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|The Lowepro Versapak 200AW can be found in the shops for around £60 so isn't too expensive.|
Often the problem with keeping your camera gear to hand at all times is how you will carry all the other bits and bobs needed during the daily grind, such as MP3 players, sandwiches, pens, notepads, etc. Most camera bags are dedicated for lugging your gear around and do a grand job of that, but aren't so good at accommodating other stuff.
The half and half design of the Lowepro Versapak isn't a completely new idea. Anybody who remembers the Lowepro Orion Trekker bags will be able to see how the idea has developed. Those bags too had a decent sized padded section for camera gear in the bottom and an unpadded 'day sack' section in the top for other items, and were immensely popular.
The camera compartment will hold a small professional such as the Nikon D300 or Canon EOS 7D without a battery grip with a standard zoom mounted, albeit without a lens hood. The other compartments are good for up to five small lenses such as a 50mm, or a slow aperture telephoto like a 70-300mm f/4-5.6. A flashgun can be substituted for one of the lenses too. This is ample space for casual snappers with lightweight kit heading out for a days shooting.
|Click on the thumbnails below for high resolution images.|
|The top half is unpadded and has just enough room for a drink and some sandwiches.||The bottom section is well padded and has enough room for a decent amount of gear.|
A tripod mounting system allows a support to be strapped to the outside of the bag and works well with smaller, lightweight tripods. Unfortunately with a larger tripod, like the Manfrotto 190X Pro, the bag can become unwieldy and it becomes difficult to secure the tripod. The strap at the top is a little loose for supporting that kind of weight and the pocket at the bottom is too small to comfortably fit the legs in.
|Click on the thumbnails for high resolution images.|
|(Left) A tripod can be fitted to the front with the included straps.
(Above) The top flap covers all the zips to keep dust and rainwater out.
The padded shoulder straps are comfortable, even when the bag is fully laden and should be easy enough to cart around over a long day of shooting. Access to the camera compartment is provided by a heavy duty zip, which opens out so wide that the bag splits in two. This design doesn't lend itself to quick access to larger cameras such as a Nikon D700, as the openings are too small ,but it's fine for smaller enthusiast and beginner DSLRs. The sides can also be opened to quickly grab a lens or flashgun from either side if carrying your camera round your neck.
An all weather cover is provided which covers the exterior of the rucksack. This cover Is easy to fit and does a great job of protecting the bag in extreme weather, or even dusty conditions.
Lowepro Versapak 200AW: Verdict
This bag is ideal for those looking for a bag with a decent amount of space for a a small selection of camera gear and lenses for day trips out, or other circumstances that you may need space for other non-photographic items, such as sandwiches.
The tripod mounting system is a nice idea, but it is only really suitable for smaller, lightweight tripods and the all weather cover is a great addition, especially if you get caught in a deluge.
Being priced at £60, this bag is quite good value if it meets your needs. The quality of materials used is really good and the padded straps make the bag a pleasure to carry, even for long periods.
Lowepro Versapak 200AW: Pros
Half and half design is good for times when non photographic items need to be carried
All weather cover
Quick access to smaller items such as lenses through the sides
Lowepro Versapak 200AW: Cons
Quick side access limited to smaller DSLR cameras
Tripod mounting system is a bit loose for heavier tripods
|VALUE FOR MONEY|
Lowepro Versapak 200AW: Specification
|Size (exterior)||31.5 x 22 x 49cm|
|Camera compartment inner dimensions||28 x 16 x 19cm|
The Lowepro Versapak 200AW costs around £60 and is available from Warehouse Express here:
Lowepro Versapak 200AW