Sunday, July 09, 2017

Packing A Short Trip Into Lowepro Campus+ Backpack

One of the perks of not being tied to a camera company anymore, was the freedom to move around and get invited to product launches from other manufacturers. When an invite came for Lowepro's 50 Years Celebration and launch of their new bags, it was liberating to be able to say yes and attend. It was indeed a surreal experience for me, since the roles have been swapped: that I no longer am the host and organizer of the media and consumers events and finally can participate as a guest. In this case, I went to the Lowepro event as a blogger and photographer.

Lowepro Campus+ backpack easily packs in all my travel essentials for my short trip home to Kuching soon!



In the launch event which was held at Isetan KLCC, Lowepro unveiled four new collections of bags - Campus+, Urban+, Matrix+ and Travel+.  Isetan is the exclusive retailer of these new lines of Lowepro bags, which are available now in all their outlets. These bags come in various forms including backpacks, messenger bags, totes as well as shoulder bags. All the new products were available for the participants to touch and try at the event.

Since I was attending as a participant I have very little to do at the event, hence my hands were getting unbearably itchy and the best way to remedy this problem was to click the shutter button away. I had with me the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II and several lenses (used mostly 45mm F1.8 here) just to keep myself occupied.


KC Yeow, General Manager of Isetan, giving his opening speech. Isetan has the exclusivity to sell the new collection of bags from Lowepro. 

Loh YC, the Managing Director of Veedoo Sdn Bhd. Veedoo is the authorized importer and distributor for Lowepro Malaysia. 

Kevin Crandall, the Product Development and Manufacturing Senior Director or Lowepro shared about the company's history and also accomplishments over the course of 50 years. It was apt to have him being surrounded by Lowepro bags. 

Kevin Crandall showed an old bag from the 70s, this was a pre-production sample that he found in the store and thought would make a good demonstration on Lowepro's bag manufacturing DNA and admirable quality control, which have been implemented over the many years in camera bag industry

Lowepro celebrating their 50th Anniversary. 

A group photograph with the models

the models were gleefully posing away with the new bags from Lowepro. 

Campus+ collection came with lightweight construction and water-repellent features, which Lowepro claimed was suited for outdoor adventures. Lowepro stated that Urban+ collection of bags were basically catered for carrying smaller DSLR or mirrorless cameras with one or two more additional lenses and some accessories. Lowepro made Matrix+ collection as everyday work and casual carry around backpacks, which featured a detachable camera case and a back panel 15-inch laptop compartment. Lastly, Lowepro mentioned that the Travel+ backpacks were able to withstand harsh environments and were fitted with radio-frequency identification (RFID) blocking side pockets for improved security.

From my observation, the new line of products launched and sold at Isetan were targeted toward travel and lifestyle consumers, not specifically serious photographers. The bags featuring compartments for photography equipment were mostly small, portable and can only fit a mirrorless camera body and maybe one more lens. These bags were created for day to day carry around usage, particularly for the constant-on-the-move urban lifestyle. Nonetheless, some compelling reasons to opt for Lowepro would definitely be the longstanding trustworthy brand history, the reliability of bag construction using tough and ultra-durable material, and their experience on know-how in making functional and versatile bags, especially for the pro photographers crowd. After all, they have been around for 50 years!


Lowepro Urban+ collection, made to carry small cameras and lenses. Comes in klettersack, backpack, messenger, tote and shoulder bag designs. Recommended retail price ranges from RM199 to RM629

I particularly like these Urban+ Klettersack, (RRP RM629 each) I think they look super cool. 

Lowepro Campus+ (RRP at RM339 each) backpacks made for everyday commuters in mind. I am exploring this bag further in this blog post. 

Lowepro Matrix+ (RRP RM439 each) backpack, features detachable camera case, spacious side pockets and water resistant finish. 

