Accessory Review: Kata Revolver-8 Backpack

Kata Revolver-8 PL Backpack
$249 / £229 www.kata-bags.us

The Kata Revolver-8 photo backpack is unlike anything I've ever seen in the travel gear department. The backpack's primary feature is its roulette-style revolving lens compartment that enables photographers to quickly unsheathe a telephoto, standard or macro lens within seconds. Fortified with plenty of additional features, the $250 Kata Revolver-8 sits at the more expensive end of the camera backpack spectrum, but many pro photographers could be tempted to lay down their cash after seeing what it is capable of.

We'll begin with the Revolver-8's headline feature: the revolving lens compartment. The backpack can accommodate four standard or macro lenses and one telephoto in the main chamber alone. In order to access a lens, just unzip the flap on the left or right of the bag. In use, I've found that access from both sides enables you to grab a lens regardless of the bag's orientation on my shoulder. Two rugged plastic buckles provide support to the main compartment and act as zipper stops, though the entire compartment can be zipped open when the buckles are released. The bag's exterior dimensions measure 9.8 x 19.3 x 13.0" (24.9 x 49.0 x 33.0 cm), which places the Revolver in the average category of size.

The Revolver-8's revolving lens chamber is attached to the inside of the backpack and the outside panel via snap enclosures. The snap enclosures enable the chamber to revolve. Using great force, I was able to unsnap the outside panel of the backpack from the chamber. This is a good thing because it satisfied me that the lens chamber will not pop off and go rolling down the side of a mountain accidentally - it takes brute force to unsnap the thing. In addition, the safety buckles also serve to make sure that the lens chamber will stay in place, so I have no issues when it came to the security of the Revolver-8's lens chamber design.

The Kata Revolver-8 can hold five lenses in its main, revolving chamber. Lenses can be accessed by unzipping either side flap. An expended view of the Revolver-8's revolving lens chamber.
This is how to get access to a lens stored in the Kata Revolver-8. The interior dimensions of the Kata Revolver-8 reveal ample real space for lenses and small accessories like flash guns. 

So where does the camera live? Atop the Revolver-8 is a square flap that unzips to reveal a second large chamber for a DSLR, complete with a velcro-based lens strapping. Here I was able to fit my 5D Mark III with 24-105mm lens attached and I still had room to toss in the battery charger and other small accessories. The bottom of the camera chamber also unzips to reveal the revolving lens chamber beneath, so if your camera is out and strapped to your shoulder, lenses can be accessed from the top of the bag by reaching inside. The flap that conceals the camera chamber has a small zip pouch that I found perfect for lens filters and wipes. Two external pockets bookend the camera chamber, offering ample space for additional storage like phones, keys and laptop accessories.

Speaking of laptops, the Kata Revolver-8 can accommodate up to a 15.4-inch laptop, courtesy of its large, independent zipped pocket. Kata has thrown in a strip of rectangular foam at the bottom of the laptop pocket to ensure that the device is protected when the bag is set down, and if you want (or need) to, the foam along the back can be replaced with heavier-duty material. 

As for comfort and versatility, I've found the Kata Revolver-8 to be top notch in every regard. The shoulder straps can be configured in a multitude of ways to suit the natural contours of the individual, and there's a cross strap with buckle connectors for added security. The cross strap can be configured at different levels along the shoulder straps, and a detachable waist buckle can be mounted to the bottom of the backpack for even more stability. Kata has also included a two-sided elements cover: the black side is for rain protection and the silver side is for heat and dust deflection. If your challenges are photographic, rather than environmental, the silver side can also be used as a makeshift reflector.

The shoulder straps on the Kata Revolver-8 are fully adjustable. A full-size tripod can be mounted to the Kata Revolver-8.
The two-sided elements cover, shown in split view. A travel strap makes airports friendly again.

Another noteworthy feature of the Revolver-8 is its compatibility with other EPH (Ergonomic Photo System) Kata bags, meaning that other Kata backpacks, torso packs or waist packs can be added onto the Revolver-8 for additional storage. The Revolver-8 also has a travel strap for mounting the bag on a telescoping suitcase handle, as well as two removable straps on the front of the bag for securing a tripod. Stitching is rugged and durable, while the loop zipper enclosures make buttoning up the bag an easy task.

