No, I didn’t go hunting with Mr. Shakespeare. This is about going out and taking pictures with my Bard camera bag by F-stop.
It’s one thing to use a bag to carry stuff around with, but it’s something entirely different to go out in the field and use it as a tool. I’ve had a few opportunities to take my camera and lenses out with the Bard and go shooting, and here are my impressions so far.
First off, size. It’s bigger than you think. I’m glad I bought the Bard instead of the Maverick. I’m sure the Maverick is a great bag, but I would be hating life at the end of a day of walking around town carrying my gear in something that huge.
The Bard itself is pretty large, and since it has firm sides, it doesn’t really “squish” down a whole lot. So when I’m carrying it around, it’s a bit bulky and can get in the way. It takes a little getting used to.
The bag has a waist strap… which I didn’t use much. I just couldn’t get comfortable with it. I might be missing out, or maybe there’s a better aftermarket waist strap. Or maybe I’m just not optimally-sized to use it. I’m going to try it again when I go out taking pictures again. Maybe I’ll like it better over time. Maybe not.
The shoulder strap is okay. It’s a $99 bag, so I didn’t expect it to be perfect. The shoulder strap is a little on the thin side, and a little on the narrow side. I like my shoulder straps thick and squishy, especially if I carry my bag all day. I’ll probably look aftermarket.
Minor gripes aside, my Canon fits perfectly with the 17-55mm f2.8 attached, pointing down. All I had to do was yank it out and shoot. I left one lens bay open, and I could stuff a rain jacket in it. (Which was perfect, because it rained a lot in the mountains.) My monstrously-huge (and heavy) 80-200 f2.8L sat in the other bay.
As a travel bag, I managed to cram an incredible amount of junk in it. Since I was going by car, I could get away with it. I’m not sure I’d recommend that for airline travel, though. It won’t fit under the seat in front of you in economy, but it will fit in the overhead compartment. So if you’re going to take it on an airplane, that’s going to be your only option.
All-in-all, it’s a very nice bag if you’re looking for an affordable alternative to the Crumpler bags. It’s a great messenger-style bag that doesn’t yell “Look at me!” or “Steal me!” quite so much, but I still got looks when I yanked out my camera. I don’t think you can avoid that no matter what bag you use.