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F-Stop Shibata Bag Review
  
 
pdrober2
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · F-Stop Shibata Bag Review


I picked up a Shibata messenger bag from F-Stop's Millar series last week. I wanted to compare it to my Retrospective 5 for use as my primary bag for carrying my Fujifilm X gear. Long story short, I sold the Think Tank and kept the Shibata. Note, there was nothing wrong with the Retro 5. In fact, I'm a big fan of TT bags and their customer service is better than any other bag company IMO. However, in this case the Shibata better suited my needs. One of the main deciding factors is that I'm a minimalist, so I have little need for extra pockets and compartments. Furthermore, the Retro felt a little cramped do to the rigid material and all of the internal compartments. In comparison, the Shibata material is much more pliable and the interior is more open, making it easier to access your gear on the go. However, if you tend to roll heavy (rocket blower, lens pen, filters, 8 batteries, etc), then you may prefer the extra storage space in the Retro 5 (or the Retro 7 if you carry an iPad).

According to F-Stop's website (LINK), the bag specifications are:
Volume: 8.7 L
Dimensions (in): Height: 9.1 x Width: 12.4 x Depth: 4.7
Dimensions (cm): Height: 23 x Width: 31.5 x Depth: 12
Weight: 0.53 kg (1.15 lb)

I opted for the blue bag, but it also comes in grey/tan or light green. Bag construction is quality and exterior poly fabric is soft and pliable, but seems like it will be rugged and durable (time will tell). The exterior is not waterproof, nor does it have a rain cover. These would have been nice, but it's not a deal breaker for me. The interior is a nylon material. At first I was not a fan of the F-Stop patch on the main flap and was planning to remove it. However, it's been growing on me so I'm probably going to keep it for now.


The zippers have nice leather details which I think adds to the overall aesthetics of the bag. In addition, they make opening the compartments much easier on the go.


The shoulder strap is 2 in. wide and is fully adjustable. The shoulder pad is quite comfortable, but it doesn't have any grip on the underside, so it tends to slide around a little bit.


There are small pockets on both sides of the exterior, below where the shoulder strap attaches. They aren't that big, but will fit keys, accessories, or maybe a small flash.


The main flap attaches to the body of the bag via a side-release YKK buckle. It also has a magnet on either side to hold the flap in place. I know people fear magnets and memory cards, but the magnets are not that strong so I don't think it's a concern.


The main flap also has a large zipper compartment in the flap itself for storage.




Underneath the main flap, there is another zipper compartment on the front side of the bag. Inside are two small slots for storage. According to F-Stop, this compartment is large enough to carry an iPad although I did not confirm this.


The foam insert is about 1/2" thick, and is a good median between rigidity and flex. As a result, the bag doesn't feel as boxy as other bags and is comfortable up against the body. It also allows the bag to conform a little better to the body, compared to other rigid foam shoulder bags I have tried. The bag only comes with 2 tall dividers, however a short divider would have been nice so that you could stack shorter lenses on top of one another. You can still stack gear, but I would suggest using lens pad/case or borrow a divider from another bag.


One nice feature is that the foam insert is completely removable, allowing you to use this as a normal messenger bag if you so choose.




The insert attaches to the bag via a velcro strip that wraps around the circumference of the interior.


The overall size is perfect for my everyday bag, carrying an X body with 3 lenses (one mounted). I will say that this bag will hold much more (see Blazer's thread), but I prefer to travel light and avoid crowding my gear. This is a picture of the interior with a 60mm macro on the left (hood forward), and X-T1 with 18-55mm attached in the middle (lens facing out, hood reversed), and a 55-200mm on the right (hood reversed). I typically put the camera in with the lens facing the side instead of facing out, but the 55-200 takes up a bit more room than my 35mm which normally rides in that slot.


Overall, I really enjoy this bag and look forward to using it for years to come. I also highly recommend F-Stop as a brand. I have no relationship with them, but my Guru backpack has held up very well and their customer service has always been very helpful.

Let me know if you have any questions, and comments are welcomed.



Apr 12, 2014 at 04:33 PM
Gochugogi
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · F-Stop Shibata Bag Review


Looks like a nice little bag. I'd probably try to remove that big label. Is it significantly lighter than the R5? That R5 must have rocks in its boot and makes feels makes my Pen feel like a DSLR...


Apr 12, 2014 at 05:50 PM
pdrober2
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · F-Stop Shibata Bag Review


It's exactly half the weight of the retro which weighs 2.3 lb.

The shibata is 50% off right now if you use the code millar50.



Apr 12, 2014 at 05:57 PM
m.sommers00
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · F-Stop Shibata Bag Review


In terms of strap comfort, which did you prefer?