Summing Up

The Kata Revolver-8 photo backpack is truly one-of-a-kind. It's unique in featuring a revolving lens chamber for easy lens accessibility, but the additional storage options are nothing to sneeze at. This backpack is aimed at the professional who possesses an arsenal of lenses that need to be deployed quickly throughout a typical shoot. The addition of a laptop sleeve and camera chamber up top make the Revolver-8 one of the most attractive packs on the market. Materials and construction quality are top-flight.

What we like: Innovative solution for multiple lens users, ample storage space for camera and accessories, top notch construction and design, versatile configurations fit a swath of users' needs, tripod, laptop, travel suitcase and EPH System support sweeten the deal, elements cover has multiple uses.

What we don't like: Honestly, we're still trying to come up with something here... the Revolver isn't cheap, but it's a great backpack with some unique selling points.


Mike Perlman is a freelance photographer and writer, based in Bar Harbor, Maine. After a spell reviewing camcorders at Camcorderinfo.com, Mike moved to infoSync World as the Senior Photography Editor, before taking up a role at TechnoBuffalo.com as the head of the Photography department. These days, Mike runs his own photography business and contributes to dpreview between shoots.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions held by dpreview.com or any affiliated companies.

Comments

Total comments: 71
Frenz
By Frenz (2 months ago)

Not even the manufacturer can tell me how deep those pockets are of the 8-PL

-.-

After reading all this I shouldn't bother probably anyway, I guess.

Comment edited 30 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Frenz
By Frenz (2 months ago)

Dead topic I guess :\

0 upvotes
Frenz
By Frenz (2 months ago)

(2/2)
I wish camera bag manufacturers would stop mentioning what size laptops would fit in there and start using the regular width and length sizes because it differs too much these days with 4:3 - 16:10 - 16:9 different layouts etc.

What I really don't like about KATA promotional videos and I do understand that it looks 'cool' to have a lot of fast paced confusing shots but the thing is... I want to be able to see how exactly he opens a zipper and takes something out and all those shots are cut, some others are like so fast paced it's annoying to me it still does not show what it is all about. -accessibility is what this bag should stand out towards all others and that is not shown in the videos well enough.
And for me, with a minimum income it's again too much of a gamble so I'm searching for weeks now to find some more answers which should be coming from a simple movie, imo.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Frenz
By Frenz (2 months ago)

(1/2)
Hello, I'm in doubt again which bag to buy. I've had from Slingshots AW (which hurt my shoulder on one side after a while and no chance to wear it on the other shoulder) to KATA HB-207 which I thought was ideal for packing everything but it was way too heavy and very slow for me to change lenses and grab stuff. Problems at the airport taking it with me.

I have to pick the right one, this time!!!

-Backpack able to carry on both shoulders, slingshot-like option would be really nice.

-changing lenses fast without opening the entire flap/bag or having to take the entire bag of my back, put it on the ground and open etc.

-fits a 17" laptop : 42x28cm (sites like ephotozine and a few others mention that it fits a 17" laptop while the Kata site says 15"... confusing: Does my laptop fit in there?)

-what is the depth of the revolver, I can't find it anywhere. I wonder if some of my lenses like the 100mm macro (15cm in length) would fit in the smaller compartments of the revolver)

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
Greg Gebhardt
By Greg Gebhardt (Jan 25, 2013)

It is HUGE,

0 upvotes
lucavascon
By lucavascon (Nov 17, 2012)

Hi, as both professional an passionate photographer, and being used to carry with me very uncommon photo gear, like sppecial heads, panoramic heads, 8mm f2.8Nikkor etc. I early discovered that you defenitely need to own more than one bag. The way the bag is done is foundamental in determining how much, and what gear you will bring with you, how easy you will take it out-change lenses etc.
I find this one VERY interesting, but I think the system would be PERFECT on a slinging backpack configuration! You would have everything always reachable even if you have the openings on a single side. This means less frequently used openings and less problems. Plus, dear Kata bags, we deed new concept bags for micro 4/3 with those tiny, diminutive lenses. Bags aren't accessories, they are NECESSORIES! Thanx Kata for the innovations and the quality. Only thing I do not love 100% is the separated raincoat, easy to lose and uneasy to put on and off, but I appreciate it is really watertight. Luca.

