It's safe to say that with over 40 years of experience, the folks at Lowepro know a thing or two about camera bags. Their bags are well known for their durability, functionality and ability to protect your expensive camera gear from the elements. Although these things are extremely important in a camera bag, sometimes you just don't want people knowing you have thousands of dollars of gear inside a bag. That's where Lowepro's new "Classified Series" comes into play.
Heading Undercover with the Lowepro Classified 250 AW
Lowepro's new "Classified Series" is a family of four bags that fit varying degrees of gear. All of them feature a distinct look that marries all of the things that are important in camera bags, with a design that doesn't scream come and steal me. All of the bags are equipped with Lowepro's All Weather (AW) cover system.
The largest bag known as the Classified 250 AW, the subject of our review, is a shoulder bag that not only carries multiple lenses and flashes, but it also has room to carry your laptop along with you. The design features soft edges, leather accents on the bag, even the zippers pulls and a much slimmer profile than traditionally designed camera shoulder bags. This allows it to blend in and look less like a camera or laptop bag and more like an overnight bag.
It comes in two colours which are sepia (as shown) and a traditional black. The bag measures 18.3W X 11D X 14H inches or for the more refined metric types, 46.5 X 28 X 35.5 cm. During my trip to CES, I was able to easily fit this bag packed with gear into overhead compartments and tested it in most of the airline carry on size testers with no problem. The bag is recommended for one to two professional DSLRs with 70-200 f/2.8 lens attached plus two to three additional lenses or flash unit, plus one widescreen notebook up to 15.4 inches.
You can find the Lowepro Classified 250 AW at most retailers for around $209 US. Let's see if this bag is worth the green.
Taking Care of Minor Details
One of the first things I noticed on this bag was the buttoned leather handle that adds a bit more security to the stuff inside. It's also quite comfortable and the buttons release and lock with a solid snap.
One of the places that the Lowepro Classified 250 AW tries to improve upon is the carry strap. The strap on this bag includes a small leather flap that keeps your camera on your shoulder when you're running around with it trying to get that shot. It is also anchored solidly with detachable metal attachment hooks to metal D-Rings. I found that this came in quite useful for the stock camera straps that tend to be thinner, but if you wear a thicker strap like the ones that Lowepro makes, it doesn't seem to work as well with them because they don't quite fit under the flap.
The other feature of the carrying system is a cross strap that is borrowed from bicycle courier bags. This piece attaches to the shoulder strap and greatly enhances the stability of the bag when worn and can be setup for either shoulder. More on this and the strap a bit later.