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Bagging it with Crumpler (2004 models)

Once you get past the strange aborigine logo, the painfully ugly catalog models, and the largely incomprehensible catalog descriptions, Crumpler bags are actually pretty good ways to carry your gear around. These are my notes on the 2004 line

Product Line Notes

Quality. Crumpler bags have very nice, high quality stitching and almost perfect finishing. I guess when you make your products in a place like Vietnam, you can put a lot of labor into them.

Size/Capacity. Crumpler bags are never as big as they look (or are dimensioned) in the catalog. The catalog always shows the bags superimposed over a 5’7, 100 lb model. This makes every bag look absolutely huge. The dimensions are in centimeters, and you have to subtract a considerable amount for the padding. See my notes below for some indications of capacity. I would strongly recommend staying away from anything classified as “small” in the catalog.\

Accessibility. The only really accessible pocket (at least on the fly) is the main compartment. Most of the bags have a flap-over main closure. While this is great for keeping out water, it usually covers the “Hidden Chamber of Secrets” lower compartment closure – meaning that it is two steps to get anything out of the lower compartment. Although this is normally a minus, if you travel in high-risk areas, it makes the bag a little safer.

Asymmetry. Like most consumer products, these are designed for right-handed people. The typical bag is designed to sling over your left shoulder across your chest, making the bag accessible to your right hand. If you attach the third-leg strap (which passes under your left arm), the bag actually rests on your back. This is a plus when you are biking, hiking or doing any activity that does not require you to access your camera. You cannot casually sling the bag on your right shoulder and let it hang down on the right side (or vice-versa) – the strap will not lie flat (because it has no pivots where it connects to the bag).

Typical Size/Capacity.  These are some typical size/capacity combinations. The product line changes from year to year, but the size classifications should give you some idea of what they can hold.

Snauros (“small”)

This is a small, cute bag that holds virtually nothing. But it’s pretty good looking (for a girl).

Top compartment: small camera plus a very small flash. This means (1) a Leica with a 35mm lens or (2) a Hexar AF, a digital p/s camera or (3) a small SLR like a Konica T4 or a Minolta XG-M with 50mm lens.

Hidden chamber of secrets: two rolls of film in loops or an Ipod in the flap pocket.

Tall-ee (medium, “tall”)

This is a midsize that has a vertical form factor. This is probably the best price-performance point. I am not going to go into the various other pockets, but suffice to say, in addition to the examples listed here, its various internal mesh and loop pockets can swallow a good number of AA batteries, lithiums, compact flash cards, lens pens, filters, etc.

Top compartment:

Fuji GSW690III and a Hexar AF (carefully); or

Konica Hexar RF rangefinder camera with one lens mounted, three additional lenses, and HX-18W flash (each in its own partition); or

Kodak DCS Pro 14n digital SLR with 17-35mm or 28-70mm f/2.8D AF-S Nikkor; or

Nikon F5 SLR with 28mm f/1.4D and 105mm f/2D AF-DC Nikkor (one lens in a soft case; camera and mounted lens barrel resting on soft case); or

Rolleiflex 3.5MX, Minolta Autocord or similar twin-lens camera with every accessory ever made.

Hidden Chamber:

SB-28DX flash; or

30 rolls of 120 film (out of its boxes); or

Fuji GA645 camera (closed, of course); or

Konica Hexar AF.

Hidden Chamber Loops (on the flap that closes the Hidden Chamber): Four rolls of 35mm film; or 8 Kodak DCS batteries

December Quarter (“obese”)

This one is man-sized and clearly designed for big SLR or digital photography – or moving $100 million in cash to your company’s new “office” in the Cayman Islands. I can’t think of many things that wouldn’t fit in a bag like this. You might even be able to fit a small dog into it.

Laptop sleeve (permanent, part of main compartment):

The biggest laptop Donald Trump could afford.

Main compartment (runs all the way to the bottom of the bag):

Nikon F5 (or Kodak 14n), 17-35/2.8 AFS (any orientation you want), 28-70/2.8 AFS (vertically), and 80-200/2.8D (2-ring) (vertically).

Basically, it can be any full-size SLR with big lenses.

Front Pockets (run entire height; zip shut):

Two SB-28DXs flashes, SU-4 TTL slave, SC-19 TTL connector, and two mini tripods; or One SB-28DX and eight Kodak DCS batteries