There are a few important features to consider when choosing a bag. Personally for me, looks is very important, and most of the time the design of the bag trumps all other considerations. If I were to spend money buying a bag that I will use often, that bag has got to look good on me and easily mix and match my plain styled clothing choices. I know most people will disagree with my preference, perhaps arguing that function-ability and durability are more important. But seriously, why would you want to use an ugly bag?

I walked away from the event with a new Lowepro Campus+ bag in the goodie bag. That goodie bag was so huge that it contained a full sized backpack! Not sure why they put a Campus+ bag in there, since I was not going to be anywhere near a campus in my life recently. Anyways, the timing could not have been better, as my old travel backpack is going through a slow and painful death, having malfunctioning zippers and tears in internal compartments. I will be flying home to Kuching this weekend, mainly to celebrate my mother's birthday and the Lowepro came just in time to replace that old, war-torn travel backpack that I have been using for many years. I have a new backpack!

Here, I even did a video of me packing my travel stuff into the Campus+ backpack! Am a learning noob here in making videos, so please cut me some slack.


PACKING FOR A SHORT TRIP INTO LOWEPRO CAMPUS+

This short video was shot with the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II, using UHD 4K, and also check out the default audio recording from the built in microphone!

Items packed into my Campus+ for my short 3 days 2 nights trip to Kuching:
1) Mini camera bag - bought from my recent trip to Japan, that costs me less than RM100
2) Olympus PEN E-P5, Panasonic 14mm pancake lens, Olympus 25mm F1.8 lens
3) Spare batteries + memory cards
4) 4 T-shirts, 2 shorts and some boxers
5) Headphones - Beyerdynamic Byron BT Wireless Headphones
6) Yamaha Wireless Speakers
7) Lenovo Miix 510 Laptop/Tablet
8) Remax Powerbank
9) All relevant chargers and cables

Since I have traveled around Malaysia from city to city quite frequently during my time with Olympus Malaysia, I have become somewhat efficient in packing for short trips. And I already have a mental checklist of the items I want to bring with me in my trips that are usually no longer than 3 or 4 days long each time.



I seriously cannot wait to go home to Kuching, eat the delicious food, celebrate the coming birthday of my beloved mum, and perhaps catch up with some happening events there. 

For those of you in Kuala Lumpur wanting to check out the new collections of awesome Lowepro bags, you may find them at Isetan KLCC, Isetan 1 Utama and Isetan The Gardens, availability until 12 July 2017. The collections will be made available in selected retail outlets thereafter.

You may find out more information about Lowepro and their products at Veedoo's website and their Facebook page. 

To my beautiful blog readers, I know many of you have owned and used Lowepro bags, so please do share your opinion on your experience with Lowepro products! 50 years is an amazing history, but lets hear the bag's history from you guys!

11 comments :

  1. I love those older bags that they were showing off!

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    1. I totally agree. Hence I specifically took photos of them and asked more questions. Too bad they are not on sale anymore.

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  2. I got myself a Lowepro Nova 140 AW when I realised I needed something to carry my E-M5 around. It's a useful bag, although it's a bit bulkier than the kind of bag I really had in mind: I'd been carrying a compact in a belt-mounted holster before, and even though the Lowepro could be belt-mounted, I'd really look like some kind of tourist doing so.

    Anyway, the carrying handle uses an odd coating that flakes off over time, turning the all-black colour scheme into a two-tone black and grey affair: the grey part is the material exposed by the flaking effect. This hasn't affected the performance of the bag as such, but it has spread little bits of rubbery fabric all over where the bag has been, so it isn't exactly kind to other items that have to travel along with the bag.

    Given that the rest of the bag is fairly robust, the coating on the handle seems a bit cheap to me. I imagine they wanted something to "enhance grip" and provide "extra comfort", but it seems like it didn't exactly get road-tested.

    Paul

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    1. Hey Paul,
      I really do hope Lowepro is listening to this, did you give this feedback to them? by email to their service channel or maybe facebook page. I am sure such issues will help them to improve their future products!

