The Ultimate Camera Bag – The Search is Over (For Now)

Previously I had blogged how I thought I had found the ultimate camera bag in the form of the  Lowepro Urban Reporter 250. Sadly, although this is a very adequate camera bag in many ways, it was not for me simply because the added weight of carrying a laptop (even though a relatively light one in the form of a 13″ MacBook Pro) was too much for my shoulder to bear for more than a couple of hours carrying. Though a great bag it was quickly destined for an ebay auction therefore!

This time, learning from my experience, I decided to focus on backpacks in the hope these would distribute the weight better across two shoulders rather than one. The challenge was in finding the right size. When I was a Canon user I had a Lowepro backpack that was large enough to take those cameras and lenses however since moving to Micro Four Thirds format in the shape of Olympus I need something a little smaller (though still big enough to hold my MacBook).

Happily the answer seems to have arrived in the form of the Manfrotto Advanced Active Backpack I. The problem I have always had with backpacks in the past is that they were too deep and were bulky to carry. This Manfrotto seems to be the optimum size for the kit I want to carry regularly. It easily holds an OM-D E-M1 with up to four lenses as well as a 13″ laptop. Whilst even an Olympus outfit like this is not exactly lightweight, experience so far tells me this bag is adequate to carry this amount of gear for a days shooting.

Manfrotto Advanced Active Backpack with Contents

Manfrotto Advanced Active Backpack with Contents

The camera and lens carrying space handily pulls out a bit like a tray and has reconfigurable dividers. So far the default layout works perfectly for me.

Camera Storage

Camera Storage

Being a Manfrotto bag there is also the option of attaching a tripod on the side however I have not tried this yet.

Tripod Tag

Tripod Tag

There’s a front zipped pocket handy for carrying a notebook and business cards.

Front Pocket

Front Pocket

The top storage area is great for additional items such as power cables, maybe a flashgun and memory cards etc.

Top Storage Area

Top Storage Area

The laptop slides down the back of the bag by pulling forward a tab.

Top Storage Area with Laptop Space

Top Storage Area with Laptop Space

Additionally there is a rain cover which you can wrap around the bag for those days when the heavens really do open. For light showers I think the bag itself should offer sufficient protection.

Finally the bag has a chest strap that helps pull the bag in a little and even out the weight a bit more.

So far I’m really impressed with this bag and have no real gripes apart from the zip on the lower camera compartment sometimes snags a bit as though one of the teeth is slightly misaligned. This is not a problem so far however. The bag cost me £54 from Wex Photographic here in the UK which I think represents great value for money (and was covered by what I sold my Lowepro for on ebay).

So, for now at least, the bag search is over. Time to concentrate on making some (hopefully great) images and blogging about those.

4 Replies to “The Ultimate Camera Bag – The Search is Over (For Now)”

  1. […] finally arrived at two solutions (this and this) I really plan to just use rather than keep looking for the ultimate bag this year. […]

  2. […] Coincidentally I have just sold that camera, not because I’m falling out of love with the Olympus brand (far from it) but because it’s time to move on and rationalise my kit a little. I now pretty much exclusively use the Olympus OM-D E-M1 as my main camera with the M.ZUIKO 25mm, 45mm, 60mm and 12-40mm lenses as well as the fixed lens Fujifilm X100T as a backup and street camera. The great thing about this kit is it pretty much serves all my needs in terms of the type of photography I do as well as fits into one of my two bags of choice, my Billingham Hadley Pro or Manfrotto Advanced Active Backpack I. […]

  3. […] going with the Panasonic, I wanted something that fitted into one of my existing bags. As discussed here finding the right camera bag has taken me a while and having finally settled on a couple I […]

  4. […] carrying this packs away into a single backpack (including a camera body, two lenses, one D-Lite and power cable) plus the umbrella, light stand […]

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