Some camera bags are huge and carry everything a photographer needs. Other camera bags are small and are catered to those who like to travel light. Then there are some that masquerade as camera bags but they’re more about lifestyle with a hint of catering to a photographer’s needs. Enter the Lowepro PhotoSport III.
I’ve had the Lowepro PhotoSport BP 24L AW III in my possession for a couple of weeks now. The Lowepro PhotoSport III has some traits I truly admire. However, there’s no doubt in my mind that this bag falls between the last two categories listed above. Still, this isn’t bad. In fact, this bag might be what some of you are looking for. So, let’s take a closer look.
- It’s a good looking bag
- Hydration bladder compatible
- Made from 75% recycled materials. Kudos!
- A large main storage compartment
- Side access
- Removable camera storage that can be worn on the bag’s side belt
- Comfortable straps
- Holds up well in the rain
- Limited storage space for cameras and lenses
- It’s complicated and takes a while to figure everything out
Lowepro PhotoSport III — Technical specifications
All of the technical specifications below have been taken from the product page on B&H Photo:
- Made with 75% recycled materials
- Removable insert and strap system
- Top and quick side access
- 3L hydration bladder sleeve compatible
- Holds CSC camera w/lens, 1-2 lenses
- Exterior pockets and attachment points
- Maximum volume: 6.3 gal / 24 L
- Dimensions exterior: 19.7 x 10.6 x 8.7″ / 50 x 27 x 22 cm
- Dimensions interior: 18.9 x 10.2 x 5.1″ / 48 x 26 x 13 cm
Lowepro PhotoSport III — Ergonomics and build quality
The Lowepro PhotoSport III is a well-designed bag. It comes in two color combos — grey, black and orange, as well as blue, gray and black. Both look great. Amazingly, the Lowepro PhotoSport III is made from 75% recycled materials, though you’d never know this by looking at and holding the bag.
The PhotoSport III feels fantastic in the hand, and it has proved itself to me in regards to durability. I haven’t been easy on it and I’ve had it out in the rain. It stood up to the elements well. It also comes with a separate weatherproof cover that’s housed in a hidden compartment at the bottom of the bag for when the going really gets tough.
The Lowepro PhotoSport III isn’t overly large. It has exterior dimensions of 9.7-by-10.6-by-8.7 inches and it weighs just 3.3 lbs (1.49 kg). The bag has one large main compartment that can house a camera module and other items.
The camera module can be accessed via a side panel. The camera module can also be removed and worn outside the bag. There’s one expandable exterior side pocket, and all the straps are of high quality. The zippers and their pulleys also feel great and operate smoothly. In terms of ergonomics and build quality, Lowepro has done a great job with the PhotoSport III.
Lowepro PhotoSport III — Out in the field
The Lowpro Photosport III felt great when in use. I’m a big guy, — 6 feet 1 inch, and 250+ lbs., and the bag fits well. The adjustable waist and sternum straps helped keep the bag in place. The air cooling mesh back adds another layer of comfort. I never felt hot, nor did I sweat too much while wearing the Photosport III. The shoulder straps don’t look very thick, but they provide plenty of comfort.
One feature I absolutely adore is the pouch that can hold a 3-liter hydration bladder (bladder not included, but I use this one). The hose from the hydration bladder is easy to route and is held in place with a Velcro tab.
The side pocket can hold another small water bottle or a small travel tripod. There’s an expandable pouch on the front of the bag too that can hold a folded-up lightweight jacket. The external pockets, including the one on the belt, on the top lid, and the side access panel are easy to get to and operate. You’ll have no problems when it comes to comfort and accessibility with the Lowepro PhotoSport III.
What camera gear can it hold?
I used the Lowepro PhotoSport III with the Panasonic Lumix S5. The S5 fits with one zoom (Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 DG DN Art) or with one smaller prime attached. Still, that was it. There was no space for other lenses. If you shoot with full-frame cameras and like having other lens options on your person, you’ll need to look for a different bag.
So, what will the Lowepro PhotoSport III work well with? CSC or Compact System Cameras will be fine. Think along the lines of small APS-C and micro four-thirds camera systems. I was able to fit my small APS-C Pentax K-S2 with an 18-135mm zoom and a 135mm f/2.8 prime in the camera insert.
Olympus’ E-M10, E-M5 or an E-M1 series camera would be fine with one small lens attached and one or two more small primes. Sony’s a6000 series cameras and a couple of small primes will work. The Fujifilm X-T4, X-Pro 3 and Canon M series cameras will fit, too.
Still, the take-away here is that this is a bag for photographers who only need space for one small camera and one, maybe two extra lenses at a push. If you need more than that, look elsewhere.
There’s room for everything else
The main compartment of the bag is quite spacious. Once the top flap is opened, you’ll find that the main compartment is opened and closed via drawstrings. Inside, there’s enough room for a hoodie, spare T-shirt and snacks. You could put extra lenses or cameras in here if you wanted, though they won’t be protected. I used it to store a camera cleaning kit, a journal and a spare shirt.
Inside the main compartment, there’s a small pouch that can hold memory cards, spare batteries, and other small accessories. There’s even a chain that you can attach your keys to so they won’t go missing. Beneath the pouch, you’ll find two mesh pockets. These pockets can hold documents, like your passport for instance. The Lowepro PhotoSport III can hold a lot of general-purpose items.
Lots of versatility — The strap kit and camera insert
The Lowepro PhotoSport III is a very versatile bag thanks to the camera pouch and the strap kit. You can remove the camera pouch and you can wear it as a separate shoulder bag. You can attach it to the anchor points on the shoulder straps, or you can attach it to the waist belt.
If you do any of these things, you’ll have more room for clothes, food, snacks, even shoes in the main compartment. You can even use the strap kit as a camera strap if you’d like. All of these options give you ways to get to your gear quickly and efficiently. This level of versatility is really what makes the Lowepro PhotoSport III stand out.
The only bad thing is the amount of time it takes to figure out where all of the attachment points are and how to use the straps. I ended up watching a LowePro video to figure it out. A UI isn’t great if you have to describe it in a lot of detail. Still, once you figure it out, you’ll love the versatility the PhotoSport III offers.
Who is the Lowepro PhotoSport III for?
If you’re a serious hiker or outdoors person who uses smaller APS-C or micro four-thirds cameras, the Lowepro PhotoSport III will be great for you. Especially if you only use one or two small lenses all the time. Being able to store a hydration bladder is a Godsend, and there’s ample storage room for accessories, snacks or a change of clothes.
The PhotoSport III is durable, and it looks great too. It’s not exactly cheap at just under $230, but the Lowepro PhotoSport III offers a lot and it’s incredibly versatile. If you’re a photography gear minimalist, this might be the bag for you.
Lowepro PhotoSport BP 24L AW III
The Lowepro PhotoSport BP 24L AW III is a camera bag that’s designed for photographers who like the great wide-open. It’s a perfect size for those who carry small camera systems and who use a minimal amount of lenses. The bag looks fantastic, it can hold a change of clothes, or snacks and accessories, it’s durable, and it’s incredibly versatile.