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    2. Hey Robin! I didn't give any feedback, but maybe they're a company that does listen, unlike a lot of companies these days who apparently even ignore things like product safety feedback unless someone "angry-tweets" them about it.

      Nice to see you still blogging personally, by the way. I only discovered your blog after me and my camera (and that bag) had been to KL, so it's surreal to see pictures of somewhat familiar places here, as you go on your regular photo excursions. Maybe that, along with the great photography, has been the thing getting me to check for new posts over the last couple of years. :-)

      Paul

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    3. Hey Paul,
      if you do come by Malaysia again, do let me know! We shall go to the streets and do shutter therapy together. Thanks for the visits and support.

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  3. I have used a LowePro Orion II for decades. It was getting pretty beat-up. The zipper had come apart on one end, which I had fixed with staples, so it only opened from the other end. But I could carry an Olympus OM body and five lenses, and still have room for some lunch or a small water bottle!

    Then I moved into the Olympus E-System, and could no longer fit very much in it. "I thought digital was supposed to be smaller and lighter?" I thought to myself.

    I recently got an OMD EM1 Mark II, and the love is back! I could now fit six lenses in with a body! But the pack looked horrible, and I feared for the safety of my new investment.

    Going through evilBay, looking for old Orion II packs in great shape, I realized that the newer Orion AW held a lot and was more versatile. I particularly like the zipper opening on the body side, and the half-dividers, which means I can keep a 9mm fisheye "body cap lens" and the 14-42 "pancake" zoom underneath the camera.

    I have always preferred the versatility of a waist-pack. I'm a sweaty person, and do not like my back covered while hiking. I also like to be able to loosen the strap slightly, and rotate the bag around to the "shooting position," using it as a "shelf" for changing lenses, filters, batteries, etc. without taking it off, bending over, and putting it back on.

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    1. Hey Bytesmiths,
      Thanks for adding your comment, especially your preference for using a waist pack in comparison to backpack and shoulder bag. I have friends who also actively use waistpacks, mainly for their quick access design and versatility.

      Indeed having smaller cameras now, moving into the world of mirrorless cameras, we can fit a lot more into camera bags, without sacrificing footprint and also weight. I have decided to squeezed in another lens, my favourite 45mm F1.8 into the camera bag, a last minute decision when I packed which was not shown in the video.

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  4. Got a Lowepro Passport Sling III few months ago and has became my trusty bag for street photography. Large enough to fit my OMD, an 8 inch tablet, and few other things. Plus, it doesn't look like a camera bag at all, which is excellent!

    To be honest, I once used that bag in a paid gigs (shooting night club) and surprisingly, it easily contains my 'Pro' setup:
    1. OMD EM1 + Battery grip
    2. M Zuiko Pro 12-40mm f/2.8 lens
    3. M Zuiko 25mm f/1.8 lens
    4. Olympus FL500 flash
    5. Olympus FL-LM2 flash
    6. Camera sling with extra battery in sling's the pocket
    7. Flash modifiers (diffuser)
    8. Extra memory cards (SD cards)
    9. Camera cleaning kits (lens pen and microfiber cloth)
    10. Water bottle

    And surprisingly, there is still a room to pack in a Panasonic Leica Nocticron by taking out the M Zuiko 25mm to release a bit more space (although I end up not bring that as the focal length was too long for night club shooting session)!

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    1. Sounds like you have packed a full system setup in that bag and that is impressive! Either the camera system is really small and portable, or that is a miracle bag that fits everything in it.

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  5. The Klettersacks look kind of nice - reminds me somewhat of the retro Vintage Condor that MacPac make, which is also a throwback to their earlier designs.

    I don't know whether you know this but I at least had no idea what 'kletter' meant, but figured it had to mean something. I googled for it (good old Google) and it is German for 'climbing' - so that was the pack's intended function, maybe.

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