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05-07-2014, 02:14 PM   #1
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Lowepro Photo Sport Bags

Hi All,
I am looking for a hiking/camera bag for my newly aquired pentax gear (after selling my K-7/FA43/FA20-35 a while back).

I have just bought a K-01 and DA14 and plan to get something like the Voigtlander 58mm 1.4 or similar to go with it and my Sigma DP3M.

Does anyone have either of the LowePro Photo Sport bags, either the 'Pro 30 AW' or '200 AW'.
Photo Sport Series | Lowepro

Most of the reviews online use mainly larger Canon D-SLRs with long lenses, does anyone happen to have this bag with a compact Pentax kit? I am trying to gauge how much I can fit in without having to go for the larger model.

They are the same price here in the UK so its just the size of the bag, unfortunatley there do not seem to be any local shops that stock them to try them out.

Cheers, Rob

05-07-2014, 03:12 PM   #2
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I have two Lowepro bags: the Slingshot 202AW for general use, and the Fastpack 250 for when I need to carry a laptop and clothing as well. Both comfortably carry my K-3+lens as well as four more Pentax lenses. You can see my lens collection below. The Photo Sports 200 AW is quite a bit larger than the Slingshot 202AW, but with more general storage room and less camera/lens space. Depends on your needs as to which would serve best. The slingshot has only one shoulder strap (so that it can be easily slung without removing it from your shoulders), so may not be ideal for long hikes with lots of weight. However, it is very convenient for quick access on the trail. The Fastpack 250 is more a traditional backpack style. As far as I can tell, the Photo Sport can really only carry a camera+lens in its photo section, so your other lenses would need to go in with general stuff. If you are prepared to do that, your kit would fit easily.
05-07-2014, 09:49 PM   #3
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I reviewed the 200AW in the camera bags thread here: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/22-pentax-camera-field-accessories/83212-camera-bag-reviews-post2660509.html

I like it quite a bit. Very versatile and I would expect it would fit your kit well. I'm not sure I like the setup for the 30AW's padded compartment. While larger to nicely fit a pro/gripped DSLR and large lens, it doesn't seem to be meant to store more than that. Maybe it has dividers I just haven't seen in pictures. Meanwhile, I can easily and not-too-snugly fit my K3, 18-135, DA35 and Metz flash in the 200AW's compartment. I can even squeeze a battery grip on the K3 and zip it all up, but it's definitely a tight fit in that case.
05-08-2014, 01:25 AM   #4
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Thanks for the little review, I am favoring the smaller 200AW so far
I am certainly after a back pack rather than a sling.

05-08-2014, 02:57 AM   #5
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why not get a normal small backpack for personal stuff and something like a waistpack for the camera. I have the trekker from clik elite Trekker | Outdoor Series, Waist Packs | Clik Elite . And it does fit my K-01 with lens attached and 2-4 more lenses (depending in size). But I can fit the K-01 with DA16-45 in it plus DA35 2.4 and M50 1.4 + M200 f4 + vivitar macro converter.
So your K-01 with DA14 and the sigma should fit. and there should then still be place the voightlander.
it is very comfy to walk with, also when not taking treks, and i just have the waistpack with me without another backpack.
05-08-2014, 05:35 AM   #6
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I have seen and tried these bags, they are well made as far as camera bags go.

However, my advice for hiking is always the same. Do not get a "camera bag". Get a true hiking bag, well fitted for your body shape. Then add an insert. You can get a bag with a top and bottom pocket and fit an insert at the bottom. You'll end up with a much better fit, more confort and convenience.

For instance (not saying you should get that one) I got a McKinley Lynx 28:



It has a mesh back (something most camera bags lack), strong support, a hook to attach a monopod, side pockets that can hold a light tripod, room for a water bladder, a rain cover in a hidden lower pocket, a bottom compartment where I perfectly fitted an Ape Case (15$ on Amazon). I can put in the K-3 with Sigma 17-70 mounted, 2-3 primes and a flash or accessories. Only large lenses like the 60-250 can't fit, but when I really need to carry it I put it in its dedicated bag, in the top compartment.

I'd get something like that if I were you
05-08-2014, 06:31 AM - 1 Like   #7
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I do quite a bit of hiking/scrambling and obviously a touch of photography. As bdery says, be very clear about what you want and why you want it. If I'm hiking, I want a rucksack - something which will either take a decent load of up to 20kg (if multiday hiking) or closer to lightweight/ultralight if just overnighting. What I do not want is a camera bag - where would my tent and sleeping bag go, for starters?! What about 2 litres of water? What about food for three meals? But that's me. Even lightweight hiking, you're probably carrying 7kg+ without camera and more if overnight... walking 25km including 1000-2000m of ascent, you want a properly designed rucksack for that purpose. I will usually take my SLR and a single (15-55 WR) lens and that's it. Depending on where you're hiking (bearing in mind most of mine is above the snowline, especially at this time of year), it's more important you have the right clothing and camping equipment than an extra lens, IMO.

