Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Nikon Standard Bag II Review

I just bought myself a new day-to-day bag for my kit, as the old one is wearing out.  A little research showed that there seems to be a bit of a gap in the market between the 'one body - one lens' type bags and the full blown backpacks that will take pretty much all your kit.  I have one of those already, but I tend to cram so much in that it gets a bit on the weighty side.  So I was looking for a bag that would take a body, 2 or 3 lenses, speedlight, and have a few pockets for bits and bobs.  There are a few 'fashionable' bags that may have done the trick, but I really wanted function over fashion.  I found the Nikon Standard Bag II which looked like it would fit my needs, and went for it.

The internal measurements, as specified, are 300mm x 180mm x 130mm (W x H x D), but what does this mean in terms of kit that'll fit?

Admittedly, my D3000 body is quite compact if compared with something like a D4, but the way I have arranged the bag is thus... divided roughly into thirds across its width.  On the left, the D3000 will lay on its back with any of my 3 lenses already fitted (the longest of these being the 55-200 f/4-5.6 - attached in the picture) and the lid will still close easily.  In the middle section, I created 2 small pockets with the velcro dividers (plenty of those provided), in which both my remaining lenses (18-55 f/3.5-5.6 and 50mm f/1.8 AF) will fit, with easily enough headroom to put my extension tubes in a neoprene sleeve (actually a stubby holder) across the top of them (not shown).  In the rightmost section, I created three slots from front to back, which hold one speedlight, the charger for the camera battery, and my little P&S camera with its charger too.

The lid contains a zipped net/mesh pocket, in which I have the camera remote, a spare memory card,and a lens cloth stashed away.

Pockets on either end of the bag are an ideal size for either a couple of filters each, or in my case, I have put a pair of Cactus v5 radio triggers in them (one in each end).  These pockets have velcro secured flaps, rather than zips.

There is a full width zipped pocket across the front, which has another zipped net/mesh pocket inside the front flap, and various open pockets sewn into the back (i.e. the body of the bag itself).  Two of those pockets are again nicely sized for single filters, but the rest look like they were designed for pens.  I seldom carry a pen in my camera case, in case it breaks and everything gets covered in gooey biro ink - so these pockets aren't much use to me just yet - I may think of a use for them though.

As if that weren't enough pockets, finally, there is another pocket across the back of the bag, though this is only really any good for slipping in a couple of sheets of paper or something very flat and flexible (I could fit, but wouldn't trust my iPhone in it for example).  It may become more practical as the bag loosens up but at the moment it is pretty tight once you get any amount of kit in the main body of the bag.

The lid fastens over the top and is secured by a couple of clips.  The overlap is sufficient that light rain and wind-borne dust would probably be kept out, but I don't think the bag is intended to be fully 'weather-proof'.  There is a comfortable handle (2 canvas type handle straps that are held together by a padded handle), as well as the usual detachable shoulder strap with a sliding padded section.

My only disappointment so far is that the bag has a couple of straps supposedly intended to sling your tripod off the bottom front.  These straps don't have any quick release clips, so anything you attach has to slide through them, and they are pretty short.  They are certainly too short to go around even my fairly modest Slik F740, so I am wondering just what kind of tripod they were designed to cater for.

Maybe, they are meant for an umbrella (and I don't mean the kind you'd use on a studio strobe).

So - I've managed to cram quite a lot of kit into my new bag... camera with all my lenses, my extension tubes, and a speedlight complete with radio triggers.  This should give me plenty of options to try out different things while out on photowalks now, and still keep things tidy - as long as it isn't too heavy.

Till next time
Happy Snappin'