This review of the Lowepro Classified Sling AW220 camera bag, was originally posted on Fatphotographer, I have updated it slightly and added some further information after a number of years of use.
Lowepro Classified Sling AW220 – Review
OK I’ll start off by telling you a little about my requirements for any camera bag; I have a Lowepro Vertex 300 AW, this is the bag that I use in the main for my wildlife photography work. I can carry lots of camera gear around with me, but it is a heavy bag. Especially when fully loaded. So for city work (usually wandering around the local woods with my young daughter, or sightseeing in large cities) a smaller more manageable bag is required. Step up the Lowepro Classified Sling 220 AW.
Designed to be carried over one shoulder I was a little sceptical of how I would find using this camera bag. I assumed I would find it slightly awkward when it came to weight distribution; and was unconvinced I would use the facility to swing the bag round to gain access to my camera gear; I’m pleased to say I was wrong.
Capacity: 1-2 pro DSLRs with 70-200mm f.2.8 lenses attached; 1-2 flashes; accessories; personal gear; up to a 15.4? widescreen laptop in front pocket
Size(Interior): 10.6W X 6.1D X 15H in./ 27 X 15.5 X 38 cm
Size(Exterior): 13W X 9.8D X 18.1H in./ 33 X 25 X 46 cm
Notebook Compartment Inner Dimensions: 11W X 1.4D X 17.5H in./ 28 X 3.5 X 44.5 cm
Top Compartment Inner Dimensions: 9.8W X 5.5D X 2H in./25 X 14 X 5 cm
Fortunately the Lowepro Classified Sling AW220 isn’t huge. This means I can’t carry every item of photographic equipment I own around with me at all times, but when fully loaded it meets the need of most situations (I’d advise its use mainly if you know what you need to carry, and know you will not need other items, I guess sensible packing is common sense to most).
But it is surprising large. With plenty of separators to split the bag into compartments (see fig 2); I usually carry, my Camera ready loaded with my 100 macro lens; a small flash unit; a nifty fifty; my binoculars; and (and this may shock some) my 400 mm f/5.6 prime lens. Which stands up neatly in one compartment (with the lens hood closed).
Ok I can’t shut this compartment but it is convenient to have this lens around sometimes. Oh and I often add a pack of baby wipes and a few nappies in for good measure.
As you can see the main compartment has plenty of room for many of your needs (there is often space for more gear as well). But even when fully loaded like this the weight is not too much, I have added my tripod on occasion, and it is still perfectly manageable. But I find it well balanced as well, with only one strap the weight is distributed across the body rather than hung from the shoulders and neck, which for me is quite comfortable (I have shoulder and back issues, which are hampered by poorly fitted rucksacks).
Beyond the large main cavity there are extra pockets dotted about, the front laptop pocket is a bonus if you wish to carry your laptop or notebook with you (I guess some people will use this, but it is not a function I, yet, have need for in the smaller bag) but the small inside pockets for memory cards make things easier to locate when in a rush. As with all Lowepro bags, these days, the built in waterproof cover is an excellent tool, especially in the unpredictable weather of the United Kingdom, neatly tucking into its own pocket it is both discreet and easily accessible.
The overall design is quite plain, but I do not see this as a bad thing, in matt black and without obvious bright indications that this is a camera bag, you could be forgiven for assuming this was a plain work bag, a design aspect that may make it less appealing to thieves (although I have no proof of this).
I would highly recommend this bag to anyone who is looking for a similar style (although deciding what your needs are and whether you feel this bag meets them is something you should thoroughly research first), it is comfortable, easy to access whilst not having to remove it from your body, and lightweight enough for a full days carrying.
I must say I don’t use this bag as often as I used to, I found it is actually quite a bulky bag (not compared to the Lowepro 300 AW) for light use and a little too ridged for what I wanted. The sling style is not the easiest to get used to It doesn’t help get the camera out of the bag much quicker than a rucksack would and in fact I usually ended up chucking the camera over my shoulder when I had this bag with me. I have recently purchased a 7 Dayshop messenger style bag for this style of light easy travel photography and it is a much better fit.
With my well documented back issues I found the way the bag is carried more comfortable in some ways than a traditional back pack (the weight is not through my spine as much), but also slightly more awkward to get used to and in the summer heat left me more sweaty than I would like (the sweat mark across my chest is not so pleasing!). I think you really need to try out a bag of this style prior to purchasing to see if it is something you personally can get along with.
Please feel free to leave me a comment, I really appreciate the interaction and will reply as soon as I can. I apologise for any issues with posting comments, but sometimes Google’s blogger platform plays up.