What are my needs? Well, basically I want a camera bag that is more comfortable than a shoulder bag but still has the easy-access feature a shoulder bag brings. The side access of the Fastpack 250 solved this but, as I've said, I needed something smaller but can still accommodate my Canon DSLR, a spare lens and a speedlite, at the least.
So, I looked for a backpack that could satisfy my requirement. However, I couldn't seem to find one that suited my needs. Why? I'll explain below. So, I next looked at sling bags.
My first choice right off the bat was the Slingshot 202. The only thing that caused doubts in my mind was actually the size of the bag - ironic, I know, since I wanted a smaller bag. But, I wanted something that can fit more than my camera gear - being a bookworm, I also wanted to bring at least one book with me when I go out. (I don't know why camera bags don't have this "feature". At the least, photographers would sometimes want to bring a photography book, magazine or maps, right?) The good news is, my friend's first generation iPad, with case, was able to fit into the camera compartment. That was the sign that I really made the right choice - if you can put in an iPad, you definitely could put in at least one book, albeit not an encyclopedia...
The compartment on top is big enough to fit a DVD case. This is good news for me for the Kindle and its case is of such a size. So, I can put the Kindle in its case, Seth Godin's latest book Poke the Box and my Lumiquest 80-20 kit in there at the same time! It even is big enough to house two speedlites or my Canon 7D with a Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 lens.
There are a lot of small bonuses that came with the bag, like CF pockets that are easy to access as well as meshed pockets inside where you can put cables, filters, lens caps, etc. You can put a small tripod or a monopod on the side of the bag. There is also an all-weather cover that slips conveniently into a hidden pocket in the bag.
As I've said, I was able to enjoy this bag before I had my surgery. Getting the camera was a breeze because of the quick side access. When you swing the bag to the front, the zippered opening is "on top" so your gear won't fall off. Also, I can actually fit my Canon 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105 f/4L lens with the lens hood in the ready position which made it a lot easier to get "that" shot.
I was able to walk for a couple of hours around Princeton, NJ and the bag is comfortable to use. I was even able to do the groceries, with the wife, with it! The bag is really comfortable when it contains my basic photography needs (plus the Kindle).
The Lowepro Slingshot 202 is really a very good bag.
I only have three requests for Lowepro to really make this a great bag:
- I wish that the solitary strap is heftier. You can't go wrong with a strap with a thick padding. It also becomes a little more uncomfortable when I have two camera bodies inside, though I don't know if Lowepro really designed it to hold that much. What is, for me, the best strap for a bag? See number 2.
- Put grooves on the back to allow air to flow. The Ecogear bag that I won from Engadget, the first Rhino version, has the best "back" for a backpack for my taste. The Slingshot 202 is a slim bag but with the arrival of Spring and Summer, I don't know if my back would be able to "breathe" with this.
- What about an additional side-access compartment, like with that for the Lowepro Fastpack 250, for things like an iPad or a book like David Duchemin's Within the Frame?
But, the Lowepro Slingshot 202, itself, is a very good quality bag. It is Highly Recommended.
All photos made with the Canon Powershot G12. My review of the G12 and the perfect bag for it can be found here and here, respectively.