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11-18-2021, 07:28 AM - 3 Likes   #1
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Opinion about the K&F Concept Waterproof photography backpack

I’ve had good success recently with some K&F Concept products (namely their magnetic filters and their K to E adapter, which I’ll comment later when I have more experience with it).

I wanted a versatile backpack, to be used by my young son for school and photo (he’s interested in my hobby, that’s cool!), so I decided to give their roll-top backpack a try. Here’s my take on it.



My first impression is that the backpack is surprisingly well-made. The fabric has a sleek feel, and even though it’s hard to tell without using it for a long time, it doesn’t appear cheaply made. The “camo” pattern on the fabric is more discrete in real life than on pictures and looks good even if I prefer smoother textures in general. The orange accents (and orange interior) contrast nicely. There's an included rain cover. and the fabric itself is waterproof.

The bag is a “roll-top”, something which I generally like as it makes it easy to expand the volume as needed. In this case, it’s partially a “fold-top” also since there is no Velcro to hold the roll in place, so it has a tendency to unroll. Having the top partially filled puts some tension on the roll, and helps keep it better in place. Also, the top attachment point of the front buckle is fixed, so it the top is close to full, it will be hard to attach the buckle. The buckle does have a long strap, so small to medium fills, which are more likely to occur, won’t cause problems, it’s the front section which expands towards the back.



That buckle is a “cobra buckle”. It’s metal, slightly heavy, and a pleasure to use. It adds an element of class to the backpack, as it’s often found as an (expensive) option on fancy backpacks.



To the front are two general-purpose small pockets.



One of those is RFID-protected so you can store cards or other items in there with confidence. Often, backpacks offer one larger pocket, here the two smaller ones have the advantage of being thicker than the usual.



On one side is the standard water bottle / tripod sleeve, with a stabilizing strap at the top so taller tripods will fit.



The back shows nice shoulder straps, well padded and standard-issue, straightforward adjustments.



The shoulder straps can be detached at the bottom, maybe to stash them behind the luggage pass-through for easier storage?



The back panel has ok padding, two sections in the lower area and one at the bottom. This creates good ventilation channels but it’s hot a hiking backpack!



When unrolled, the top is pretty tall.



It’s closed by a zipper so even if one goes overboard and fills it up completely, it’s still secure.



There is a thickness to the interior lining, even in the top section, that gives an added sense of security. Towards the bottom of the bag (only reachable from the top) is a padded laptop sleeve. The bottom of that sleeve is padded for protection. There is no back access to quickly reach the laptop, it’s done via the top.



On the side opposed to the water bottle pocket is a side access for camera gear. That access is rather unique.

The access panel is held closed by two vertical zippers joined by a big handle. The opening is thus wide and easy to access. The downside is that the top of that panel is not closed, just covered by a flap.



The interior of the panel holds two pockets, labeled for batteries and memory cards. We see the bottom of the laptop sleeve, and the padding.

Users are not forced to use the backpack for camera gear, it can be an everyday bag. There is, however, a sliding camera cube.



This cube can be taken completely apart. It’s made of thin and stiff panels; most of the protection comes from the bag’s padding.



Assembling the cube takes some guesswork as there are no instructions. Looking at company photos, it’s meant to be held in place via the supplied elastic band.



There are two long and two short dividers, giving options for subdivisions. There is also a kind of cover, more flexible and with more padding. This helps separate the cube from the rest of the bag when filling it from the top.



The cube must be seen as a “tray” coming out of the backpack. It’s possible to leave one side “open” and have quick access to the camera that way, pulling out the cube to reach other items inside.

All in all, I like this bag. It looks good, is well made and has many higher-end features. It’s not a copycat of other products. I’m not quite convinced about the design of the camera cube, at least for my use case, and reaching the laptop compartment requires unrolling the whole top; those are the two weaker aspects in my view. For the rest, this is a solid product, and much less expensive than some other everyday bags out there.

For the record, it'S this bag:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B084G2RVY7?maas=maas_adg_4D0AEB3CC1E620D54D86813D8..._=aa_maas&th=1

11-18-2021, 08:33 AM   #2
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Really good review of this item. I am considering a backpack and this might be the one
11-18-2021, 10:55 AM   #3
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I have a 15 year old Lowepro backpack of similar design.
But I do not like that the side access to the camera equpment is not fully closed with the zipper on this K&F model. To me that is a major design flaw.
11-18-2021, 01:59 PM   #4
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Good review, Bernard - thanks for posting That's a nice-looking bag!

I started using K&F products a few years ago... filters, adapters etc., and I was impressed by them given the price, but in recent years the quality has improved considerably. I think they're now one of the best value accessory manufacturers going...