Comment edited 50 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
KATA Bags
By KATA Bags (Nov 18, 2012)

Hi Luca,

Thank you. We love the word Necessories over here :)
As for the Micro 4/3 lenses, you may want to look at our MarvelX family: http://www.kata-bags.com/search?q=marvelx&search_button_x=0&search_button_y=0&t=products

About that rain cover - thank you. Hopefully we can come up with a nice solution for this sometime in the near future.
In the mean while, if you should loose yours, please shoot us an email to cs@kata-bags.com.

Comment edited 23 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
zakk9
By zakk9 (Nov 22, 2012)

The best Kata bag for mirrorless is the DR465/6/7. I'm on my second DR467 it rooms one body (I use GH1/2) with 6 lenses in the camera compartment in addition to a laptop computer, some extra clothes (even a couple of folded ironed shirts if you have a slim computer like the MBA), extra camera body, chargers etc. Tripod goes on the side. An improvement would be to have some kind of "tube" for a small tripod internally to avoid having the tripod crashing into things, even if that would mean somewhat less space for other items.

0 upvotes
PeterLHughes
By PeterLHughes (Nov 15, 2012)

This bag is aimed at professional photographers, however it only has space for one camera body. Myself and all the pro photographers I know always carry a second body as backup whenever we are on an assignment.
Also, you often need to be carrying a pair of flashguns for the same reason.
Hence, the fundamental problem with this revolver system is that it is an inefficient use of space, which is made worse by the lack of movable compartment spacers.
My Lowepro backpack (Flipside 400AW), can fit 2 bodies, 3 lenses, 2 speedlites, accessories, tripod, 1 ltr water and a cheese sandwich.

0 upvotes
KATA Bags
By KATA Bags (Nov 15, 2012)

Hey Peter,

Thank you for the valuable feedback on this bag.

When we create new families, the first bag we release is usually the Medium sized one. This size usually answers most of our users' needs.

We didn't want to make this model too large, and within our size limitations we chose to allow 1 camera body and up to 5 lenses and a water bladder (or laptop), with room for accessories.

We always work closely with some of the world's top photographers to understand the most common needs of photography professionals and we try to meet them the best way we can. However sometimes you have to make sacrifices. For this reason, we've decided that having room for a 2nd camera body isn't critical enough to justify making this specific model larger and heavier.

Our future models of the Revolver will feature various sizes, some of which will allow you to carry more gear.

0 upvotes
castleofargh
By castleofargh (Nov 14, 2012)

i can't see this as a do it all simply because it s a bit small. but as a secondary bag for hiking and to take with me on a plane, it could be really nice. 9.8 x 19.3 x 13.0" (24.9 x 49.0 x 33.0 cm) that s about the max you can take with you on most planes, so i can't really complain about the size.

what immediately activated my spider alarm was that we would eventually open the stuff too wide and kaboom. so i checked the videos and photos and realized you though about it too ^_^
the zippers of the revolving part could open too widely, but the clips would stop the bag from opening up completely. and the fishnet thing is here to add even more safety. i couldn't think of a way to make this fail, congrats i really like how you dealt with this "potential" problem.

plz make a big version, i swear i will find a use for the extra space.
also i always ask for this, a simple way to bind the zippers when we walk in populated areas. i want your cleverness on this problem!!!

0 upvotes
KATA Bags
By KATA Bags (Nov 15, 2012)

First, thank you for your kind words. Our R&D department is a very devoted team of designers, craftsmen and innovators and we always try to come up with clever solutions to common problems.

We're really glad people like you are posting these kind of comments here - it gives us a very clear understanding of photographers' concerns.

Seems like more people are asking for more room.
Can you expand what you meant by binding the zippers?

Thanks!

