Reviews for Nikon D50 / D80 / D90 / D7000
(Added 7th April 2009)
This is the Kata 3n1-20 slingbag / backback, which is the mid sized bag in the range of 3n1 bags, the others being the smaller 3n1-10 and larger 3n1-30. The 3n1 bags are different from other slingbags in that it can also be used as a backpack plus it can also be used on either the left of right shoulders due to an ingenious system of swapping shoulder straps and hiding the other when not in use. I bought the 3n1-20 bag together with a Lowepro Slingshot 200 to help decide on which bag I preferred. Both bags were very similarly priced and also the size is the same. But I found the Kata better in almost every way.
Firstly the outside of the bag...
The front.. Its a nice looking bag, with a very strong feel to its construction. I prefer this styling to some of the other Kata bags , which In my mind look a little too different from other camera bags. The 3n1 however looks more inconspicuous, pretty much like any other backpack.
There are two buckles either side of the front to gain access to the main compartment of the bag depending on whether you are using the bag in left or right sided configuration. Releasing these and then pulling to one side opens the zipper to allow easy access to your gear.
The metal ring in the upper centre is to attach the tripod holder and two small straps at the bottom connect the base of the tripod holder.
The side of the bag has a small top pocket, see photos.
The lower zipped section is the main camera compartment, the same on both sides of the bag.
The rear of the bag. Here you`ll notice another strap tucked away on the upper right side. You can either use both straps together to create a backpack or swap the straps depending on whether you are left of right handed.
There is also a small integrated sleeve in the centre of the bag to allow you to fit the bag over an extended suitcase handle.
There is an optional insert trolley system that will allow a small trolley to be attached to the bag.
Shown at the bottom of the photo is a hip strap for when using it as a backpack.
The top side pocket has enough room for small items such as a couple of filters, batteries or memory cards.
The main compartment
Unclipping the buckle and pulling the flap reveals the main compartment to allow access to your camera.
Unclipping a further two smaller buckles allows the main compartment to be fully accessed.
In here there is a small removable pouch for memory cards on the left, plus at the top a weatherproof jacket for the bag.
The dividers are set out by default to hold the camera and lens in the left, then a further 5 compartments for lenses and accessories.
Two of the compartments are hidden away at the top of the photo. My one complaint about the bag is that these two compartments are very difficult to gain access too because the zipper does not allow the flap to open any further. So a bit of pulling about of the material is required to remove the items from these dividers.
With the gear fully loaded.
Equipment list in bag :
1. Nikon D90 + Nikon 35mm f/2
2. Tokina 12-24mm f/4
3. Nikon 18-200mm VR F/3.5-5.6G IF-ED
4. Nikon 50mm f/1.8 + Kenko Pro 300 x2 TC
5. Tamron SP AF 90mm F/2.8 Di Macro
6. Nikon 180mm F2.8D ED-IF AF
The bag holds plenty of equipment for its size. One thing I found was that the Nikon 180mm was a slightly tighter fit compared to the Lowepro Slingshot 200 bag, but can just about manage it here.
There is a top compartment . Enough room for a few more accessories. Also some integrated memory card , mp3 , mobile phone pockets.
One nice feature is that the base of the top compartment has a zipper which allows it to be partly removed to reveal the main compartment
This allows more room for larger accessories and if you rearrange the dividers a long lens too. In this photo I`ve added a 1lt drink bottle without having to rearrange any dividers.
The bag also came with a tripod holder.
I was under the impression that this would be an optional extra so I was pleasantly surprised to see it in the box.
The tripod holder is fixed with a three step process. The top handle has an attached strap to secure the top of the tripod. Then the centre buckle is used to fix the tripod feet holder. This is then secured at the base with two small straps that secure to the two buckles on either side.
First showing in slingshot configuration for right handed people. The spare shoulder strap can be stored behind the sleeve in the back of the bag when not in use.
Overall, the kata 3n1-20 is a very impressive bag, its well designed and put together using good materials. There are plenty of useful features such as the different shoulder strap configurations, a tripod holder and removable wallets for memory cards. Comparing it to the Lowepro Slingshot 200, the Kata overshadows the Lowepro in almost every department.
The only issues I have are the waterproof cover, which the Lowepro has a better designed system. And also the inability to fully remove the Kata`s main compartments flap so access to the top dividers is limited. But apart from this the Kata wins hands down in my opinion. I purchased both bags for almost exactly the same price, so back went the Lowepro and I kept this one.
Likes about the bag:
Design , good quality, materials , left or right handed shoulder options plus can be used as backpack. Holds plenty of gear.
Dislikes about the bag:
Difficult to gain access to top two dividers in main compartment.
Reviewed by Paul @ Cambags.com