Kata 3N1-20 Review

Started Sep 2, 2008 | Discussions
yinlun New Member • Posts: 6
Kata 3N1-20 Review

Hello. I had purchased a Nikon D60 recently and decided to purchase a bag to store it in. It took me a while and I took a look at several bags, both in person an online. I chose the Kata 3N1 for one main reason, the straps. The straps can be adjusted to be a sling bag, or a regular backpack.

First things first. There's a 10 model, a 20 model and a 30 model. I read some other reviews, and looked at the pictures online. Nothing reflected the actual size of the bags. I thought the 30 was going to be HUGE, but when I saw it in person. It wasn't that big. In comparison, it's slightly smaller than a Crumpler Sinking Barge. The 10 model was very small..mini is the word that comes to mind. It will store a camera, kit lens and maybe another. But it felt uncomfortable and looked a little ridiculous on a 5' 10" 180lb guy. The lack of extra storage room discouraged me a little.

After looking at it, I immediately bought the 30. After getting home and packing everything in, it was way too large for me (I don't carry 2 bodies + 6 lenses) And not only was the capacity too large, it felt bulky. And i didn't want bulky on a hike. So I returned it for the 20 model.

At this point, I felt like goldilocks. The 20 model was perfect in terms of camera storage space. I would still like a little (really just a slight bit) more room up top in the separate compartment. It's actually the same depth, and height as the 30. But thinner in width by about 3 inches. In the top compartment I had enough room to store a pair of sunglasses (in a hard case) a thin wind breaking jacket (rolled up), my user manual for the camera, and a .5L Poland Spring bottled water. So as you can see, it is decent size.

In the top side pockets, I stored my cell phone (Razr) and a bottle of eye drops.

In the camera area, I was satisfied. But, I would've like some additional foam pieces. My Nikon D60 is small and the foam pads are configuarable, but I didn't have enough pads to keep my camera perfectly snug. One other pad would have been good. A bigger camera wouldn't have this problem, but there was too much space to the sides to my liking.

Now on to wearing it. The bag is light and accessible. Hanging the camera around my neck quickly wore me down. So I was frequently sliding it back into the bag and reaching for it to pull it out. Comfortable, but there are better out there. The straps are not as padded or wide as some other bags, but they were comfortable. I hiked with this pack for about 4-5 hours. I started in a sling configuration, as expected my one shoulder started getting tired. So I just swapped it into a X which distributed the weight. This eventually got my shoulders tired too, so swapped it into a backpack position with the waist strapped on. This changed the distribution to be carried on my hips, and the straps were basically there as stabilizers. This was the easiest to carry position, and the position I kept it in while climbing.

Rajeshb Senior Member • Posts: 1,307
Re: Kata 3N1-20 Review

Thanks a lot for the review. I;m also lookin at kata and lowepro fastpack as my next backpack purchase. by any chance, can you post some pictures of the bag showing the interioir with the gears.

Rajesh

http://www.flickr.com/photos/rajesh_b/

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DEJ Senior Member • Posts: 1,501
Re: Kata 3N1-20 Review

Thanks for the review!
I've looked and compared bags for several days and finally ordered the 3N1-30.

I don't particularly like a over-sized bag but I did want enough space to carry the D300 nikon 17-55dx f2.8 and sometimes include a 70-300vr, Sb800 an possibly a small prime lens.

I have purchased way to many camera bags in the past seeking the perfect bag for comfort and carry needs. Maybe with the flexibility of the Kata 3N1 this will be that bag. LOL
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drz Senior Member • Posts: 2,235
Re: Kata 3N1-20 Review

I think I am going to order the 20 and 30 and compare. (No where nearby to see them in person first.)

In another set of reviews, 2 people complained about gaps between the upper and lower sections of the bags and the zippers. Can you comment on these areas?

Here is a link to the thread: http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1019&message=28756780

Thanks,
David

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DEJ Senior Member • Posts: 1,501
Re: Kata 3N1-20 Review- drz

David thanks for the link, if I had known and read it earilier I might not of ordered the Kata 3N1-30. Other Kata bags I have owned are extremly well made and I expect the Kata 3N1 to be of similiar quality. The bag is scheduled to be delivered 9/9/2008 and I will be giving it a good look before deciding if I want to keep.
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Kind Regards,
Darrell
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drz Senior Member • Posts: 2,235
Re: Kata 3N1-20 Review- drz

I'm expedcting mine tomorrow. We'll see!

D.

