for Nikon D50 / D80
Equipment list in bag :
Nikon 24-120mm f/3.5-5.6G VR
Nikon 85mm f/1.8
Tokina 12-24mm f/4
1) Allow me to carry up to 2 camera bodies (Nikon d80 and Nikon F100) and 3 to 4 lenses.
2) Get a decent accessibility to my photo gear while wearing the bag.
3) I absolutely wanted a back access to the camera compartment. First for safety reasons (thief) but also because it makes much more sense to me.
4) Have a separated general compartment big enough to carry the family picnic or my clothes for a weekend.
5) Carry weight well.
6) If possible, not looking too much like a camera bag.
Until the release of the Lowepro Primus AW, I could not find a camera bag, which would fit even half of my requirements (the back access to the photo compartment was mandatory). The only bags, which were close, were the Dakine Sequence and the Dakine Mission Photo but they have no general compartment.
The Lowepro Primus AW bag is made of 2 compartments of approximately equal volume.
The camera compartment is at the bottom of the bag. The separation between the two compartments is removable as well as all the padding of the camera compartment. I estimate the total volume of the bag around 30 l to 35 l.
There is a special attach on the from of the bag for a tripod and a very nicely made rain cover. An outer hatch pocket allows to store easily a rain jacket. This pocket is very deep, it goes all the way down, which means that you can fit an A4-sized magazine there but not a laptop computer. 4 clips can adjust the size of the upper part of this outer pocket.
The bag is relatively heavy (approx 1.9 kg) but all the straps and belts are adjustable and nicely padded and the back of the bag is rigid which means that the bag carries weight well. The bag is very comfortable. The quality is also very good, much better than my Lowepro SlingShot 200 for example.
The camera compartment is accessible from the back of the bag as well as from a door on the side. The door on the back of the bag is wide enough to allow an easy access to the photo gear. You can find 2 pockets for memory cards as well as a bigger pocket with a zipper for filters or a small book in the camera compartment. The side door is very convenient since it allows me to get my camera out without having to remove to bag from my back. Nevertheless don't expect to access your camera as easily as with a Lowepro SlingShot bag.
Personally I have no problem getting out the Nikon D80 with the Tokina 12-24 attached or the Nikon F100 with the 24-120 VR attached. This means that the side door is usable with a Nikon D200 or D300 with the 18-200 VR attached or a Canon 40D or 5D with the 24-105 L IS. WARNING: if you own a big DSLR (Canon 1D, Nikon D1, D2, D3) or if you have a grip attached to your camera YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE to get your camera out from the side door. It is simply too small for that. Similarly IT IS ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE to get the camera out by the side door if a big lens (70-200 F2.8 or 300 F4) is attached, and this whatever the size of the camera.
What surprises me is the lack of dividers in the camera compartment. ONLY ONE DIVIDER is provided! This is a very bad idea from Lowepro since, it makes the camera compartment much less modular and, is simply a shame for such an expansive bag (150 euros - 200 US $). I had to take two dividers from another bag to fix the problem (you can see them on some of the pictures).
During my last trip to Japan I was able to carry a Nikon D80 with the Tokina 12-24 F4 attached, the Nikon F100 with no lens attached, the Nikon 24-120 VR and 85 F1.8 as well as the charger for the D80 in the camera compartment. Not bad I think. I find the upper compartment, which can be used for general storage, is a little too small. For example an A4-sized magazine does not fit. It the compartment was 5cm taller it would be perfect. Nevertheless there is enough room to carry a lunch for a family picnic (drinks excluded, there is a side pocket for that) or enough clothes and food for a day hike in the mountain. This compartment also contains a number of pockets, one with a zipper.
One thing that I don't like about this bag is the separation between the camera compartment and the upper compartment: it is not dust tight. This means that all the dust that you bring to the upper compartment can get its way to the camera compartment and eventually to the camera sensor. This makes me think that the best place for the camera compartment is probably at the top of the bag and not at the bottom.
Likes about the bag:
Comfortable. Good looking (does not look like a camera bag). Side pocket access to the camera compartment convenient. Back access to the camera compartment. Very good quality.
Dislikes about the bag:
Expensive. Upper compartment too small. Two dividers for the camera compartment are missing (Lowepro, what were you thinking?).
Thanks to Tregoures for review