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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Hands On with the Kata Mini-Bee UL-111

One thing I've noticed while reviewing Kata products. They always hold much more than it would appear initially. It may take a little monkeying around with the configuration but it's always a pleasant surprise to how much gear their bags can actually hold.
The first question I investigate with any bag is: Can it hold my camera with the grip attached? The second is: Can it hold the same gripped camera with the 70-200/2.8 attached? I was able to answer yes to both. In addition to that combination, I was able to carry two more (albiet smaller) lenses and a flash. The upper compartment of the MiniBee is sufficiently roomy that if I wanted to carry one more lens (because I ALWAYS want to bring along one more lens . . . ) I can carry it there in a protective pouch or case.

All the usual suspects come along with this Kata backpack: The all-weather cover, the tripod holder and straps to affix it to the bag, and the camera strap that allows you to attach your camera directly to the shoulder straps, taking the weight of the camera off your neck.

My favorite part of exploring new Kata products however, is the unexpected surprise features. In the case of the MiniBee, its the zipped mesh cover that is INSIDE the flap covering the camera compartment. Now, this backpack does have a somewhat unsual entry arrangement. The top, non-camera portion opens in an over-the-top zipped fasion, while the lower, camera portion, opens in an under-the-bottom type of manner. This extra mesh flap that covers the camera gear is an excellent insurance policy agains accidental spillage of expensive and fragile equipment.

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