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Field Test: BJX Camera Bag

There are times where my Domke F2 camera bag isn’t always needed (full review here.) Because of that, I’ve been on the search for something smaller, lighter and stylish but that still offers enough protection for my equipment. I recently was given a BJX camera bag from Pentax as a gift. For what it’s worth, it isn’t perfect but it sure works better than my messenger bags.

In this bag I can fit:

- Canon 5D Mk II with Battery Grip attached.

- 80-200mm F2.8 L or my 24-105mm F4 L IS or the 85mm F1.8 with the 50mm F1.8 on top of it

- Canon 7D with Sun Sniper strap attached. Or I can put the Battery Grip for the 5D Mk II in the same slot. They have to be vertical of course, not horizontal. The 7D is a bit of a tight squeeze. But the rest isn’t.

- USB cables

- Canon 430 EX II

- Memory Cards

The bag has the look of being a one strap backpack but I’ve worn it like a messenger bag. It’s just more convenient that was as it allows for quicker access to my lenses and accessories if they’re needed.

Weatherproofing is a huge issue for most photographers. When you’ve got to go from one location to another in pouring rain and need to keep everything dry and functioning well, you need your bag to be reliable. While it hasn’t rained here yet in NYC while the bag has been on me, it has resisted my sweat—and when I’ve got that much gear on me and walk around in 92° weather, I sweat a lot. Other bags I’ve used have actually soaked up my sweat but still kept what’s inside dry. The BJX seems to have some sort of weatherproof coating on the outside to keep that moisture out. That’s very reassuring for the working photographer in the summer when we need to go from event to event.

Though the material will keep your items safe, it doesn’t feel very nice. My Domke and messenger bags have a nice feeling to them texturally. This feels very rough. That isn’t a bad thing really. Why? Well, let’s say one of NYC’s many pigeons happens to bless you. The material allows for easier cleaning on the pot with paper towels, soap, water, or even a tide stick. The latter is something I always keep on me because of how important presentation is here.

To be fair, being sweaty doesn’t help either. For that reason, keeping handkerchiefs in your bag is always useful. The bag has plenty of space and pockets for that on top of spaces for lens cloths.

For most cases, this may just be my new go to bag. The reason is because of the level of protection that it can provide coupled with the stylish look and the fact that it can carry enough gear that I need for most shoots. A 5D Mk II with two prime lenses can cover most situations.

The unfortunate problem is that even though this bag is fairly sexy and very usable, it makes you sweat. The padding is thick, so that will not allow for your shirt to breathe around the strap or the back. If you’re shooting in Central Park on the hottest day of the summer, then you’re going to end up looking like you just took a swim in the lake.

This even happens when you carry it around more like a messenger bag than a backpack.

Luckily, the bag has space to store some extra necessities: a small can of Axe, eye drops, Purel Hand Lotion, and a Tide Stain Remover Stick.

Overall, I highly recommend that you purchase this bag if you don’t need the Domke F2. You can check out BJX’s website here.

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