Sunday, February 22, 2009
It's tax season and I'm doing my part to stimulate the economy, especially the photography industry.
Along with several other photography items, including books, I bought a camera backpack. I really like it.
I have a couple of Pelican cases that I really like, but these are useless for a hike. I had looked at some Lowepro packs at the same store I bought the Canon pack, but I didn't like the fact that I had to undo two straps and a zipper to get to the camera and also really didn't like the fact that the Lowepro pack had the camera and all the lenses at the bottom of the pack where they would endure the burnt of the impact in the event the bag was ever dropped. The Lowepro packs were also a bit smaller and though they would have held my usual day trip assortment of camera items they would not hold much else. I like to carry a light jacket in case the wind picks up or there is a light rain and a water bottle or two are pretty much necessary items.
The Canon 200EG is a small to mid size pack measuring in at 10"W x 14-3/4"H x 5"D (interior) and will hold two camera bodies (K10D and *istDL), a flash (Pentax AF540FGZ) (or 1 body and two flashes), three standard size lens (Pentax DA 70mm 2.8, SMC 28mm, SMC 50mm),a mid telephoto zoom lens (Tamron 75-300mmLD Macro) and a set of Vivitar close up lenses in the camera/lens compartment. The padded spacers in the camera compartment are Velcro so you can adjust them to fit your camera bodies and lenses/flashes. There is a mesh zippered area on the camera compartment flap that can hold some soft thin items like manuals. The main camera sits right at the top of the pack (DA 18-55 attached) where it is easy to get at just by a quick partial unzip. The camera compartment zipper has a weather resistant flap to help keep rain off the zipper.
The next smaller zippered compartment adjacent to the camera compartment has a key chain clip and a couple of elastic top slots in it useful for holding wallets and other personal items or other smaller camera accessories (cable shutter release/mini mag flashlight). There is room in the compartment for a light wind breaker or extra light shirt and or hat.
The final zippered compartment on the 200EG is useful for munchies like trail mix but is too tight for soft easily smashed foods like sandwiches or fruit. It could hold a thin rectangle Tupperware container to protect these items though it would be a tight fit.
The last major compartment (if you could call it that) is a bungee corded flap that looks like it would be very useful to hold a rain jacket as it is open to the air and has the easiest access with the bungee cords.
There are two cell phone type pockets on either side of the pack also which may be fine while out on a rural hike, but too easy to access for pick pockets in an urban setting. I'd keep my cell in an interior zippered compartment and use a blue tooth headset.
The back of the 200EG pack is decently padded and the lumbar area has a slot where you can insert extra lumber padding. The pack is too small on my back (I'm 6'-6") so the lumbar area rides on the lower part of my mid back, but on a smaller person the ability to add extra lumbar padding would be useful.
The shoulder straps are decently padded and adjustable but are missing useful hooks or stretch pockets that would be useful for a small flashlight or other items like sunscreen or lip balm. There is an adjustable chest strap to hold the shoulder straps in place so they won't fall off your shoulders and an adjustable waist strap to hold the pack snugly to your back. Even with my size (6'-6" 240lbs medium build) the straps are long enough in light clothing. With layered clothing and a jacket it might be a tight fit.
There are two adjustable straps on either side (right above the cell phone pockets) that additional clothing items could be cinched up in or across the top and cinched on both sides while still allowing quick access to the camera.
The last set of straps are at the bottom of the pack and would be useful for carrying a small tripod or monopod or a larger rain jacket. They are too small to hold a sleeping bag though.
I'd remove or cover up the Canon logo as it screams "Steal me, I contain expensive items!" I roll with Pentax anyway :)
The price on the Canon 200EG Deluxe Backpack range from $40 to $60 online and up to $80 in retail stores.
My overall summary of the 200EG pack is it is a good pack that meets my requirements for a quick 2 hour hike from the vehicle, home, or even campsite. It is not designed as an all day pack unless someone else is carrying the food/water. It appears to be durable and rugged enough for the light trips I take and I look forward to using it in the next few weeks.
I will update this post after I use the pack a few times and give more pros/cons from experience.
Until then, happy shooting!