on June 20, 2009
Alright, this is hands down the best bag of it's size and function I have ever seen. I had bought this bag, and after my longtime camera broke, I gave it to a friend of mine. When I got a new camera, I figured I'd get another bag. When I went shopping again for a bag, I realized what a treasure this Canon bag was, and I had a hard time tracking it back down!
First off, I want to start with this brought forward, "for it's size and function." This bag is not big enough for all your toys. I chose it from the shelf of a camera store because I wanted a bag as small as possible that would hold my limited camera setup, so I could bring everything with me without having to "pack", but small enough to actually carry around all day and not have it be in the way all the time. It's roughly the same size as a woman's purse (though a little squarer in shape). That said, I currently carry in it:
Nikon D200 body (with protective rubber body, which makes it a little bulkier)
Attached 18-200mm lens with hood
2 extra batteries
battery charger and cord
usb cord and card reader
video cord for plugging into RCA input
remote trigger and reciever
extra memory card
lens cleaning cloths and a tiny LED flashlight (about 3" long)
a pez dispenser for plugging into the hotshoe (makes the kiddies smile) and extra pez
This makes it crowded enough to make it hard to get the camera in/out quickly, but fits everything for quick pick-up and carry. That said, taking the cords, pez, batteries, charger and extra CF card and putting them in a small pouch that hangs on the strap makes sufficient room to easily access everything else very easily. To me, the size is just right, but size is not why this bag rocks!
I ride offroad motorcycles and frequently take the camera with me. Off course, I'm concerned about it banging around or crashing and getting broken. This bag relieves this concern in several fundemental ways that I have yet to see on another bag.
First, look at the hardware. IT'S MADE OF METAL. the clips, zipper, hooks, NO PLASTIC. The hook at each end of the strap is a rotating clip. The way it's designed makes it so that you cannot apply stress to the clips just by twisting, so they last a lot longer. Plus, the spring loaded clip is shaped such that it's nearly impossible to accidentally unclip them, but very easy if you want to.
Second, look at the stitching. The solid metal ring on the bag that the strap clips to is inserted into nylon that is stitched all the way down the side of the bag and into the bottom. There six inches of stitching holding the strap on, and it's all visible. Even the top handle is totally solid, I never worry about the strap coming loose, or breaking suddenly. The ones I was seeing in the store, were plastic clips, attached to 1/4" wide strap
that had 1/2" of stitching holding it in. On other bags, in an environment where the bag is undergoing some motion, those clips could break, the stitching could come out, or the strap that the clip is attached to could break - all in an instant without any sign of wear. With this bag, I can see how close anything is to breaking.
Third, and I can't believe this is not touted in the item description, there is another strap on this bag! You can fold it back, tuck it inside a pouch in the back so that most of the time, the bag is just a regular shoulder strap orientation, but you can pull out this second strap that goes around your waist. Once again, the hardware on the second strap is high quality. On the motorcycle, this relieves most pressure from the shoulder strap, since it's really strapped tightly around my waist. No bouncing around at all. However, extreme environments aside, when I'm just walking around town shooting, I take out the second strap, tie the bag to my back essentially, and it's not constantly in the way swinging around, I don't even notice it. In addition, with the extra strap, my shoulders don't get as tired walking around with a heavy camera for a long time from a single shoulder strap.
Finally, and no one got a picture of this, there are plastic runners on the bottom of the bag, so as it's used, picked up, put down, dragged around, whatever, it's not wearing a hole in the bottom of the bag.
All in all, I was impressed at the quality in this bag when I first got it. When I start looking at other name brand bags that are supposed to do the same thing, I am amazed at the lack of quality in some of the most fundamental areas. If this bag ever wears out, I will seek out another one just like it again and again until someone else starts meeting some of the basic needs of an outdoor photographer.