11-18-2021, 02:44 PM   #5
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It's a big bag to only take 3 lenses, or 2 with camera. I guess you could stand a 150-450 up in it, though you'd probably need some clothing packed around to keep it from tipping.

Last edited by Paul the Sunman; 11-18-2021 at 02:59 PM.
11-18-2021, 10:19 PM   #6
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Side access is not good. The best camera bag access is an opening on the wider side of the insert, or top side access if lens is vertically oriented in its storage compartment. Only very expensive bags ($400US) have this. It's interesting that most camera bags are so poorly designed, it looks like the designers never use a camera with interchangeable lenses.
11-19-2021, 07:11 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote
I think they're now one of the best value accessory manufacturers going...
I agree. In particular, their filters are amazing. Better than many of the more expensive options. Even stuff like PolarPro, highly hyped online, create warm casts with their ND and CPL. K&F remain neutral.

QuoteOriginally posted by Paul the Sunman Quote
It's a big bag to only take 3 lenses, or 2 with camera.
It's not "just" for photo gear. You could add other inserts inside, however.

QuoteOriginally posted by Paul the Sunman Quote
I guess you could stand a 150-450 up in it, though you'd probably need some clothing packed around to keep it from tipping.
Yeah, or use another type of camera case, I guess. I don't have such a lens so for me that's moot.

QuoteOriginally posted by biz-engineer Quote
Side access is not good.
In general, you mean?

QuoteOriginally posted by biz-engineer Quote
The best camera bag access is an opening on the wider side of the insert, or top side access if lens is vertically oriented in its storage compartment. Only very expensive bags ($400US) have this. It's interesting that most camera bags are so poorly designed, it looks like the designers never use a camera with interchangeable lenses.
There are better options for quick access, as I wrote. Having tested many, many bags over the years I have a pretty clear view of what serves best in different purposes.

An opening such as this one isn't really for run-and-gun, you'd be better off attaching the camera to the shoulder strap with a Capture Clip. This tray has the advantage of being stiff, and if you want to make your equipment available on location (say, setting an array of lenses down on a table) then it becomes fast and relevant.

When hiking, I prefer something like Mindshift Gear's rotation180. When carrying a small load, I prefer a sling such as Peak Design's, Wandrd's of Moment's. For travel, everyday carry, etc, my favourite is Peak Design's backpack (or backpacks ). Really, it depends on what you expect to do. Some photogrpahers carry a LOT of stuff, fill their backpack with photo gear. Those will want back access, setting the bag down on location. I personally carry alimited amount of gear, and want space for other things.

There is no one-size-fits-all in this.

11-19-2021, 07:28 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by bdery Quote
In general, you mean?
The gear is on top of each other, and the length of the longest lens is limited by the width of the backpack. When the opening is front or back, the camera / lens gear can be arranged inside the insert without requiring to take the whole stuff out. A drawing would be better to explain than text.
11-19-2021, 07:42 AM   #9
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Very good review, thanks!
11-19-2021, 01:28 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by biz-engineer Quote
The gear is on top of each other, and the length of the longest lens is limited by the width of the backpack. When the opening is front or back, the camera / lens gear can be arranged inside the insert without requiring to take the whole stuff out. A drawing would be better to explain than text.
I understand what you mean. It really depends on how it's going to be used, how much stuff goes in, etc. I commented along those lines above.
11-20-2021, 05:16 AM   #11
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Good product photos, I know how annoying and strange they can be to take!


QuoteOriginally posted by Fogel70 Quote
I do not like that the side access to the camera equpment is not fully closed with the zipper on this K&F model. To me that is a major design flaw.
Agreed, I prefer backpacks that open up on the back panel, I own several from many different makers. It's a camera security issue when your gear can be accessed through a panel that is designed to be opened so quickly and easily, especially if you can't even see while the pack is on your back.

Though to be fair, in the waterproof bag category I have certainly seen worse ideas.
11-22-2021, 06:33 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Digitalis Quote
Good product photos, I know how annoying and strange they can be to take!
Thanks!

QuoteOriginally posted by Digitalis Quote
Agreed, I prefer backpacks that open up on the back panel, I own several from many different makers. It's a camera security issue when your gear can be accessed through a panel that is designed to be opened so quickly and easily, especially if you can't even see while the pack is on your back.
I've never been in a situation where side access would make me feel worried for security. and that includes being in big cities and in crowds, of course. I understand the worry in theory, however in practice it makes me think it doesn't deserve the emphasis we often put on that.

I general, quick access is more important than utmost security for me. When I would benefit from back access is when I usually either take a rolling case, of a messenger with a wide top.
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