Rant: Another Photo Bag thread

Started Apr 7, 2010 | Discussions thread
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endus Contributing Member • Posts: 864
Rant: Another Photo Bag thread

So I have a question. Is it just me, or does anyone else get the impression that none of the photo bag companies actually employ anyone who has ever been a photographer or, indeed, used a camera to design their bags?

I know, I know, we're all looking for the perfect photo bag and it doesn't exist. Its like that simpson's episode where mother Skinner tells the pimply kid at the grocery store, "I want everything in one bag, but I don't want the bag to be heavy".

But, seriously, though...this really does not seem like rocket science to me and it has been really bothering me lately. I am primarily talking about backpacks, since that's really the only bag that you can carry a decent amount of equipment in for a decent amount of time. I just had the front zipper die on my Naneu Pro Alpha-L, which is the best bag I own by an order of magnitute, and have been back on my Compurover...and it's a nightmare.

I am seriously considering contacting one of the bag companies and trying to open a dialog here. I am just really dissatisfied with every bag I have ever used. Let's look at some really basic things that pretty much all bag manufacturers fall down on...

  • Camera compartment should be big enough to fit a camera with a lens and grip attached.

  • Camera compartment should fit the camera and the specified number of lenses without straining the zipper (I'm talking to you Naneu)

  • Camera compartment should not be designed so it's almost impossible to zip (I'm talking to you Lowepro...see Compurover)

  • ALL zippers on the bag should be oversized for longevity. Charge me the extra 2 cents per bag it takes to put the next-size-up zipper on it. Put big duffel bag zippers on them!

  • Lots of easily accessible exterior pockets for accessories...cable release, level, batteries, cards, etc

  • Top compartment for tripod head/drinks/lens hoods/misc supplies

  • Couple small pockets in the top compartment for keys/wallet/phone

  • Top compartment should be sewn to be separate from the camera compartment... WHY...WHY DOES EVERYONE USE VELCRO DIVIDERS FOR THIS???!?!?

  • Camera compartment should have velcro all around so you can put the dividers wherever you want. Why would you use velcro dividers that you can only install one way??

  • Exterior compartment for a bottle of water. This is HUGE. Look at what Kelty is doing with their Redwing series of hiking backpacks to see how it is supposed to be done. WHY do no photo bag manufacturers do this? We need to carry drinks, and it would be super awesome if we weren't risking them leaking on our equipment!

  • Tripod mount. I'm talking to you Crumpler. OK, you want a light backback and don't want to put a tripod mount on it. I understand. However EVERY large photo backpack should have a place to mount the tripod that doesnt interfere with access to the camera compartment (ahem Lowepro).

  • Bag should have large comfortable straps (this is one most manufacturers actually do well on)

  • If the bag has a waist strap it absolutely must be removable!!! Lowepro does an amazing job with this. Naneu, are you listening?

  • A way to quickly access the camera without taking the bag off is a huge plus, though not a necessity if you can at least get at it without having to undo a difficult zipper and remove the tripod. The Lowepro Primus has a good system and i would buy the bag were it not for the MYRIAD of other problems with this bag.

  • At least make an attempt to not make it look like a big blocky mess. (Talking to you Kata)

What else?

This is really frustrating to me to the point that I was looking for contact info on Lowepro's site to see if there was some way I could help them design their next bag. I realize that cost is a factor and that no bag is going to be perfect, but it just seems to me that pretty much every bag on the market is just WOEFULLY inadequate and poorly designed. The Alpha-L is real, real close but still contains some really dumb design problems that just seem to have such OBVIOUS fixes associated with them.

Its like Clik Elite. Their new line of bags look pretty good (except the color..give me black) except the reviews are saying that their bags don't really fit larger DSLR's very well. WHY design a large photo backpack that doesnt fit a large camera? I just do not understand.

Am I crazy here? Are my needs so different from everyone else's that I am just way out there and everyone else is thrilled with their bags?
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