Reviews for Canon 300D /10D/20D/30D/40D/50D/60D /5D / 7D
Equipment list in bag :
Canon EOS 40D
Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM (attached) with Lens Hood
Sigma 70mm f/2.8 DG Macro with Lens Hood
Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6
Radio Flash transmitter
Radio Flash receiver
L358 Sekonic meter
Canon 580EX Speedlite II Flash Unit
MacBook Pro 13" with protective cover
MacBook power cable
Flash Cable (PC/PC)
Lacie Rugged Tripple Interface HD
DiscGear DVD Carrying Case ( strapped outside )
Dust Off (small can)
Plastic bags (roll), 12 AA batteries, 1 Canon extra battery, 3 memory cards,
Pens, moleskine notebook, pendrive, manga comic book.
In the last couple of months, I have been looking into reducing my big collection of bags, into something more functional. Reason being, I had 8 camera bags, half of those, not used in over an year. So, those would go. The biggest reason being, they didn't offer me the possibility of taking a notebook with me, or flexibility, or simply, they looked too much like camera bags to be used on a daily basis. Amongst those, were a Rover II AW and a Nova 4 Lowepro bags, who are excellent, but outdated for my needs. So, those went for sale.
So, I ended with 3 camera bags. A CompuTrekker Plus AW, a HUGE bag I'm using mostly for work, when I need to accommodate for a ton of gear and I'm driving ( that's not a bag you wanna wear when fully loaded, for long periods of time ), a CompuDayPack ( nice notebook/camera bag, but too small for any serious camera use, and awkward to accessing the camera gear fast and smoothly â€“ I use it mostly as a simple notebook bag placing the power cord and external HD on the camera compartment ), from Lowepro, and the bag that replaced the Rover II AW, a Crumpler Opulent Rooster.
I felt I needed a nice shoulder bag ( as all the remaining bags are backpacks ), that didn't look like a camera bag, but could fit a decent amount of gear. At least, enough for a small scale photoshoot, since I have also a food blog, and am used to walking the streets to take photo shoots with flash, but as light as possible. Also, it would need to be able to look good in business meetings as a nice notebook bag. Being a girl, I do worry about looks maybe more than I should, and photography backpacks are usually an ugly as hell bunch. The CompuDayPack sure isn't the most feminine in the lot, even if the color choice I had ( orange ) is nicer than gray.
So, I made a list of requirements. Should carry a notebook, and at the same time, what I consider basic photo gear ( camera, as much as 3 general use lenses for food and portrait, flash, flashmeter, batteries and dust off ), and some carry on material, as well as my wallet and my moleskine notebook. Should fit without complaints or problems, in any plane, as carry on. Should look like a non-camera bag, and should look good at it. And should allow me quick access to the camera gear.
Since I read so much about crumpler, and had such a great experience with my Oppulent Rooster ( my most comfortable and trusty camera bag so far ) I went to look into their site, and I found out they had a new line of bags, the 8 Million Dollar Home.
I'll admit, I had an eye on their huge ( and ultra-expensive ) Brazillion Dollar Home, and I love my Opulent Rooster. So, decided to give it a shot. And it came in a delicious color of red. Contacting Crumpler Australia, I found out they were taking the red one off the market ( not sure why, there are female photographers who are not so inclined to the male black and gray, or brown options all other dealers sell... crumpler's creative color swatch is one of the things that draws people to it ), so, I ordered right away from B&H Photo Video in NYC. Being in Brazil, it took a while to reach my hands, but when it did, it was love at first sight. But not without problems.
Objectively speaking, it has a low profile, won't call much attention. BUT, it's HUGE. People won't notice how big it is, but you will. To the point, filling it to the brink, is something you won't want to do if you have to walk around, not just from the car to the plane and back to a car on the other end.
At first glance, it's solid built, and the top grade nylon used ads for a very durable construction. I wish the shoulder strap could be removed, or replaced at sometime in the future, as I'd love to use a more feminine option than black, but that would be a lovely bonus, not something that would make me dislike this bag.
First, which displeased me, it doesn't have a notebook pouch, such as the Crumpler Opulent Rooster I own. Which is a miss. Instead, it has a sleeve, which you can place ( see photo ) that will allow you to fit, not so comfortably, a Macbook Pro 13. Mine is a bit thicker and wider than a regular one by a few mm, because I got it a protective plastic hard case. It's something I advise to anyone, but in this bag, it's not a smooth task to insert and remove your notebook. Even less with the bag filled to the brink. I found out you have to fight a bit, with the bag empty, to insert or remove your notebook. That, I think, is because crumpler designed this bag, with the internal dividers not considering a notebook will always be in place. Which is why I think a solid notebook sleeve would be a much better bet for a notebook/camera bag. They count on the bag's flexible construction to accommodate the notebook and camera, but the main dividers are just too wide and end up bending when the notebook sleeve is used. Which is good for me, because I can fit a wide 24-70L with lens hood in the gap, but I'm sure that's not what most people may want to do.
