an athlete photographer's blog

Gear Review – Lowepro Photo Sport 200

Last night before bed, I spent some time researching telephoto lenses.  I have one picked out that sounds decent for someone like me, but I stopped in my tracks when I read about the “image stabilization” feature and the “glass element.”  I flashed back to the photography forum I first read berating the idea of running with your DSLR and about shaking your lens.  Maybe, if I get a telephoto lens, I shouldn’t run with it?  I laid in bed tossing it back and forth in my mind.  Finally, I decided I would write to Lowepro in the morning, outline my picture runner idea, and see what they said about it.

This morning I went to their site and looked up my bag, the Photo Sport 200 AW.  I watched their promotional video which includes a guy trail running-Check!  It was just the reassurance I needed.  And then the first sentence under the description reads:

Trail running and photography. Mountain biking and photography. Snowboarding and photography. Adventure sport athletes who like to go fast and light — but equally like to capture the moment — will enjoy the freedom and comfort of this pack.

Perfect!  I was fairly certain the bag would deliver and that my camera and lenses were safe, but I just needed the warm and fuzzy from Lowepro.  And after researching adventure photographers, it’s very clear there are people out there who have nicer, more expensive cameras and lenses than mine who are doing things far more dangerous than me.  But for now, Picture Running is my adventure sport.

The only other packs I’ve run with are a military issue rucksack, my large hiking pack, and my backpack.  So to be better than my previous experiences, the Photo Sport didn’t have far to climb.  However, from my amateur photographer status, the pack is Awesome.

Favorite features:

1. Ultra-Lightweight – It’s like carrying a feather on your back – even with the camera in it.  As a runner, this is a major selling point for me.  I still want to be fast.  I still want to train for races.  I can’t be hampered by a heavy, cumbersome pack.

2. Comfort – This is hand-in-hand with “Ultra-lightweight”, but I feel it is different.  Yes, the pack it light, but it also sits comfortably on my shoulders.  It doesn’t cause me any pain in the shoulders or back.  It doesn’t dig into my ribs.

3. Roomy – The pack boasts of an upper compartment of 13.9 liters of space for personal item.  I haven’t used this yet but I love that it is available to me.  How many times have I gone a run over dressed and had to tie a shirt around my waist or carry it in my hand?  No more.  I have somewhere to put it now.  Plus, if I want to bring a notebook, photography prop, or gels, I have space.

4.  Side straps – I don’t know what to call these.  They are sort of to the side of the waist belt.  Before I discovered them the bag was swaying from side to side on my back and I felt it wasn’t as secure as I would like.  Once I found these, the pack tighten to my back exactly as I wanted it.  It really compensates for the shoulder straps and chest straps being too big.

Sticky features:

1.  Shoulder and Chest Straps – As a somewhat petite person, both the shoulder and chest straps are at their shortest length and it is not as tight as I would like it to be.  I’m not sure how this will affect me as we move into the spring and summer.  I’ve been running in quite a few layers this week and the chest strap is just tight enough.  I would like to pull it a little more, but I’m at the smallest size it will go.

2.  Side Camera Access – Ok, I love the side camera access, but I need to keep using the pack to get my camera out with more finesse.  I feel like the bag slides off my shoulder and I’m not as quick at getting my camera out as I would like.  I think this is operator error more than anything else.

3.  Waist Strap Pockets – Originally I thought I would use one of these for my phone but they are too small.  And I thought I’d use it for the lens cap, but it doesn’t work for that because of how you access the camera (or at least not for me).  I have no idea what to put in these pockets other than Kleenex.

Honestly, this bag has really made the picture runner possible.  From my perspective, if you are planning on running with a DSLR, the pack is crucial.  The Lowepro Photo Sport protects my camera and doesn’t weigh me down.  Technically, it is probably a little to big for my frame, but I also think I’d be hard pressed to find one smaller.


PS.  Lowepro did not ask me to write this review.  I do not have any affiliation with their company.  I’m just one happy customer. 

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