0 upvotes
castleofargh
By castleofargh (Nov 16, 2012)

sorry for my poor english.
by "binding the zippers" i meant a way to lock up the bag.

in the subway or at the airport, i would like to ensure nobody can easily open the bag when i got it on my back.
right now when i m traveling with my smaller bag (same size as the revolver8) i put it into another sad looking travel bag to lock it up.
you can imagine it s getting stupid when i want to take out the camera. a pure anti-revolver system :)

i hope for some kind of revolution that would self-lock the bag when i buckle up the front belt or something crazy like that. but usually simple is better and well ... i m not an engineer.
i though about an angry monkey with a gun , but it adds too much weight to the bag.
so to avoid carrying bananas around, i hope you guys can make something good for safety as it is a real problem with those bags that tend to scream "expensive stuff inside!"
thx.

0 upvotes
KATA Bags
By KATA Bags (Nov 18, 2012)

Hey castleofargh,

Thanks for the ideas!

I especially like the self-lock mechanism that works when you buckle-up the front belt (or something crazy like that :).

We actually tried the angry monkey with a gun thing last year, but we realized that it would add up too much to our bags' overall costs (and besides, our customer service department isn't prepared for that yet!).

My main point is that we understand your concern (naturally) and we've passed it to our R&D team. Perhaps sometime in the near future we'll come up with clever & innovative solutions that would not involve carrying bananas around :)

1 upvote
FrankS009
By FrankS009 (Nov 13, 2012)

Big heavy lenses require big bags.

0 upvotes
Gosman
By Gosman (Nov 13, 2012)

I looked at the video of the bag. Most excellent! However, I am always concerned about theft. While wearing the bag, can someone steal a lense out of the bag if I am distracted? Looks like the zippers are accessible from the rear.

0 upvotes
KATA Bags
By KATA Bags (Nov 18, 2012)

Hey Gosman,

That's always a possibility. We're working to find some clever solutions (please see our message to castleofargh above).

0 upvotes
mosswings
By mosswings (Nov 13, 2012)

It's an interesting idea, but an interesting idea in the same vein as the Think Tank Rotation 360 was an interesting idea. Both attempt to solve the problem of quick access in a backpack, which is fundamentally a poor choice of bag for active shooting but is essential for carrying long distances over varied terrain. The Rotation 360 was sort of the final attempt at a LowePro Orion, a bag that Galen Rowell originally suggested for active wilderness pursuits. This bag is for the urban shooter that carries a lot of glass. The fundamental problem with both is that the access mechanisms take up a lot of space and weight that could otherwise be used for storage or for making the bag smaller. Quick access backpack design has moved on since then, and has produced much more versatile bags in my opinion. With hipbelts to carry the heavy load they allow - esp.that tripod hanging way off the back. Quality construction, like all Kata, but not my style of bag, I'm afraid.

2 upvotes
theglovenor
By theglovenor (Nov 13, 2012)

for what its worth - i have had a Kata backpack for a few years now and it has been up bulgarian mountains,through ukrainian forests,in the sea in portugal,suffered mountain biking,motorcycling and use as a general rucksack with the camera bits removed....and it is completely as new!

i really DO love my bag!

1 upvote
KATA Bags
By KATA Bags (Nov 13, 2012)

Hi DPreviewers,

We were very flattered and excited to read this review and to follow the lively conversation in the comments (what a great way to start a day!).

If it's okay, we'd like to post our answers as replies to your comments below.

We will be following this thread, so please feel free to ask us anything here and we'll do our best to answer promptly.

Thanks everyone
Amos from KATA

4 upvotes
Deleted pending purge
By Deleted pending purge (Nov 14, 2012)

Hi, Amos... and just a suggestion: you might actually care to consider adding a hard-shell backpack to your range. There are all sorts of lightweight and strong materals to use (carbon / glass-fiber, Kevlar, etc). Slipping down some rocky hillside can be too much for sensitive equipment, and many among us like to hike over all kinds of terrain.
If you form the shell like a sled, adding ridges to the outside rims, it will be even sturdier, and may be even fun on the snow ;). Four quick-snap METAL fasteners (see Ikelite!) should be enough to keep the outer shell watertight to the groove in the back plate...
Define internal compartments like casing ribs across all the depth for strength, coat in Neoprene, add Velcro fasteners and nets for each piece of equipment, and you'll have an attractive option for outdoors going people...
(Design details upon request ;) )

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 11 minutes after posting
1 upvote
qwertyasdf
By qwertyasdf (Nov 14, 2012)

KATA, glad that someone is here.
I used to be a huge fan of KATA (own 4 KATA bags now), and recommend the brand to my frds without reserve.
However, I have to say that customer service is non-existent, I have an enquiry and sent KATA 3 emails, including the international and USA, but still have no replies after 1 month.
Please let me know if there is a customer service e-mail that someone would answer, I greatly appreciate it.
Just answer my emails, and I will buy and recommend KATA again.