Another issue, is the fact it's a taller than wide shoulder bag. This helps a lot with the visual effect of a slim profile, but makes storage something that needs planning. So, the best way to arrange things, is to think in terms of stacking up, from things you use every time, to thinks you don't use so often. And the not-so often ones, go to the bottom of the bag. The photo with the bag closed is with the full gear inside, and it doesn't look too big.
The shoot for Cambags was the very first time I took everything I needed and tried to fit all at once, to fill this bag to the brink. Usually, I know I won't put this much stuff at once inside this bag. It gets to a point you WON'T want to, because, you struggle with the bag to achieve this.
It has 12 configurable dividers, but I must say, when I was finished, 3 were left out. Filling the bag up to the brink, will make it very hard to even close the bag, which could have been sorted out in a better way by Crumpler. To fully close, you can't just casually drop the flap over the bag, you have to, every time, use your hands to make sure everything is compact inside and the guide the flap to fully closing, or it won't. The velcro silencers were a nice idea, but the normal buckle straps are so hard to access every time, you will eventually end up favoring the velcro instead.
Also, to fill with all this gear, took me some moving things around like in a puzzle, to find the best fit for some items ( such as the Radio Flash units, or external HD ). Totally filled up, this camera bag is also very heavy. The shoulder padding won't help you at all with several Kgs of gear sloshing around over your shoulder. Which is a problem with any shoulder bag.
But, it allowed me to have a Canon 40D ready to shoot with 24-70 lens, and once removing the camera, the 70mm Macro right under it, easy to grab. Everything other than the notebook is snug fit, but easier to grab than people mention in other crumpler Million Dollar Home series bags. The camera is really at my fingertips, and easy to pull off and throw back into position in a second without hassle, but it's pretty much the only easy to access item. But, for me, it's also the only one that needs easy access ( other than the notebook ).
I managed to sort it in a way of using my tall gear, on the tall orientation, and I have a lot of tall gear. So, not much stacking took place, except for the radio flashes and 18-55 lens, which were stacked one on top of the other. But it's not nearly as easy to have your gear at your fingertips as it would with a Nova bag from Lowepro, or any more traditional shoulder bag.
On each side, it has a loop so you can strap things externally, sewn in a way to turn it into 3 strapping points in each side. I had used it with water bottles and in the pics, a DVD case for blank DVDs ( so I can backup photos right after the shoot ). It's very comfortable to carry with the light DVD case, but walking around with a 24oz water bottle makes it bang against your knees and heels, and a walk in the park can be highly uncomfortable, so, reserve it for really light, small items.
Internally on the sides, there are two very deep pockets, which I use for my cell phone ( won't fit an iPhone tho ), and a small roll of plastic bags I use in case I need some quick weather protection.
The bag also sports two meshed and one solid cloth pockets, that fail in some ways. One of meshed pockets is on the lid, closed by a zipper, and the other ones are in a front pouch, closed by velcro. But the major problem with this bag, is volume. The more you fill it, the more it pushes to the front and back. With the notebook in place, you loose room on the front pouch, where you'd store your wallet, books, notebook, pens, etc. The meshed pocket on the top lid, also goes over that area when the bag is closed, adding to the problem.
So, with the camera filled, it's nearly impossible to take any reading material with you, or even a wallet, or even handling stuff on those pockets, and fully close the bag. Maybe crumpler could have created more room in those, with elastics to retract them into place when that material is not being handled. I'd want to take a few 5â€ white/black cards to use as light reflectors/diffusers, and also take some color calibration cards with me. I'm mostly a food shooter and use those a lot. With this much gear, I also couldn't fit my wallet, and I think I would have problems fitting passports and so on. As this camera bag is also intended as carry on, with this much gear, it would be a serious issue.
But in the end, regarding those pockets, you won't want to put stuff in all 3 of those. It stacks up and makes it harder to close the bag. I reckon I still have to do a lot more thinking in terms of stacking and sorting gear in it.
I hope if they re-design it, they look into the need for much better access to the front pouch, and better organization in it, as I tend to carry pens, wallet and moleskine notebooks with me. Actually, some organized division would be nice, as they did in the Opulent Rooster, which has a much better set of meshed pockets and pen holders. Also, a better access and protection to the notebook section, as it doesn't seem they consider someone who owns this bag will have a notebook with them at all times. And consider the fact a camera and notebook bag will have to properly store camera and notebook at all times, with easy access to at least these two main items.
Overall, this is a really nice bag. I'm not at all unhappy with my purchase. But Crumpler seems to need more field testing of it's bags before releasing, as it seriously feels like a bag that needs to have some issues dealt with. Actually, it feels like it's a rushed design. Compared to the Opulent Rooster I have, this bag seems like a sketch. But, amongst the options for nice looking camera + notebook shoulder bags out there, it's pretty much the only option you have, and it's not a total failure. Just, could have been much much better with more attention to a few details.
