Photokina 2018: hands-on with eight stylish new bags

29 Sep

Hands-on: New camera bags from Photokina 2018

Photokina 2018 was one heck of a year for new cameras and lens launches, but it also saw the launch of an impressive number of new camera backpacks and bags. We combed the tradeshow floor to get hands-on with some of the more stylish and technically sophisticated packs, from affordable to premium.

Shown above: the new Bristol DayPack 600+ from Cullman.

Hands-on: New camera bags from Photokina 2018

First up is Lowepro’s ProTactic AW II. As the name implies, this is the second iteration of the original ProTactic – version two adds more padding and better protection for your gear, plus more areas to attach stuff. The backpack comes in the larger 450-series, shown above and the smaller 350-series – the former fits a 15″ laptop, the later a 13″. The larger pack has room for two bodies and plenty of lenses, the smaller one should be able to also fit two bodies and a few lenses.

Both packs offer dual side access for gear, two quick straps on the front (with a ‘foot’ to carry a tripod), a waist strap with utility pouch, rain cover and a super comfortable back panel. The ProTactic line represents Lowepro’s most rugged, professional packs and as such, they don’t come at a cheap price. We’re told the 450-series will retail for about $ 270 and the 350-series $ 220.

Hands-on: New camera bags from Photokina 2018

Next up is ThinkTank’s new Retrospective V2.0 bags. Available in a total of six different sizes, these soft camera bags feature classic styling. They’re also coated in polyurethane to protect gear from the elements but ship with an additional rain cover just in case you find yourself in a torrential downpour.

But probably the coolest feature of these bags is the zippered opening under the main flap which offers protection from thieves and pickpockets. Prices vary by bag size, but the Retrospective 7 V2.0, shown above, retails for around $ 165. It fits a DSLR, several lenses and a 13″ laptop.

Hands-on: New camera bags from Photokina 2018

Cullman launched 4 new camera bag lines at Photokina including the stylish Bristol series shown here, which comes in both daypack and shoulder bag varieties. The daypack in particular caught our eye because of its classic look.

It features a side-zippered opening for quick access and an expandable top compartment. There’s also a padded laptop compartment and water bottle holder. This pack is obviously more geared to enthusiast and casual users rather than pros, but it seems as versatile for every day use as it is handsome. No word on pricing just yet.

Hands-on: New camera bags from Photokina 2018

Tamrac launched a new line of hip-looking shoulder packs in the Bushwhick series (yes, like in Brooklyn). They’re available in 3 sizes, with the Buswhick 6 – shown above – being the largest of them. It can hold an average sized DSLR/mirrorless camera with lens attached plus one additional lens and some accessories.

The exterior features metal buckles and weatherized coating to protect from the elements. There’s also a zippered compartment on front for other odds and ends. The Tamrac Bushwhick 6 retails for $ 150.

Hands-on: New camera bags from Photokina 2018

Compagnon is a relatively new bag brand. I hadn’t heard of them prior to Photokina because they are still working out US distribution, but you can find their packs sold by some US retailers. The Explorer pack, shown here, is a collaboration between Compagnon and backpack brand Deuter.

It offers an expandable roll-top section for personal items and a large lower section for camera gear with padded dividers. The bag features a side zipper for easy access, tripod straps, a water resistant construction and a padded back panel that looks extremely comfortable. It’s available in 16 L and 25 L – no word on pricing yet, but if other Compagnon packs are any indication, expect it to cost a pretty penny ($ 500+).

Hands-on: New camera bags from Photokina 2018

Peak Design just finished its Kickstarter campaign for the new 45L Travel backpack. We’ve previously seen a prototype of the bag, but this is the first time we’ve laid eyes on a retail-ready model and it looks very impressive.

The packs offer lots of features like a weatherproof nylon canvas shell, rugged bottom liner, luggage pass-through, rear and side access, laptop compartment, luggage handles and lots of organization pockets. It can also be expanded or contracted to fit 35L or 45L worth of stuff. The backpack is being sold alongside a line of smaller organizational ‘cubes,’ sold separately. The bag itself will be available sometime in November and retail for $ 300.

Hands-on: New camera bags from Photokina 2018

ONA makes some absolutely lovely shoulder bags. For Photokina, the company teamed up with Japan Camera Hunter to release a very limited addition bag called ONA x Japan Camera Hunter Bowery camera bag. Only 230 of which will be made, each with individual numbering on inside. The bag’s main feature is dedicated film pockets on the inside and elastic film holders on the bag strap.

You can read more about this collaborative bag here. And if you feel so inclined, you can pick one up for $ 200 on ONA’s Website.

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