Tag Archives: Camera

Lowepro Pro Runner 450AW

For the last couple of weeks I’ve been looking at getting a new camera bag to replace my Lowepro Flipside 400AW.  The Flipside is a great bag, but ever since I bought a couple of new lenses it got a bit cramped.

I was tossing up between:
– Lowepro Vertex 200AW
– Lowepro Computrekker Plus
– Pro Runner 350AW/450AW

I needed the new camera bag to be able to carry EVERYTHING, all my camera gear and a laptop as well as filters and chargers for when I’m travelling.  The other important thing was it needed to be cabin compatible for carry-on luggage in international flights.  All those bags fit the criteria, but based on info gathered from the Lowepro site as well as nearly every forum out there, I decided to get the Pro Runner 450AW.

Here are the specific dimensions from the Lowepro product page
INTERIOR:
12.2W x 6.7D x 18.5H in.
31 x 17 x 47 cm
EXTERIOR:
13.4W x 11.4D x 19.9H in.
34 x 29 x 50.5 cm

Views
Photos taken with my LX-3

As you can see, the bag is one of the more low profile bags in the list.  The bag isn’t huge, it’s about the same size as the Kata Bumblebee and a bit bigger than the Lowepro Classified 250AW (which I also use).  One thing you will notice straight away though, is the immense depth of the bag (more obvious when you see the internal photos).  From the front there isn’t much going on, nice and simple with a couple of sliplocks for the tripod carrier.  The waist straps can be hidden away into the back of the bag, which I love since I rarely use those straps and they tend to get in the way in large crowds.  You can see one of the handles on the side view (also one on the top) for easy movement in and out of storage compartments.  There is also a laptop compartment to fit a 17in Macbook Pro, my Alienware M11x fits in there quite easily.

Inside

In a quick arrangement of the interior padding (completely customisable), you can see this bag has plenty of room for gear.  There are still a couple of spaces that I haven’t use up, and I could have easily added another gripped body onto the end of the 70-200.  This bag is designed to hold Pro bodies or gripped bodies, measuring roughly 6.5in deep in the gear compartment.

Extras

A nice touch is the shoulder strap supports which keep the bag as close to your back as possible (this is important when you carry so much gear).  You can also see the tripod holder, and the hidden compartment for the all weather cover.

With all the camera gear inside it, the bag weighed in at about 10-11kg, but as soon as you put it on your back you can hardly feel the weight.  I would gladly go trekking with a full load in this bag for a whole day.  If the zippers used in this bag was the same as those used in the Vertex 200AW it would easily rank as one of the best bags that Lowepro have ever made, but you can’t have it all for such a low price.  Overall, 9/10, I’d recommend it to anyone who needs to transport a large amount of gear for holidays/photoshoots/day-trips.

Is it the shoes? Is it the camera?

If you’re not talented, your work will still appear uninspired. 

I have a lot of camera gear (relatively), but all that doesn’t matter if I don’t know how to make use of it properly.  Think about it, camera have come a long way since the early days of photography.  There was the development of Single Lens Reflex, improved darkroom techniques, digital sensors etc.  How is it that we still don’t have a photographer as highly regarded as Ansel Adams.  There are photographers who hike out to the exact GPS co-ordinates of Ansel Adams’ photos in an attempt to replicate the image.  They now have much improved gear, likely professional SLR’s and medium format cameras (Hasselblad).  Theoretically, these “adaptations” should be better.  In reality, they lack the type of emotion and impact that the original photographs held. 

Why?

Buying Air Jordans won’t make you play like Mike, an expensive piano doesn’t make you a great pianist, a Waterman fountain pen won’t turn you into Robert Frost.  In the same way, an expensive camera and an impressive array of lenses will not automatically turn you into a great photographer. 

In contrast, give a great artist a familiar instrument of any grade and they will be able to create something beautiful.  Give Nathaniel Anthony Ayers (schizophrenic homeless musician) a beaten down 2-stringed violin and he will make sweet music.  Take away LeBron’s sneakers and replace them with Chuck Taylors and he will still posterize you so bad your own mother will be ashamed to look at you.  For photographers, here’s something easier to relate to, Chase Jarvis and his iPhone.  You get the idea.

Ken Rockwell once said, the word image, comes from the work imagination … not “lens sharpness” or “low noise levels”.  No imagination = no image.  “The most important component of a camera is the 12 inches behind it” Ansel Adams. 

But there HAS to be a reason why the pros use the best gear right?
Sure, but only for limited reasons:
– Good gear makes it easier to get the results you want
– Good gear  will be more durable, you’ll need this if you thrash your gear on a daily basis
– It may be more convenient (again, easier)
Notice how I mentioned YOU in those points.  At the end of the day it’ll all come down to you as the artist.  Don’t ever start thinking that it was the gear that made your artworks.  YOU did it. 

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I went rally driving today, in a real rally car on a rally track.  I know how to drive, you push the pedal and turn the wheel and avoid killing yourself.  The rally car had much higher performance than my everyday car, more grip, more torque, bucket seats, Momo steering wheel.  In the briefing, my instructor focussed on steering technique, braking and throttle timing, and that sometimes less is more.  On my first lap I was crap, I was slow, the car was sliding everywhere and I was shitting myself.  A couple of laps later I got a lot better and a lot more confident.  Having a sweet ride tuned for the conditions didn’t automatically make me a rally driver, just like having a sweet camera won’t make you a photographer. 

Barry White once said “Too much of anything is not good for you”.  Sometimes the easiest way to get a crap shot is to have too much gear.