I’m in the market for a new camera bag, and last week I had a photo-shoot, so it was a perfect chance to try one out. My friend has the Lowepro Fastpack 350 Backpack, and I’ve been eyeing that one for a while now. Since the Fastpack 250 and 350 are basically the same (except for size) this review can apply to both bags. Here’s my impressions after a couple days of use…
The Lowepro Fastpack is a multi-purpose bag with three main compartments: one for camera gear, one for a laptop (up to 17″), and one for miscellaneous items (and more camera gear), as well as several small zip pockets. It appeals to a broad spectrum who wants a “do-it-all” camera backpack. The Fastpack 250 is priced around $100 while the Fastpack 350 is priced around $125, although if you look around you may be able to find them cheaper.
In The Field
An actual photo-shoot was the perfect testing grounds for this backpack, since that’s what I’ll be using my future bag for. I needed something that would hold my laptop, a fair amount of lenses, as well as various cords, chargers, etc. I was able to comfortably pack the following items in the backpack:
- Canon 7D
- Canon 50L 1.2
- Canon 10-22mm
- Sigma 18-200mm OS
- Sigma 30mm 1.4
- Canon 430EX Speedlite Flash (there was room for one more on top)
- Apple MacBook Pro 15″ Laptop
- 4 Aputure Trigmaster Plus Triggers (top pouch)
- Lens Hoods (front zip pouch)
- Various cords, chargers, batteries, etc (top pouch)
- Water bottle
You might notice that there are no big telephoto or L lenses included. If you are packing heavy on the L glass and extra bodies, this bag might not be for you. There is no dedicated tripod “mount”, although I’ve confirmed with others that a small/light tripod can latch underneath the buckles on the bottom of the bag. The top pouch adds some versatility to the bag, and allows you to place almost anything up there. However, if you fill it up, it won’t be the most organized of spaces, being essentially one large pocket, with a few small pockets for CF cards, batteries, pens, name cards, etc. As the name suggests, this bag was designed for quick and easy access. I found no problems there. However, I was less than happy when I needed to dig deeper into the bag and pull out other lenses. There is no really fast access here. First you need to unlatch the buckles, then unzip the main compartment, which is a little awkward as it loops down, around, and back up again. Surely good for preventing theft, but not good for quick access in the field in my experience.
This bag was able to comfortably pack all my gear for a small-scale portrait session and other casual uses. However I would definitely need more space for a larger scale shoot (perhaps something like this). The lack of a dedicated tripod mount might be a deterrent to some. For those casual shooters not packing the most extensive lens collection, this bag might be ideal, as it allows quick and easy access without taking the bag off your shoulders. And that’s the entire point. It wasn’t made for the full-time professional shooter, but for those going on vacation, or travelling for a few weeks, wanting to take both their laptops and DSLR kit in one convenient package. If that sounds like you, the Lowepro Fastpack just might be your bag.
More Pictures (courtesy of B&H Photo Video)