With lots of clever features, and great ergonomics, Case Logic pulls a surprise winner out of the hat. When you're thinking camera bags, Case Logic may not be the first brand that pops to mind, but my recent experiences with one of their very reasonably-priced photo backpacks might just be enough to change your mind.
The not-really-that-creatively-named SLRC-206-BLACK is a good-looking bag that has a load of features I haven't seen on any camera bags in the past. For one thing, their 'SLR Suspension' system is incredibly clever: There are two straps of velcro that stop the zippers from opening beyond a certain point. If you open the bag like that, only the top part of the main compartment is available, and it has a clever 'suspension system' which enables you to put your camera away and grab it again in a matter of seconds. The main compartment of the backpack also has oodles of re-configurable space for lenses and other accessories. As you might expect, the bag also has several front- and side pockets for keeping filters, lens caps, and any other equipment you may be lugging around.
At the side of the bag, it has a couple of incredibly sturdy nylon straps for strapping down a tripod or similar. These are the biggest and most flexible I've ever seen on a camera bag, too - an absolute winner.
At the back, there's a large laptop pocket that should fit most laptops - and best of all, it's secured with zippers that make me confident of its water-resistance prowess.
The final cleverness is the bottom of the bag - CaseLogic decided to envelope the bottom in a sturdy rubberised plastic, resulting in a base that is rock solid (even when loaded with only a heavy camera, it wouldn't topple over), and water-proof. Perfect for photographers on the go.
So is it all heaven and butterflies? Well, no. Personally, I'd have wished they had attached the shoulder straps to the other side of the zips, so you'd have to move the straps aside to access the laptop compartment. As it stands, the entire weight of your camera rests on a zip that is perhaps a little bit too good, so on one occasion it zipped itself open. Because the straps are attached to the 'loose' side, it means that if the zip opens, the entire laptop compartment is pulled open by the weight of your cameras and lenses, leaving it a big gaping rain-trap, with your laptop reaching for the heavens. It's a minor niggle, of course, but I was surprised that Case Logic had missed such a simple thing, when they were so incredibly careful with the design of the rest of the bag.
Anyway; As I mentioned in the beginning of the article, if there's one thing I've learned from this review, it's that Case Logic is worth a closer look; They have an extensive range range of camera bags and camera cases, and if the build quality (and price tag!) of this one is anything to go by, they may well be a force to be reckoned with.