Now that I just purchased my first digital SLR, I needed a bag to carry it in. I originally chose a standard style bag but quickly decided it wasn’t for me. It looked too much like a camera bag and I didn’t care for the way it was organized and the dividers didn’t quite work for me. More research online led me to the Lowepro Passport Sling Camera Bag. If Lowepro is listening, I have some suggestions for a new bag that would work even better for me and perhaps others.
- Fits DSLR with zoom lens & thin strap
- Fair number of extra pockets
- Awesome, easily adjustable strap
- Expands for 30% more interior room
- Camera box won’t hold camera and spare lens
- Looks a bit like a man purse
- No zippered outside pockets
- Zipper pull for main compartment is a knotted string
What I was really looking for was something I could use daily while with my kids. Whether we were going to the park, bouncy house, or birthday party, I wanted something that was convenient to carry and hold both my T2i and two lenses. I initially looked at the Caselogic SLRC-205 SLR Camera Sling but it looked too much like a gadget bag and it appeared you could only sling it across your back. When I saw the Lowepro Passport Sling, the versatility of it had me daydreaming about how my days at home with my kids would be like.
The Passport Sling is much smaller than I thought it would be, even after having looked at several pictures of the bag. When I opened the main compartment, which is the only zippered pocket of the bag, I saw the divided camera box and right away could tell it wouldn’t hold my camera and both lenses. I was right. I could put my camera with either the 18-55m kit lens or the 55-250mm zoom lens attached in the large part of the camera box but there was absolutely no way to put another lens in the other part of the camera box. There is only just enough room left over for a flash, which I don’t own, yet. I was really hoping to be able to put a spare lens in the padded camera box along with the camera so I was pretty disappointed. Lowepro could have increased the size of the padded box by about an inch and a half and would probably have allowed a second lens to be protected in the box. Now, I have to buy a lens case (which Lowepro sells, of course) to put in the unprotected interior part of the bag. In the smaller configuration, I can probably put my 2nd lens with case in the other part of the interior along with my charger and AC cable. However, you can unzip the back section of the bag to increase the interior room by another 30%. In this configuration, I can also fit a few more items for my kids. I can fit a couple of diapers, wipes, hand sanitizer, a booger rag and some small snacks. A perfect arsenal of items for a trip to the park or zoo.
Attached to the padded camera box is a velcro pocket for a spare memory card. There are two additional velcro pockets attached to the inner liner of the bag for small items. The bigger of those two pockets was not deep enough to fit my Motorola Droid X phone. The smaller pocket seems perfectly suited for spare batteries. The front of the bag has a huge water bottle pocket. I typically put an 18-ounce stainless steel water bottle there. There is also an open pocket on both sides of the bag which is good for putting a folded magazine, newspaper or maybe your camera manual.
The adjustable strap on the Passport Sling is very easy to to adjust. There is plastic clamp that you just undo and pull the strap through, to your desired length and then re-clamp. Any excess strap gets fed through a loop that keeps it from loosely hanging out. I found the bag to be pretty comfortable to wear, overall. I like to carry it hanging by my hip most of the time but can be worn higher up on my back or I can just hang it one shoulder. The shoulder pad is removable and has a non-slip patch that helps to keep it securely on your shoulder.
My wife and I both agree that the bag kind of looks like a man purse. The Lowepro product video of the bag even uses a female model to model the bag. In my opinion though, it looks significantly better than most waist packs, which I think makes you look like a total douche. I also prefer the looks over the available camera holsters. I don’t know who can wear those on their belts but my pants would drop to the ground if I tried wearing one of those.
I’m not sure why Lowepro decided to use knotted shoelace strings as the zipper pulls, but I would have preferred a normal zipper pull with a rubbery surface for a better grip.
The outer fabric is a 600d polyester polymesh which seems pretty durable. The bag is not rated as an all-weather bag though so keep that in mind if you see clouds coming your way. There are also three color choices– black, sky blue, and mica.
The Lowepro Passport Sling Camera Bag is a very good bag. It doesn’t scream, “look at me, I have an expensive camera in here!” and it’s infinitely more versatile than many camera bags on the market. I think it’s a very good bag for parents as it allows you to carry some items for the kids in addition to your camera, allowing you to keep that diaper bag in the car. Obviously, the versatility of the bag goes beyond parents, but as a stay-at-home dad, that aspect of the bag really made it much more appealing. I would like to see a more masculine version made, based on the Passport Sling though, just so my male ego can be fed. A slightly larger bag with more rugged accents would make me feel a whole lot better about carrying it around.
Available from Amazon.com.