I picked up a new camera case backpack on the weekend. I'd been using a small LowePro Rezo TLZ 10, which was handy for carrying the XT with the kit lens, and a spare battery. But that was it. And Janice kept calling it my "purse". It felt like a purse, too. I wound up using it most of the time without the strap, just to protect my camera when stuffing it inside my backpack. I bought the Canon Gadget Bag with the camera, which is a nice storage and transport case, but not really something you want to lug around for long.

I'd been looking for something that would be better for every day use, and for travelling. At first, I was looking at camera + laptop backpacks, which would be good, but if I'm not needing the laptop, I still need to lug around the extra case for it. So I settled on the LowePro SlingShot 200 AW. It's a mid-size backpack case with room for a DSLR (with 300mm lens attached) and up to 4 other lenses (up to 300mm) plus extra room for other gear. I was interested in the 200 AW for a few reasons: the size, the easy side access, and the all weather cover (which folds neatly into a storage flap in the bottom). The case is amazingly well designed. LowePro put a lot of thought into how the thing would actually be used. There's a scratch prevention cloth attached to the inside, where the LCD goes, to protect it. There are zipper stops to prevent the whole thing from opening up when grabbing the camera quickly. There's the media/battery storage pouch in the easy-access side flap, and more in the back. The stabilizing cross strap unsnaps and tucks out of the way when not needed, as does the all weather cover. Of course, the internal compartment is configurable through the use of velcro panels (want room for 2 DSLRs? Sure. A DSLR and a video camera? OK. DSLR and GPS and some lenses? Why not?)


The side access door is really handy.  I just have to slide the bag a bit on my shoulder, and I've got quick access to everything without having to stop and take the backpack off. I've been making myself carry this case as well as my laptop backpack all week - it's actually not too bad. The Slingshot also has room for me to slide my notebook in, so I've been taking it to meetings as well (leaving the laptop on my desk). You never know when something interesting will present itself (like the old memory core I was looking at while waiting for a meeting in IT).

On the up side, I've apparently graduated up from carrying a "purse". King referred to the new backpack case as my "Jack Bauer Man Purse" the other day. Hey, Jack Bauer's cool, right? So that's a good thing, right?