I have to admit that I am not a fan of backpacks and find them slow and cumbersome to use. Having to take off a backpack, get the camera out, compose the shot, take the photo, put the camera back in the bag, put the bag on my back and then move on to the next shot takes an age and is a faff. Sling bags are the best type of bag, however the majority of sling bags are small, and will not accommodate a camera and tele lens. I say the majority of bags, and not all the bags because I have managed to find a large sling bag that is perfect for carrying a camera and tele lens – the Lowepro Toploader Pro 75 AW (All Weather) bag.
The Lowepro Toploader Pro 75 AW is the biggest camera bag in the Toploader range line-up and I can assure you it is not small. Considering I needed a bag to carry a fully gripped Canon 6d (check out this review of the Canon 6d) and bulky Canon 28-300L IS lens (here’s a useful review write up of the pros and cons of the Canon 28-300L IS lens) when I am travelling, and a fully gripped Canon 7d and Canon 100 – 400L IS lens (check out the pros and cons of the Canon 100 – 400L IS lens) when I am out photographing motor sports and birds I needed a large camera bag, so I was not disappointed at all. This bag is the perfect size for both of my setups and the fit is nice and tight, which protects my expensive gear, but not so tight the camera and lens is difficult to get out when the photo opportunities arise.
Even though the Toploader Pro 75AW is a big bag it is not bulky, which is thanks to its slender shape and profile. This bag is perfectly shaped to sit tight against the hip/waist and stay put without swinging about when walking around. This bag is not only comfortable against the body but also comfortable on the shoulders, thanks to the thick, padded strap. I can carry around either of my setups (both of which are pretty heavy) for several hours and not feel any pain or discomfort.
The main compartment of the bag is only big enough to house the camera and lens, and nothing else. Even if I put a smaller lens on the camera (like my Canon 16 – 35 f4L IS – check out the pros and cons here) there isn’t much space in the bag. There is a small compartment on the top of the bag which is big enough to store a few odds and ends, such as spare memory cards, a spare battery, lens cleaning cloth, lens pen and a couple of screw in circular filters. There isn’t enough room to take my Godox Ving flash (see a mini review here) which is a shame, but there are always compromises with photography equipment. This is not such a big deal since I can take the flash in a jacket pocket, when I need one of course.
The build quality of this bag is second to none and made out of top quality materials. This bag is tough, durable, and waterproof too. The stitching and zips on most camera bags are the weakest part, however this is not the case with this bag. The stitching is not only strong (none of the stitches have given up the ghost on my bag) but also very neat too. The inside of this bag is just as good quality as the outside, and there is sufficient padding to keep the camera and lens safe from harm.
Even though this bag is made out of waterproof material there is an additional waterproof cover (cleverly stored in a side compartment) for even more protection. This water proof cover is little more than a thin “storm jacket” but it works very well. The storm jacket is a tight fit and sticks to the bag. Even though it is a tight fit getting the storm jacket out of its compartment and wrapped around the bag takes no time at all, and once in situ it is still possible to get to everything I need to. It is a very well thought out design and works perfectly, and whilst it isn’t really needed it is nice to have a little extra protection.
The camera and lens is loaded in to the bag with the lens pointing down towards the ground which means it is in the best position to remove it from the bag, compose the shot and press the shutter button as photo opportunities arise. Getting the camera out of the bag, taking the shot and then putting it away again takes no time at all, and is way quicker (and a lot less of a faff) than using a backpack.
The Lowepro Toploader Pro 75 AW isn’t cheap but then considering the value of the equipment I carry in it I think it is worth spending a little extra for the maximum protection, and that’s exactly what I get with this camera bag. Even though it is on the pricey side it does represent excellent value for money, and at the end of the day we all like the biggest bang for the buck, don’t we?
The big question of “Would I recommend the Lower Pro Top Loader 75 AW camera bag?” is an easy one to answer. I have no hesitations recommending this camera bag and I was so impressed with the first one I bought another so I could leave the Canon 6D/Canon 28-300L IS combo in one and the Canon 7d/Canon 100 – 400L IS combo in the other. I appreciate this is not the cheapest camera bag on the market, in fact it is pretty expensive but I see it as an investment that protects my (very) expensive photography equipment. Everything about this top loader bag is quality and it is a bag I reckon will still be going strong in several years to come.
Buy the Lowepro Toploader Pro 75 AW from Amazon.com (US citizens) or buy from Amazon.co.uk (UK citizens)
The Lowepro Toploader Pro 75 AW camera bag is also available from eBay, and if you fancy taking trying to get one at a bargain price an online auction site will be right up your street. To see the current selection of Lowepro Toploader Pro 75 AW camera bags on eBay use the search box below:
What are you waiting for – go grab yourself a bargain
Keen photographer addicted to cameras, lenses and everything photography related. Feel free to follow me in my photography ramblings, and if you have any thoughts, comments, queries or anything else to add I would love to hear from you.