Vanguard Heralder 51T rolling backpack
$299 / £310 www.vanguardworld.com
Photography backpacks have evolved significantly over time, making it even more difficult to settle on the right model. Optimization for lots of camera gear, travel, accessories or laptops are just a few of the possible categories to focus on when buying a backpack. Despite so many options, it too often seems as though you can't have it all - the smaller day packs skimp on the camera gear storage space, and large strap-equipped packs aren't ideal for holding garments and lunches. I personally have two photo backpacks: one smaller pack for day trips and one large roller for travel, holding strictly camera gear.
While it's convenient to have two bags, I find I have to take them both when I travel, which is not ideal. A design that combines the wheels and telescoping handle of the roller with a backpack offering plenty of storage would be a better fit. That's where the Vanguard Heralder 51T rolling backpack ($299.99) comes into play. It's a hefty backpack that offers a large camera equipment storage tray, four rolling wheels, a telescoping handle, laptop and tripod storage, and more. Although its size puts it on the large end of the spectrum, the Heralder 51T packs in so many pockets and features that it just may be the answer for those who want it all. Read on to find out if the Heralder 51T is your bag.
- Inside Dimensions: 11.8×7.7×18.1 in. (30x19.6x46cm.)
- Outside Dimensions: 14×11.6×22.6 in. (35.6x29.5x57.4cm.)
- Weight: 9.59 lbs. (4.3 kg)
Exterior Fabric: 1000D Polyester
Interior Fabric: 150D Polyester + Velvet
- Comes with rain cover and accessory bag
Capacity: One pro DSLR with grip and lens attached (up to 300mm f/2.8), one additional body, 4-6 extra lenses, 2 flash units and accessories (memory cards, cables, battery and charger), plus a laptop up to 14" wide screen size, tablet like iPad and tripod
- 4 Durable trolley wheels enable smooth horizontal movement
- Removable interior tray for regular luggage use
- Stowable shoulder straps
- Bonus cell phone holder & accessory pouch
The Vanguard Heralder 51T is the company's flagship Heralder model constructed of high quality polyester fabrics inside and out. Smaller iterations of the Heralder are offered as well with virtually identical designs and watered down features. The Heralder 51T is the largest model and the only one to offer wheels and a telescoping handle. So, if you don't need all the pomp and circumstance but like the design, you have the Vanguard Heralder 46, 48, and 49 models to choose from. The Heralder line also offers a slew of over-the-shoulder camera bags of different shapes and sizes. But for our concerns, we'll be focusing on the Big Kahuna in this review.
|The rubberized aluminum telescoping handle.||Four roller wheels provide a smooth ride.|
As is to be expected, the Heralder 51T is fairly large. It weighs nearly 10 lbs. and resides just outside the realm of airline carry-on dimensions, which is unfortunate, given that the bag is designed for travel. If you don't mind checking the Heralder 51T into an airliner's hold, then this will not be a problem. If you're looking for more of an everyday work bag, it will suit you even better. The Heralder 51T is equipped with four caster-based roller wheels so it can be tilted and pulled or set on the ground and pushed like a trolley.
The telescoping handle is made of sturdy aluminum, well concealed via a zipped enclosure and features a rubberized handle for extra grip. It's worth noting that the roller wheels raise the backpack up from the ground approximately two inches, which keep it away from dirt and liquid. If the wheels happen to get wet or dirty, a set of elastic nylon covers are built into the bottom pad that cover the rear wheels in order to keep your clothes from getting dirty.
