Incase – a brand well-known for their cases & bags made for iPhones, iPods and all the other Apple devices in your life – has started to produce camera bags within the last few years and recently teamed up with Dutch-born photographer Ari Marcopoulos to create a stylish and functional new sling bag with mobile-photographers (meaning on-the-go, not iPhoneographers) specifically in mind. I’ve had the last month or so to spend with the bag and see how well it works in everyday life. Head on past the break for the full review of the Incase Ari Marcopoulos Camera Bag.
Pros & Cons
- Super Stylish & Well Made
- Can carry a surprising amount of gear for its size
- Comfortable to wear (once properly adjusted to your body)
- Expensive at $200
- Internal compartments are not adjustable (big con in my opinion)
- “Extra” strap often comes loose and flops around (minor annoyance)
Taken from Incase’s Product Page
18.9″ x 11″ x 6.7″
48cm x 28cm x 17cm
- Heavy-duty canvas construction with water-repellent coating
- Adjustable padded DSLR camera and lens compartments
- Reversible ergonomic, padded across-the-body shoulder strap with one-handed adjustment slack pull and large side release buckle
- Quick-access point-and-shoot camera pocket with faux-fur interior and protective flap with magnetic closure
- Removable rain fly with custom Ari Marcopolous print
- iPad slip pocket with faux-fur lining
- Zippered access to padded interior storage compartment
- Exterior cargo straps
- Interior pocket for documents
- Interior zippered pocket
- Padded haul handle
- Two interior side stash pockets
- Custom Ari Marcopoulos branding elements
- DSLR Camera bag
On the front of the bag is a very unassuming logo tag and a semi-hidden zipper for the internal compartment. Overall, canvas comprises of its construction for the exterior.
Speaking of the hidden zipper, the flap is held closed by a concealed magnet. This is much quieter than velcro options from other companies.
The zipper pulls are quality YKK zippers and are very easy to open & close. This is great if you’re opening or closing the bag one handed.
The buckle is made of a quality plastic and the metal pull on the end of the strap makes it quite easy to adjust the length of the strap one-handed.
The back of the bag is made of the same material, but there is a series of greyscale patches along the bottom (which I presume one could use for whitebalance in the field). The shoulder strap can be repositioned to sit comfortably on either shoulder as well.
The inside of the bag has a small pouch (which is accessible via the hidden zipper mentioned earlier) which can house a small digital camera, or even things like notebooks, memory card wallets, pens, film, or whatever you fancy storing in there.
The main compartment of the bag is where you’re going to store the majority of your gear. There are three separate compartments (which unfortunately are not adjustable, but more on that later).
There’s an extra zippered pouch which is great for storing batteries or other small items as well. Incase has always been great about providing ample pockets for organization of smaller items.
BAM! Secret compartment for storing an iPad or even a 13″ notebook. One could also store documents or travel papers in here if they were so inclined.
On the bottom of the bag are straps for carrying a small tripod. Personally speaking, my tripods won’t fit in these straps, but a lightweight jacket does.
Another hidden feature of the bag is also located on the bottom if you unzip the pocket; you will find a rain-fly that will fold out and cover the bag completely. I admit, the print featured on it is a bit strange so I wonder how often I’ll use it. Then again, I do live in Southern California, a part of the world that doesn’t understand the concept of rain, so I may never need it.
Now this is an area where Incase usually shines, build quality and good design are things we as consumers have come to expect from this company, and thankfully, they have not changed their ways in the case of the Ari Marcopoulos bag. All of the seams are stitched perfectly leaving no loose threads to snag or tear. The canvas material itself feels very durable, but because of the light grey color I have to wonder how well it’s going to age, it’s possible that it may wind up rather dirty / dingy looking after some mileage. In the month+ I’ve been working with the bag it hasn’t shown any sign of wear & tear.
When I first got the bag I really, really liked how it looked and I was excited to put it to use; upon first putting it on my back I was immediately put off by how weird it felt and uncomfortable it was. “Oh no” I thought “this bag is going to be miserable to use”. Then I finally realized that I had to adjust both sides of the strap so that it rode across my back properly; as soon as I did that my entire opinion changed in a split-second. Thank goodness. Once I had addressed the fitting issues I started to load up gear into the bag to see how it felt under a reasonable load. Comfortable, though if fully loaded, it can get a bit heavy after a couple hours of walking. I liked that I could adjust the tightness of the bag single-handedly, but once I had it tightened up I found that the excess strap was often flopping loose and flailing about while I was moving. I think this is a result of the retention clip not having a strong enough grip on the strap itself. Additionally, I did unfortunately notice one thing in particular that really bothered me; the internal dividers (which are attached with velcro) are not really able to be repositioned. You are pretty much stuck with the layout the bag was designed with, thankfully it is adequate for most camera setups, but I’m naturally a tinkerer and I like to configure my camera bags how I want them to be. It’s a small thing to many, but it’s clearly an area that Incase needs to address in the future.
In the end, what we have here is a very stylish, very comfortable (once adjusted properly) camera bag that doesn’t really LOOK like a camera bag. You can carry a lot of gear or just a little and walk comfortably with this slung across your back. Incase is known for having well-designed products that are as functional as they are stylish, and this bag is no exception. I did have some reservations about it, but it’s also entirely possible that they are issues that may not even remotely bother someone else. The bag comes in at $199.99 (sometimes it’s cheaper from web-stores like Amazon) and as such it is on the pricier side, though not outlandish by any means. I really liked how well constructed the bag is and I suspect that it will hold up well over time (though I do wonder if the light grey color is going to get rather dirty with heavy use). Overall, I like the bag, and I can easily recommend it to more fashion-concious photographers out there. You can get one for yourself from Amazon today.
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