1 upvote
qwertyasdf
By qwertyasdf (Nov 14, 2012)

LOL...BTW...Dpreviewers should be Dpreview viewers!
or if you follow the trends in the comments section, we are becoming Dpreview reviewers!!!

1 upvote
KATA Bags
By KATA Bags (Nov 18, 2012)

Hey OldArrow,

Thank you for your valuable ideas!
I've passed it down to our R&D team.
One of our biggest challenges is how to ensure superb protection while still keeping our products affordable.

We believe we do a good job at it (for example: http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=444277542276603&set=o.147460298625549&type=1&theater), but of course we're always working on getting better - and it's just this kind of valuable ideas and advice from photographers like you who help us get there.

0 upvotes
KATA Bags
By KATA Bags (Nov 18, 2012)

Hi Qwertyasdf,

First, we're very sorry for your poor customer service experience.
It seems like your CS experience was with one of our local distributors, which unfortunately we cannot control.

We actually have our very own CS department which you can reach directly at any time, and we are very dedicated to ensuring 100% satisfaction for all of our customers.
We owe you that.

The easiest way to reach them is via cs@kata-bags.com - the girls in this team go overboard to make sure no customer of ours is left unhappy.

We take CS very seriously - it's one of the main cornerstones of our relationship with our customers.

Please make sure to attach a photo of the problem you're describing.
We will do whatever is needed to assist you promptly.

0 upvotes
qwertyasdf
By qwertyasdf (Nov 19, 2012)

Thanks for the reply, I'll email you soon.

0 upvotes
jadot
By jadot (Nov 13, 2012)

I love my bag! I love it! I just really love it... etc.

0 upvotes
SeeRoy
By SeeRoy (Nov 13, 2012)

More backpack gimmicks. Maybe someone will come up with a helium filled zeppelin attachment - that's about the only way of reducing the weight of the gear. Or, when having to carry it long distances on foot, deploy a lighter system: nowadays there's no excuse not to.

7 upvotes
Deleted pending purge
By Deleted pending purge (Nov 13, 2012)

Back in the old days, my friends and me thought that a simple, sturdy coolbox with Neoprene-lined compartments was the best way to store and carry the photo gear and film, either in the car or strapped to the backpack frame (where the sleeping bag usually goes). None of those soft things were safe enough for rough outdoors usage. Film rolls and filters were fastened in their separate grid of pockets to the underside of the box top, and in the casing underneath were the cameras and the lenses. Lenses were locked to the bottom by their (screwed-down) mount caps. The whole was strong and not overly heavy. The package could withstand rain, snow, seaspray and quite a hefty bump or three. All it cost was an used coolbox, the remains of worn-out diving suits, and some DIY fun.
Nowadays, all those focal lengths and specialties are already packed within one or two pocketable cameras... and what the hardware lacks, the experience will supply...
Hopefully... ;)

3 upvotes
Dimitris Servis
By Dimitris Servis (Nov 13, 2012)

Although I do not like the "we did it better in the old days with a stick and a pin" attitude, that's a good idea for storage and transporting of lenses. Thanks!

0 upvotes
JWest
By JWest (Nov 14, 2012)

But Dimitris, why do you need to carry gear anyway, now "all those focus lengths and specialties are packed within one pocketable camera"? :)

0 upvotes
Chuck Lantz
By Chuck Lantz (Nov 14, 2012)

Attitude? Which attitude? OldArrow never implied that his idea was better for everyone, just for his usage. In fact, professionals using rolling ice chests to store camera gear is very common when shooting on the beach or from boats, since soft bags can be stepped-on or soaked in standing water. But we still use soft bags for other work.

