From the beginning, Lowepro’s Passport Sling has drawn the interest of female photographers in our community. But how would people feel once they had a chance to actually use the bag? I decided to find out by putting a Passport Sling in the hands of Natalie Andes. She’s an enthusiast photographer residing in Broken Arrow, OK, USA. I connected with Natalie via our Facebook Fan Page.
Natalie spent weeks with the Passport Sling, then sent me this review. I’m posting it in its entirety, without editing so you can get the best feel possible for this innovative bag.
The Passport Sling: One Photographer’s Review
by Natalie Andes
A bag is a personal thing. Finding the right one is trial and error. Just take a look into a girl’s closet and you’re bound to find several empty (or mostly empty) purses, totes, messengers, etc. For me, I’m on a quest for the perfect bag for my camera.
I got a Lowepro Passport Sling a few months back and have been spending my time testing it as I gear-up for vacation — the true camera bag test.
Once I got the Sling in my hot little hands, I started trying to place my gear in it: a Canon 40D, an 18-55mm lens and a 70-300mm lens.
I was warned beforehand that all of my equipment wouldn’t fit in the camera “box,” but I’m always up for a challenge. It was suggested that I leave the “box” out of the bag and just put my equipment in that way. That idea was quickly ruled out because the bag, in and of itself, doesn’t provide the protection the box does. Plus, if I’m going to carry around thousands of dollars in camera equipment, it’s going to be protected… period.
The “box” is quite sturdy, but not big. I’m able to carry my camera body with the 18-55mm lens attached in the box. The 70-300mm lens has to stay outside the box. For every day use, the 70-300mm stays home. It’s a sacrifice and I’m happy to make.
The bag has several inside pockets for carrying cell phones and the like. I’ve found that it’s also perfect for carrying my little point and click. The camera is protected, and I have easy access on the fly.
The outside pockets are ideal for the little things — ponytail holders, hand sanitizer, etc.
There’s a large outside pocket that, according to the pictures on Lowepro’s site, is designed for a water bottle. I have to take issue with the design here. First, it’s a solid pocket — not mesh or expandable, thus limiting the size of the water bottle I can carry. Second, it butts up to the camera “box.” This means that as water bottles sweat, that condensation can get into the bag in an area closest to the “box.” I dislike this feature greatly.
The bag is expandable. It’s a nice feature if you’re taking it on errands and you just want to shove your stuff into the bag. On the whole, I found the expandable part made the bag cavernous. Not a feature for me, but it could be quite appealing for those who love the trash-bag-sized purses of the moment.
Overall, I like the bag. It’s comfortable to carry. Access to the camera is quick and easy. For travel, I plan to break it down and carry it in my Lowepro backpack. When it’s time to hit the trail, I’ll pack my Passport Sling and head out.
Derrick Story is the Photography Evangelist for Lowepro.