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drz Senior Member • Posts: 2,235
Re: Kata 3N1-30 Review

I received the 3N1-20 and 30 a few days ago. Here are my impressions:

First, it takes a little time to get used to putting the bags on! You look like a fool the first several hundred times you try, amusing your wife to no end.

That said, they are reasonably comfortable, though not as comfortable as the Kata backpacks I have (DR-465 I think, plus the R-103). Being able to access the gear without taking the bag off was my prime goal - a task not possible with the other two bags.

I am torn between the 20 and 30, as the 30 is noticably larger. The plus to the 20 is that it is not that large and my wife is willing to wear it. The downside is that I would need another bag for any trips in which I wanted to more gear.

The 30 is quite spacious. I filled it up quite easily with a wide range of equipment without even filling the upper compartment. The downside is that it is large (about the same size the as R-103), and my wife indicates she will not wear it. (We like to shift the load back and forth at times.)

What fit in the bottom compartment of the 30 (with some more room to spare)?

  • 40D with 70-200 L f/4 IS mounted (with room for longer lens)

  • Canon 100mm macro

  • Sigma 18-200 OS

  • Two boxed 77mm filters

  • The Kata Weather Cover

  • Canon 580 EX II in case

  • Canon 450D with Canon 10-22 mounted

  • Tamron 1.4x Teleconverter

  • Tamron 2x Teleconverter

That's a lot of stuff!

Here are some pictures of the 30 loaded up:

(If the links do not work, try this album at Picasa: http://picasaweb.google.com/drzeller/Kata3N130#

I actually prefer the 30 over the R-103, except for the fact that the 30 (or 20) cannot accomodate a laptop or magazines, making them less useful as a single carry-on on a plane. (Anyone want an R-103?!).

So, my wife and I are torn between keeping the 20 or the 30. I want a bag that she will be comfortable wearing while wondering places like Disney World, which the 20 would do. I also do not want to carry multiple camera bags on trips, which the 30 would prevent. I have a feeling I will go with the 30 and cram a smaller bag-only (no gear) into the luggage.

Again, one other drawback is that neither bag works as an all-in-one (just 3N1 - get it!), handling camera gear and computer/mags/docs. The best solution there is the DR-465 - which is too big for parks and requires dismounting to get to gear.

Some other things I haven't mentioned yet:

1. Why won't kata put water bottle pockets on their bags?!!!

2. The 3N1's have an added benefit of acting as a stable base to rest your arms when taking a picture. This was an unexpected benefit.

3. Another drawback to the R-103 is the shape of the bag, including the shape, configuration, and accessiblility of the few pockets it has. (And nowhere for a water bottle!)

4. Another reviewer mentioned the zippers being awkward on the 3N1's. They are. But livable. I understand the challenges they faced and the design decisions they made. I'm ok with it.

5. Another reviewer mentioned that the upper and lower compartments of the 3N1's are separated by a zipper, and therefore not safe for keeping wetness from moving between the compartments. This is true. It does make the bags more flexible, but less useful, if that makes sense! (Of course, if you could easily put your water bottle on the outside... )

6. Kata did not put any straps on the bottom of the bag for attaching a tripod (like a Gorilla Pod, which would be a nice fit). I'd prefer not to put the Gorilla in the top, as it takes a lot of awkward space up. In fact, except for one d-ring on the face, there are no means to attach anything to the bag.

7. There are 2 side pockets by the upper compartment. They seem like they should be handy, but note that their space is carved out of the upper compartment - so they can "interact" with the items there and take away from the larger compartment's volume.

There are my thoughts so far.

David

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DRG Veteran Member • Posts: 5,217
Re: Kata 3N1-20 Review

drz wrote:

In another set of reviews, 2 people complained about gaps between the
upper and lower sections of the bags and the zippers. Can you
comment on these areas?

One of those two people was me. Unfortunately, because I've been preoccupied with some personal business (planning a wedding, etc.), I put aside both sizes of bag (I'd ordered the -10 and -20 versions to compare) and neglected to return them to Adorama during the allowed return period.

So, now I'm stuck with them anyway! I guess I did my holiday gift shopping early this year and some other photographer in the family will end up with one or the other ...

David

Tigerotor77W Regular Member • Posts: 161
Re: Kata 3N1-20 Review

DRG, what kit would you say fits in the -10? I have the 17-55, 50/1.8, and 70-200 f4 IS (all Canon) and the XSi body.

