial to protect the gear inside.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on July 26, 2012
Verified Purchase
ok, this just arrived today so I haven't used it in the field yet, but my initial impression is very good. High quality materials and the interior padding is very good quality. Nice yellow color makes it easy to see everything. Unique design allows it to be both a backpack and a sling pack, which ever you prefer. It's not going to hold every piece of gear you have but it holds an amzazing amount of gear in a compact form factor. I packed it for a week trip to CA and so far I have my 5D Mark III with 70-200 attached, 60d body, 24-105,10-20 wide angle, 100mm macro lens, filters, hoodman, chargers...and all in just the bottom main compartment. There is still plenty of room in the top compartment for my sling strap, extra batteries, memory cards and a flash. It's going to be heavy with all this gear but I loaded it up and it's not nearly as heavy as my LowePro Trekker Plus and about 30% more compact (making it possible to actually fit in an overhead on the plane). It also doesn't look or feel like you're carrying a fridge on your back. It also looks more like a traditional backpack so people won't know you are carrying a fortune in gear. I haven't decided if Im going to bring my laptop, but if you travel with something under 15 inch it will easily fit into the laptop holder in the back of the pack. If not, concider it extra room for gear.

I have some minor issues but by no means deal breakers. The rain cover comes in a separate pouch that you need to pack somewhere inside or clip to the outside of the pack. Not a deal killer but in comparison most of the Lowepro's come with the rain cover packed in a nice velcro hideaway pouch in the bottom of the pack...which also adds some additional padding to the bottom. The tripod attachment is a separate piece you need to manually attach (and store), in Lowepro's it's a fold out that velcros away on the front of the pack which is convenient. Again, not a big deal, but it's just another item that can get lost and make attaching your tripod impossible if you lose this piece. In general the pack is designed more for those who like a sling pack with the side compartments that open very easily for quick access to one camera with lens attached. If you like to fully open from the front it's a little more involved (unsnapping at least 3 clips and unzipping and folding back the front in a somewhat akward fasion...it doesn't quite fold all the way open so you need one hand to keep it open as you get gear out(a problem easily solved by Kata with one extra snap at the bottom center of the pack and one at the top center you can use to clip it open). I was looking for a more compact form so Im willing to deal with these minor issues. In general its looking like my best pack so far. Time to sell some of the old ones.
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on May 27, 2014
Verified Purchase
gret backpack from kata, looked for a long time to find a bag that was multi purpose, had side access, and can fit a 17 inch macbook pro. All quality
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