The Heralder 51T has a fairly complete set of straps. Aside from contoured shoulder straps, the bag has a buckling waist strap for more support. The shoulder straps are quite impressive, featuring tension adjustments to raise or lower them for a more custom fit. The straps have D-rings, a centralized chest buckle that connects them in the middle, and a removable cell phone pouch that can be fastened to either the right or left strap. The shoulder straps are fastened to the bottom of the bag with metal spring clips, allowing them to be disconnected and stuffed into the back cushion for stowing. The grab handle on the top is double reinforced and has a little padding for comfort. It also has a contact tag with name and phone number information attached via a nylon strap.
|A look at the intricate shoulder strap system.||The interior camera equipment tray can be fully removed and the Heralder 51T can fit up to a 14 inch laptop.|
The top of the Vanguard Heralder 51T has a large flap with zippered pouch that buckles to the center of the bag. Inside is a large, zippered main compartment where all the camera gear lives, as well as a squarish zippered pouch. Once unzipped, this pouch reveals a padded tablet computer sleeve that is secured with a velcro strap, as well as a stationary organizer for notes, pens, and other accessories. A zippered sleeve above the tblet compartment holds the rain cover, which is kept in a pouch fastened to the inside of the zippered compartment.
In addition to a zipper, the main compartment of the Heralder 51T is secured by two buckled straps on each side. Once open, a large camera equipment tray is revealed, complete with padded Velcro dividers. This tray can fit a pro DSLR with grip and lens attached (up to 300mm F2.8), one additional body, four to six extra lenses, two flash units and accessories (memory cards, cables, battery and charger). Additionally, the camera equipment tray is entirely removable so that the Heralder 51T can be used as a normal luggage bag. Vanguard also includes a small zippered accessory bag, which can fit a laptop charger and a few other small items. The laptop sleeve is capable of storing a laptop up to 14 inches and features a Velcro strap to keep it in place. The main compartment cover has a nifty safety feature to keep the flap from crashing to the ground when opened while the bag is upright: two adjustable buckled straps.
|A look at the right side pouch, with memory card pockets and a mesh pocket.||The tablet computer sleeve and rain cover pouch.|
The sides of the Heralder 51T boast a few tricks as well. The left side pouch has a sizable neoprene sleeve pocket, but above that is a zippered pocket that holds a tripod carrying sling. The sling rolls out of the pocket and clips to a nylon loop on the bottom of the bag to keep it in place.
A pouch on the right side of the bag contains a pocket that can be accessed from the inside or outside, along with two Velcro memory card sleeves and an elastic mesh pocket. This zippered flap has a nylon strap with a magnetic end that attaches to a magnet in the pouch cover. Vanguard uses the magnetic snap strap on the top flap of the bag as well.
I took the Vanguard Heralder 51T to a number of photo shoots. My gear consisted of a Canon EOS 5D Mark III with 24-105mm lens, flash, flash diffuser, Phottix Odin transceiver and receivers, external hard drive, filters, and lots of memory cards and power cords. I was also able to attach a fairly large 190 series Manfrotto tripod via the Heralder 51T's tripod sling, and fit a regular sized iPad snugly in the iPad pouch. Unfortunately, my 17-inch Apple MacBook Pro wasn't a good fit.
While the Heralder 51T officially only holds up to a 14-inch laptop, I was still able to fit my 17-inch in, but it was uncomfortably tight and I wouldn't recommend it. Right off the bat, that was my first issue with the Heralder 51T - the fact that larger laptops can't fit. To be fair, Vanguard doesn't pretend that they do. Storage-wise, everything else is dynamite.
|Pictured here with a Nikon D800 with 24-70 lens and 13-inch MacBook Pro.||The included accessory pouch.|
As far as comfort, the Heralder 51T really surprised me. What could I possibly expect from a 10 lb. rolling wheel-clad monstrosity of a backpack? Well, it's apparent that a lot of R&D went into the back pad section of the Heralder 51T. Toward the top reside two thick foam pads covered with a breathable mesh material that align with the shoulder blades. On the bottom there's an even thicker and larger foam pad section that rests on the lower pack. Those three pads are the only points of contact with the body, as the rest of the Heralder 51T's back panel is flat, providing a triangular air channel to allow for better cooling. Despite the bag's large size, I felt like I was wearing a medium-sized backpack. The adjustability and design of the Heralder 51T's back panel and shoulder straps is phenomenal, and definitely one of the best systems I've ever used. I could have walked several miles with the bag and forgotten it was even there.
