Top critical review
26 people found this helpful
Big outside, Tiny inside.
on July 4, 2008
I've been using this bag for about 6 weeks now, both walking around the city and taking it on a photo trip. I bought it as it seemed to be the only bag that met carry-on restrictions, would fit most of my equipment, and make it easy to access 2 cameras with different lenses on them instead of swapping lenses all of the time.
The only problem with that is the bag is incredibly small on the inside when compared to what it looks like from the outside. There are several areas where the designers got it almost right, but no cigar.
The main camera compartment will not take my 2 bodies with lenses attached. For one thing the viewfinders stick either into the laptop compartment or out towards the outside of the bag, which in turn does not let the top of the camera compartment close properly, which means the main outside flap does not close well. You can even see in the product pictures that one of the cameras has its viewfinder bulging out. This area measures 13"W X 5"D X 11"H, about 715 sq. in. I took off for the rounded corners which only make the curved space unusable. In comparison, my Lowepro Slingshot 200 has 624 sq. in. in its main compartment, and its all accessible, as well as the bag being $200 cheaper. My Pacsafe duffel with the photographic insert, which I would not carry around but it's good for transport, is less imposing than the Crumpler, but has a whopping 1760 sq.in. of space, all of it usable as it loads from the top.
If you `stack' your equipment as they suggest, you'll find yourself taking everything out of the bag, and removing all of the dividers to get at the bottom. Then of course you need to put everything back, and the dividers are a pain as they stick like glue to anything. I bought a new lens and that with the body attached is 13" long, the bag is 11" deep, doesn't fit. Speaking of dividers, they are a puzzle to figure out, I never have. The bag comes with a complete extra set, I assume for a second camera. This would all be easier if Crumpler supplied some diagrams for different configurations.
So, what I do is put the tripod (Gitzo traveler fits without the head on) on the bottom of the inside, put a layer of dividers in, then put the camera in across instead of vertically. I can at least carry my tripod and camera with long lens somewhat stealthily but nothing else will fit in the bag. Not even a tiny lens.
Putting anything in the top area (shown with the mesh) causes the flap to not fit square, and the handle will no longer be at the top but at an angle. Nothing will fit in the back pocket, I had to force an Elastolite reflector in there with the rain cover. The tripod holder is on the bottom, which might be OK for a backpack, but whenever you set this thing down it falls over. I tried putting my tripod on the front, but then when you open the case it falls to the grund if you're not careful. Supposedly it holds 18 CF cards, I could get only 4 in, the pockets are too small for any more unless you take them out of their cases, no thanks. The bright safety orange interior is great - except that when you close the bag, the side flaps stick out, acting like a beacon to potential thieves that something good is inside.
I don't know how they made that video, although I save seen a magician pull rabbits out of his hat. I do know that their pictures are all of an open bag, as it would be miracle if you could close it, and if you did it would look bloated like a pig.
The quality is great, hence the 2 stars, but I'm really disappointed that I had to carry an extra camera bag on the plane because my equipment wouldn't fit in this bag, not even close. I'm even more disappointed that I can't walk around with 2 cameras ready to go like it shows in all of the pictures.
i should have returned it when I had a chance, but I was on a deadline and frankly tired of shopping for a bag. Do yourself a favor and go to a store and look at this bag, take your equipment along and see if it fits before you buy it.
Edit 6/15/11 - I finally decided I needed use this bag for something so I took an Xacto knife to the innards. I cut out the laptop pocket so I now have enough room to fit a full size dSLR with a battery grip on it. I found out that the interior pieces are lined with a hard plastic so I cut those out also. The top now closes right and there is a lot more room in the interior. I also added Velcro panels where the bag closes so I don't have to use the straps to keep it closed. I think it may require more surgery, but I'm not sure yet, I'll have to see how it breaks in.