Review – SlingShot 202 AW

On August 5, 2010, in Review, by Mark Rudd

SlingShot 202 AW
Company: Lowepro
Price: $109.99

The Lowepro SlingShot has been a favorite of photographers since its launch. Since then, Lowepro has been busy listening to its customers and refining this popular sling-styled camera bag. The result of this collaboration is the SlinShot 202 AW. Read on to discover if the redesign was a success.

DESIGN
While the previous version of the SlingShot, the SlingShot 200 AW was very popular with photographers, there were a few areas where Lowepro could make this product even better. Having used the SlingShot 200 AW, my list of needed improvements included: additional space for personal items, improved organization, and the ability to add a tripod.

It seems as if Lowepro was indeed listening to my and other photographers suggestions. This new version of the SlingShot includes these improvements and more. As a highly mobile and very comfortable sling bag designed for the photojournalist on the go, this newest version of the SlingShot 2XX AW builds upon the great reputation of the product line. Here is what Lowepro had to say about their new SlingShot, “Our newest, fast-access SlingShot AW series builds on the inventive design of the original and incorporates what many photographers are looking for: faster access, extra space for personal items, improved organization, and the ability to add a tripod. The SlingShot 202 AW offers more volume in the upper compartment for extra accessories or personal items. A Hideaway Tripod Mount™ system with foldout holder and quick-release buckle secures a compact tripod to the side. The same inventive design, letting you quickly rotate to the front to access, remains a tried and true feature of this customer favorite. Also includes: a patented All Weather AW Cover™; 3 SlipLock™ attachment loops; built-in microfiber cleaning cloth; dedicated memory card pockets; and easy-glide zippers; plus a fully padded main camera compartment with an updated divider system to accommodate the most popular DSLR models.” Jump to the product page for additional details and specs.

USABITY
Having used Lowepro products for many years, I have developed a system for transporting my gear to a normal booking. A larger roller styled backpack like the Lowepro Pro Runner x450 AW for the main portion of my gear, and a smaller backpack like the Lowepro Pro Runner 200 AW for the few items I would need with me when away from my vehicle. This system generally works great for a normal booking where I need a significant amount of gear for different types of photography scenarios.

However, there are those photo expeditions where I am shooting for stock photography purposes or just for the love of the art form. During these expeditions, I need a camera bag that is lightweight, comfortable, and allows quick and easy access to my gear. Because I could be shooting in inclement weather, the bag needs to be capable of protecting my expensive gear from the elements. Additionally, there may be a shot where I need to use a tripod, so I need to be able to easily mount a portable tripod on this lightweight and comfortable bag. I thought I had found the answer in the Lowepro SlingShot 200 AW. It was almost there. Needing a few refinements, the great designers at Lowepro were almost there with this initial design.

Enter the Lowepro SlingShot 202 AW. Having received the review unit from Lowepro, I proceeded to take the bag on a photo expedition to the Central Coast of California. This new SlingShot allowed me to better organize my gear and personal items with the new organizing features found on the inside and outside of the top compartment. The other issue I had with the previous version was the lack of a tripod holder. The SlingShot 202 AW was up to this challenge as well. Having loaded my gear into the bag, I was off to the water for some fun!

Walking the coast, you must be able to quickly access your gear for that image that suddenly presents itself. Also, you need to be able to quickly restore your expensive gear when not in use. The ocean water is corrosive and destructive to most things, especially sensitive electronics. This is where the SlingShot design shines brightly among the competition. The side access pocket is designed to allow you to quickly slide the bag around your shoulder remove your camera and restore the bag back into its resting place. This quick access system worked flawlessly.

An additional refinement to the 202 is the placement of the built in microfiber cloth to provide additional protection and cleaning capabilities. In the 200 AW, the cloth was located at the bottom and center of the side access opening. This position could cause the cloth to get in the way when trying to remove or restore your camera. By attaching the cloth to the left of the opening, it is no longer an obstacle. However, placing the cloth on the left moves the cloth quite a distance from the camera and the LCD screen it is attempting to protect (more on this later).

The camera compartment is, as with the 200 AW, roomy and highly configurable. I was able to carry a Canon 5D2, 24 – 105mm f4L lens (attached), a 50mm 1.4 lens, lens hoods, batteries, a charger, a wireless transmitter and receiver, a 270EX Speedlite (as a fill flash), CF cards, a card reader, and the supporting cables etc. This is a great deal of equipment to fit in such a compact and lightweight bag.

Lastly, unlike with the 200 AW, I was able to bring along a tripod on the expedition for those long exposures, time-lapse shots, and maybe a few HDR snaps. This was a big deal! In fact, this feature alone will, IMO, solidify the success of this product. Nicely done, Lowepro!

MAKING A GREAT PRODUCT EVEN BETTER
One area I would like to see Lowepro change is the placement or length of the microfiber cloth. With it currently located on the left side wall of the camera compartment, the cloth barely stretches to cover the back of the camera body/LCD screen. This issue could be resolved by either relocating the cloth to the right side wall of the compartment, or by lengthening the cloth.

Adding a rear vertical compartment for an iPad would really bring this great product crashing into a must have camera accessory for those photographers living on the razor’s edge of technology. Adding a side entry vertical compartment between the back padding and the camera compartment would add very little to the bulk of the bag and the addition to the footprint would be negligible. With the ability to connect DSLRs to the iPad via Apple’s Camera Connection Kit, the iPad has become an ideal way to view (and soon through the introduction of many photo editing Apps) and edit images in the field. Having one bag that can safely and comfortably transport all this gear will no doubt be very successful in the marketplace.

MyMac.com Review Rating:
The Lowepro SlingShot 202 AW has been redesigned and updated to become a great expeditionary styled camera bag. If you need a lightweight and comfortable bag that allows quick and easy access to your camera gear, I can highly recommend this fine product from the leaders in camera carrying systems. I am awarding the SlingShot 202 AW the excellent rating of 8 out of 10 in our MyMac.com Rating System.

2 Responses to Review – SlingShot 202 AW

  1. artie alinikoff says:

    Mark, I wonder why Lowepro didn’t think to put a water bottle holder on their packs. Any thoughts on that?

  2. Mark Rudd says:

    Hey Artie:

    Lowepro does add mesh to the outside of some of the larger Fastpack products. It may be more of a space limitation on the outside of the SlingShot.

    Great to hear from you.

    Cheers

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