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 Post subject: Lowepro Primus AW Review
PostPosted: Fri Jul 11, 2008 12:37 pm 
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Joined: Sat Dec 22, 2007 10:43 am
Posts: 512
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Part 1
This is gonna be a bit of an untraditional review, so let me explain how it's gonna work.
Sunday i'm leaving to Uganda for 14 days of traveling around the country. Of course i wouldnt go a place like that without my camera, and to bring that I needed something to carry it in. Feeling that my old Lowepro shoulderbag wasnt enough, I decided to get a bagpack instead. The choice ended up on the Lowepro Primus AW (AW standing for All Weather I assume) and in this review I'm gonna tell why, and later on if I made the right decision. This is part 1 which is my first impression, part 2 is gonna be ready in about 3 weeks, once I'm back from Uganda.
I hope you enjoy it!

In general
The Lowepro Primus AW is Lowepro's 40 years "aniversary" bag. It's supposed to be made for the bagbacking country, according to Lowepro. Also it's partially made from recycled materials, in an attempt to do something for the enviorment.

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Here it is, the Lowepro Primus AW


The comfort
Deffinitly the major reason that i chose this one over the Slingshot or Fastpack, was the comfort. I tried all 3 bags in the store, but nothing felt nearly as good as this one. It's well padded and the shoulderstraps and waist belt feels really good. Hopefully it will be the same after 14 days in the jungle :)


The room
Suprisingly it actually seems that there's less room for the camera than in the Slingshot which i compared it too. As this might seem a little odd, it might actually make quite good sense. The Slingshot was very "boxy" which made it quite roomy, but this was also what made it rather uncomfortable. Unfortuntly this is two things that just wont fit. And since i would like to be able to walk for a long period with it, i chose comfort over room. Also the accesories room in the top seems bigger on the Primus than on the slingshot.

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To the left is the top accesories compartment, to the right the camera compartment.


Accesability
Like all of Lowepro's newest bagpacks, it has a fast access hatch on the side. But unlike the Fastpack and Slingshot this hatch isnt connected to the main acces hatch. It's also slightly smaller, which makes it a little hard to get out my EOS 400D with battery grib. Certainly not as easy as it looks in the movie. However it's not impossible, so it's not that much of a pulldown in the final score.
The main acces is from the the side of the bag facing the wearers back. This makes security a little better since noone can enter the back when it's worn, except from the side hatch.

Image
The problem with the side hatch illustrated

Facilities
Besides the basics, the bag also has straps for a tripod, which can be tucked away when not used. On the side there's also a pocket for a bottles of water or something with dimensions like that.
It also has a waterproof cover to put over, if the rain should get really bad. I'm most likely gonna need that in the rainforrest :)

Partial conclussion
The bag seems like it might not be the best choice, if a lot of room is what you're after. Also it has some other flaws, like the side hatch which is too small. But when it comes to comfort it seems like an excelent choice. I haven't worn it that much yet, but i have tried it a little, and it feels great on the bag. So for hicking it seems like a great choice. I will let you know when I'm back again...

...more to come

_________________
Jake

Canon EOS 400D + EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS + EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS + EF 50mm f/1.8
My Photos - My webpage (danish)


Last edited by Noceo on Sat Jul 12, 2008 11:37 am, edited 3 times in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 11, 2008 12:38 pm 
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Joined: Sat Dec 22, 2007 10:43 am
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Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
First of all, sorry for the delay on part 2, but i have been somewhat preoccupied since i got back. And for those wondering or those who already asked... Yes, it was an amazing trip. I'll try to get some pictures posted in some of the other forums asap.

The bag in use
Well getting it on the plane is no problem. It has the size for cabin lugage, and it's well padded, so even if people pushes it around a bit, the camera is pretty well protected.
Yet another thing that i learned to appriciate is that it doesnt look that much like a camerabag, especially not for people without knowledge from the photographic world (which is most people in Uganda), it just looks like a standard trekking bag.