0 upvotes
JWest
By JWest (Nov 13, 2012)

The killer feature for me is that the travel strap "makes airports friendly again". Does the manual cover how I can use the strap to achieve this?

1 upvote
KATA Bags
By KATA Bags (Nov 13, 2012)

Hi JWest,
The InserTrolley sleeve that the bag comes with (also referred to here by JWest as Travel Strap) is extremely easy to use.
You can watch a video demo of the InserTrolley and the designated sleeve right here (demonstrated on another bag): http://vimeo.com/3867042

Also, please keep in mind that the InserTrolley is sold separately.

Comment edited 17 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
smatty
By smatty (Nov 13, 2012)

Does the guy on the photo in the woods actually pull his iPhone out to attach the 70-200 mm lens to it???

8 upvotes
AshMills
By AshMills (Nov 13, 2012)

I don't reckon that's a 70-200. I assumed he was catching stuff as it fell out after a trip.

6 upvotes
smatty
By smatty (Nov 13, 2012)

True, it's probably more likely a Zeiss 100mm or 135mm lens. But I still think that he is going to attach it to his iPhone to take that once in a life Bigfoot photo!

There is nothing like a bunch of good glass for you iPhone when you go out on a serious photography trip but want to travel light :-D

2 upvotes
Chuck Lantz
By Chuck Lantz (Nov 14, 2012)

You're missing the obvious explanation for what's happening in the photo. He's just taken a call from his photo editor, who told him his per diem would be cut-off if he didn't start submitting some damned photos. So, he's putting the phone away as he quickly pulls out the lense.

0 upvotes
AshMills
By AshMills (Nov 13, 2012)

Not a single criticism, wow, the perfect bag. Please confirm Mike that you didn't get to keep this?

Also, since this is "aimed at the professional" it can carry a selection of fast glass?-doesnt look like a 70-200 2.8, 85 1.2 or any 300mm lens would fit?

Does look ideal for pickpocketing.

2 upvotes
KATA Bags
By KATA Bags (Nov 13, 2012)

Hi AshMills,

Yes, the Revolver-8 PL does support a 70-200 2.8.
As to 300mm, that really depends on your lens make & model.
It also depends on what other lenses you want to fit within the scope of the Revolver's drum diameter, which is 28cm / 11".

We suggest to simply draw a similar-sized circle on a piece of paper or cardboard at home and see if your gear should fit. That's a pretty strong indicator and doesn't require you to travel to a nearby store (however, we always recommend to check your gear physically with any bag at a store before buying).

0 upvotes
Mike Perlman
By Mike Perlman (Nov 14, 2012)

Thanks for reminding me--I have to send the bag back today! And what else can I say? Every now and again you come across a dynamite product, and Kata really knows what they're doing. Check my history of reviews out--they're not all glowing.

0 upvotes
Perry Young
By Perry Young (Nov 13, 2012)

70-200 sized lens can't be stored in pack while attached to body.

Comment edited 5 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
DuxX
By DuxX (Nov 13, 2012)

In that case my Tamrac Evolution 9 is much better solution.

0 upvotes
KATA Bags
By KATA Bags (Nov 13, 2012)

Actually you can store a camera body with a 70-200mm in the Revolver-8 PL. However, it's a little tricky.

The DSLR body with a attached 70-200mm lens will fit inside the bag when inserted from the top compartment. This means that you will need to open the separating divider between the top compartment and the drum (simply unzip the internal divider).

With this configuartion, the lens fits nicely right inside the drum.
Keep in mind though that when the camera and the attached 70-200mm lens are placed this way in the bag, it can only be pulled out from the top compartment.

To rotate the drum, you will need to take the camera out of the bag first - which is okay, because there usually isn't much point in changing lenses while you're camera is in the bag.

3 upvotes
DuxX
By DuxX (Nov 14, 2012)

Thanks for valuable info!!

0 upvotes
DuxX
By DuxX (Nov 13, 2012)

Is it possible to carry D800 body size with attached 70-200 f2.8. As far as I can see that is not possible.

