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Showing 1-10 of 51 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 60 reviews
on March 30, 2012
I purchased this because I was looking for a bag that would allow me to carry a fairly large amount of gear on my back while still being able to shoot out of the pack (e.g. do lens changes without taking the bag off and setting it on the ground) I looked at a lot of different options and narrowed it down to the Lowepro Flipside bags and this Kata bag. I had read that the flipside really wasn't designed for someone who is tall (I'm 6'6") or someone who is large (I'm also pretty big beyond just my height). The Kata looked like it might work better.

I found the bag to be just ok. For someone of my height, even with the straps let all the way out, the bag still rides very high on my back. I didn't feel like it was going to ride in a position where it would actually help take the load off of my shoulders. The waist belt was nowhere near my waist. This had the added side effect of making it so that when the bag swung around, it was up so high that it became difficult to actually get stuff out. I tried practicing with it and got a little better at it, but this movement never really felt comfortable to me.

The straps are well padded, however, and are relatively comfortable. The ability to adjust the straps to a variety of different configurations is a nice idea, although the sling maneuver really only works with the bag either in the criss-cross position or sling position. Neither really works that well. The criss-cross position crosses really high on my chest and requires you to put the bag on in sling position first and then attach the other strap. It just isn't that convenient to me.

The bag stores a decent amount of gear, but it didn't store as much as I had hoped. There are basically three slots in the bottom of the bag. Depending on the depth, you can configure the dividers to fit your purposes. Maybe it's my own inability to properly configure the bag, but I never got it adjusted in a way I really liked. When I had the camera out (which was most of the time) it left an empty section in the middle of the bag. The result was that the compartment the camera should have been in got crushed by the weight of the bag. It made it difficult to put the camera bag in when I needed to do so. I was also quite annoyed to find that the outside pockets that were supposed to fit flashes really didn't. I have two flashes that I like to keep in my bag at all times. The first is a Nikon SB-600 and the other is a LumoPro LP160. The Nikon flash could fit in one of those exterior pockets, but it didn't fit well. It was a tight fit that required wrestling with the pocket to make the flash fit. That wasn't what I was hoping for for an exterior flash pocket. I wanted something I could easily remove and return my flash to. I wasn't able to make the Lumopro flash fit at all. I was really disappointed by this as it meant I had to give up space in the main part of the bag to hold my flashes. This limited the other gear I could hold.

One feature I did really like was the open compartment in the top of the bag. When I am using the bag on the move, I often have my family with me. There are often lots of little things I would like to be able to stash in the bag. The top compartment gave me lots of flexibility to carry miscellaneous stuff or to fill it with random photography stuff. That flexibility is really nice to have.

I wouldn't say that this is a bad bag. It seems to be well-constructed and probably pretty durable. It's a little confusing to get set up and difficult to use. There are a ton of different zippers, lots of clasps, and the straps can be configured in a variety of different ways. The idea is a good one, but it just doesn't work for me in real life usage. It's uncomfortable and difficult to use as a sling-around pack, and just an ok backpack. It's a compromise. If you are of average height and build, maybe it's a good compromise for you. It wasn't a good compromise for me. I think I need to decide if I want a big pack to carry all my stuff or something smaller I can shoot out of. I thought I might be able to get both in this bag. I wasn't. Hopefully my experience will help to give you a good idea of whether it would work for you or not.
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on December 1, 2013
This was my first big camera bag purchase.
I got it because the specs and reviews fit my needs.
So far I am very happy with the quality and utility of the bag.
It holds my six or seven lenses, no problem + all my extras.
I have yet to really take it on a trip. I'm an amateur and don't travel anywhere with all my kit.
The bag is my "safe" here at home so I can't comment about this being on my back on a trip long term.
I can say I look forward to such a trip with exception as to why I am taking all my camera kit (hope I don't get kicked out of my house ever!)
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on September 4, 2008
I needed a backpack bag that would hold my Nikon D300 with the Nikkor 70-200 f2.8 VR zoom attached. My vetted choices came down to either the Lowepro Slingshot 300 or the new Kata 3N1-30. Both are very large bags, and while there were others worthy of consideration, these two were at the top of my budget range.

The Lowepro is a nice bag (my brother owns one and loves it), however, I gave the nod to the Kata for a couple of reasons. I like the yellow interior - very easy to find small parts even in low light. I like the flexibility of converting it from a sling to backpack. Finally, I personally like the styling better than the Lowepro (which is functional but homely). The Kata, in my opinion, doesn't scream "camera bag" quite as much as the Lowepro.

