As my collection of lenses and bodies has grown I felt I needed a larger bag to haul all my gear around. I was using a very small backpack by Tamrac that I acquired for my backpacking trip in ’06. This backpack served my needs perfectly for my older camera and the kit lenses that came with it. But as I have increased the quantity of lenses I shoot with and need to take this equipment along with me on upcoming trips a larger piece of equipment for transporting my gear has become essential.
Since I love getting my gear out of my way but like to feel that it is secure I only looked at backpacks and dismissed the messenger style bags. The Downfall of the backpack in my opinion is that it has to be removed in order to access the gear. Most of the time this is only an inconvenience except in areas of congested people and bad weather.
With these items being my concern I thought that I had found the perfect solution in the Lowepro SlingShot 300.
The Slingshot is a backpack with a messenger style strap that is attached at the upper right corner of the backpack and wraps around your chest to the lower left back side of the backpack. This allows you to slide the backpack under your left arm and open it from the side to access your camera body. This works perfectly as long as you have the correct lens attached to your body.
I tried the smaller models of this style backpack, but they didn’t allow room for all the lenses I wanted available. This model of the backpack is rather large and is positioned rather high on the chest when slung around making it more difficult to remove your equipment than a waist pack. One benefit to the higher position is being able to have the neck strap put on prior to removing the camera for extra security.
The pouch designed to hold memory cards inside the opening on the backpack is convenient, however realistically only allows the storage of 4 cards opposed to the 8 spots available. The lack of extra fabric at the hinge does not allow for the compartment close neatly. This isn’t necessarily a negative though as I tend to keep unused cards on one side and put them into the other side after using them.
The inside of the main compartment is fitted with six sections attached with Velcro to allow for custom sizes to fit you specific needs. I haven’t yet adjusted mine. As you can see my sigma 24-70 is stretching the compartment walls. I normally don’t have that lens in that spot. On the opposite side you can see I have a SB-600 and a 70-300 and both fit comfortably and do not extend to far into the outer wall of the backpack.
The upper portion of the backpack has plenty of space for odds and ends. I haven’t decided what if anything will be permanently stored here. It will probably depend on the situation. More than likely it will house a second body. In this compartment there are two additional smaller mesh compartments in both the front and back. I currently have some cleaning cloths and a raincoat for the camera here.
On the bottom of the camera bag is also a small compartment that houses a rain cover for the backpack. The rain cover is attached on one side and has elastic that wraps around the backpack protecting it from the elements.
My overall impression of the bag is good. I did wear this backpack filled as seen with gear in it for the duration of a shoot not to long ago and was not put out by it in any way. It was neither uncomfortable or hindering in my shooting. It is a large backpack and I have realized that I prefer to travel with a minimalist configuration. I will probably use this when I want to take a lot of gear with me, but I don’t see me taking it out on every outing like I did with my Tamrac.