Review: Case Logic SLR Camera/Laptop Backpack

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The right camera bag isn’t always the easiest thing to find. Some prefer slings, others prefer pouches, and a good number prefer backpacks. I’m studying journalism, and a substantial amount of my coursework is reporting-intensive, meaning I have to go to locations to get the story. So, I need to comfortably carry both my camera kit and my laptop. Case Logic’s SLR Camera/Laptop Backpack arrived, and I found a solution to my academic and professional needs.

Pros and Cons

Pros

-EVA bottom is an excellent touch that allows the bag to stand upright
-Great amount of organizational capacity
-Shoulder straps are comfortable
-Hammock suspension system works very well (more on that later)

Cons

-You will sweat
-Be careful in crowded spaces, you might knock into folks
-This is not for those who don’t want others to know they’re photographers

Gear Used

The Case Logic SLR Camera/Laptop Backpack held:

-Sony a580 with Minolta AF 70-210mm f4 attached
-Minolta AF 28mm f2.8
-Minolta AF 50mm f1.7
-Minolta AF 135mm f2.8
-Minolta AF 28-85mm f3.5-4.5
-Samyang 85mm f1.4
-Sigma 15mm f2.8
-MacBook Pro 13″
-Logitech mouse

Tech Specs

Specs courtesy of Case Logic’s listing:

  • Size (l x w x h): 17 x 8 x 12.5 in
  • Fits Devices (l x w x h): 15.4 x 4.7 x 10.4 in
  • Materials: Nylon
  • Weight: 2.7 lb

Features:

  • Backpack holds SLR camera body with attached zoom lens, laptop and additional accessories
  • Patent pending hammock system suspends your SLR above the bottom of case, providing superior impact protection
  • Computer compartment compatible with 16″ laptops and the 17″ MacBook Pro (dimensions- 15.4″ x 10.4″ x 1″)
  • Removable shelves and flexible walls create a fully customizable interior
  • Shelves easily remove to store personal items
  • Memory foam on interior of backpack lid helps protect your delicate LCD screen
  • Four accessory pockets allow fast access to memory cards and other small items
  • Industrial strength hook-n-loop straps on side of the bag hold your tripod
  • Water-proof EVA base withstands the elements and allows the case to stand up on its own
  • Strap management system keeps excess strap material rolled up, secured in place and out of your way

Ergonomics

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With the lead image here, you can see that Case Logic’s backpack has a semblance in shape to standard backpacks: small front pocket, large middle bit, side compartment, and the rest. Given its name, however, you won’t be using this for any books. Everything will find its proper place.

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A close-up here of the main zipper shows some of the care Case Logic has taken to make sure everything’s secure. This is one of two velcro fasteners that rest on the main zippered compartment to make sure that the zippers don’t travel farther than they should. It also provides limited access to the hammock where your camera rests, should you need it in a pinch.

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The front pocket has a simple setup, with a pocket on the inside of the flap and a mesh one in front of it. There are two pen slots and a larger slot next to them. This is a proper spot for some business cards, press badge, some pens, and maybe a notepad.

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The left side has a zippered compartment with two mesh pockets inside which provide quick access to SD cards, filters, and other small essentials. I haven’t found a use for the exterior loop yet, but I imagine it has its purpose.

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Along this side, you’ve got velcro loop straps for your tripod of choice which is a boon if your gig requires a tripod or, alternatively, a monopod.

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The EVA bottom is one of this bag’s greatest features. It’s waterproof which plays nicely in not-so-great weather, and it stands your bag upright for easy access to gear.

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Let’s start at the top and work our way down. The black piece at the top is the hammock that holds your camera with a lens attached. It provides quick access to your camera, and it actually work well. If you know you’re going to be working in a certain focal length, have that lens on your camera when you slide it in. Below that, you’ve got nine slots for your lenses and accessories. Those shelves can be removed, too, if, say, you’ve got another body you want to bring.

Small thing to note: given the nature of the EVA bottom, it takes some effort to get your hand in the lowest three slots.

On the flap, you’ve got two pockets, and above that you’ve got memory foam which protects your camera’s LCD screen when it’s snug in the hammock.julius motal the phoblographer caselogic dslr laptop bag-11

Another nice touch here is the “strap management system” which keeps excess strap tucked away, and it prevents the strap from coming all the way out of the loop.

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Padding is definitely not an issue with this bag. Weight is distributed nicely, so that even the heaviest kit doesn’t feel like a boulder, and the padding will sit comfortably against your back. If you’re traveling long distances, you can rest assured that the bag has a soft touch.

Build Quality

Case Logic’s SLR Camera/Laptop Backpack is a rugged bag that will keep your equipment safe. The hammock is an interesting design that provides quick top access to your camera, and it’ll help prevent damage should the bag fall. The adjustable shelves hold your lenses snugly, and the mesh pockets keep everything in place. It bears repeating the EVA bottom is an excellent feature that keeps the bag upright and sturdy.

In Use

The bag accompanied me to and from school and around New York City. I typically loaded the bag with my 13″ MacBook Pro, Sony a580, and a few lenses, and with those items, it felt light on my back. Most folks have an aversion to placing their bags on the floor of a subway train, but I felt comfortable putting this bag on the ground. I could easily wipe off any dirt later since the bottom isn’t fabric. The EVA bottom also lends itself to crowded situations where having the bag on your back would be a bother to those around you. While it is sturdy, it sticks out from your back considerably. Putting it on the ground is a nice gesture, and you won’t have to worry about the relative (un)cleanliness of the floor screwing with any fabric.

Conclusion

The Case Logic SLR Camera/Laptop Backpack is a great choice for those in the market for a bag. The hammock, padding, and EVA bottom all work together to keep your gear organized and safe, but the hard bottom can get in the way when you’re trying to reach the lowest shelves. It should also be said that it’s very conspicuous, and it may not be the wisest option if you frequent locations where you don’t want to be seen as a photographer. Stranger danger.

Otherwise, for $119.99, you’re getting a great bag, and don’t discount the importance of a camera bag. It’s been said elsewhere in reviews on this site that bags are a significant investment as they protect your precious gear.

You can pick it up at Case Logic.