The Kata is generally well designed and exceptional quality. The interior dividers are configurable to the user's specific needs, access is flexible providing for easy swing around "quick draw" as well as through the traditional rear flap. Initial configuration was a little cumbersome due to the restricted ability to fully open the rear flap. This limits easy access to the uppermost compartments, but once I figured out how to fit everything inside it was fine. There is ample room in this bag for a large SLR with lenses and attachments. My D300 with both MB-D10 and the 70-200 attached fit snugly in the horizontal position. However, finding an additional spot for my 17-55 f2.8 was a little more challenging. (Note these are both relatively large lenses with even larger hoods). I still have room for my flash and another small lens or accessory, but that's about it for the main compartment in my case. There is an additional compartment in the top for other stuff (flash cards, batteries, charger, lunch, etc). The extra straps for converting to a full backpack tuck neatly out of sight. The pack is very comfortable to carry, even with a heavy load.

Pros: Overall design is good (with exceptions noted below) and the quality of construction is excellent . Very manageable and comfortable to use. Very spacious and flexible for varying needs.

Cons: I would really like for it to have some means of attaching a tripod or monopod (something the Lowepro omits as well). For a pack of this size, that seems to me to be a reasonable expectation. Also note there is no compartment for a laptop - not important to me, but perhaps for others. My biggest gripe is the inability to just lay the thing out fully open on its back (note the product photo - that's as far as that rear flap opens). It makes configuring the compartment dividers very awkward.

Acknowledging those limitations and the fact that no camera bag is perfect, the 3N1-30 or one of the two smaller versions should impress you. You'll be hard pressed to find a better pack in this price range.

Bottom line: I'm happy with my decision to purchase this pack over the Lowepro and highly recommend it. I'm only giving it 4 stars for the omission of a tripod/monopod attachment and the awkward main compartment access. Despite those caveats, this is an excellent, albeit not perfect, large camera backpack. I may end up getting something smaller for occasions where I won't be using the large zoom - perhaps the 3N1-10, W-94, or one of the DR series packs. Definitely Kata, though.
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on May 30, 2013
My biggest beef about photo backpacks is that there is too much photo, not enough backpack for day-hiking gear. The Kata is closer to my ideal. I got the 30 L pack, which is probably slightly larger than I needed. I could have got by with the 20 L pack. However, this will hold a ton. I can store a D7100, 70-300 VR, 35 DX, 12-24 DX, and another lens on the camera (any length, including a long tele) I have one large (70-300 or 80-400 laid flat) and one small pocket (flash size) left over. I'll probably put lunch in the large internal pocket. The upper compartment is fairly room, and could carry a water bottle, personal items, and maybe a spare shirt or compact rain gear. That's good enough for a short day hike with a lot of camera gear. You can hang a small tripod on the outside, but I haven't tried this yet with the optional accessory. It slings left or right for quick-draw, and you can access two lens pockets through velcro "doors" on either side of the camera from the quick draw opening. Nice. THere are four small flat outside pockets for small items. A detachable pouch for memory cards, cloths, etc, is included, and also a rain cover.

For short distances, the sling arrangement is OK. For longer distance walks, a full set of tucked-away straps (belt and two shoulder straps) can be hooked up into a backpack arrangement or and "X" arrangement. The backpack arrangement is not useful unless you attach your own sternum strap. The "X" arrangement is pretty comfortable, though. and releasing the belt and one of the chest straps will get you back to a sling and quick-draw position. I don't know how fast this will really be, but it's an option.

Well-padded, looks pretty rugged. Will certainly hold up to airline travel and day-hikes. My gear rides pretty good, but I'm not sure I would want to load it much more. With a water bottle and personal gear, I'm not sure I would want to put another heavy lens in there. For my uses, if the camera compartment were reduced in size by 1/3 and that space was given to the personal items compartment, it would be a perfect 5 stars for me.
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on June 19, 2010
So the bag had promise. I got it because it

1. would hold all my gear with a little extra room
2. in theory let me access the gear without taking it off
3. Allow for flexible configuration of the straps.

Unfortunately what I found, especially when getting heavier gear was the following

1. Even with my initial gear the bag was too big, bulky and heavy for me to effectively sling it around. That just did not work. The pain, rug burns, weight, and awkwardness of slinging it just did't cut it. Made getting gear in and out too painful; to the point that you would just take it off or not bother
2. The structural support at the bottom just won't hold my gear well when stuff is missing. Especially with the heavier gear.
3. Your back will sweat a lot when hiking with it.

