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Review – LowePro FastPack350

June 23, 2010 Leave a comment

After my review of the FlipSide 300, the folks at LowePro sent me the FastPack 350.

The FastPack 350 is a bit larger and has some extra storage space. It also has room for a 17 inch laptop. You might recall that in my review of the ProRunner 450AW, I had a difficult time fitting my laptop in. This was not the case with the FastPack 350. My laptop fit in much easier.

The FastPack 350 is set up a little differently than most camera bags I have used before. Your camera equipment goes in the bottom of the bag, and that section opens to the side instead of from the top. Inside this area, you can store a DSLR with with a 70-200mm lens attached, along with 2 or 3 extra lenses and a flash. There are also two velcro pockets that can hold memory cards.

Along the side of the bag, you will find a long zipper that opens to provide storage for up to a 17 inch laptop. As I mentioned earlier, my HP 17 inch laptop fit in there with no problem at all.

The top portion of the bag opens to reveal a rather large storage area. Inside that storage area, there is a removable zippered pouch that will hold any extras you may be carrying with you. The storage compartment also has two velcro pockets that are great for holding extra batteries and remotes. Along with these pockets, there are pen holders, a mesh pouch and a clip for your keys. On the outside of this compartment, there is a zippered pocket that leads to even more storage space. This bag has quite a bit of room!

Just like the other bags I have tested for LowePro this bag has ample padding on the shoulder and waist straps, as well as the back area. When I was wearing this bag, it was comfortable and did not feel like it was too heavy. I even took it on the motorcycle one day just to try it out. It worked just fine on the bike, although I did not have my laptop in tow.

Specifications and Description from LowePro’s site;

Capacity:

1 pro digital SLR with lens attached (up to 70-200mm f/2.8), 2-3 additional lenses or flash units, 17″ widescreen notebook, memory cards, batteries and cables

Size(Interior):
11W X 6.1D X 10.6H in./
28 X 15.5 X 27 cm

Size(Exterior):
12.4W X 9.6D X 19.3H in./
31.5 X 24.5 X 49 cm

Notebook Compartment Inner Dimensions:
11W X 1.5D X 18.9H in./
28 X 3.75 X 48 cm

Weight:
4.08lbs/1.85kg

Go all day with the lightweight, comfortable Fastpack 350 backpack. It protects your pro digital SLR and 17″ widescreen notebook compactly while providing generous storage for other gear. Side-entry compartments let you quickly grab equipment and accessories, even while you’re on the move. Customize the easy-to-access main compartment with adjustable dividers. A comfortable mesh waistbelt, and an adjustable sternum strap, help distribute weight evenly. To help you make the most of this Lowepro bag take a look at our new product video.

Price: $149.99

Colors: Black, Arctic Blue/Black, Red/Black

Pros

Fits laptops up to 17 inches
Extra storage space
Heavy padding for comfortable use
Mesh side pocket for carrying water

Cons

No All Weather cover

This has been yet another great bag from Lowepro. I really enjoy testing them, as they make a great quality bag. See ya soon!

*Images courtesy of LowePro

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Gary Fong – “The Puffer”

February 1, 2010 Leave a comment
Fong "Puffer"

Fong "Puffer"

A while back, my Speedlight decided to stop working.  As you all know, the pop up flash on your camera can be pretty harsh, so I needed to find something that could replace the speedlight without the couple hundred dollar price tag.  I did without for a while, but the results were not good.  Harsh shadows behind people and flash glare ruined a lot of my shots.

I remembered that I had seen a vendor at the 2008 PhotoPlus Expo in NYC.  They had some funky looking diffusers, but the lines were pretty long, so I moved on.  I went into my local Ritz store to grab something quickly one day and I saw “The Puffer” on the shelf.  After a few questions, I decided to pick one up. Heck, it was only $20, so if it wasn’t great, I hadn’t lost much.  When I got it home I opened up the package and pulled out two pieces.

The two pieces were made entirely of plastic, and at first I was a little worried about snapping them when putting the device together or mounting it to the camera.  The base is a formed plastic piece that will slide into the hot shoe.  It has two small round dowels that slide into one of the eight holes on each side of the diffuser.  The diffuser looks like a portion of a golf ball, with tons of dimples in it to diffuse the light.  The back has 8 holes to raise or lower the diffuser depending on where you need more or less light.  It is a little tight going into the hot shoe, but once it, it is very secure.  It also seems to work pretty well.

Rear View

Rear View

Puffer Front

Puffer Front

I also took some shots of the unit on my Nikon D70.  The pics were taken with a little point and shoot, so they aren’t great.  I took shots of the top and back to show what it looks like when mounted.

Rear Mounted

Rear Mounted

Side View

Side View

As you can see in the bottom picture, the diffuser was set on the second hole from the top.  I would normally use it just below the middle hole to be aligned correctly with the on board flash.  Here are four shots I took.  Two were taken with the Puffer and two were taken without.  Sorry for the food products, as they were handy, so I used them.

When I shot these photos, I did not change the settings on the camera.  The only difference was whether the Puffer was on or off the camera.  You can see a huge difference in the brightness and colors in both pictures that the flash was used on.

I would have to say that the Gary Fong “Puffer” is definitely worth the money.  I have used it in a few situations and it seems to do the job a lot better than the on board flash would do.

Without the Puffer

Without the Puffer

With the Puffer

With the Puffer

Without the Puffer

Without the Puffer

With the Puffer

With the Puffer