A lifetime search for the perfect camera bag.
Something that many photographers already know: the perfect camera bag – one that does it all for you – doesn’t exist. I’d be happy to find a bag that comes close to being the only bag I need and with that my eyes look towards Lowepro.
Lowepro started back in 1967 when founder Greg Lowe created the first internal-frame backpack in his garage in Colorado. Fast-forward to 1972 when Lowepro introduced the world’s first soft-sided, foam-padding camera bag. With over 45 years of creating camera bags, backpacks and other carrying devices, Lowepro produces a variety of accessories, including their relatively new StreetLine collection.
Lowepro’s StreetLine includes shoulder bags, backpacks and sling packs in different sizes. We’ll be looking at the StreetLine SH 180 and the BP 250 in a two-part series.
Lowepro StreetLine SH 180 Shoulder Bag
Lowepro’s earlier bags looked like typical camera bags, causing potential thieves to scope your bag by the recognizable Lowepro logo, translating to expensive camera equipment inside.
The StreetLine SH 180 is a messenger-style shoulder bag with room for a DSLR, laptop (up to 13”), tablet and personal gear. For me, the test was whether or not the SH 180 could handle my Nikon D7100 with a Nikkor 70-200 f/2.8 attached whilst still having room for my other tidbits.
Internal Dimensions: 39.3 x 12.5 x 34.3 cm (15.47 x 4.92 x 13.50 in)
Tablet Compartment: 31 x 1.5 x 23.2 cm (12.20 x 0.59 x 9.13 in)
External Dimensions: 41.6 x 13.5 x 35.5 cm (16.38 x 5.31 x 13.98 in)
Laptop Compartment: 39.3 x 2 x 25 cm (15.47 x 0.79 x 9.84 in)
Weight: 0.8 kg (1.76 lbs)
The StreetLine series is made of a charcoal-coloured, canvas-like material (600D Oxford poly/cotton with a 3X PU weather and abrasion coating) designed to repel moisture.
Weather looking a bit sketchy? You won’t need to worry about it as the StreetLine series is designed to handle a variety of weather.
The padded shoulder strap can be easily adjusted based on how you want to wear the bag.
There’s a trolley sleeve at the bag of the bag. It took a bit of effort for me to slide on an average luggage bag handle as both top and bottom of the sleeve contain Velcro, however it does sit securely on top of the luggage.
This is a nice feature that helps avoid the bag weighing down your shoulder, particularly in large airports with long walks between terminals.
The bottom of the StreetLine SH 180 is made of tarpaulin (though it doesn’t feel like the tarp-type material I’m used to) and helps keep wear down to a minimum. I like that the bottom should be able to handle being placed on the ground a fair amount.
Inside the roomy StreetLine SH 180 is a dedicated spot for a 13″ laptop and tablet. Both are well padded to ensure their survival. The bag fits a 2011 13” Macbook Air plus a second-generation iPad.
The StreetLine series features Lowepro’s FlexPockets system. These pockets can be expanded to accept camera gear such as a lens and camera body. When not in use they fold up flat for more room. Much like a divider system, they can be used together or alone.
I was able to fit my 70-200mm lens in one pocket and my Nikon D7100 and Sigma 17-70mm into the other. Unfortunately, with the 70-200mm lens attached to the Nikon D7100, the bag’s cover doesn’t properly close. The 70-200mm is my workhorse lens that I shoot with regularly. While not entirely a deal breaker, it would have been nice to get the entire setup in the bag and close it off.
When you flip the cover up and over, there’s a small area for personal items as well as a small keychain hook and extra pockets. I would have liked to have seen this portion zippered for security.
It’s a nice place to put travel documents or memory cards and such, but lacking a zipper, I’d probably opt to make more use of the pocket on the backside of this area.
Did I mention one of my top camera bag pet peeves yet? Velcro. When I use these bags for camera equipment, the constant Velcro ripping sound annoys me.
I’m aware of at least one camera bag manufacturer that offers an optional silencing system on their bags and wish brands such as Lowepro would implement something similar. I find that the ripping of Velcro tends to bring unneeded attention to myself (perhaps it’s time to design my own system!).
The SH 180 retails for CDN $219.95/US $179.95.
Unless otherwise stated, images by Tyler Ingram.