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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Review - Hands On with the Lowepro Toploader Pro 75 AW

By Mel Beus
A good half, well okay maybe not half, but a fair portion of the fun of camera gear is the bags to carry it all in. I'll admit I have something of a thing for camera bags. It's important to have the right bag for the right situation so one can never have too many of them. Right? Or maybe this is the girl in me coming out, but with camera bags instead of purses and shoes. I do love camera bags.

I recently acquired (thanks to the contribution of Lowepro to the 2nd Annual East Coast Pentas Forms Gathering, organized by P3's own Brendan Cavenaugh), the Lowepro Toploader Pro 75 AW. Defining rugged and durable, this bag is a veritable tank. It is designed to hold a large DSLR with grip and attached 70-200/2.8 lens. Which it does handily. It falls into the category of exactly the right size for the intented purpose and not a bit larger. Add to this the comfortable close-to-the-body carry and the easy access opening, it has became my go-to bag when I go out with minimum gear.

The features of this bag are plentiful and high quality. The zippers of the main compartment are looped for quick and easy grasping. The strap buckles pivot so you never fall victim to the buckled-the-wrong-way situation. There are three additional external pockets for storing memory and accessories. The shoulder strap is wide, with a thick, sliding, no-slip pad. There is an additional waist/hip belt to stabilize the load, and a strap to attach an extra lens case. Best of all, the walls of the bag are stiff and strong, providing plenty of protection to the camera and lens, and not prone to losing integrity with heavy use. All of this, and the bag is fairly lightweight as well.

As I enjoy shooting in adverse weather, I'm a huge fan of Lowepro's built-in water/weather-proof covers. The cover for this bag is nice as it allows access to the interior of the bag without having to remove the cover itself. However, as far as covers go, it's a somewhat complicated one. Once you figure it out it's not bad but it's best to figure it out BEFORE the need arises or you might find yourself standing in the rain having a fight with your bag. It is not entirely obvious at first glance how the thing to goes on.

My main complaint about this bag is that while it will stand on it's own when closed, barely, when the lid is open, it causes over-balancing and tipping. This however, is a small inconvenience to pay for a strong durable bag that appears able to last years. For a shooter looking for this type of bag for this type of purpose, I can give the Lowepro Toploader Pro 75 AW a hearty recommendation.

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Copyright By Melanie (Mel) Beus for P3 N&R

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