Friday, March 2, 2012

Cameralogical Baggage - Incase DSLR Pro Pack Review

I've owned one of Incase's older camera bags, the DSLR sling, for about a year now, and I've found it incredibly useful. It's well made, it makes your gear easily accessible, and looks pretty good while doing it. But it wasn't something I could carry my schoolwork in (unless you count an 8.5x11 folded in half). So when they released the DSLR Pro Pack, pictured here, I was thrilled to take a look.

Well, here it is, in front of the university's scanning electron microscope. It's not exactly a small backpack, but not really huge either. I'm 5'4" and 120 lbs, and it fits me reasonably well. The form factor is on the longish side, and resembles a well-rounded rectangle. The front has this strange kind of "butt" protrusion, as you can see above. It doesn't stick out a whole lot, but it's there.

It's made from a "heathered" canvas material that can be found on some of Incase's other products. I have no idea how well it will wear, but I'm guessing that it will age gracefully, like most canvas. It's also reasonably water resistant. A light drizzle just beaded off when I walked to class in the rain the other day. The right parts are padded in a light mesh, but I found that the straps only have 5-6mm of "give." Fully loaded, it'll probably put some strain on your shoulders.

It has a sternum strap to distribute the weight more evenly between your shoulders and chest. A nice touch.

The camera compartment is lined with gray fleece. Everything's pretty well padded. There are also three pouches on the compartment "door", two zippered and one velcro'ed. These seem like good places to put filters, ND grads, and film.

This compartment is about 5 inches tall, so you won't be fitting a DSLR with a grip in there (not sitting upright with a lens attached, anyway).

Here you can get an idea of what will fit in there: 

Pentax K5
Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8
Voigtlander 58mm f/1.4
Zeiss Contax 85mm f/1.4
Nikon 135mm f/2 AIS
Pentax 67
Takumar 105mm f/2.4
Takumar 55mm f/3.5 (the old 100mm filter version)
Vivitar 285HV
Ebay flash triggers
Cokin P filters, etc.

In the front there's also a pocket for a point and shoot or a small flash (the 285HV will NOT fit). Richard, my Olympus 35 RC, fits with room to spare :)

Conveniently, it also fits a TI-84 (or 89, whatever floats your boat) perfectly! It's almost too good to be true for an engineering student.

The top zipper gives you access to whatever you've packed in the top of the bag, so probably your main body and a couple of lenses. That's a Minolta SRT-201, for reference. 

There's a small pocket in the front that isn't zippered or anything. It won't expand much, but you can fit a pen and pad in here.

One side of the bag also has a pocket and another small zippered compartment. You won't fit a water bottle in here - or any beverages, in fact (maybe a hip flask?) - but you can fit a harmonica.

On the other side, there are two straps to hold a tripod. I don't have one on hand, so no photo - sorry.

Incase say that you can also fit a 15" Macbook Pro, and iPad, and iPhone in the front pocket. But for those of us who aren't Apple aficionados, it'll nicely fit a Dell XPS15 (L502x) + charger, and a 5-subject notebook. But not much else. It's pretty much full up as pictured here.


+ Well made, nice materials, and good form factor
+ Holds a ton of stuff, dividers fully customizable
+ Will hold most 15" laptops
+ Isn't a rectangular brick that screams "I'M CARRYING A CAMERA, PLEASE ROB ME!" It's pretty attractive, in fact.
+ Top zipper and point-and-shoot pocket provides additional accessibility (and it will hold at TI-84!)

- Padded support on the straps could be thicker
- It's difficult to access your gear while on the run. But such is the nature of the beast
- There were a bunch of loose threads that I wouldn't expect from this kind of product
- Limited space in the front pocket, most pockets aren't very stretchy - but that's what you pay for taking form over function

Who's it for?

People who want to take their cameras with them everywhere, but do things other than photography and don't want to look like a photographer. Being able to take your laptop, tablet, and notes along in a separate compartment makes it a boon for college students, provided that you don't have to carry more than one textbook. You probably won't want to take it on a long hiking trip; I don't see anywhere where you could fit a water bottle (maybe in the tripod straps?) and besides, the straps aren't the most comfortable things ever. There's no waterproof sheath provided, either. 


  1. Is the divider removable? I'm planning to use this bag as a school bag.

  2. Yes, the dividers (in the camera compartment) are fully removable. Keep in mind that you lose a lot of structural integrity when you do this, however. And it works pretty well as a school bag, as long as you don't need to bring too many textbooks.

  3. Just bought this myself from incase. Found a 50% off promo code and it saved me 75 bucks off this. Still valid till dec 15 203