In the last few years, I have purchased 4 different camera bags. All of them claimed to be large enough to hold the gear I had. I relied on product reviews and answered questions, YouTube videos from channels I trusted and when possible, I even went to a brick & mortar store to put all my gear in a bag I was considering to see if everything fit. Each time, I had to shop for a camera bag that was just a little bigger than the last. Since they all had so many configuration options, I figured I could eke out a bit more space once I got it home. My goal was to get a bag small enough that I could carry it comfortably, along with my tripod and the backpack I usually carry with my oxygen in it (lots of photographers like to carry their gear in a backpack, but I need to carry oxygen so I can breathe).
Never fails though; none of the camera bags were large enough after a very short time. It’s not that I was buying more and more gear. I tried to be frugal and had all the equipment I thought I would need and stayed away from those impulse buys. Some of the bags were difficult to get into. It’s one thing to sit comfortably in a store and fiddle with the bag at my leisure, but quite different when I have traveled to one of Plumas County’s higher elevations, with its thinner air and walked around some to find just the right scene, then feel rushed to get the right light before my oxygen tank hits that red mark on the dial. I need a bag that zips open quickly and everything is easily retrieved from its nest. A couple bags didn’t sit flat on the floor. More than once, I had to retrieve a bag that tumbled over across the floor of my vehicle. I didn’t think much about it in the stores when the bags were sitting on the floor. After a while, I was getting used to buying a new camera bag on a regular basis.
Then I found the Lowepro Magnum 400 AW Camera Bag
When I researched for yet another camera bag, I passed the Magnum 400 AW over because I thought it was too big. It did measure a couple inches larger than my last bag in length, width and height. That adds up to a lot of space and I wasn’t sure I should go that big. I’m old and infirm and can’t be carrying a big, heavy bag around. I began to consider that leaving a bag in my vehicle and only taking the camera, an attached lens, a pocketed filter and the tripod with me as I searched for the perfect spot to shoot from. The truth is, most of my photos on any particular outing are from a single lens. But if I think about it, I realize I don’t know which of my 3 lenses I will use until I find that scene I want to capture. While I might be able to plan ahead and avoid carrying the bag to the location, it just doesn’t work out that way all the time.
The Magnum seemed like the next obvious choice for a camera bag. Again, I visited a store and brought all my camera gear to test fit. It had room to spare. It comes with a variety of velcro dividers to create just the right combination of compartments. It’s easy to store my Nikon full-frame DSLR, 3 Tamron zoom lenses, a speedlight, a variety of filters, cleaning equipment, extra batteries and media cards and the remote shutter release.
The Camera Bag Review That Took 2+ Years To Write
Waiting a while to write this review seemed like a good idea, but I didn’t realize about 2 years has passed since buying this bag. It’s not a good idea to write glowing praise one day and regret it the next. After all this time, I can forget about that now. This bag is great still. The Magnum 400 AW is the perfect bag for me and still has a little room for growth. The bag is rugged – it’s been dragged through the dirt and occasionally the snow, it has been rained on, accidentally kicked at least a couple times and its only complaint (if bags could talk) is the dirt that has marred its pitch black canvas exterior.
The main zippered compartment has a dust and weather flap (see the photos below of my bag) that has kept all my gear protected. It has a rain shield sewn into the back pocket. It’s quick and easy to pull out and cover the bag. You can even still use the top handle to carry while the shield is on, but I’ve just never found it necessary to use it. I wouldn’t want to shoot in a pouring down rain storm, but I’ve been caught in the rain and purposely went out while it was snowing. The bag is constructed well enough that a little rain or snow isn’t a problem.
This Lowepro bag has other features you might find of value. There’s a flap of microfiber cloth that protects the rear LCD of your camera. The padding throughout is not too bulky, but does a great job of protecting the contents from getting knocked around by a clumsy photographer. The Lowepro Magnum 400 AW has a thick, rubbery pad that covers the entire bottom. It helps to protect the contents from a hard drop and its textured and “sticky” finish keeps the back from sliding. I believe the weight of that pad also adds to the bag’s low center of gravity and helps to keep it from rolling over when taking a sharp curve.
And There’s More
Pockets big and small galore to store whatever you want to carry along. I can manage the latches and zippers (but not the velcro) with one hand. There are clips, in addition to the zippers and velcro closures that add another level of security. You can lock the zippers, if you feel it’s necessary (locks don’t come with the bag, but there are places to latch zippers together). All my previous camera bags had protective feet, usually large plastic pads or small metal caps. The Lowepro Magnum 400 AW has a thick, rubbery pad that covers the entire bottom. It helps to protect the contents from a hard drop and its textured and “sticky” finish keeps the back from sliding. I believe the weight of that pad also adds to the bag’s low center of gravity and helps to keep it from rolling over when taking a sharp curve.
This Magnum is the best camera bag I’ve ever owned. I’m glad I decided to get one that I initially thought was a little too big. It’s been over 2 years of great service to me and I don’t miss shopping for camera bags at all. If you think it’s the bag for you, consider buying one by following this link: Lowepro Magnum 400 AW on Amazon. See what my camera bag looks like below after 2-plus years of use.