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Archive 2012 · F-Stop Stowe and Guru w/ small and medium shallow ICU's
  
 
tangfj
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · F-Stop Stowe and Guru w/ small and medium shallow ICU's


Hey Guys, I have another thread asking questions about these two bags but I just received them a little while ago and thought I'd post some pics and a short review of my initial thoughts since I haven't seen any reviews of the Stowe and don't seem to find too many reviews of the shallow ICU cases with semi-pro sized gear. Anyway, I haven't actually used them out in the field yet, just played around with the ICU's to see how things would fit.

So here it goes for the pics, short review and thoughts later...


Stowe, Guru, Small ICU (top), Medium ICU (bottom)




Stowe Front (see ruler at bottom... sorry if it's blurry)




Stowe Side (see ruler at bottom... sorry if it's blurry)




Stowe Next to small ICU side




Stowe with Medium Shallow ICU




Stowe with Small ICU




Medium ICU Packed with most of my gear




  • Top to bottom, left to right
  • Top: 50mm 1.2, 35mm 1.4, 16-35 2.8
  • Middle: Underneath is 430ex ii, on top is 40mm pancake and 270ex
  • Bottom: 5d mkiii, Sigma 85 1.4



    First Impressions - Stowe

    Pro's
  • Bag is great for what it is… collapsible bag that I can take along on trips for smaller outings
  • Great style and size
  • Lots of extra room with small or medium shallow ICUs



    Con's
  • ICU connection points only seem to be for Large sized ICU's… small ICU connection point is OK not great and medium does not have any connection point… this could be a problem depending on what ICU you choose
  • Not too many outside pockets
  • Little flimsy but I expected this based off of info from f-stop customer support


    First Impressions - Small and Medium Shallow ICU's

    Pro's
  • Gives a bit more room in the Guru and Stowe behind the ICU (I think... don't have a Pro ICU yet to compare)
  • Fit's 5d mkiii standing up normally with many lenses/etc as you can see
  • Medium shows fit above... Small will fit 5d mkiii with two lenses + Fuji X100
  • Lots of configurations available with the included providers

    Con's
  • Doesn't fit 5d mkiii standing on it's side
  • Not great for having body w/ lens attached
  • Flap doesn't tuck back nicely without removing foam insert (especially if you want to put a laptop in front of the ICU)
  • Would be nice if they extended the zipper around the ICU more so that it could fold back a bit cleaner (expected this from other reviews


    Conclusion

    Ok so after playing around with the bags and ICU's a bit I've decided to give the Pro sized ICU's a try and the guys at f-stop were great at accommodating this for me. I hope to get them in next week.

    My problems with the shallow ICU's are that they don't fit the 5d mkiii on its side. I kind of figured this would happen but thought it'd be ok, but after playing around with the configurations I found it hard to have a lens attached to the camera and still fit everything else. I'm hoping the Pro ICU size will be able to fit the 5d mkiii on its side as well as my 16-35 standing up. This will free up a lot more space... my only concern with the Pro sized ICU is how much space in front of the bag will available for a macbook air/etc. Either way, with a shallow or pro I suppose I'll have some trade-offs so we'll see how it goes!

    The other thing that I'm not sure of are the connection points in the Stowe. They only seem to be made for the large size ICU. It would have been nice if they included more connection points for either the small or medium sized ICU or if they had movable connection points somehow. I can get the small ICU to connect at the bottom of the bag but the medium ICU doesn't have anywhere to connect to. I suppose I could use the bag without the connection point but that would kind of defeat the purpose of having the connection points in the first place. In any case, I have some pro sized small and medium ICUs coming in the mail so I'll see how those fit. If all else fails maybe I'll see if I can get a large sized ICU and just not load it up all the way or use the extra compartments to hold other stuff in the stowe to see how that works.

