What backpack?

Started Dec 30, 2012 | Questions thread
Jeddi Junior Member • Posts: 43
Re: What backpack?

stefano888 wrote:

Does anyone have a brand "Kata" backpack?

Like Mjankor, I have a Kata 3-n-1 22 - purchased for use with the Oly E-620 (about the size of the OM-D with the bottom grip I'd guess) and ZD lenses (the biggest being the ZD 70-300 - ie. none of the really big SHG lenses, and most being comparable to the larger mFT lenses).  I anticipate it serving just as well with the OM-D, when I eventually get one.

Are they made well?

This one is made well, though I have little to compare it to in terms of camera bags - compared to my 15yo backpack, it seems to be made to comparable 'this should last for a long time' standards, but it's realistically too early to say as I've only had the Kata for less than a year.  And it gets a lot better treatment than a backpack.

The tripod attachment is a bit rinky dinky, but does the job.  The two clips at the bottom of the bag may be a weak point with this design, but if ever did break I don't think it'd impact the functionality of the bag, just the tripod attachment.

What alternatives are there?

I looked at a metric shedload of alternatives when I was hunting around - most bags offer similar features, at least in intent if not implementation, in terms of top, side and front access, internal padding bits you can move around, lots of little internal pockets, etc.  It came down to price ultimately for me - most of the other things that seemed to be in the same feature range were much more expensive.  I bought mine from amazon (UK) for £80 in 2012-03, and picked up the tripod holder attachment for another £14.  For example, the Mountain Guru someone suggested looks quite lovely, but for the shell only it's 50% more expensive!

An alternative idea I toyed with was to make one myself - buying a reasonable canvas day pack, lining it with some padding, either that roll-out bedding stuff (10-15mm thick) or some neoprene or similar.  I never did, but I did choose to take a canvas bag with some old padded envelopes I had accumulated wedged around the various internal pockets and bottom, and then my camera (E-620) and four lenses - each in individual neoprene covers, on a 3-week trip through Spain, Portugal and Morocco.  This was after contemplating deeply on the logistics of taking the Kata for that trip.

To continue the digression - you may want to consider what features of a Proper Camera Bag are especially appealing to you.  With that trip, for me, the fact it was black, bulky, boxy, rigid, looked like a camera bag, - were all compelling reasons to not take it - all off-setting the benefits of being able to quickly change lenses, as I knew I'd be doing that much less frequently.  Something that was physically smaller the less I put in it for each day trip, and didn't attract heat or dust or attention, was appealing.

On the other hand, for storage, grab-n-go events, day trips from home, and (very rare) driving holidays - the Kata is just fantastic.  The accessibility of lenses without having to feel around for a padded lens bag and then do the whole shuffle thing to extract, swap, etc is a real boon, and it took me a while to get comfortable with the  mindset of putting lenses straight into a bag, after so long working with separate mini-bags for each lens.

I'd suggest watching closely some of the videos on manufacturer's sites and youtube.  The kata 3-n-1, for example, works as a normal backpack configuration, the cross-strap (never used that - running with a backpack is for fitter people than me), and the sling bag.  I've tried using the sling bag way - it looks so danged nifty in the videos - but I just haven't gotten comfy with it yet.  Need more practice, and probably a more thoughtful partition configuration inside the bag.

I need a backpack not too big to carry the OMD and two lenses and a little more...

The 3-n-1 22 will be plenty big enough for this, and more gear as you get it.  I speculate that if you've got an OMD and 2 lenses now then, like me, even as you acquire more gear you won't be taking more than this kind of bag's worth of gear on any single trip anyway.

But stats are on the Kata site, so you know the dimensions already.

I find the internal pocketing system reasonable, but again I have nothing to compare it to.  It's a bit of a farnarkle to get my slr-zoom-gorrillapod (about 40cm long, bit thick) inside, but it's doable.  I like the fact it has a (very small) laptop section - it would fit my netbook, but I only ever use it for keeping A4 sized documents flat.  I like the top section size - it's ideal for an ebook, flash, lens blower, batteries, filters and memory cards.

 Jeddi's gear list:Jeddi's gear list
Olympus E-620 Olympus PEN E-PM1 Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 50mm 1:2.0 Macro Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 9-18mm 1:4.0-5.6 Olympus Zuiko Digital 25mm 1:2.8 Pancake +3 more
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