After having ‘Lowepro bag for light travel’ on my list of things to buy for a year or two, today I finally purchased said camera bag.
Hitherto, my camera bag rig consisted of a Lowepro Mini Trekker AW and an often-used 12-year-old shoulder bag which needed replacement. I also have a Crumpler 5 Million Dollar Home (Canon EOS edition) which came with my Canon EOS 5D Mark II, but it’s way too small to be practical, and being bright red, stands out from a thousand miles away.
The Mini Trekker AW is a fantastic backpack, and even accommodates my Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS USM along with camera, Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM and both the 1.4x and 2x tele-converters (even with smaller equipment, I can fit a lot into it), but I’m long past the point of wanting to carry a large-ish backpack around, and particularly when I travel (flying especially), I want a smaller shoulder-carry bag for my camera gear. It was not unusual for my camera backpack to weigh 10kg when flying inter-state.
Today I brought home a new Lowepro Nova 190 AW. Oddly enough, this was the bag I was considering the last time I looked into this issue and looked at bags. I looked at the Lowepro Nova 200 AW, which is longer and deeper, but I found it to be too large, and in terms of size, it wasn’t a great deal different from my Mini Trekker, so I went back to the Nova 190 AW, which is more pleasant to carry around.
While the Nova 200 AW will hold more gear and would undoubtedly be a great bag, I wanted something smaller and less bulky. The Nova 190 AW will easily hold the camera and three or four fast (ie, f/2 or faster) primes or two f/2.8 zooms.
Important to me was the bag’s ability to hold my Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM. The salesman in the store grabbed a 5D II and 70-200/2.8L (non-IS, but close enough in size), and the Nova 190 AW easily accommodated that rig, plus had plenty of room for another couple of decently sized primes or zooms.
For those unfamiliar with Lowepro nomenclature, AW designates ‘all-weather’, meaning the bag has an integrated rain cover. As a seascaper, and one who tends to gets rather wet, it’s important that my gear is protected, and the integrated rain cover will easily keep splashes and rain at bay.
I’ve just packed it, and it very nicely holds a good rig of equipment without being too heavy, or increasing in bulk due to the gear I’ve placed inside it.
At the moment, it contains my:
- Canon EOS 5D Mark II;
- Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM (including hood);
- Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM (including hood);
- Canon TC-80N3 Timer Remote Controller;
- Lee filter wallet containing GND4, GND8 and two ND8s;
- Lee filter holder and 82mm adapter ring;
- Hoya 82mm circular polarising filter;
- Hoya HMC 82mm ND8 filter;
- hotshoe-mounted spirit level;
- spare SanDisk Extreme III 4GB CompactFlash card;
- Princeton Tec FUEL headlamp + spare batteries;
- neoprene lens cleaning cloth;
- plastic bags and ziplock bags; and
- business cards.
Quite a lot of gear!
All in all, I am very happy with this bag, and I will keep it packed as above for the most part, as it contains my seascaping rig, plus my 85/1.2L II, which I don’t normally carry on ‘scape shoots, but which will give me extra reach when needed. I can easily swap that for my Canon EOS 135mm f/2L USM if I want even more reach.
It’s just as easy to swap out some gear for a bag of fast primes and flashes. It’s very versatile, holding a decent rig of equipment without being bulky or too heavy, and when it comes to flying, it consumes a lot less room in the overhead luggage compartments, or could just as easily sit under the seat in front of me.
My Lee filter wallet and the case for the filter holder both consume considerable space. If I needed more room or wanted to take a 70-200/2.8 as well as my 16-35/2.8L II, I could find an alternative way of transporting the filters, as they are flat sheets of resin, measuring 6×4″ at the most, and could be stacked together with tissue paper separating them, and a ziplock bag containing the lot.
The Nova 190 AW offers plenty of options for configurability and holds a surprisingly large amount of equipment for its size.
It was definitely a good purchase; all I need to do now is head out for a shoot. With my state of mind over the past three or four months, that’s proven to be more challenging than finding a suitable camera bag!