    Overall, I'm very happy with the bags as I think they are the most well thought out bags I have ever owned. I have an incase ari marcopoulos sling bag as well as a thinktank ud35. I can say with certainty that the stowe, guru, and ICU's are just as well thought out as my other two bags if not better!

    If you guys have any suggestions or questions, feel free to let me know.




  • Jul 04, 2012 at 08:51 PM
    jturn00
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    p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · F-Stop Stowe and Guru w/ small and medium shallow ICU's


    I needed small bag to bum around NY. Since I already own a tilopia an large shallow ICU (and based on this excellent review), I picked up the stowe and a small pro ICU (not shallow). I haven't tested it completely with my camera gear but did load it up with items for work. I put in my laptop and a bunch of other books/documents. I think it is a great bag.

    My one issue is might be with the shoulder straps. They appear to be too short or don't fit 100% when the bag is fully loaded. (At least compared to my osprey and my other F-stop packs).

    Some additional adjustments might be needed as I've only had the bag for less than 24 hours. I'll also need to see how it sits when fully loaded with camera gear.

    Overall, I am really happy with this bag as a backpack to go to and from work and love how it opens completely.

    Even happier that I can use it with my small pro or large shallow icu and it is perfect for short trips around town with an ICU or without.

    I plan on using it for travel next week and can report back (no camera gear just using it to travel with my laptop.)



    Jan 18, 2013 at 03:50 PM
    dgdg
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    p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · F-Stop Stowe and Guru w/ small and medium shallow ICU's


    I tend to get shoulder ache with any pack that does not have a padded belt (ex Stowe). Even a small padded belt helps to put weight on the hips. Otherwise, a nice looking bag.


    Jan 18, 2013 at 09:23 PM
    tangfj
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    p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · F-Stop Stowe and Guru w/ small and medium shallow ICU's


    I actually find that the Stowe works best when the main compartment is full. Thus, I traded my shallow large for a large slope (part of their new series where it slopes up like the medium pro). I use this mostly with my Stowe but also use it with my Loka (which I also recently got). I actually sold my guru as I found the size to be redundant with the Stowe. I find the Stowe to be most useful for travel and daily use because of the main large space. Granted, it doesn't have the straps/etc that my loka has but it's a good size and serves dual purpose since I can take out the ICU and use it as a normal bag.


    Jan 18, 2013 at 09:27 PM
     

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    jturn00
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    p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · F-Stop Stowe and Guru w/ small and medium shallow ICU's


    It is a really nice bag. It looks small when you get it (and as compared to the photos on the website) but it fits a lot of stuff. I think it is ok without a padded belt. If I needed to go somewhere (i.e. hiking) I'll take my tilopia or osprey pack. This is good for city trips or short around town jaunts. I still need to see how it handles under a heavy load but medium to light it should be fine.



    Jan 18, 2013 at 09:28 PM
    jturn00
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    p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · F-Stop Stowe and Guru w/ small and medium shallow ICU's


    Tangfj,

    I actually haven't used it as a camera bag yet So I can't comment on the ICU. I have a new Small ICU for when I want to use it for daily use. I am using the stowe as a normal bag for now and the big compartment that opens all the way is great!

    Jeff



    Jan 18, 2013 at 09:31 PM
    tangfj
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    p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · F-Stop Stowe and Guru w/ small and medium shallow ICU's


    jturn00 wrote:
    Tangfj,

    I actually haven't used it as a camera bag yet So I can't comment on the ICU. I have a new Small ICU for when I want to use it for daily use. I am using the stowe as a normal bag for now and the big compartment that opens all the way is great!

    Jeff



    Agreed, the cavernous opening is the best part! When I use it with a small ICU I find the balance to be a little off unless I put something on top of the small ICU to give the top of the bag some shape. Of course, it will all really depend on what camera gear you have. If your gear isn't too heavy then it won't matter as much. Also, if you have a large laptop in the back that'll give the bag some rigidity as well.



    Jan 18, 2013 at 09:34 PM





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