0 upvotes
Perry Young
By Perry Young (Nov 13, 2012)

I have this pack. And unfortunately it does have negatives. Basically, if you have a pro size DSLR or a DSLR with grip, the top compartment will be quite tight. I managed to fit a 5D3 with grip and the 600EX, but it is tight.

For the revolving chamber, lenses with diameters larger or longer than the 24-105 will be a tight fit. It seems to have been designed with smaller lenses in mind. My 85L or 24TSE fitted in one of the normal chamber will cause snags. Furthermore, most of the lenses' hoods will not fit mounted in reverse on the lens. The 70-200 is a snug fit in the middle revolving section without hood.

Despite the negatives, the pack is an excellent lens changer pack provided your lenses are not large diameter ones. And the straps along with the top compression strap makes it a very comfortable pack to wear all day.

4 upvotes
KATA Bags
By KATA Bags (Nov 13, 2012)

Hi Perry,

Thank you for your very valuable feedback.

The Revolver-8 PL is actually our first model in this family.
We usually start at mid-size products and go to smaller and larger versions from there. In the future, we may come up with different sized models to accommodate a wider variety of photo gear.

0 upvotes
xmeda
By xmeda (Nov 13, 2012)

Kata 3n1 30 is better option

1 upvote
chromablind
By chromablind (Nov 13, 2012)

Every time I see a backpack like that, I scratch my head - what is its mission? If the quick access to lenses is so important, why not carry a proper shoulder bag with quick access to everything, including cameras. Here you have to take your backpack off to get to the camera. It's obviously not for hiking because it has no provisions whatsoever for water, food, clothes, and first aid kit (and no, for those who confuse a walk from the door to the car with a hike, those supplies will not fit into your pockets).

And I do know why a waist belt is not shown - look at the video link provided by WilliamJ - the pack is too short.

5 upvotes
KATA Bags
By KATA Bags (Nov 13, 2012)

Mike Perlman described it quite percisely above: "This backpack is aimed at the professional who possesses an arsenal of lenses that need to be deployed quickly throughout a typical shoot"

(warning: shameless self-promotion in 3, 2, 1)

If you look at the trailer video we released for this bag, you can see just that in action - simply skip the video to 1:08 -
http://www.kata-bags.com/product/0/KT%2BPL-R-8/_/Revolver-8_PL_Revolving_backpack_for_Pro_DSLR_%2B_5_lenses?tab=trailer_video

Comment edited 17 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
KATA Bags
By KATA Bags (Nov 13, 2012)

(2nd question) What about hiking?

We didn't design this bag for long period hiking.
However, you can fit water bladder in the laptop compartment (make sure you get a good one).

If the quick access to lenses is so important, why not carry a proper shoulder bag with quick access to everything, including cameras. Here you have to take your backpack off to get to the camera. It's obviously not for hiking because it has no provisions whatsoever for water, food, clothes, and first aid kit (and no, for those who confuse a walk from the door to the car with a hike, those supplies will not fit into your pockets).

Comment edited 7 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
chromablind
By chromablind (Nov 13, 2012)

> lenses that need to be deployed quickly throughout a typical shoot

Hm. If its mission is quick deployment of lenses, wouldn't fiddling with the revolver mechanism and having access to only one slot at the time be slower than an old fashioned bag like Domke F2?

2 upvotes
WilliamJ
By WilliamJ (Nov 13, 2012)

I believe the Kata bags are among the best photo-bags avaible, and mine is just what I have ever needed: quite light, nicely designed, seriously protective (both against water, dust and shocks), perfectly manufactured, affordable and indestructible. Not just a bag like another but a proud product of cleverness.

This Revolver-8 seems to be an incredible innovation for everyone who has to go around with more than four or five lenses and does't have a slave (assistant or wife OK) to carry the material for them.

Some naives would say "why bother carrying oneself the materiel, it's enough putting it on the floor during the shooting". Well, firstly it's not always possible (floor dirty as hell, no room etc.). Secondly in a lot of places around the world your material would be stolen just three seconds after you let it alone. A friend of mine had this unpleasant experience last year in Cuba where his bag full of lenses, wallet and passport disappeard faster than in a David Copperfield show.