Likes about the bag:
Looks good, doesn't look like a notebook or camera bag, slim profile, solid build, light
Dislikes about the bag:
hard to access the notebook, when at top load, it's very hard to fit everything I need, poor design of the notebook area and notebook/pen/wallet area in the front pouch
After tinkering with the bag a few more hours, I managed to find a much better disposition of the items. The secret is, if you're intending to have the notebook with you at all times, dispose of the two bigger dividers. They're the only ones long enough to reach the bottom of the bag and position themselves high up. But I used the smaller ones with flaps, and positioned them "floating" around 2" from the bottom, by using the velcro on it's sides.
It reduced the side footprint of the bag by a few inches, and everything did slide in with more ease. Including, the notebook. I still hold everything I said on the first review to be valid, and with this configuration in mind, I wish these dividers were as long as the bigger ones with flaps, so I didn't have to place them "up" so that I could still stack my 40D with 24-70L lenses on top of the Sigma 70mm Macro lens. This way, there is some free space between the end of the dividers and bottom of the bag, too small for the 70mm macro to roll away, but far, far from ideal. Again, it's like they don't consider a notebook will be in at all times, and the dividers are not planned for this second, possible, likely configuration.
On this organization, the notebook came out and comes in much easier, and the front pouch is much more accessible ( even if it still lacks much of the organization problems ) but I could move the external HD and cables in it, instead of taking those with me on the main camera section. I could also fit much more on the front pouch, including, my white cards, so, am much much happier.
So, I'm updating my review grade to a more friendly 8. Like I said on the original review, I needed some tinkering with this bag still, took me some more 8 hours of playing around to find a good organization, so, my main advice is, plan well, and take some time. Your first configuration is likely to not be the best. The first review, was my #4 configuration, and this post is written around #16 attempt. If they did have the other dividers with flaps the same height of the bigger ones, it would have been perfect and this bag would go for a 9.
But, the key is, if you're using the notebook ( if you got this bag, odds are you will ), discard the bigger, thicker, wider dividers. Where you'd place those, to support your camera, use the smaller one with flaps. Then, your camera won't fit the bag on the wide side, but on the long side, but if you place them high enough, you still have pretty much the same storage room. But the bag profile will be slimmer, it will be much easier to close. I do still recommend this bag, it's a good purchase if you have the same needs I do. Crumpler still has some fixes to make in my opinion to make them perfect. But today I think they're much closer to achieving that, than I did believe possible yesterday.
Likes about the bag: Slim profile, doesn't look like a camera bag, easy to access camera, very light, but durable, construction
Dislikes about the bag: needs better notebook protection, the dividers should fit better to a camera+notebook configuration, needs better planning of meshed pockets and front pouch, they should make all dividers with flaps long enough to fit the whole height of the bag. Their Opulent Rooster bag has a great set of mesh pockets and pen holders.
Reviews for Nikon D70 / D100 / D200 / D300 / D700
(Added 20th February 2011)
Equipment list in bag :
Nikon 70-200mm VR f/2.8 AF-S ED
Nikon 28-70mm f/2.8
Nikon 12-24mm f/4
Nikon TC-20E teleconverter
Nikon SB-800 flash
I was happy to find a bag to carry my favorite trio of lenses. After spending an hour or so to customize the bag I found an arrangement that is easy to access and allows me to store the camera body with any of the previously mentioned lenses mounted in the center compartment of the bag. The left and right compartments are configured so any of the 3 mentioned lenses can be stored in them when they are not mounted to the body. Being a deeper bag it is a bit slower to work from than a standard shorter shoulder bag but having the capability to carry all 3 lenses with me is worth the compromise.
Nikon D200 with 70-200mm f/2.8 hood reverseed
I find the buckles on the main flap a bit difficult to open & close while wearing the bag and prefer to use one Velcro fastener to hold the flap in place unless I am traveling then I use the buckles.
Front main pocket
Inner Flap pocket
The shoulder pad that comes with the bag is thin and with this combination of gear it would get uncomfortable pretty quickly. I bought the larger pad available on Crumpler's website which is the same pad that comes with the Brazillion dollar home. It really eases the load. I have included a picture with the larger pad in place. I am a big person and I wanted to be sure I could wear the bag across the shoulder as well as slung from my shoulder the strap is long enough to accommodate this. I looked at other bags Domke, Think Tank etc.. I really like the Think Tank retrospective 20 but with these lenses it was a bit tight, the retrospective 30 was perfect in width but too short. This bag is about as wide as the Retrospective 30 and about as tall as the Retrospective 20 so the size is just about perfect for this gear. Although there are some interior pockets to store smaller items. I normally wear a vest for the smaller items like spare batteries, cable release, lens wipes etc... so they are not used. I would prefer to see zippers used on the internal pockets and the main flap other than that I like the bag very much.
Midsized bag that holds some big equipment
supplied shoulder pad, the flap closure system access