Those of you who read my blog regularly will know that I'm a fan of bags. I'm constantly searching for a camera bag that will meet my needs. I'm now sorted for day to day use, as I have the lovely National Geographic Private Collection Midi Messenger which is perfect for personal shooting. However, I was in need of something for professional shoots, when I'm carrying back up gear and extra equipment.
Soooo, I recently purchased the Lowepro DSLR Video Fastpack 250 AW. Having now used it a few times, I decided to write a review, to assist anyone considering buying it.
The Video Fastpack 250 retails at around £80. This bag is designed with DSLR video shooters in mind, but I use it solely for stills equipment. The 250 (the middle size in the video Fastpack range) is pretty large, especially if you are small like me! It is well made, as is to be expected from Lowepro, and is water resistant enough to cope with a moderate shower. For anything heavier, it is equipped with an all weather cover, which neatly tucks away under the bag when not in use. There is a very similar standard DSLR version of the Fastpack 250, but I chose the video version over the standard, as this one offers a tripod holder. However, I understand that Lowepro have recently released updated versions of the fastpack range, so they may have now added this to the standard DSLR collection. The tripod holder tucks away underneath the bottle holder on the side of the bag when not in use. It's worth noting that, as they are both on the same side of the bag, I dont think you could carry both a water bottle and a tripod at the same time; it would be one or the other. But at least you have the choice. Another 'tuck away' feature is the waist belt, which has it's own pocket to hide it if you don't need it. So all in all, it's a tidy bag, without flaps and straps trailing about and getting in your way. It also has thick and comfortable shoulder straps (which include plastic loops to attach an appropriate strap) and a moveable sternum strap, so spreads the weight of heavy gear as much as possible. Oh, nearly forgot, it also has a small slip pocket that sits against your back which is absolutely perfect for your lens cap!
The main pocket of the bag is roomy and can be configured to hold your gear as you chose. I can easily fit my Canon 6d with 24-105 L lens attached in the camera bit and there is still some room, so you may even fit a moderately sized body with a battery grip and big-ish lens attached. There is space for a large flash, along with two or three spare lenses or an additional camera body plus flash and a lens. It really is roomy. The main compartment is designed for quick and easy access, so it can be opened from the side and your camera can be easily grabbed, just by removing one should strap and swinging the bag round. There is a click-strap preventing you from opening the section fully and dropping all your gear, but if you want to access your additional lenses etc, you will need remove the bag from your back and click open this strap to fully access the pocket. This flap also has two memory card pockets, which I find really useful for a quick switch over, without having to root inside the back looking for them.
The top half of the bag is an accessories pocket, which is really roomy, but is not padded and as such, is not ideal for additional lenses/flashes. I tend to use this pocket for personal items such as my purse/phone/keys/outer layer/snacks etc. It contains an accessories pouch, which is removable, but can also be used for spare batteries/flash triggers etc. The top pocket has a small zipped section, a mesh pocket and a key clip, along with a couple of separate slip in bits. It also has a handy headphone clip, which I find useful. There is also a smaller zip pocket on the front of the bag for things you want to access quickly or keep separate from other items.
At the back of the bag, there is a top access, padded laptop compartment, which fits a 15" laptop. When not carrying my laptop, which is most of the time, I use this space to carry my 5 in 1 reflector, or it could be used to carry documents or magazines when travelling.
I've used this bag a few times now and it is roomy enough to carry a decent amount of gear, but is not so giant that I look ridiculous. The little details are what make this bag, like the ability to tuck away unused bits and the pocket for your lens cap. It is well designed and comfortable and I imagine I will be using this bag or years to come.
If you have any questions about the bag, please comment below. Thanks for reading!