I was also extremely impressed with the level of storage the bag has to offer. It seemed as though there were numerous types of storage around every corner via pockets, pouches, sleeves, slings, buckled enclosures, magnetic securing straps, and the included cell phone and accessory pouches. The fact that the camera equipment tray can be removed is an excellent feature that not many other camera backpacks offer. Rather than remove all of the dividers, all I had to do was take the tray out and the internal storage was instantly converted to a regular bag. I loved the ability to stow an iPad, and the memory card pockets were a nice touch.
As far as travel performance, the roller wheels on the Heralder 51T performed quite smoothly, and the handle seemed as though it could really withstand a beating. I was impressed with the back wheel covers to protect clothing from getting dirty, and the trolley functionality of the backpack was great for smooth floors where I could use it as a roving gear bag rather than constantly needing to pick it up and schlep it to different parts of the room. The only mark against the Heralder 51T in the travel realm is its inability to qualify as a carry on. If the bag was able to be taken on a plane, I feel as though it would gain more attention from traveling photographers.
The Vanguard Heralder 51T is a whole lot of backpack. It stows plenty of camera equipment, including a full frame DSLR, large lens, iPad, small laptop, large tripod, memory cards, filters, and more. The bag is exceedingly comfortable, despite its hefty weight and large dimensions, thanks to the back pads and intricate shoulder strap system. The bag is equipped with four rolling wheels that pitch the backpack off the ground and it can be pulled or pushed as a trolley. The telescoping handle completes the package and enables the Heralder 51T to be mobilized much like a rolling suitcase.
While the Vanguard Heralder 51T is replete with excellent features, there were two main areas that the backpack drops the ball. First, the Heralder 51T is not carry-on friendly, so it can't be taken with you on a plane. Also, the bag can only fit up to a 14-inch laptop, which is fairly limiting for those who work on larger laptops. If Vanguard corrected those two things, the Heralder 51T would be unstoppable.
What we like:
- Fantastic storage
- Excellent rugged construction
- Very comfortable
What we don't like:
- Doesn't qualify as a carry-on
- Only fits laptops up to 14 inches
- Heavy and bulky
|And I'm feeling all fingers and thumbs by Dutch Newchurch|
from Your City - Coffee Break
|Stitch that - macro by Beatsy|
from Household objects- Macro only
|Fiddling Around by garyjb|
from Concert musician playing
|wet red by George Veltchev|
PDN sat down with Ahmed Fakhr, director of photography at RollingStone.com, to talk about how the famed publication is adapting to the changing photo and video needs of the modern era and how he 'evaluates the skills of potential contributors.'
Kudos to Canon. Earlier today, the camera giant announced that it had produced its 90 millionth EOS camera and 130 millionth EF-series lens.
The ROV Slider is a portable, motorized slider that promises to bring 'beautiful cinematic video and time-lapse' shooting to anybody with a smartphone, GoPro or DSLR that weighs less than 5lbs.
The new Surface Book 2 laptops come with Intel's 8th generation quad-core processors and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 and 1060 GPUs. In other words: they pack a serious punch.
Leica is resurrecting a portrait lens from the 1930s: the Thambar-M 1:2.2/90. This lens features just 4 lens elements, and was famous for its spherical aberration that creates extremely soft images.
Google's Visual Core is an Image Signal Processor designed to power and accelerate HDR+ processing and other imaging tasks in the new Pixel 2 devices (and beyond).
The Google Pixel's camera is among the best we've reviewed, and its successor has already been hailed as class-leading. With expectations set high, the Pixel 2 has nonetheless left a very good first impression on us as we shot some initial sample images.
Leica is one of the oldest names in photography, and has long been one of the most prestigious. Recently, we had the opportunity to visit Wetzlar, to see for ourselves how Leica's lenses are put together.
