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Lowepro 250 v 250 AW
on July 22, 2012
The official photos and descriptions on Amazon and the Lowepro site don't provide a complete picture of the similarities and differences between the two bags. Hopefully this review/description will help clear things up:
I ordered the Lowepro 250 AW and was sent a standard Lowepro 250 by accident. The standard bag receives high marks everywhere you look, so I kept the standard model and re-ordered the 250 AW to compare and contrast. Notes are below:
- Total camera storage space in the bottom segment is the same.
- Both camera compartments have speed access: side zippers that allow you to pull your arm out of the right shoulder strap, sling the bag around on your left shoulder, and then unzip only a small portion of the camera compartment to remove the body and attached lens (without exposing the rest of your camera gear).
- Velcro segments to configure the camera compartment is around the same - though the AW comes with one longer/skinner segment apparently designed to horizontally separate a compartment for two microphones
- Storage in the top segment is the same.
- Contruction materials/quality appear to the same.
250: One strap has a built-in "cell phone" pouch (albeit a very small pouch - would hold a large pocket knife/leatherman tool. The other strap has an elastic loop into which you can insert other Lowepro pouches for holding additional gear.
AW: No pouches or pouch holders - instead, a plastic D ring is on each strap for carabiners, etc...
250: Has a couple inches of padding on each side before the strap for theoretically more comfort. Straps cannot be tucked away
AW: Straps are attached directly to the bag - no padding to "ease" the transition. Pockets on the bag allow you to stash the straps out of the way if you don't want/need them
AW: Included. Are vertically adjustable on each side for comfort
SIDES OF PACK
250: Open weave mesh pouch with elasticized compression cord on one side; zippered pouch on the other. No tripod pouch.
AW: closed weave mesh pouch on one side. Below this pouch is a tripod pouch that can be pulled out when needed and tucked away when not needed. No zippered pouch on opposite side
250: Exteior of the compartment has a zippered pocket for holding relatively flat items like manuals. Interior has two small Velcro-covered pockets for various items and a two pen pockets. Approximately a 3x5 elasticized mesh pocket.
AW: Exteior of the compartment has a zippered pocket for holding relatively flat items like manuals. Compression straps are attached to both sides of the exterior of this compartment to keep things strapped down (including a tripod on one side). Interior of compartment has one flat pocket (for a manual, map or something flat) with no Velcro closures. A clear plastic business card-sized pocket for business card/ID tag. A slightly larger elasticized mesh pocket than the 250. A zippered pocket in the back of the this compartment (again, flatter items only). An elastic strap at the bottom of this compartment holds down a removable gear pouch. The interior of this zippered gear pouch has 5 elastic loops for keeping cords organized as well as 3 plastic "popsicle sticks" that slide in the loops that prevent your cables from becoming tangled. (I'm sure there's a technical term for this, but I'm not a photographer). The interior also includes 2 small pockets. The exterior of the removed pouch has a zippered pocket.
250: A flap with zippered pocket covers most of the camera compartment - it attaches to the backpack with two straps. When you open the camera compartment, two small Velcro pockets (sized to hold memory cards) are attached to the "lid".
AW: no flap - just a strap to prevent you from opening the camera compartment too far if using the speed access (see above under "similarities"). When you open the camera compartment, two small Velcro pockets (sized to hold memory cards) are attached to the "lid".
250: Side access only (same side as the speed access zippers for the camera compartment)
AW: Zippers cover the top half of the bag for top access/limited side access. I can't measure the interior of the computer pocket, but it "feels" bigger - perhaps because of the top access)
AW: Built in. Can be tucked away to the underside of the bag.
I ultimately went with the AW model, primarily for the tripod holder. Though I won't be taking video equipment, I'll use the small bag in the top compartment to store cords iPhone/iPad charger, etc...It was a tough choice, though - I am not a videographer and therefore didn't need the removable gear bag in the top compartment. Since I liked some of the design features/exterior pockets on the standard 250 model, I was considering going with the standard model and then purchasing a sternum strap and rain cover separately.
The bottom line is you have two good options depending on your needs, which I guess is why Lowepro is selling to variations of the "same" bag.