If you’ve plunked down upwards of two g’s for a really nice video camera you’re going to want a nice bag to store said bank account breaking piece of digital goodness. Alas not all bags are created equal; a bag was included in the package when I ordered my GL2 and I assumed the included bag would be adequate. In a classic example of “you get what you pay for” the bag was pure junk. Of course I had really paid for the camera so this was somewhat expected. Not only was the bag a bit on the junky side (think North Korean manufacturing quality level) the camera didn’t really fit into the bag. You had to move the viewfinder to the up position and kind of squish the thing in sideways. Unacceptable, so I began a hunt for the right camera bag. Forays to various discount stores proved fruitless, the GL2 was just too big for most bags. Finally I happened on the Compact AW DV from LowePro. This bag was designed with the GL series in mind, and the design carries the day.
When you first see the Compact AW DV it looks big but not particularly impressive. I was of the mind that this was just like a bag you find at Wal-Mart but a bit bigger. I realized my mistake when I hefted the thing out of the box; it had a much stiffer construction than your average camera bag. The real surprises start on closer inspection: First you’ll notice an abundance of pockets on the outside. You’ve got a breathable pocket on the top, two detachable/adjustable bags on either end, a very long pocket on the front, a zippered pocket on the back and straps for a tripod. I hate to go showmercial but… Wait there’s more! In the pocket on the back you’ll find a rain hood but the real fun starts when you poke around the front pocket. Quite possibly the most intricate camera bag pocket ever designed. Said pocket features a smallish zippered detachable bag made of nylon and mesh reinforced with laminate, a zippered reinforced storage area sewn into the outside edge of the pocket and a mini organizer type area next to the bag complete with padded pocket. Surprisingly there are no pockets on the bottom of the bag; instead you will find four hard rubber rails, a nice touch that keeps the bag from sliding.
Well enough about the outside, let’s get to the guts of the AW DV bag. The sides are very stiff, reinforced with some kind of high-density foam I suspect, nice for added protection. The inside top features another mesh/laminate pocket and the lower portion of the bag features a bonanza of Velcro. The soft good feeling Velcro lines most of the inside with the scratchy Velcro is found on the ends of the dividers. This allows repositioning for a customized setup. The stock configuration consists of three smallish compartments along the backside, a divider down the middle and yet another horizontal divider about halfway up. This gives five distinct compartments. The GL2 fits very snugly into the lower horizontal compartment leaving plenty of room for your other digital filming needs.
Most people rate the Canon GL series as a prosumer level camera and I think that the Compact AW DV compliments the camera very nicely. With plenty of room for microphones, filters, lens cleaners, light meters, batteries, tapes and a light lunch the DW AV makes traveling with your GL2 a breeze. It is difficult to adequately describe the AW DV in a few hundred words so be sure to check out the accompanying video where we put the bag through the MyMac torture test. Tests include dropping a ten-pound barbell, a water test and comparisons to other camera bags. All in all I find the LowePro Compact AW DV tot be an excellent camera bag worthy of housing a Canon GL2 and leaps above the average camera bag you’ll find laying around in the local discount store. Probably not the kind of investment one would make for a low end camcorder but if you’ve parted with significant scratch for your camcorder the protection and convenience afforded by the AW DV is worth every penny.
MyMac Rating: 3 out of 5
Pros: Massive storage, sturdy construction
Cons: Too big/expensive for cheap camcorders