If, however, you just want a bag to carry your camera when you're walking around, that's a very different proposition. You don't need to worry as much (but still a bit) about fit, ventilation, weight distribution/CoG/moments, bladder compatibility etc. Instead, its more about access, number/type of compartments and whether it suits the kit you have (or will have in due course).

For this reason I've a camera bag and hiking rucksacks (as well as bigger 90 litre dufflebags etc.) My camera bag is a single strap Slingshot 202AW which I really like. It has plenty of space/compartments and is flexible enough to accommodate lenses securely from my DA*50-135 through to a tiny 35mm f/2.4. It can take four lenses PLUS whatever lens is on the camera PLUS my Sigma flashlight. It also has a strap on the outside for carrying a very lightweight tripod, but I don't own one that's small/lightweight enough to fit. Plenty of pockets, inserts, extra zips etc. to accommodate everything from business cards to spare lens caps, filters, memory cards, spare batteries, cables etc. It also has a lens/soft cloth tucked away, as well as a waterproof cover for the whole thing.

It's really well designed - can access without taking off your back - although does suffer in terms of weight distribution because of the single strap. I find that if it's loaded, I need to use the stabilising strap across my body (which works really well, btw) but that's because my left shoulder isn't used to bearing the weight.

It's also worth thinking about how you're planning to carry your actual camera. I have a home-made version of a Black Rapid style strap, which works really well when hiking. I use a couple of carabiners to attach/detach quickly and in combination with a proper hiking rucksack, I have the benefit of good weight distribution with quick and easy access to the camera. The only thing I do need to improve is securing lens caps better... I'm thinking about some sort of semi-permanent tether might be in order, to prevent loss when the camera gets bumped (mainly by my body) on the strap.

Not sure if any of this is helpful, but for once I feel I can sensibly contribute to a thread!

Edited to add: depending on the sort of walking/climbing you'll be doing, be careful about waistpacks/fanny packs or whatever they're called. When I'm doing more vertically-challenging scrambling, I need to be able to bring my knees right up - this wouldn't be easy if I had something strapped to my stomach. In those situations, you're already probably pretty precarious and don't want to risk missing a foot or hand hold because of inappropriate baggage... However, there are options which attach via clips to your shoulder straps, just in front of your chest - these can be good solutions and generally don't impede your movement or flexibility, unless you're doing proper graded climbing (and if you're roped up, you need to be much more careful about what you're carrying and how it's attached).
05-08-2014, 01:59 PM   #8
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Thanks again, my hiking is strictly casual/single day excursions so I only need room for a coat/drink in the top compartments, hence my leaning towards the smaller model.

05-08-2014, 04:06 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by hoopsontoast Quote
Thanks again, my hiking is strictly casual/single day excursions so I only need room for a coat/drink in the top compartments, hence my leaning towards the smaller model.
Ok - that's very different then. I'd suggest getting either a fairly cheap rucksack with camera inserts (as suggested by bdery) or a proper camera rucksack with enough space for non-camera gear and good shoulder straps - most definitely NOT a slingshot (one strap).

However, if you are hiking over rough terrain, bear in mind even compact Pentax camera gear is still bulky and has some weight (a couple of kg perhaps). You want decent walking boots as your ankles will be taking more strain and I suspect your mind will be half on scoping out landscapes rather than being as focused on where your next footstep will be. Also, if you're sitting around taking shots then make sure you have enough warm clothing as well as protection from the elements if it changes.

Even though you're just walking casually, you want to be comfortable and safe. It's best to be overprepared and not need stuff than have to cut your trip short or, worse, suffer during it. I'm off to a smaller couple of mountains in the Nevis Range in a week and although they're walks rather than climbs, I'm going to be taking a lot of extra gear I almost certainly won't need. (because if I do need it then that will have meant it's gone quite badly wrong!...)
05-09-2014, 12:41 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by pjm1 Quote
Ok - that's very different then. I'd suggest getting either a fairly cheap rucksack with camera inserts (as suggested by bdery) or a proper camera rucksack with enough space for non-camera gear and good shoulder straps - most definitely NOT a slingshot (one strap).

However, if you are hiking over rough terrain, bear in mind even compact Pentax camera gear is still bulky and has some weight (a couple of kg perhaps). You want decent walking boots as your ankles will be taking more strain and I suspect your mind will be half on scoping out landscapes rather than being as focused on where your next footstep will be. Also, if you're sitting around taking shots then make sure you have enough warm clothing as well as protection from the elements if it changes.

Even though you're just walking casually, you want to be comfortable and safe. It's best to be overprepared and not need stuff than have to cut your trip short or, worse, suffer during it. I'm off to a smaller couple of mountains in the Nevis Range in a week and although they're walks rather than climbs, I'm going to be taking a lot of extra gear I almost certainly won't need. (because if I do need it then that will have meant it's gone quite badly wrong!...)
Actually that's where a waistpack is handy. I do a lot of cycling, and then also my knees will com high. The advantage for me with th wasitpack is, you just rotate it to your back or side, and it is out of the way. the same would go for more climbing hikes.