Canon went and put an APS-C sensor in a G series compact. The result is a mighty tempting camera for travel.
Google Photos is adding a few pet-friendly features that will make it easier to find photos of your favorite pooch. Now, you can organize your pet photos by facial recognition, and you can even search your library by breed.
Colorful tripod maker MeFOTO has launched a new tripod... and a whole new brand name. Meet the GlobeTrotter travel video tripod, the first product to be released under the MeVIDEO brand.
If you own a Moto Z, you'll soon be able to attach a Polaroid instant printer to it. Check out the unreleased Moto Mod, which was leaked earlier today.
DJI has developed a technology called AeroScope that allows law enforcement to identify and track airborne drones that are breaking UAV regulations, while simultaneously addressing privacy concerns.
The Nikon D850 is a 45.7MP full-frame DSLR with an autofocus system lifted wholesale from the pro-sports focused D5. 4K capture, continuous shooting at 7 or 9 frames per second make it sound like the ultimate all rounder. Is it all that these specs suggest?
The Mate 10's Kirin 970 chipset with integrated AI processing allows for object recognition, motion detection and automatic scene selection in the camera app.
DxO has announced version 3.0 of the iOS app for its 'One' connected camera. It adds support for multi-camera Facebook Live broadcasting and both time-lapse still and video capture. Android users will be pleased to hear that a One for their platform is on the way, as well. Several new accessories are available, including a battery pack.
Canon has introduced the PowerShot G1 X Mark III, which borrows the 24MP APS-C sensor and Dual Pixel AF system from the company's recent mirrorless and DSLR cameras, adds a 24-72mm equiv., F2.8-5.6 lens and puts them into a lightweight body – but it'll cost you quite a bit.
It's not often that we see a genuinely interesting compact camera, and the Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark III is one such beast. We've pulled out the top features of the camera and tell you why they matter – and put the Mark III up against the competition.
Apple's HDR effect in the iPhone 8 Plus is on by default and more aggressive than in previous generations. It's also good enough to convince DPR contributor Jeff Carlson to leave it on all the time.
Canon's 28mm F2.8 IS USM may be small in size, but it's big on fun. We wrote about our experience using it as our only lens in Big Sur, California, but in case you missed out on our full gallery, take a look to see what this little lens can do.
Travel photographer Elia Locardi tells the story behind this gorgeous (and rare) panorama of the Dubai cityscape draped in fog.
Bison, drift cars, horseback riders, antelope – from the beach to the race track, the Sony 100-400mm G Master is one versatile piece of kit.
"Wildlife photography in Yellowstone National Park is an incredible opportunity, yet some bad photographers are giving all photographers a bad name by not following the rules."
Casio's bionic-looking new action camera, the GZE-1, is built with extreme sports in mind. The little camera is drop-proof, freeze-proof, dust-proof, and waterproof to 50 meters.
Yashica recently released the digiFilm Y35: a camera that tries to simulate the "experience" of shooting film... and it's just the worst.
Western Digital has revealed some interesting new technology that, it claims, will allow them to develop 40TB hard drives by the year 2025.
Photographer Micael Widell wanted to see just how affordable it could possibly be to get into digital photography—so he bought a full DSLR kit with battery grip and 50mm lens on eBay for just $80.
Confused about DxOMark's scoring system? This straightforward video by Marques Brownlee breaks down how DxO gets its scores, and why you should always look beyond that "overall" number.
It's not exactly a revolutionary device, but the iPhone 8 Plus does promise some evolutionary updates in the camera department. DPR contributor Jeff Carlson has been putting the 8 Plus to the test in some everyday shooting situations – take a look at how it fared.
This week in Hollywood, DJI introduced its new Zenmuse X7 camera, a Super 35 format cinema camera of its own design that can also capture 24MP still images in APS-C format. Is it time to start thinking of DJI as a camera company?