Review: Opteka Excursion C500 Bag

When I bought my Fuji X100, I found that I needed a smaller bag to carry around while doing street photography. I’ve discussed my main bag on this site before, the Tamrac Rally 5, which is great for when I’m hauling around my entire Nikon D7000 kit along with my Fuji X100, my iPad 2, and more, but is a little big for the X100 alone. The Opteka Excursion C500 was recommend to me by a friend, and it seems to be the perfect solution for me.

Overview

There are a few bags in the Opteka Excursion Series line, but I got my hands on the smallest one, the C500. The bag is made entirely of an army-like canvas that feels very durable and gives it a unique and almost vintage look. The snaps and zipper pulls are made of brass, and distressed to add to the style. The inside of the bag is padded very well, with velcro movable dividers. It also has an additional pad on top of the bag opening, to protect your gear from upside-down drops.

There are two zippered pockets on the front for batteries, cards, and other accessories, along with two small velco-flap pockets on the front of the flap cover to hold other small things like memory cards. There is more than enough space in this bag to hold my X100, 3 spare batteries, 4 memory cards, the battery charger, and more.

Durability

Like I mentioned, the bag is made entirely of canvas, and feels incredibly durable. The stitching feels very solid, and the strap is thick with a healthy amount of padding.

The C500 is also weatherproof, and includes a nylon rain shield, which is stored neatly and unobtrusively in a pocket on the bottom of the bag. There is also a zippered weatherproof seal between the top flap and the bag opening, which can be folded and tucked away for quick access when not in wet conditions.

In Use

This size bag has proven to be even more useful than I had initially expected. It does fit my entire Fuji X100 kit perfectly, but it will even fit my Nikon D7000 and a second small lens. That’s not why I purchased this bag, but it’s nice to know that it fits if I need it to. It is not quite large enough to fit my iPad 2, but a smaller tablet or a Kindle would be no problem at all.

I’ve carried this bag around on a few different street photography shoots, and found it to be unobtrusive and very comfortable. In addition, like my Tamrac Rally 5, it doesn’t look much like a camera bag, and doesn’t grab onlooker’s attention at all.

The brass snaps holding the flap cover on feel solid, but are not difficult to unsnap for quick access to the compartment. There are also two brass rings attached to the front of the cover, which you could use to hang any other small accessories, like a water bottle or a sunglasses case.

Conclusion

I can’t say enough about how great this bag is for street photographers, or anybody shooting a smaller system camera. It’s large enough to fit a lot of gear, but small enough so it won’t bother you if you’re wearing it all day long. As someone who often does very long photowalks, the value of that cannot be overstated.

It’s also built incredibly well, and made of quality material. The canvas feels sturdy, and I have confidence that the stitching and zipper will hold for many years to come. Including rain protection is another plus, and it’s something that many of us will never use, but when you need it, you’ll be glad it’s there. There’s also more than enough padding internally to ensure that your camera could survive a pretty frightening drop.

Lastly, there’s the price. At $59.00 on Amazon, it’s an absolute steal. While it doesn’t quite have the style or cachet of other small bags like the Billingham hand-made bags, it is a great looking, uniquely styled bag that is durable enough to last you many years to come.

Read my “What’s In My Bag?”, where I talk about my other bag, the Tamrac Rally 5

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