About a year ago I wrote a blog post about the Shootsac vs. Boda V3 Lens Bags, promising to give a review once I had put them both through the wringer. I have to admit I forgot about the post and never did write an official review…until today when a reader found the post and inquired about the review (thanks for reminding me Ed!)
In my initial post I said I’d discuss the following:
“I am anticipating: 1) it does not look bulky, 2) it looks light-weight, 3) you can easily pack it on trips. I’m pretty sure there will be other great features and benefits…”
As a refresher, a few of my biggest gripes with the Boda V3 was that it was bulky, heavy, and you can’t easily pack it. I think I would also have to add that it really is only good for holding a few lenses. If you have more than two side by side, it becomes very cumbersome to remove the lenses at the bottom of the bag. Another negative aspect is that it doesn’t stay at your side. I’m a pretty physical photographer (I get on the ground, bend over, etc) and do what it takes to get the shot. Well, the Boda V3 constantly swings forward if you bend over our crouch down; which means you have to readjust the bag every time you get back up.
So how about the Shootsac? First let me start off by saying, I don’t think there will ever be such a thing as “the perfect” bag. Honestly, after shooting in a bunch of different environments I’m not too sure there could ever be a one-size-fits all product.
1. It is not bulk…when it’s empty, but if you load it to capacity (I wouldn’t recommend it), it is pretty hefty. I don’t think you can blame it on the bag design though. Lets face it, how can we expect a 5lb lens to NOT be bulky…no matter what bag you put it in!
2. The bag itself is light weight, which is nice when you’re using L-series (I’m a Canon geek) that weight half a ton. I would say, it could be improved with a more comfortable strap. When I’ve had the bag loaded down, the strap tends to dig in to my shoulders a bit (I guess I have to say the Boda V3 does have a really comfortable strap).
3. The best thing about this bag is that it is super easy to travel with. Not just for flying or road trips, but every day shoots as well. I like to have things pretty streamlined, so the less bags I have to carry with me anywhere, the better.
After a year of use, I would definitely recommend the Shootsac over the Boda V3. With that said, the reason I don’t think you can have one “perfect bag” is simply because every shooting environment is different, and poses a variety of challenges unique to that setting. However, I DO think that the Shootsac accomplishes what most bags don’t; versatility for most shooting situations.
I’ve found the Shootsac to work best for me when I carry two lenses (in front on each side pocket), one flash unit (in the front middle pocket), battery pack (in the back middle pocket). I put triggers or other small pieces of equipment, wallet, phone, pen, etc. in the back side pockets. You don’t want to put anything too bulky in those pockets, especially when lenses are in the front side pockets.
So that’s about it. If you’ve had a different experience or have tried out a different bag that works really well for you, I’d love to hear about it!