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Lowepro make more bags than there are grains of sand on the beach, or so it seems. Whatever your requirements, they’ve pretty much got a bag for it. You can file this one under all-weather and digital SLR user about town. You could use a film SLR camera I supposed – a flashing light doesn’t come on with an automated voice commanding you to step away from the bag, but it is branded as being designed for digital. In reality that means that there’s room for one big DSLR with lens attached, and perhaps 6 lenses, though that all depends on what they are, plus a smallish laptop. Anyone bringing their large telephoto lenses to the party will have room for two and that’s it. Of course, the interior is constructed using Velcro zip compartments so it can all be rebuilt however you choose to the effect that you could get a medium format camera in there as well.
Lowepro Vertex 100 AW specifications:
- Interior Dimensions: 11x5.9x15.4in (WxDxH) or 28x15x39cm
- Exterior Dimensions: 11.8x9.8x6.5in (WxDxH) or 30x25x42cm
- Notebook Compartment: 11x2x13.8in (WxDxH) or 28x5x35cm
- Fits most 14in. widescreen notebook computers
- Capacity: 1-2 Pro digital SLRs, large 35mm or medium format system, 3-5 lenses (up to a 200mm f/2.8), tripod or monopod, flash and digital accessories.
The overall shape of the Vertex 100 AW is quite squat, it comes with two shoulder straps so lefties and righties can sling it over a shoulder and look nonchalant. For that snug-fit for carrying, the shoulder straps fit easily and have a tension adjuster on each one that is easy to tighten up. The waist strap is padded and wide at the sides, but narrows to an unpadded clasp in the middle. There’s enough strapping for a moderately fat bloke to get it over the gut, but with a thin strap I wouldn’t want to leave it on for an extended period of time. There’s also a secondary clasp that runs across the top of the chest which seems to be entirely superfluous. It really doesn’t add anything and just gets in the way. Personally, I’d be tempted to cut it off. Finally on the carrying front, the back of the bag has padding and also lumbar support, all of which makes it quite comfortable to wear.
There’s a carry handle on the top and an all-weather pouch on the bottom. This unveils a waterproof covering that unfurls to keep the entire bag dry in a thunderstorm. In just ordinary rain you might not want to bother because the two main compartment have water-sealed plastic zip coverings. These are neat and cover the usual zip fastening as you zip it up, though they can be a little harder to use. The end result is a fairly effective covering, though there’s a slight gap where the two zips meet, especially as this is on the side, rather than underneath. There are also two more traditional zips on front mounted pockets which mount either side of a tripod slot. The front pockets contain a small pouch and a further zipped compartment.
Inside the bag there’s a brace of zippered compartments, with see-through webbing so the contents can be instantly identified and then there’s the world of Velcro that forms the internal compartments. Initially, this is set up to contain a camera with long lens, four small compartments down either side and a space for a long lens on the bottom. Practically, those side compartments could house two lens each. The design is such that the bag should be placed flat on the ground for opening, although there is restraining strap that attaches to the zipped front panel to prevent it from springing open all the way if you fancy trying to get your camera out on the move. Really, you’d still want to tilt the bag a bit while getting the camera out to avoid lenses tumbling out, but at least the camera position is such that you could, if feeling brave, get it out with the bag still upright.
Lowepro Vertext 100 AW Verdict:
Well made as usual with Lowepro, I feel the design of this one is more compact and aimed at the photography enthusiast fearlessly plodding through dismal conditions, rather than the photojournalist in Sudan. It won’t store a huge amount, but then it means you don’t have to carry a huge amount either. Personally speaking, this is an ideal combination of size and capacity. It’s comfortable to wear, has its own weatherproof mac and if is opened while on the flat, will keep your gear both safe and dry.
Lowepro Vertext 100 AW plus points:
Waterproof mac covering
Twin-straps can be used on their own
Waist belt fits all but the fattest
Comfortable lumbar support
Good size for the enthusiast
Lowepro Vertext 100 AW minus points:
Sealed zips can be sticky
Strap across stomach a little thin
Neck strap superfluous
The Lowepro Vertex 100 AW costs around £100. Check out the Lowepro website at www.lowepro.co.uk for more details.