Gear Guy

Does anyone make backpack-style camera bags?

Not yet having gone digital, I have a standard 35mm camera with extra lenses, a detachable flash, and the requisite rolls of film and cleaning cloths. So, I'm looking for a backpack-style camera case with plenty separate compartments and padding. Ideally, it'll be sling-style, with small compartments on the front for ease in changing films, lenses, and so forth. I've already checked the local stores and a few large Internet sites, but they seem to make bags only for digital cameras now. Any suggestions? Sarah Tulsa, Oklahoma

A: Oh, I think we can find something for you. Digital cameras are becoming ubiquitous, but they don't rule the worldByet.

Lowepro continues to make a comprehensive line of camera bags for film-based photography. For several years now I've been using their Mini Trekker backpack-style camera bag ($140;, and I think it's terrific. It can hold one or two 35mm SLR bodies, four or five lenses of various focal lengths, a flash, and the other requisite camera gear. In mine, for instance, I carry a Canon A2E, a 90-200mm f/2.8 zoom, two wide-angles, a short telephoto lens, and a large Vivitar flash. A beavertail-style pouch on the back of this pack helps hold a tripod, and an exterior pocket allows me to organize spare film, batteries, cleaning supplies, and so on. It carries comfortably and protects my gear well. Plus, it looks nice and doesn't yell, "Expensive cameras inside—steal me!" like some bags can.

And, if that's too much bag, check out the Micro Trekker ($60), which can hold an SLR body, 80-200mm zoom, a few other lenses, and extras. Its side and front pockets hold extras, and a small tripod can be strapped on. It's a compact and efficient item.

It won't be too long before digital SLRs are affordable, at which time all your new gear will still fit nicely into either the Mini or Micro Trekker. Happy shooting!

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