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The perfect camera bag

until the next one

in Photography , Wednesday, April 07, 2010

How many articles, blog posts, reviews start off with something like “the search for the perfect camera bag is a never-ending quest” and conclude with something like “the perfect camera bag doesn’t exist”, using this assertion somewhere along the line to justify the confession that the author has an innumerate number of said items ?

Quite a lot. And I’ve read most of them. And I’ve got a lot of camera bags. My favourite so far is the only one I didn’t pay for, an unexpected free gift from Olympus. It’s great for general use and doesn’t get in the way. And I’ve got some heavy duty LowePro stuff for the more epic outings.

But what I didn’t have is a satisfactory combo camera / daypack, and I really, really wanted one for a forthcoming trip to Costa Rica.

I actually hate camera backpacks. They’re a necessary evil, but really, ... instant dork. They always seem so huge, so clumsy, so inflexible.

I spent endless hours looking at catalogs, websites, reviews, etc - because in this neck of the woods, actually getting to see anything other than really basic stuff in the flesh is impossible. I nearly went for a LowePro sling bag. Then a Kata 3 in 1 sling. Then I even considered Domke. And I had a good look at esoteric stuff like Think Tank. But finally I went back for a closer look at a bag I’d dismissed at first: the Kata 467i. And I ordered one. 

And it’s great. A really nice bag which swallows an impressive amount of gear, is comfortable, has plenty of “daypack” space, and can even take a laptop (which I would never use, but the compartment is great for maps and stuff). And it looks really small.

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Here, the lower section of the bag holds the following:

- Olympus E-3 and 12-60 lens
- Olympus 50-200 lens, with tripod collar
- Olympus 50mm lens
- Olympus FL36 flash
- Olympus 1.4 teleconverter
- memory card holder

That’s a lot of gear.

The laptop section has swallowed a filter pouch. The rest is empty, apart from the Kata rain cover in one of the front pockets. Oh, and my Gitzo Traveller tripod is attached to the foldaway tripod holder.

You can close it all up faster than than you can say “cabin baggage - no problem sir”.

Frankly, my LowePro Rover AW, which follows a similar concept, but is much heavier and larger but has much less room, and is much clumsier to use, should be embarrassed. Ok, so it has a more robust harness, but even so… the Kata is hardly uncomfortable.

So, there we have it: at least within it’s particular niche, the perfect camera bag… maybe. Time will tell!

Posted in category "Photography" on Wednesday, April 07, 2010 at 10:45 PM

Older Comments

from Philip Rogers on Sat, September 04, 2010 - 2:17

Thanks for the review.  I have a LowePro Rover AW II which is OK, but rather heavy and won’t take a laptop.  I need a bag that’ll take much the same camera gear as you plus a laptop on buisness trips.  Have considered the LowePro Compurover AW but am worried about cabin bag size.  Am cosidering the Kata 467i or Bumblebee 210.  In a local camera shop, the material on the 467i looked flimsy compared to my LowePro or the more expensive Kata Bumblebee.  How robust do you find the Kata 467i?

Thanks!

Philip

from david mantripp on Sat, September 04, 2010 - 7:37

Thanks for the comments, Philip

I’m not too enthusiastic about LowePro these days, I have to say. The zip on my very expensive Phoro Trekker AW has failed, and a similar failure hit a friend of mine very recently who is actually sponsored by Lowe.

I haven’t had any problems at all with the Kata. I haven’t submitted it to destruction testing, but it has been thrown about a bit, and it has survived treks through rainforests and up mountains. I’m very impressed with it. However, I’ve never used it for carrying a laptop, not because I’m concerned about it but simply because I try not to travel with a computer.

Honestly, unless you’re planning on a very arduous trip, I think the 467i will be just fine.

David

from Philip Rogers on Fri, September 10, 2010 - 2:10

David

Thanks for the most helpful reply.  One final question…will the camera and top section zips take a small travel padlock?  I was pickpocketed on public transport once so am wary!

Thanks

Philip

from Andrew Hicks on Thu, October 28, 2010 - 9:47

Absolutely it is the perfect camera bag.  I agree with you it’s great and really nice bag which swallows an impressive amount of gear, is comfortable. Thanks ;)

(You’re welcome. I edited out those strange links about water coolers which I’m sure you added in by mistake…)

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