Initially I had the following gear in the bag
- Canon 50D
- 10-22
- 24-70
- 70-300
- 50 f1.8
- 430 EX

Later I upgraded to the
- Canon 7D
- 24-70
- 70-200 F2.8 II (heavy lens)
- 10-22
- 50 f.18

I pretty much could no longer carry the flashes effectively, the weight of the new gear was a bit much, and storing the gear with the lens hoods attached (which is what I want) was proving to be too difficult).
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on March 21, 2012
--The Kata Large 3 in 1 Sling backpack has an interesting design in that it can be adapted to be worn as a backpack or a right shoulder sling or a left shoulder sling. Not only that, but while wearing it as a sling, you can slide the bag around (without having to take it off) to your front/side to access your camera from the bottom compartment that zips open from the side. These features can be very useful for people who are looking for such a device, and want to get to their camera without having to take it off.

The backpack comes in three sizes. I have the large size, which is fine, but if you really want to use it as a sling that you can quickly slide back and forth to get your camera, maybe the medium or small would be better because it is a little less bulky. It is up to you.

The backpack is divided into upper and lower compartment. The lower compartment has padded dividers for cameras and lenses. Although the side zippers are convenient for accessing the camera from the side, when the backpack is standing upright, the way that the zippers are positioned at the bottom makes it a little bit awkward when accessing equipment because one has to pull the flap up in order to gain access. For this reason I think the backpack is better used for its main selling point as a backpack which can be converted into an an ambidextrous sling with easy side access for shooting on the go. I think this backpack is less successful when used for carrying lots of equipment from point A to point B, and then accessing the gear when taken off.

--The Kata DR 467i it's similar to the 3 in 1 Sling in that it has an upper and lower compartment. However, the 467's lower compartment's U-shaped zipper faces the opposite way, and when open the compartment hinges out. It does not have the ambidextrous sling functionality of the 3 in 1 or the easy access on the go side zippers, but for accessing your gear when the backpack is upright, it provides easier access. Whether you like the design of the 467 depends on your personal taste. One possible disadvantage of the lower compartment is that, especially when it is full, the lower compartment may sometimes take a bit of pulling to get it fully open, because the hinge movement can be a bit stiff at times. This is not always the case, but sometimes it may be true especially if the lower compartment is full. In the end I'm not convinced whether this design is superior or not to the traditional camera bag style. You will have to decide which design most suits you, and your needs.

One minor complaint about this backpack is that the small storage zippers, located on the front top part, could have been curved to allow easier access to the pockets. Still this is a minor complaint, and for me not a deal breaker.
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on January 27, 2014
It's been a great bag with many pluses but a few annoyances.

1. The top flap should open the opposite way. As it is now the top flap opens and spills everything when you have the pack sitting on the ground (straps down) to access the camera & lenses.

2. The inner divider (which zippers open) between the upper compartment & main body has started to rip at the zipper seam from the bag flexing.

Other than that it is great. Holds my D600 with battery grip & attached 70-300 lens while the rest of the bag has room for my 2 flashes. 50mm, 24-70mm & 14-24mm. Rocket blower, 4 yonguo flash transmitters & AA batteries. Also holds a smattering of go pro stuff with room to spare.
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on February 21, 2010
After having a few months to try out this particular bag I have a handful of comments to make. First, I do a lot of walking/hiking with my camera. It would be helpful to the shoulders and neck if the pack had chest straps along with the included waist straps. I have a small frame and the straps don't quite tighten down enough for my comfort. Also, as others have stated, I am a little put off by the fact that I cannot fully open the main compartment to easily access my equipment. This is my biggest complaint. I believe I will try to cut off one of the zipper stops as the other gentleman suggested. Other then that, the construction of the bag seems to be good and the 'look' of the bag is nice (if that is important to you). It doesn't scream "expensive camera equipment inside", but it does look like a suspiciously nice bag that might have something valuable inside of it. So i would not leave it unsupervised or in full view in the back seat of my vehicle.
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This is my first bag that I bought for my camera gear. I bought it because I had built up my equipment to the point where I could no longer carry it around in a small bag. The price, size, and reviews seemed to point to this bag, and so I purchased it about 4 months ago. So far it has fit my every need. It easily carries my Canon T4i with 18-135 lens, Panasonic Camcorder, Shotgun Mic, Fisheye lens, spare batteries, two hot shoe lights, my cell phone, a water bottle, and other accessories. I really love the adjustability offered by the velcro compartments as well as the multiple carrying options.
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on October 30, 2013
I thought this bag was the one with the laptop/tablet sleeve. it wasnt.
anyway, it does a pretty decent job holding all my lenses, one f3.5 18-270 tami, one 50mm canon f1.8 one f3.5 10-20mm ultra wide angle. and one tripod which I do love.
its pretty big and hefty. i dont take all my gear when I shoot, only the ones i plan to use for the day.
I use a messenger bag and domkey camera bag inserts for those events.
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