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  Reviews by: jamesf99  

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Lowepro Mini Trekker AW


Review Date: Oct 31, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Small, light, with great capacity for many lenses, good tripod attachments, and adequate storage for most accessories.
Cons:
Could be deeper for bodies with grips attached.

This is a great bag overall. I've used a Mini Trekker AW for many years and have found it very versatile. The build/construction quality has been very good and after all this time it's still in excellent shape so I wouldn't worry about quality.

Using Canon gear as an example, this bag comfortably holds an xxD, xxxd, or 5d/5d II without grip. If you add a grip or use a 1 series, then the bag is a little shallow but still works. This will be the same for Nikon/Sony shooters.

Depending on what I'm doing, I can load this bag with a 1 series or a 5d with grip, a 100-400L, a 24-105 or 24-70, a 16-35, a 24 TSE, a 45 TSE, and maybe a 90 TSE. I can also fit the hoods, accessories like extra batteries, CF cards, filters, etc. without trouble. That's the max though, and I'd strive to put less in there whenever possible. The front has a nice zippered storage pouch and there's a second velcro closed pouch below that also holds the tripods attachment. Swap something else out if you want to carry a flash.

Regarding the tripod, this holds a Gitzo series 2 tripod easily with the fold out tripod holder and two attachment points. This is only important part of the time, so if you don't use a tripod it's not a factor.

There's no perfect bag. Anyone looking at bags should have an understanding of what they need before choosing one, but even then there will be trade offs and compromises. Decide what lenses/items you want to carry and get a bag to fit those items with a little room left over.

If you want to step up to a deeper, more rugged, and higher quality bag, the Vertex 100 provides a tad more storage at the same approximate size, but at close to twice the price. There's also the new Flipside 400 (just released) that holds about as much, has a more sophisticated strap/harness system, but the tripod attachment is not designed as well and you lose some front storage space.

In short, this is a flexible, useful, and well priced bag. Highly recommended for those wanting a small, light, inexpensive backpack camera bag.


 
Canon EF 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 DO IS USM

ef70-300_45-56doisu
Review Date: Sep 28, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,050.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Small size, 3rd gen IS, black, zoom range, focus speed, stealth factor, build quality, non rotating front element, and the fact that it's available. No other manufacturer makes anything like this.
Cons:
I wish it were faster across the range.

I really like this lens. I know people like to bash it but many of those people complaining have never even held one let alone used it. If this lens cost $800 people would be raving about it, but at a $1k+ price it's too expensive for many when they can buy a cheaper consumer lens. Alas, you often get what you pay for with many consumer lenses.

This was never meant for the average hobby photographer and it can be harder to control in some situations. Canon originally introduced it for professionals that needed a small portable lens. I've used this lens for travel when I want a small, highly functional and flexible lens that will give me good quality images.

Some images may need sharpening but the color and contrast are very good. I've never had the flare problems that people have mentioned, but it's entirely possible I just haven't had that situation arise where it really becomes a problem. I also don't compare it to my 70-200 IS or 100-400 IS, and those that do try to make the comparison are really pretty misguided.

Summary - the best travel lens made. If you realize it isn't going to match your 70-200 IS, you're ready for a great experience.


 
Lowepro Lens Case 3


Review Date: Oct 7, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $18.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Very well made, excellent padding, flexible attachments. Fits longer lenses including Canon's 70-200 f/4.0L.
Cons:
None that I have found.

I've also reviewed the Lowepro 4 and 4s cases and this one also scores highly. This case doesn't have all the features of a "4" series case, but it's still great for lens storage and transportation.

I use it for the Canon 70-200 f/4.0L, which it holds securely with the tripod ring attached. Note: the regular 4 case (not the "4s") holds the 70-200 f/2.8L IS (or the non-IS) with the tripod ring attached as well.

The differnce between the 3 series and the 4 series is the amount of padding and the external straps/attachments, with the smaller 3 series being a little more basic case.

It will attach to Lowepro bags (and others) for field use, travel, or storage. All my lenses live in cases like this one when not being used. I highly recommend this case for the 70-200 f/4.0L (or similarly sized lenses).


 
Lowepro Lens Case 4s


Review Date: Sep 7, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $21.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Very well made, excellent padding, flexible attachments. Fits many of the most popular lenses including Canon's 24-70 2.8L.
Cons:
None I have found.

This case is great for lens storage and transportation. I use it for the Canon 24-70 2.8, 70-300 DO and many other smaller lenses. The advantages of the 4s is its width and the substantial padding. Lowepro's other cases may not be wide enough to fit 2.8 lenses and some of them just don't have enough padding to make me feel comfortable. I sometimes may add padding below (or above) if I want to drop a short lens in here like the 16-35,

Note: this is too short for any of the 70-200 series of lenses; for those, use either the #3 (f/4.0 version) or #4 full size case for both 2.8 versions.

Attaches to Lowepro bags (and others). I frequently use this (along with the #4 full size) on my mini Trekker AW as a quick storage option so I don't have to stop and open the main section of the backpack. I'll put the lens in the case, zip it closed and attach another lens.

All my lenses live in cases like this one when not being used (different size cases of course). They're more protective and accessible than the cases or "sacks" that Canon provides.


 
Lowepro Lens Case 4


Review Date: Sep 4, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $20.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Very well made, flexible attachments. and the right size for some of the most popular lenses.
Cons:
None

This case is great for lens storage and transportation. I use it for the Canon 70-200 2.8 IS and it's just the right size.

Attaches to Lowepro bags (and others). I frequently use this (along with a 4S size) on my mini Trekker AW as a quick storage option so I don't have to stop and open the main section of the backpack. I'll put the lens in the case, zip it closed and attach another lens.

When I'm not using a lens, they (all my lenses) live in cases like this one (different sizes of course). They're more protective and accessible than the case that Canon provides.


 
Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L USM

ef_16-35_28_1_
Review Date: Feb 2, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,270.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Great color and contrast. Size and weight are fine, and the build quality is fabulous.
Cons:
Price. Ouch!!

This is my favorite lens. The price is high but the superior quality makes this worth it. If you can afford this lens, it should be your choice over the 17-40. The extra stop is noticeable in low light situations and while you can always stop this down to f/4.0, you canít open the 17-40 up.

Color and clarity are superb for a wide angle and Iím very happy with it. Donít compare the lens to a prime or a 70-200, but do compare it to any other wide angle and you should be pleased.