1 upvote
Sergey Borachev
By Sergey Borachev (Nov 13, 2012)

A high price is justified to encourage innovation. It won't be long however before some Asian manufacturer comes up with something very similar for less than 1/2 the price, as a high price also encourages copying.

1 upvote
Florent Chev
By Florent Chev (Nov 13, 2012)

Looks interesting, but I'm still not sure I really understands how it works. I'll have to find one in a shop to see how convenient it is. My biggest concern when I was looking for a bag was the possibility to stick my 14-24 inside – and take it out easily. As it is V shaped and pretty large at the bottom, it can be difficult. But this bag could be a good solution.
Thanks for the review!

1 upvote
dark goob
By dark goob (Nov 13, 2012)

really needs a video

2 upvotes
WilliamJ
By WilliamJ (Nov 13, 2012)

Just asK : http://youtu.be/0mOss3cFg28

1 upvote
Mike Perlman
By Mike Perlman (Nov 13, 2012)

My next review will just be a Kata waist strap.

1 upvote
qwertyasdf
By qwertyasdf (Nov 13, 2012)

Thanks, Kata is more innovative than Canon LOL
BTW, why didn't you take any product pictures? I want to see the attachment mechanism of the revolving part.

1 upvote
Mike Perlman
By Mike Perlman (Nov 13, 2012)

We usually take one product shot for the feature and then use press images throughout the rest of the review, but maybe more hands-on product shots would help. Thanks!

0 upvotes
Dave Miner
By Dave Miner (Nov 13, 2012)

OMG, I would have lenses flying everywhere.

0 upvotes
ryansholl
By ryansholl (Nov 13, 2012)

Hey does this have a waist strap?!

;)

1 upvote
KATA Bags
By KATA Bags (Nov 13, 2012)

Hey ryansholl,

Yes, the Revolver-8 PL does come with a basic waist belt.
Our designers chose not to add a larger waist belt to not make the bag cumbersome (we aimed at maximum flexiibility of use).

However, like most of our bags, the Revolver-8 PL is modular.
As @faterikcartman mentioned below, we do offer a heavy-duty waist belt separately, which can replace the basic one. We think it goes against the bag's core quick-draw concept.

Thank you for your interest, and for asking these important questions.
We'll be following this thread, so please feel free to ask us anthing here and we'll do our best to answer promptly.

0 upvotes
Mike Perlman
By Mike Perlman (Nov 13, 2012)

Yes, the bag has a removable waist strap for additional support.

1 upvote
unknown member
By (unknown member) (Nov 13, 2012)

It has a waist strap yes?

0 upvotes
faterikcartman
By faterikcartman (Nov 13, 2012)

Joe, I know Kata has an optional waist strap for other packs and wouldn't be surprised if it is available for this one as well. Sure, I know, then it's even more expensive. I own three Kata bags and love them all.

1 upvote
faterikcartman
By faterikcartman (Nov 13, 2012)

And if I didn't make this clear -- the optional waist strap is heavy duty and well padded.

0 upvotes
Joe Huckleberry
By Joe Huckleberry (Nov 13, 2012)

The waist strap doesn't look that good.

1 upvote
mauijohn
By mauijohn (Nov 13, 2012)

I didn't see if there's a waist strap on it. it's a good feature in camera backpack loaded with heavy photo equipment such as this one.

0 upvotes
Ed Overstreet
By Ed Overstreet (Nov 15, 2012)

A tip for Kata and some other users:
I have and love one of your other bags, which also has a laptop slot in the back. I've also used a few Lowepro bags with that feature.
I almost never travel with a laptop (I use a Hyperdrive for storing photos until I get home; the way I work, I prefer to do my computing and home and do other things when I'm travelling and not photographing).

I always carry the bag with me on the aircraft, and in the laptop slot I insert one of those nifty Keyes packing aids that lets you fold and pack (relatively wrinkle-free) several shirts and maybe a pair of slacks. That way I have in my carry-on bag not only my photo gear but (with underwear and socks as padding in a few slots here and there) one or two complete changes of clothing with me. Having had certain airlines delay my checked luggage by up to three days on some overseas trips, I find it really good to have extra clothes with me on the aircraft.

0 upvotes
Total comments: 71