Good evening readers, or accidental link clickers that will only find the first paragraph tolerable to read. I have a little personal sharing tonight. No, nothing from the dark reaches of the bedroom, but from my budget-photog-bag-of-wonder. 😉 Which I hope is equally interesting.

There you have my best attempt at an equipment diagram. I may have gotten a touch carried away with my arrows. Oh well, it’ll be great in the event of an insurance claim. 😉 I must note something funny here. An A-Z layout as shown, was not planned, haha. Realized it as I was putting the label on the last three. Quite a freaky coincidence… But that’s way off base.

Believe it or not, all but C, D, E, F (Film Camera Equip) fits in/on the Lowepro and goes with me each day. More on that later, in the upcoming reviews of each.

A. LowePro Flipside 200 (Great bag, but awkward to use)
B. Slik Sprint Pro II (and bag)
C. Generic Shoulder Bag
D. Focal 135mm f/2.8 FD*
E. Minolta x-350n* (rarely used anymore)
F. Kalimar 50mm f/2.8 FD*
G. Camera Cleaning Kit
H. Variable ND Filter (generic and honestly, its as good as its price, cheap)
I. Zeikos Table Top Tripod (handy as hell)
J. T2i – Operations Manual (A must when lost on a little used setting)
K. Generic Swiss bag for my Canon Elph S1000 (Canon not shown, taking the shot)
L. Canon 550D (T2i) Body w/Battery Grip
M. Assorted SD Cards 2X 8GB, 1x 16GB and container
N. Bread Bag Twist Tie (holding wires to the tripod)
O. Spare AAAs for the Intervalometer (timer remote, I can barely even pronounce it)
P. USB Stick (back up those files every chance you get)
Q. IPod Touch (Quick inspiration shots, record areas of interest, photo calculator tools and most importantly, constant tunes)
R. Battery Charger
S. Intervalometer (remote shutter, time lapse, extended exposure, etc… Get it on Ebay, cheap cheap but great)
T. Lens Hood for Tokina
U. Ziplock bags (if you live in the northern area where winter gets COLD, these are a must when entering warm buildings after a cold walk.)
V. Pen (Take those notes, Notebook not shown)
W. Canon 26-105mm USM II f/3.5-4.5 (Great walk around lens)
X. Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 (My new toy)
Y. Canon 50mm f/1.8 (No bag should be without the Nifty-Fifty – under $100)
Z. Canon 18-55mm EFS f/3.5-5.6 (cheapo, but got it for $10 at Salvation Army. Couldn’t pass that up)

*Not included in my photo walks, unless I desire to use film instead, which is rare.

That’s the “list” form, now I thought I would throw out some tips that I have found extremely handy.

First, be sure to have a comfortable and easy to organize bag. If you get a bag that is uncomfortable or you find difficult to pack and use in the field, then you won’t go out in the field. This concept also applies to your choice of a tripod (if you carry). The heavier the tripod, the less likely you will be to use it. Trust me, your balloon of excitement will deflate, if you have to scoff at the thought of lugging your big ass, uncomfortable bag and a three-prong chunk of iron with you everywhere you go. haha

I actually get the same feeling when I think about going outside on a cold Chicago winter day. Me and cold, are like Batman and Joker. I think the cold equally mocks me from afar. 😉

The bag I have chosen here is the LowePro Flipside 200. A very durable bag, but the compartment is a failure in an otherwise well thought out design. Or another way to put it is, “It’s heart was in the right place.” The idea of having a backpack system, small in stature and a reversed entry to deter theft… All very desirable traits to have, case in point, its why it was purchased. However… these great positives are rivaled by a couple glaring features, as noted below.

Bad news first…

Cons: (glaring feature) The compartment itself makes itself incredibly difficult where the lid connects to the bag. With the predesigned (moderately customizable) seperators it forces a inaccessable nook. I generally keep my 18-55mm in there since its rarely used, but its pretty much a substantial waste of compartmental space, in an already compact focused design.

Also, for a lens hood of 77mm (Tokina size) this bag makes you get clever fast. So keep that in mind.

As you see in the image above, there are two lenses in view, two that are not. They are obscured by the connection of the lid and bag (left of frame). My Tokina and a Canon 18-55 are tucked in below that. So that shows the amount of room affected. Not to mention, its hell to access those lenses, but alas…

But there are some great points too…

Pros: It is very comfortable while on the back. The straps hang well over the shoulders, with a great long narrow bag design that counters the pressure on the shoulders. This has played a massive role in my long walks inducing far less back pain. Depending on your torso length, the lower edge of the bag can slide itself into an uncomfortable position if the straps aren’t properly adjusted. The handle itself also relates well to the balance of the bag. Similar to a tool box feel when you pick it up by the handle. Thumbs up on that.

The removable inner bag is a nice touch. Allowing you more room for larger frame cameras. It holds quite a bit too when used, taking in consideration its size. It holds most of my small odds and ends: deskpod, manual, filters, point and shoot Canon, and misc.

Storage is incredible for the bags size. From the opening image, aside from the 35mm, its lens and bag (C, D, E, F from the image), I can fit everything in. You have to put some though in the approach, but if you can go Mr(s). Tetris on it, then you’ll be quite satisfied.

I do like the side pocket. Its offers a very quick access for my SD cards, Remote and spare batteries. Its a bit snug, or tight may be a better description, but secure. I have pretty much maxed out its load with; an intervalometer, 4x AAAs, 4x SD Cards (or more), USB stick and pen. After that the zipper gives some strain. It suits my needs though.

The most daring part of the design is the inverted access to the bag. This actually introduces itself very nicely as a built in theft deterrent. I love being able to ride the CTA during rush hour, with no paranoia toward idle hands. It is however awkward to access when in stride. They assume that you strap into the bag, like a rocket seat. By doing this is intended to allow you to unshoulder and swivel the bag around to your midsection, similar to a large, protruding fannypak. This is great in theory, but how many of us actually strap the bag onto our waist when we trek out onto the streets?

So… for about $50 at Micro Center, I can’t complain too much. By substituting lesser used equipment into the two bottom sections and finagling any wide lens hoods into place, this is a very good bag. I’d recommend it as a mid-budget bag for light to medium sized equipment needs and short to moderate city walks.

…. to be continued