I'd like to be able to mount any of the three lenses and store the other two. Is that possible with the -10? Or will it be tight?

Andrei Mihalache New Member • Posts: 3
Re: Kata 3N1-30 Review

The bag has a tripod holder. It goes through the D-ring, through the two straps of the two click-in safety buckles (the small ones at the botom) and there's also a velcro strap for securing the tripod. Mine (tripod) fits nicely in the holder and it's pretty big (1.90 m when extended) Manfrotto.

Why does no one know about the tripod holder. My 3N1-20 had it inside the box. I remember getting ready to throw the box in the cellar when I realised something was knoking about inside it. That was the tripod holder

drz Senior Member • Posts: 2,235
Re: Kata 3N1-30 Review

My bag did not come in a box, nor did it have any kind of a tripod holder.

Hmmmm.

D.

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rebelbill New Member • Posts: 11
Re: Kata 3N1-30 Tripod Holder - Mine does not have.

Mine did not either. I wonder if Andrei could post a picture of his? Is it an option?

Tigerotor77W Regular Member • Posts: 161
Re: Kata 3N1-30 Tripod Holder - Mine does not have.
jimrpdx
jimrpdx Veteran Member • Posts: 3,738
almost a Kata owner..

But I gave Santa two choices and ended up with the Vanguard Pampas-59. It's a fine general-purpose bag with a bottom area for a small amount of photo gear. Since I only carry a subset with me anyway, this suits me fine! We're talking max. of SLR w/midsize lens attached plus 3 or 4 midsize spaces for lens, flash, hoods &c. Much more comfortable than my Mountainsmith rucksack, the Pampas has plenty of inner and outer pockets, seems to be well sealed (weather has been gentle since Christmas) and is a winner with me. It does Not have a separate raincover, so heavy-weather walkers might need another pack (or another piece of fabric). I got mine through Amazon.
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Aguas84 New Member • Posts: 15
Re: Kata 3N1-30 Tripod Holder - Mine does not have.

I started kicking myself after I ordered from another site thinking it came with the tripod holder as well, but it looks like B&H is the only one that gives it away for "free."

Too bad they charge $50 for it seperate! On the bright side, Bogen Imaging sells it on their site for $15 + shipping (about $8 for me), but I'm going see if I can't figure something out using an old climbing chaulk bag first.

http://www.bogenimagingstore.us/servlet/-strse-70/Kata-Tripod-Holder-for/Detail

rantexan New Member • Posts: 4
Re: Kata 3N1-20 Review

Can you fit a Canon body with a 70-200 F4 L attached into the 3n1 20?

brudy Senior Member • Posts: 1,510
Re: Kata 3N1-20 Review

Not to dig up an old thread, but this exactly my question. Can a 7D + 7-200 f4 fit?

Rantexan wrote:

Can you fit a Canon body with a 70-200 F4 L attached into the 3n1 20?

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aus4ever
aus4ever Forum Pro • Posts: 10,585
Can a 7D + 70-200 f4 fit?

brudy wrote:

Not to dig up an old thread, but this exactly my question. Can a 7D + 7-200 f4 fit?

Unlikely with the lens on camera.

The interior measurement of the 3N1-20 is only 8.7 in across, and the 7D + 70-200 is 9.7 or 10.7 in? I suggest you try it in the shop but you probably need a 3N1-30 or 3N1-33 which are 11.6 in across.

http://www.kata-bags.com/productFRM2HS.asp?p_Id=432&Version=Photo

Even the 3N1-30 is tight for my D300 + 70-200.

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Australia, home forever.

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brudy Senior Member • Posts: 1,510
Re: Can a 7D + 70-200 f4 fit?

Thanks, that's what I thought. I'd get the 30 but people seem to think it's really too big.

aus4ever wrote:

brudy wrote:

Not to dig up an old thread, but this exactly my question. Can a 7D + 7-200 f4 fit?

Unlikely with the lens on camera.

The interior measurement of the 3N1-20 is only 8.7 in across, and the 7D + 70-200 is 9.7 or 10.7 in? I suggest you try it in the shop but you probably need a 3N1-30 or 3N1-33 which are 11.6 in across.

http://www.kata-bags.com/productFRM2HS.asp?p_Id=432&Version=Photo

Even the 3N1-30 is tight for my D300 + 70-200.

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brudy Senior Member • Posts: 1,510
Re: Can a 7D + 70-200 f4 fit?

Just measured the 7D + 70-200. 10.25". Rats.

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