The first real test it got was in Kibale in the western part of Uganda. It's a jungle/rainforrest area, where we had chimp tracking. It was around 2½ hours of walking in the forrest (we got lucky and found the chimps pretty fast), and the bag did a great job. The guide even said it was the smartest bag he ever saw :-) I was carrying 1litre of water, my rainsuit and cameragear all the time. And even though my shape is miserable at the moment, the bag caused me no problem. Of course it's extra wheight, but the comfort was great. I could have carried on for much longer.
Another thing I started to notice around there, is that the problem with getting the camera out of the side hatch was getting less annoying, as you by time got used to getting it out. I guess you kind of developed a tactics to get it out.

The second challenge on the trip was the next rainforrest. Mountain gorillas live in the souteastern part of Uganda (and Rwanda and Congo), and the place we chose was called Bwindi. It's known to be one of the hardest rainforrest in the world to move around in. That said, our group somehow ended up getting the "girls route", so i never really got to test the bag for a serious challenge. But like the chimpanse trip, there was no problems with the comfort here. It even rained a little so I had a chance to test the rain cover. No problems there either.

In conclussion
I believe that it must be one of the best trekking bags out there, made for camera equipment (that said i haven't really tested every bag, so what do I know?).
I was a little sad however that i didn't get a chance to push it to the limit, because i felt certain that it has a lot more potential for all sorts of bagpacking.
If I had the chance to improve anything on the bag, it would probably be the camera compartment. It's possible to fit your gear there, but a little more room wouldn't hurt. Also the side hatch should be made slightly bigger. All in all enough to a fairly high rating, but not perfect as they can make some improvements. Also it's not that cheap a bag.

Image
The bag in use in the Rwenzori mountains.

Overall rating: 8.5/10

_________________
Jake

Canon EOS 400D + EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS + EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS + EF 50mm f/1.8
My Photos - My webpage (danish)


Last edited by Noceo on Mon Aug 11, 2008 7:17 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 11, 2008 12:44 pm 
Ah...so the green bag comes in blue and black! :D

Look forward to the second part, enjoy Uganda!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 11, 2008 4:46 pm 
I was considering this bag to replace my Slingshot 300 AW for the comfort side of it, but looking at your pictures don't think I would get all my gear in it, think there is a lot of wasted room in the top compartment where I would need room for gear rather than Sarnies/Water etc.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Sep 16, 2008 6:43 pm 
Great review, thanks :D Although, too expensive for me :/ But interesting to read anyway. 0eyvind


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Apr 10, 2009 4:42 am 
just thought i would resurrect this post!

i got this bag as a Christmas gift from my wife. i chose it over the slingshot because of the tripod holder.

it has a ton of room, we recently went to Jamaica with our 1 year old son. it served as my carry on luggage. i carried my d80, 18-55 and 50mm 1.8 lenses, sb-600, filters and accessories, rocketblower, lenspen, 3 magazines, a copy of ansel adams 'the negative', a copy of the national geographic photographers field guide, a large tin of baby formula, a large tub of baby wipes, my wallet, my cell phone, a bunch of pens, 2 bottles (1 baby bottle, 1 water bottle), annnnd a few small snacks!!

i should have got a picture of it and sent it to lowepro.
& it was comfortable to carry the whole time while meandering the airport.

this bag is great! and its made partly of recycled materials :D


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Apr 11, 2009 6:25 am 
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Joined: Wed Aug 27, 2008 8:48 am
Posts: 200
Hey Supervillain & Noceo. I bought the same bag and pretty much have the same gear as you. Although I wish I saw this thread before buying it but I dont think it would've changed my decision.

But I have GOOD news!!!
I took a deep breath and decided to modify the bag a bit to overcome the side compartment problem. I have a 450D with a grip that is on 100% of the time. I can now remove my camera+grip and put it back with ease. I took of shots of the after picture just to give you guys an idea of what I did.

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basically I gave the padding a bit of a trim and used some sticky cloth tape(hockey tape) to hold it back (you can sew if you like but too time consuming).

_________________
Canon EOS 450d/XSi, BG-E5 Grip, 4 LP-E5 battery, Canon EF-S 17-55 F2.8 IS USM, B+W 77mm Pro1 MRC UV0 filter, Canon EF-S 10-22mm USM, HOYA 77mm HMC UV(C) Multi-Coated Filter THIN, Canon 580EX II,
Image
http://www.flickr.com/photos/31510271@N05/


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