In my blog of the 11th April, I did a review on the National Geographic Earth Explorer Small Shoulder bag. I said how I thought it was a really good, well made small bag for carrying one camera. I also stated that I was pondering the purchase of the medium sized version of the bag. Well I bought one.
I originally looked at the midi size in the series but decided that it was a little too small for my needs and so the best version would be the medium for my uses. The trouble was going to be the cost. Brand new they range from £95 to £110, a little too expensive for my pocket at the present strained, economic and work-place times.
I checked on eBay but none were forthcoming, and anyway the prices on eBay for the most part these days, by the time all the bidding is completed, they usually turn out as only £20 – £30 cheaper. I was looking for prices that were a little more frugal.
Whilst on a photographic forum I happened to notice a post about a camera shop in Scotland called Ffords Photographic, and that they have a very good collection of second-hand camera bags. So nothing ventured, I went on the site. I couldn’t believe it, there in the second-hand bag section was a NGEE medium bag, marked ‘Just In’, ‘mint condition’ and at only £30. It must be kismet. I purchased it there and then and it arrived two days later. Apart from a slight musty smell it was indeed in mint condition. Slightly larger than I anticipated it has five external compartments, one large main one and an interior laptop pocket.
So to the bag. It is made in the same material and style as all the others in the Earth Explorer series. medium weight canvas in a khaki colour. Their literature say the canvas has been waterproofed, but the padded interior lining is water proof as well.
The main flap is closed by two straps with press-stud rings. This works really well and does allow quick access to gear inside. The main flap also has two smaller velcro closed pockets on top, one of which has the NG logo on. these flaps are perfect for batteries or memory cards. On the back of the bag is a large zipped closed pocket the size of the bag itself. very useful for papers, passports and wallets etc. As it will be against the wearer’s body it is a useful secure storage area.
Opening the top flap reveals the usual NGEE waterproof zip flap that seals the main opening of the bag. This flap is unzipped, rolled up and fastened with a velcro strap to allow access to the main compartment.
The picture at above left also shows the other two zip closed pockets that are usually hidden by the main flap when closed. These pockets contain useful smaller pockets for flash cards, pens etc. On the right hand image above you can see the rain flap rolled back and fastened at the top. Directly below that the laptop pocket is visible. It can take a 17” screen as long as it’s not widescreen. Below the laptop pocket is the main compartment. In it on the left you can see the padded camera pocket that came with the bag.
Opening the camera compartment there are two dividers in there which can be moved to various positions via velcro strips. It has to be said that these divides are not very substantial, unlike the ones that were in the NGEE small bag.
I made a very useful discovery in that the small EE bag will actually fit into his bag, and in the picture above you can see it in situ on the right. On the left my E-1 has been placed in the camera compartment of the medium bag. As you can see using this arrangement, I can get two DSLR’s in the bag with no problem.
The great thing about this is that all I need to do is pull out the small bag complete with camera to go off on a day shoot. I may well try and obtain another small NGEE bag to place on the left hand side instead of the camera compartment that came with the bag
With the lid open on the small EE bag you can see my E-30 on the right. Both cameras (with no battery holders) fit into the bag very easily and are easy to access. Wearing the bag on the shoulder, it is comfortable with a padded strap and the canvas material of the strap gives a nice ‘give’ to the bag making it very nice to wear.
So what will I be using this for? well, I can’t see me carrying around on general shoots. It is larger than my Domke 6, in which I can also get two cameras, albeit in a slightly different configuration and so I will be using this bag for trips abroad as it fits into cabin luggage size and I can fit Kindle, iPod, passport and other bits and pieces into it. I will also be using it for VDCC days away as my laptop will also fit in as well as two cameras.