A Beautiful Mess: Gitzo Legende Backpack Review

The Gitzo Legende Backpack is a stunning camera bag that’s super comfortable, but they messed up in a few spots.

I had so many high hopes for the Gitzo Legende backpack. But quite honestly, I’ve always felt that the Vitec group shoots themselves in the foot. Their products tend to get it 80% right most of the time. Rest assured that they’re not bad products, but something is just always weird or off. That’s the case with the beautiful Gitzo Legende backpack. It was backed on IndieGogo quite heavily. But, Gitzo messed up in a few critical spots. 

Too Long, Didn’t Read

The Gitzo Legende backpack is incredibly well built and very stylish. But Gitzo got the camera compartment all wrong. They also missed out on both chest and waist straps. If you can put that aside, you’ll have a pretty stylish and very comfortable backpack.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Stylish. Leather and canvas are beautiful, and I don’t care what anyone says; I’ve never seen a modern fashion house use Nylon with any real effect.
  • Despite lacking waist and chest straps, it’s incredibly comfortable.
  • Lots of pockets
  • Gitzo’s locking zippers will give you peace of mind.
  • Very weather resistant
  • Solid materials
  • I packed a lot of clothing up top.
  • Snugly secures your camera
  • Surprisingly comfortable when not packed to the brim
  • Canon EOS R5, Canon EOS R, Sony a7r III, Sony a7r IV, Panasonic S5 all fit well

Cons

  • What the heck did you do to that camera compartment, Gitzo? Organizing this section is a nightmare.
  • No chest and waist straps? Why? It’s a huge problem when the pack is packed full of lenses, a camera, a light, modifiers, and a 13-inch Macbook Pro.
  • I’d personally prefer a rolltop, but this can hold a lot of gear.

Gear Used

We tried cameras from Fujifilm, Canon, Sony, Leica, and Panasonic. The Leica SL2s is the only one that had a bit of trouble because of its wider body. The Fujifilm X series went in with no issues. The same goes for the Canon EOS R5, Sony a7r III, and the Panasonic S1. Mind you, all of these did it with lenses attached.

Tech Specs

The following screenshot are specifications taken from the Gitzo Indiegogo campaign.

Innovations

I’ve tested loads of camera bags. The only thing this has that I haven’t seen is the locking zippers. Those are really cool. Gitzo also makes a big effort to use sustainable materials. 

Ergonomics

First off, looking at the Gitzo Legende backpack, you’d think that it’s brown. But that’s not true. It’s actually a shade of beautiful green. There are also leather accents along it to help with understanding what’s what.

Here’s the top of the bag. It’s pretty standard, and there’s a strap for you to pick it up.

Take a closer look here. You can see the flap that guards access to the top section. It does this through tension-based sliders. Then there’s the side pocket to hold a tripod. Finally, there’s the front pocket that’s hidden by the leather flap.

On the other side, you’ll find the camera compartment door. This door has a pocket on there with a rolltop function. It’s incredibly convenient.

Here’s a closer look at the zippers. These zippers let you lock them in place. That way, they need to be undone before you open them up.

The front pocket down under is very thin. You can’t really pack much in here. At best, it may hold a small tablet.

Here you can find a pocket to the inside of the camera compartment. There isn’t a lot of room in here. And this is also the only way you can access the camera compartment.

The back of the bag is where you can store your laptop. We shoved a 13-inch Macbook Pro in there with no issues.

Here’s what the back of the bag looks like. Notice two of the most comfortable backpack straps we’ve ever used. Again though, there’s no waist or chest strap.

Here’s the inside of the top section. It uses a drawstring to keep the contents safe.

Once you undo the string, you can get inside. We stuffed a ton of shirts and other stuff inside. It’s deceiving how much can be packed in here.

Build Quality 

The Gitzo Legende backpack is built incredibly solid overall. You can pack it to the brim, and it won’t ever feel like it’s going to burst apart. I used it on various photo walks and trips around the five boroughs of NYC. At one point, I had a tripod in the side pocket, the top section packed with clothes, and the bottom section packed with two lenses and a camera. At no point did the bag feel like it was going to fail. I don’t have any complaints. They created something that I feel surpasses even Billingham’s quality.

Ease of Use

There were many times where I had to wrap my head around how to use the Gitzo Legende backpack. The upper compartment and sides were easy to figure out. But all that revolves around the camera compartment. As you’ll see in our YouTube video reviewing this bag, there are problems. 

First off, the camera compartment has only one access point. That would be just fine if it wasn’t through a small door on the side near the bottom. By all means, the designer should have put a zipper on the front. Instead, you basically can only stuff one lens and a camera in there, practically speaking. You surely can put a lens and the divider in there. But if you want to access that other lens, you’ll need to pull the divider out. 

To be frank, it’s the most rookie design I’ve seen in years. And I’m incredibly disappointed in this one thing.

Otherwise, my other only issue comes from the lack of extra straps. The Gitzo Legende backpack could benefit from a chest strap and a waist strap. Try walking from Terminal 1 to Terminal 4 in JFK airport with 75lbs of gear. Some bags are better for it than others. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t trust the Gitzo Legende backpack for doing that. 

What the Gitzo Legende backpack gets right is almost every other area of the backpack. These shoulder straps are some of the most comfortable I’ve ever used. They contour well around the body and they’ve got ample padding. Yet somehow, they don’t make your shirt all sweaty. There’s also ample area for your back to get air. Then consider the great lumbar support, and you’ve got an otherwise fantastic camera bag.

The Gitzo Legende backpack also does a great job with the side pockets. The one door for the camera compartment has a roller-style pocket. It can accommodate a water bottle with ease. The other side is best for a tripod. I’d still prefer my tripod on the bottom of the bag, but the Gitzo Legende backpack did a good job. This pocket is expandable and gives you a ton of security.

The top section is kept shut with a drawstring. This is just standard. I’d still prefer a rolltop, but I can’t hate on how much I packed up top.

Again though, the star of the show is the zippers. These have really cool locks that keep everything in place. The extra security is handy and super nice to have for peace of mind.

Conclusions

The Gitzo Legende backpack does a lot very well. But, it does it all better for a regular backpack user. Quite honestly, you’re better off completely removing the divider system. Just use it as a regular backpack and maybe put your camera in there with whatever else you have. But that won’t make this a camera bag, and you won’t have dividers and padded protection. If you do this, then the Gitzo Legende backpack surpasses all expectations. But as a camera bag, it’s missing a few big features. The chest and waist strap is vital. Additionally, a front flap to access the camera compartment is imperative.

If you end up getting one, use the Gitzo Legende backpack as more of an actual backpack. I may end up doing just that. The Gitzo Legende backpack gets four out of five stars.

Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.