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Lowepro Fastpack 250 Review + Pics

[singlepic id=13 w=320 h=240 mode=watermark float=left]So you need to carry your camera somewhere and your laptop so you need two bags right?, wrong. You need a Lowerpro fastpack 250 than can do both with ease. I wanted something that would allow me to carry my laptop and my camera gear in one bag and luckily for me Lowerpro had just launched the fastpack series. I went for the fastpack 250 as this is big enough for a laptop of up to 15″ screen size and I use a smaller more portable Dell XPS 1330 which has a 13″ screen, after a fair bit of research I found it cheapest at Amazon and ordered it straight away. As you can see from the pictures below the laptop fits in with ease and with plenty of room to spare. The back of the bag is also well padded to protect me and the equipment in the bag and it works well on both counts.

Lowepro Fastpack 250 Laptop opening and rear padding.

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But how much camera gear can it carry, well quite a bit I think considering its size. The images below show that there is plenty of space for several lenses, some filters and space for other bits and bobs. Its wide enough to carry a 40D with a 70-200 f4 or f2.8 L anything bigger and you will struggle to get it in. In the picture below there is a 40D with a 17-85 fitted, a Sigma 30mm f4, Canon 60mm Macro and a little Canon 50mm plastic fantastic, a few filters and space to spare. For me this is more than enough space to take some kit on holiday to take a few shots. Whilst on holiday I transfer some of my kit to one of my other bags such as the Crumpler Muffin Top 5500 that has enough space to carry some of the lenses and a few essentials.

Fastpack 250 Camera compartment

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In the top compartment you can store batteries, battery charger and more besides. I normally put a Nintendo DS in there and the power supply for the Laptop along with other bits and there is still room to add more see the image below to how big this areas is.

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All in all I’m very impressed with this bag it more than meets my requirements to carry may laptop and a few lenses on holiday which is exactly what I wanted it for. It’s not a full on dedicated camera bag so if you have 5 or 6 smaller lenses and a 300mm f4 then this isn’t for you have a look at a Lowerpro Trekker AW. It would also be nice to have the ability to lock some of the zips up as you might be carrying some pretty expensive gear that you don’t want to go walkies but with all the flaps at the back you would have to be very good to get in undetected if you were wearing it on your back.


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So I’m going to award it 9/10 losing a point on the slight security issue, but otherwise its highly recommended.

Need some gift ideas for a photographer?

Ok so your other half or family member has a photography hobby and you don’t know what they want. So here are a few ideas that you might want to buy they.

Less than £50

Crumpler Muffin Top

Crumpler Muffin Top

Crumpler – Muffin top 4000 or 5500Shoulder camera bag – Yes that is what its called, it might have a quirky name (virtually all of there bags do) but its a good bag and they also do a great range. The company is a little off beat but there is nothing wrong with that. I went for a Pretty boy in the past but this is the latest over the shoulder camera bag they offer. The 4000 and 5500 will carry and SLR and a couple of lenses the 5500 could carry a charger and a flash as well perfect to take on a day trip or on holiday to carry a your gear during the day. I went for one of these because it doesn’t look like a camera bag and with hope will attract less attention as a result. On a recent trip around the Med on a cruise to Barcelona and Rome it was perfect. Camera out of site but easily to hand and the padding on the shoulder helps with coping with the weight of an SLR.
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£50-£100 Cleaning

Visible Dust Arctic Butterfly SL724 – Every photographer with an SLR gets a spec of dirt on there sensor at some time or other but how do you clean it without damaging it? Well the Visible dust ‘Arctic Butterfly’ is the answer. This model can be found as part of a kit from Warehouseexpress that also gives a lit sensor viewer and other cleaning swabs and fluids. Basically you get just about everything you need to look after mild marks on the sensor of an SLR camera a perfect gift for someone that hasn’t got all the cleaning bits that has just started out, this is a must have.

Tripod

Manfrotto MN190XPROB Tripod £77 – Just about every photographer needs a tripod at some time or other but to the person that knows nothing about them what do they get? Well with Manfrotto you can’t go far wrong I’d class them as the BMW of the tripod world, well made, handle well but don’t cost a fortune. This model has recently been updated with some new features that makes taking the shot you need easier and faster. The legs release quickly, its not too heavy but it is sturdy and you can make the column go horizontally out from the middle of the tripod to help get close to the subject when taking macro shots which is very useful. My only comment is that it doesn’t go very high, if the person thats going to use it is 5’11 or above then look at the 055XPROB (£110) as it extends higher when required but then it is quite a bit heavier, either are great.

Oh one other thing, you need a head. This is the bit that goes at the top of the tripod that enables you to mount the camera to the tripod. For this level of tripod get a 486RC2 head its about £35-40. You will have a VERY happy photographer if you buy them this combination.

£100+

This is where things can get a little tricky I’ve got one extra thing but note that everything so far doesn’t mention the actual camera. At £100+ you would need to look at getting specific things relating to the camera they have got. Is it a Canon, Nikon or maybe even a Pentax because it makes a huge difference as to what might be best to get and if it will even fit the camera. At this level you need to ask them about what lens they would like or how much something they are looking at is or get ideas from a good camera shop make a note of the model of camera they have got before you go though.

A full Camera Bag

Lowepro Trekker / Trekker AW / Compu – Now this can get tricky, but you need to look at Lowepro. Which exact bag can be down to how much you want to spend and which lenses they have got. As this is most likely a present for someone that doesn’t have too many lenses I’d go for either the Lowepro Nature Trekker II AW Black £140 or the Lowepro Photo Trekker AW II Black £165. Why are they good? Well they have everything; Space, they can fit just about every lens they will ever need to store for the amateur at least. They are waterproof, can hold a tripod on the side of the bag and have more little cubbyholes than you can shake a stick at. They are padded all over the place to protect the equipment and on the back to protect you from the probably substantial weight it might need to hold.

There are so many other ideas I could give I would be going on forever but here are the must haves for a photographer or certainly items like them. Put it this way they are ALL on my Christmas list and I certainly done my research.

Places to buy

If you are looking on the Internet then places like Warehouse Express and Jacobs are good, have a look at the likes of Amazon as well. Be careful with places like Jessops on the high street, they do price match other high street stores but you can and will often pay a premium for the same product, the list above would cost £100 more if bought from them put it that way. Looking for some lenses or equipment and want to get a good deal? then this is the place to check out, I use it all the time highly recommended link to bookmark CameraPriceBuster.

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Just got a Canon 60mm Macro

First Macro Shots

First Macro Shots

So into the land of Macro photography I go and what a cracking little lens the 60mm is. Its certainly not big and heavy like just about every other lens I’ve got other than the 50mm plastic fantastic I grant you but I was pleasantly surprised none the less.

In use its quick to focus but it does hunt about a fair bit if you are  just that little bit to close, zooming all the way out and back in again before stopping. But for macro photography  its better to go manual anyway. I’ve not got any fancy flashes or anything else yet but you don’t need anything.  All of the pictures in this post have light assisted by…… an LED touch, yes its really that sophisticated but it works and with a bit, ok a lot  more practice could get great results.

The 60mm is also very sharp, I’ve none a few shots and found things when post processing that I just couldn’t see by the naked eye.

I decided not to go for the 100mm EF lens and went for the 60mm ef-s for several reasons, weight being a big factor. I can only carry so much and really don’t think I’m going to want to take to many shots of bugs and they are are each as sharp as each other. Plus its cheaper and we are in a credit crunch after all.

Torch assisted Macro shot

Macro lens plus torch

I will post some more shots soon, but above is a classic little flower shot with a little back LED torch driven back lighting.

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