I’ll be honest — I have a ton of camera bags. All different sizes for all different purposes. I’ve got three shoulder bags, three backpacks and one roller bag.
But recently, one bag fit the bill so much that I was able to cut the amount of bags I use in half!
The Vanguard Alta Access 33X is my new event photography bag. I received it as a review unit, and was happy to see it fit all my lenses, my Nissin speedlight, MagMod MagBounce and both of my Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mark II camera bodies. And while it does a great job of holding all my bigger gear, it also holds all of my smaller accessories, too.
Appearance and storage
The bag has a black exterior, with a yellow-orange interior. The bright interior makes it easy to locate dark lenses no matter what the lighting situation might be like. The main compartment is divided up into four different large compartments, which can then be customized to have additional dividers (for a total of eight slots).
There’s also a laptop sleeve, memory card pocket and a smaller pocket (which has a zippered compartment inside) to hold batteries, extra memory cards, etc.
On the outside, there’s an additional compartment that’s velcroed to the top of the bag. Lift that up to find a business card holder as well as another zippered pocket. Then there are two side pockets, one of which can attach a padded pouch which can hold a speedlight or other accessory.
The top of the bag also has a full-length zipper to open it up to hold a camera with a telephoto lens on it. The outer straps can also be expanded to hold something like a small travel tripod, or even a jacket. Needless to say, there’s a ton of storage here, in a rather small footprint.
What I love about the inside is that it’s very well padded and that the main compartment is completely customizable. For me, I wanted everything on the inside of my bag, so I removed some of the dividers so there were a total of six slots. I put my flash and MagMod on one side, with my lenses on the inside. My camera body (with a 12-40mm f/2.8 lens attached) rests on one of the slots.
When necessary, I can include a second body in the bag without a problem too — even with a lens attached to it. Needless to say, the bag is perfect for those with a small-to-medium sized DSLR setup, or with a mirrorless setup and several lenses.
In addition to all the storage and configuration options I mentioned, the bag comes with a mesh pocket that you can use as you wish for additional storage. It’d be great for a Platypod, tripod head, allen wrenches, etc. It doesn’t attach to anywhere in particular — think of it like an extra storage pocket that you can throw around the bag to keep your accessories in safe keeping.
And for you photographers that shoot for the press — it even comes with its own press badge, which can be velcroed on the top of the bag.
All in all, the Vanguard Alta Access 33X ($129.99) is a great bag for what I need on a daily basis. I take it with me to almost every event, and only bring out my backpack if I’m on the street, or my roller bag if I’m dealing with lots more gear. If you need more space, there’s also a 38X version ($159.99), and if you want something smaller, there’s a 28X version ($109.99) too.