But eventhough what you read in reviews, go to a store with the gear you want to use, and try it. A good camera shop will always let you try to fit your gear.

Another pack to concider is the guru from F-stopgear. Guru - Backpacks - Mountain - Products It basicly is a backpack, for which you buy camera inserts. So depending on the gear you need, you can choose the right insert.

Otherwise click elite have the compact sport Compact Sport | Backpacks | Clik Elite which is also super comfortable to carry.
Both brands have been designing their gear with trekking in mind.'

If you would do serious hiking then naneu has an awesome pack. It is a real backpack, with an camera insert. Adventure K5 | Naneu Bags They have a 80L and 50L version now
05-09-2014, 11:23 AM   #11
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As mentioned, a proper framed hiking pack + insert also works well and can be cheaper. You might sacrifice easy access to the camera gear, but that's about it. Lots of hiking packs have bottom access which can make things easier. I appreciate the 200AW for the camera dedicated compartment and fast/side access, and it works well for light duty/casual hiking as the OP described. It does have proper hiking suspension, and more than enough space in the top compartment, lid pocket and front pocket for other day hiking essentials + water bladder.

Probably my only concern for OP's use is if his torso is too large for the pack. I'm 5'10", ~172lbs, and I think my torso is just on the inside edge of the range this pack can fit comfortably.

Best piece of kit I can recommend for hiking, regardless of what pack you get, is a Peak Design Camera Capture Clip. Clip your camera + most used not-too-large lens to your pack strap and you're set. Easy access, and secure. If you intend to use another lens, place it in a case on the hip belt, and you're set for 90% of what you'll encounter while hiking.

Last edited by gooberlx; 05-09-2014 at 11:40 AM.
05-09-2014, 11:47 AM   #12
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Oh I am on the smaller side, around 5'7"
05-09-2014, 12:23 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by gooberlx Quote
Probably my only concern for OP's use is if his torso is too large for the pack. I'm 5'10", ~172lbs, and I think my torso is just on the inside edge of the range this pack can fit comfortably.
QuoteOriginally posted by hoopsontoast Quote
Oh I am on the smaller side, around 5'7"
Still, that's the main reason why you should get a bag that fits your body. Even for "casual"hiking, after wearing a (somewhat heavy) bag for a few hours, your body will start complaining, you might compensate with a bad posture, etc.

Where I live the lowepro bags you're looking at cost about 170$. The bag I refered (again, I'm not saying you should get this one, simply using it as an example) cost 50$, and the insert 15$. And the bag is better made.
05-09-2014, 08:18 PM   #14
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Another option to consider is something like the mountainsmith day lumbar pack + strapette shoulder strap accessories + insert (mountainsmith kitcube is a really decent insert). Volume-wise the lumbar pack is pretty equal to the 200AW (~14L), and I can see some benefit to tucking away the hip belt and using it as a messenger bag as well. Makes it a little more urban suited I guess...or just generally useful.

Personally, I'm interested in seeing if I can lash one of these to my multiday camping pack, and then using it for dayhikes/summits while leaving the rest of my gear and camping pack back at the tent. I guess I could do that with any sort of rucksack, but I'd say this probably maintains easier access to gear and keeps my back cool.

Last edited by gooberlx; 05-09-2014 at 08:29 PM.
05-09-2014, 09:49 PM   #15
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If you need a camera bag get one that you can see in person first as your stuff never fits quite how you expected.
If you want a multi purpose bag go military surplus. We all used to get a great laugh at the people that drop triple digit dollar amounts on the same camping and hiking gear the various worlds military are all but throwing away in excellent if not like new condition most of the time.
If you like a lot of size variety and customization you can get ALICE gear dirt cheap since it was replaced with the MOLLE stuff and it has tons of small and large pouches for lenses and gear and the main bag for other gear, plus you can add a canteen or whatever else you need. They do require liners to be waterproof though.
All-purpose Lightweight Individual Carrying Equipment - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

As an example, I am poor, so when fleet farm had these swiss army packs for about $15 or $20 each back in the day I bought 2, they are built like a tank and are rubberized vinyl with a super heavy bottom and a wide brace across the back so the stiff back of the pouch is kept off your back and all the weight is across your waist: Not the best for small pockets, though the attaching points on it allow for other containers to be added on. The thing could carry a lot of weight in a downpour and think nothing of it. If you are going to load it to the top with canned goods it could use a set of pads for the straps, otherwise its good and its really big. (sorry bout auction listing, only one i could find right now to show it)
New Swiss Army Mountain Backpack Military Surplus SL 2157 | eBay

Last edited by PPPPPP42; 05-09-2014 at 10:01 PM.
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