Apr 12, 2014 at 07:22 PM
pdrober2
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · F-Stop Shibata Bag Review


I like the rubber grip on the think tank strap that keeps it from sliding off your shoulder. However in terms of comfort, both straps are comparable IMO.


Apr 12, 2014 at 07:31 PM
leftcoastlefty
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · F-Stop Shibata Bag Review


I own two TT Urban Disguise bags, and I what I like about them is that they have one zipper right down the top. This makes it super easy to get to the gear. With both the Shibata and the Retrospectives, you have a big flap in the way. To each their own, of course, but I much prefer the simplicity of the Urban Disguise bags. The only downside to the zipper is that it isn't very waterproof, but I won't ever be carrying it in the rain anyway.


Apr 14, 2014 at 06:11 PM
pdrober2
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · F-Stop Shibata Bag Review


leftcoastlefty wrote:
I own two TT Urban Disguise bags, and I what I like about them is that they have one zipper right down the top. This makes it super easy to get to the gear. With both the Shibata and the Retrospectives, you have a big flap in the way. To each their own, of course, but I much prefer the simplicity of the Urban Disguise bags. The only downside to the zipper is that it isn't very waterproof, but I won't ever be carrying it in the rain anyway.


I'm not a big fan of zippers on my messenger bags as it has a tendency to scratch gear up from going in or out of the bag on the go. This is one reason I prefer the shibata over the bandon.



Apr 14, 2014 at 06:15 PM
Gochugogi
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · F-Stop Shibata Bag Review


pdrober2 wrote:
I'm not a big fan of zippers on my messenger bags as it has a tendency to scratch gear up from going in or out of the bag on the go. This is one reason I prefer the shibata over the bandon.


II dislike zippers on bags. Velcro pr plastic buckles, clips or hooks are better (no metal). Billingham actually uses brass zippers on some of their bags and it not only scratches you gear, but your hand!



Apr 15, 2014 at 03:29 AM
 

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Savas K
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · F-Stop Shibata Bag Review


Which Billingham models have brass zippers that scratches gear and hands?


Apr 15, 2014 at 05:10 PM
TroPhoto
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · F-Stop Shibata Bag Review


FYI, F-stop is apparently still having the sale on the Milllar series. Just ordered the Shibata today. They are out of the blue though but for 50% of it made my bag decision easy for the time being. Probably too big for my a7 and 2 lenses but couldn't pass up the price. Code I used was millar50.

Great post and thanks for the review of the Shibata!! I had not even considered it until I read this today.

Cheers all



Jul 22, 2014 at 09:01 PM
Gochugogi
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · F-Stop Shibata Bag Review


Savas K wrote:
Which Billingham models have brass zippers that scratches gear and hands?


Both the Pola and Stowaway series for example:

http://www.amazon.com/Billingham-500733-Stowaway-Khaki-camera/dp/B0014E7V0S/ref=cm_cr-mr-title



Jul 22, 2014 at 10:15 PM
yeiter
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · F-Stop Shibata Bag Review


Thanks for this post...I just ordered a bag and the millar50 code still works!! Nice...a fairly decent bag to supplement(replace?) my retro 5 for only $40 incl shipping.


Aug 03, 2014 at 11:17 PM
yeiter
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · F-Stop Shibata Bag Review


However, I may contact TT and ask them to send me one of their straps, the ones they used on the speed freak bags...When I got the retro 5 bag, I was just not happy with the strap...it always got twisted up. The design of the speed freak (or demon) strap has a metal attachment that rotates. I called them to "suggest" that they change the strap on the retro, and could they sell me the one that came with the speed freak...they sent me one for absolutely FREE incl shipping. Now that is an awesome company. Of course, we shall see how this Shibata holds up but at 1/4 the price of the retro, I think I can find a use for it. (and plastic garbage bags work in the rain)


Aug 03, 2014 at 11:22 PM
genesys9
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · F-Stop Shibata Bag Review


Interesting, that code has been inactive for months, how did you get it to work?

yeiter wrote:
Thanks for this post...I just ordered a bag and the millar50 code still works!! Nice...a fairly decent bag to supplement(replace?) my retro 5 for only $40 incl shipping.





Aug 16, 2014 at 03:21 AM
mpix345
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · F-Stop Shibata Bag Review


I just entered the code tonight and 50% savings was applied. I didn't check out, but it sure seems active if anyone is looking for a deal.


Aug 23, 2014 at 06:05 AM
genesys9
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · F-Stop Shibata Bag Review


Yep, the code worked this weekend...


Aug 25, 2014 at 04:00 AM





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