Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The new Urban Photo Sling from Lowepro

A few months ago, Lowepro, the innovative camera bag designers, had sent me a prototype of the brand new Urban Photo Sling bag to test. When I first received my new Urban Photo Sling bag, the first thing I noticed was how versatile it is. I could throw it over my left or right shoulder, and wear it in the back, side, or in the front. Not only that, but I was impressed on how easily it could “sling” around the body for easy access. This made it perfect to be able to easily and quickly get to my gear without any delay – which is especially handy during frenzied shoots or hurried situations – which photographers know is most of the time, ha ha.

The next thing I noticed was how small, light, and discreet it is. When I carry my equipment with me, this is exactly what I look for in a bag. I don’t like huge bags screaming for attention. For my preferences, Lowepro nailed this one right on the head. It resembles a small backpack, concealing the fact that it’s actually a camera bag holding expensive equipment. This makes it a great companion when traveling into “shady” areas, restricted areas, or anywhere that you don’t want to draw attention to yourself. I’ve even been able to bring it into public places such as restaurants without even a second glance.

The features and the compartments of the bag are cleverly designed. It’s actually deceiving how much room there is inside based on it’s small appearance. I feel like I’m opening up the Wardrobe into Narnia. Inside the main compartment, I’m able to fit my camera with lens, my Speedlite, a Gary Fong light diffuser, and my wireless triggers – with room to spare. It has the usual Velcro sections that could be arranged in a number of ways. But in addition, I admire the little touches, such as two Velcro straps that overlay the sections that could be used as reinforcement or extra protection. There’s also a small pocket inside that perfectly holds an iPad – as if it was made just for it. There’s also a small SD flash card pocket. I would have preferred a CF pocket, or both, but a minor annoyance considering a Compact Flash Card can fit in any of the other pockets on the bag.

There’s a giant flap that lays over the top and front for extra protection. The flap is secured by a patch of Velcro in the front, and two straps with locking clips on the side. A nice added safety feature. Despite the locking clips, when being worn, you can still access the inside (without undoing the clips) by unzipping the main compartment with a small access point from the top. Nice.

Both sides of the bag contain another set of pockets. On one side, there’s a smaller pocket held shut by a patch of Velcro. A nice touch. And it just so happens to perfectly fit - you guessed it - Compact Flash Cards. On the other side is a slightly larger pocket. I found that it perfectly fits a handful of my quarter-sheet release forms.

On the front, under the main flap, is another small compartment with a zipper. Inside, it’s designed with two small pockets and one large pocket. It’s the perfect spot for my extra batteries, cords & cables, a cleaning cloth, and business cards. And again, it’s easily and quickly accessible.

Having used my Lowepro Urban Photo Sling bag now for a few months, the quality appears to be top notch. I’ve dragged it, slung it, kicked it, stepped on it, and simulated pretty much every other rigorous ordeal that a photographer and his bag may endure. I’m proud to say, it came through unscathed and still looking just as good as the first day I met it. We’re a match made in heaven.