Anyone who read my Christmas Wish List blog will know that I was lusting after the Nat Geo Private Collection camera bag. Well, I must have been good last year as Father Christmas (aka my in-laws) brought me it! When I was looking on-line at this bag, I couldn't find any reviews, so now its mine, I thought I'd write a review for others looking at purchasing it.
Now, this bag retails at over £200. I was very lucky that a website which will remain un-named incorrectly listed it - it was priced considerably lower when I added to my wanted list and my mother-in-law purchased it for me. It has since gone back up to over £200, a considerable price for a camera bag and even more than the Billingham Hadley Pro! Quality wise, I'd say its on a par with the Hadley Pro and likely to last many years, but at that price, it is an extravagant purchase.
The build quality of this bag is good. It's made from a high quality canvas with strong stiching, chunky zips and good metal details. The base of the bag is padded, as is the back panel. The strap feels strong, and is nice and wide, which helps spread the weight of your heavy gear. I chose the 'midi' version, which is the perfect size for me.
The main section of the bag contains a removable padded insert for your DSLR. It is just about tall enough to hold my Canon 6D with the 24-105 f4 USM L lens attached. It's a bit of a squeeze, but it just zips up. There is also room in this insert for another lens or two. I can fit the 50mm 1.8 and the 40mm 2.8 pancake in there. If you were carrying a larger second lens, say the 85mm, there wouldn't be any more room in the insert.
The rest of the main section is large enough to fit other items, such as a speedlight, gorillapod, your purse/wallet and other items you may need. It also has two zipped mesh pockets on the back and one larger zipped mesh pocket on the back, good for keeping smaller items so you can access them more easily.
The back of the bag has a useful handle to pick the bag up easily and a strap which can be slotted over a pulley case - perfect for if you are using the bag as your hand luggage/carry on when flying. There is also a padded Ipad section at the back of the bag, designed to hold a standard size Ipad. I use a mini, so can also slide my phone into this section, or when not carrying my Ipad, I use it for my filter case.
The front of the bag has two small pockets, which are great for carrying small items which you may need to access quickly. I carry a lens cloth, lens pen and business cards in one and my keys/tissues/lip balm in the other.
Here is a list of everything I carry in this bag:
Canon 6D with 24-105 f4 L lens attached
50mm 1.8 lens
40mm 2.8 Pancake lens
Gorillapod (SLR zoom version with a small ballhead attached)
Hama accessories case holding spare batteries, memory cards etc.
Microfiber cloth, dust blower, lens pen, lens cloth
Purse, keys, tissues, lip balm
Business card holder
Even with all this in, the bag doesn't feel 'stuffed' and there is still room for some other items. Although there is no dedicated tripod holder, I reckon you could tuck a small travel tripod under the strap with attaches to the clasp; I carry my gorillapod inside the main section though. The only thing I don't like about this bag is that both the zips and clasp can be a bit fiddly; the zips aren't as smooth as they could be and the clasp is occasionally hard to line up. Despite this, I love this bag and hope to use it for years to come. It's ideal for travelling or for day to day use, when you need to carry camera gear along with personal items. It's not really big enough for carrying on a professional shoot, simply because I have back-up equipment to carry, but I've carried this bag pretty much every day since Christmas and I love it!
Have you used this bag? What did you think?