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Keith Cooper in seattle with the Lowepro slingshot 220Lowepro Slingshot 202 AW
- a review

A camera bag to help Keith's back...

Several years ago when we started putting reviews on the site, we took the approach of covering some of our day to day kit.

Whilst recently in the USA, Keith was asked how he carried his kit when travelling, and for jobs.

It so happens that Keith got a new camera bag not long before the US trip, partly brought about after some shoulder strain, probably caused through not giving enough attention to how to carry cameras and lenses.

In this short review, Keith looks at the Lowepro Slingshot 202 AW.

Original article written: Winter 2010

Carrying equipment

As a commercial photographer I often rely on lens choice to get just the shot I'm looking for.

Unfortunately, top quality lenses have a lot of glass in them and are not generally built for lightness. There's not a plastic bodied lens in my collection of Canon glass.

I've used a fairly standard shoulder bag (a Lowepro Nova 190) for many years (I'm on my second one) and after a recent architectural shoot, realised that I just might be carrying a bit too much weight this way.

Asking around, and having a look at my local camera store (Jacob's in Leicester) I liked the ideas behind the Slingshot 202.

A Smaller versions (the 102AW) is currently available from Adorama in the US for just $49.95
[use code S4595955]

Given I knew I was going to the US, I also wanted something that would count as hand luggage.

The 202 is advertised as taking a D700/5D (specs below) so I took some of my gear along with me to test the space.

slingshot 220 with flap openNo problem in fitting a 1Ds3 with an EF24-70 2.8L into the main space.

The picture at the right shows a small camera and lenses - I was glad to see you could pack in the big stuff too :-)

There's no point in getting a bag too small for the kit you carry - I know what I want with me on a job, and if the bag was too small, I'd need a second bag.

If you slide the bag round to your front whilst wearing it, the flap represents a great way for stuff to fall out.

Fortunately, there are two clips that limit the amount it opens. If you look at the open bag, where I'm holding it, below, you can see how much opens when the clips are in place.

Given the cost of lenses, this attention to detail is most welcome...

What do you get

There are innumerable pockets and flaps, so take time to have a good look, particularly for additional pockets within others.

Not so obvious features include the built in rain cover that you can pull out to cover the bag, and fitted microfibre lens cloth.

slingshot 220 with tripodThere are clips all over the place you can use for attaching additional items, and there is an additional strap you can use to make the bag more comfortable and balanced if you are walking any distance.

There are also some side clips for a lightweight tripod.

Given I rarely ever use one when I'm out and about, and take a rather hefty Benbo one with me on some of my commercial work, this feature remains untested :-)

The bag is of the rugged construction I've come to expect from my previous Lowepro bags, and nicely padded, so I'm not too bothered about putting it down on rough ground.

Using the Slingshot 202

It's comfortable to wear, even weighing in at 8kg, when fully loaded up as below.

When sliding it round from front to back there are no bits to catch on clothing.

The partitions in the main bag are relatively stiff and have all the velcro needed to keep them in position when required.

Roll your mouse over the image below, to see a typical collection of kit for an industrial/architectural shoot.

slingshot 220 - fully loaded

As you can see, I like using wide angle lenses...

This is a bit more (8kg) than I might just take out normally, but isn't too uncomfortable.

Depending on just how many shots I'm planning to take, I may have a spare camera battery and more cards, but even with the size of 1Ds3 RAW files, I'm rarely going to fill the 32GB that's in this picture. There's no flash, since out of the studio, I specialise in available light work

  • BTW, the green laser pointer is a great tool when discussing what's needed in the shot when in a big factory or on a construction site. The glasses are a necessary adjunct for using liveview to focus at age 50 :-)

When in Seattle recently, I was swapping between the TS-E24 and TS-E17 lenses - very easy when the side flap becomes a top flap for access.

  • Thanks to my friend Al for these action shots ;-)

There's lots of room - my 24-70 zoom is under the grey partition at the right of the bag.

You can see two pockets for putting cards, at my fingertips.

Having swapped lenses I rotate the bag to its comfortable 'travelling' position

If I was walking far, I'd swing it round a bit more and maybe attach the side strap/clip to hold it more centrally.

Conclusions

Buying a Slingshot 202.

We make a specific point of not selling hardware, but if you found the review of help please consider buying a bag, or any other items at all, via our links.
Amazon UK link / Amazon Fr / Amazon De
Amazon USA link / Amazon Canada link

It won't cost any more (nor less we're afraid) but will contribute towards the running costs of our site.


Order from B&H

Lets me carry the gear I need without giving me back-ache.

Well thought out bag - obviously designed by people who take photos.

There is a smaller version (the 102) available.

  • A Seattle photo from my recent trip (1Ds3/TSE17)

Smith Tower in Seattle

Summary

Official specifications (from Lowepro)

Capacity: DSLR (without grip) up to Nikon D700 or Canon 5D with attached standard zoom lens; 3-4 additional lenses or flash units and accessories (including a point-and-shoot camera); compact tripod or monopod; personal items
Size(Interior): 8.9W X 5.5D X 11.0H in.
22.5 X 14.0 X 28.0 cm
Size(Exterior): 9.8W X 10.0D X 17.7H in.
25.0 X 25.5 X 45.0 cm
Outer fabric: Poly 600D Pu 58" 1680D Ballistic Matt (BRT) PD,WR & PU 1,000mm 58"W 420D NYLON Ripstop W/PUx2 58"W 400Dx400D(100T) NYLON W/PUx2 58W 420D NYLON DOBBY W/PUX4 58"W 420D NYLON DOBBY W/PUX4 58"W Bias Binding
Interior Fabric: 210DX210DX(110T) NYLON W/PUX2 58"W 210DX210DX(110T) NYLON W/PUX2 58"W Bias Binding 200D POLYESTER W/PUx2 58"W 70D NYLON LATTICE W/PUx2 58"W 70D NYLON W/PUX2 58"W 150g Tricot +PU FOAM (K324) 3mmx44"W 280G Velvex W/PU 48"W
Weight: 1.9lbs/0.9kg

The views in this article represent those of Keith Cooper.
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