Cool, Tough, Trendy are the three words I first used when describing this bag to photographer friend of mine looking for a new bag to take with him on trips that he could also utilize for other purposes, and this bag fills that requirement perfectly.
The Crumpler 8 Million Dollar Home is plenty big for a large kit, but also small enough and disguised enough to carry around without shouting to the world that you are a photographer. The bag has a small handle on its top and a large and comfortable shoulder strap that is big enough to be worn across the chest for extra comfort and security. The stitching throughout the bag is sturdy and it appears it could hold quite a load of equipment without worry.
One of the best features of the bag is the silent closure option. The 8 Million Dollar Home is secured by Velcro most everywhere; however, the large messenger flap that encloses your equipment can be closed with huge Velcro pads, or you can choose to place a cover over the Velcro and close the flap with two clasp enclosures allowing for a silent opening and closing without the rip and tear commotion caused by Crumpler’s large velcro enclosures. A nice option when you need to get to your gear without disrupting the scene.
Inside, the padded compartments can be configured in various ways to accommodate a variety of gear (If one desires they can take out all of the compartments leaving one big hollow cavern for gear). There are also two large mesh compartments inside the bag, one secured by a zipper and the other with a Velcro strap. The outside of the bag also has a large pocket on the front and two secure loops on either side to perhaps secure a small tripod.
When trying this out, I had a Canon 5D Mark II with a 50mm f/1.4 on it, a 17-40mm f/4 L and a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens in the bag, and there was plenty of room left over for more. One concern I see for the professional or prosumer is how the internal workings of the bag are configured. The pockets are deep so that you can stack plenty of gear; however, if you need a lens or body quick and it is in the bottom of the bag, there isn’t an easy way of getting to it without removing whatever is on top of it first. Not really a major gripe, just an observation, and I do not really think this bag is meant for the consummate professional anyway.
I also carried a Bogen 055XPROB Tripod when trying out this bag and it fit remarkably well underneath the satchel top. I was able to use the satchel straps and weave them through the Bogen’s legs in order to secure the tripod and it worked quite well. I don’t really think this bag is designed to hold a large tripod, it does not have a dedicated apparatus that would fit a professional tripod, but the way I rigged it worked just fine. Would it work hiking up a mountain trail? Probably not. However, for short stints and around town shooting, the tripod held in place quite well.
Aesthetically I love the Crumpler look. It is a shoulder bag, so if you are looking for a back pack then this isn’t for you. I like the shoulder strap because I can swing the bag around to my front and get to my gear quickly if I need it, but that is more a personal preference than a positive or negative. Overall, the bag looks cool, is very light, and well padded. It will fit a good amount of gear, but there are bigger bags out there made by Crumpler and others, so if you want to carry 3 bodies, 5 lenses and 2 flashes this bag isn’t for you. However, if you have a good size kit, want an awesome looking bag that will keep your gear well protected and you enjoy the shoulder harness over the backpack then a Crumpler bag in the million dollar home series is for you.
Bottom Line: The 8 Million Dollar Home is a cool, well made bag that will last for years and it also happens to be suited for photography. Probably not for a pro, however for a general consumer or even prosumer, the 8 Million Dollar Home is more than enough. If you don’t want a backpack, and don’t need a dedicate device for hauling a serious tripod, give this a serious look.
You can check out all of the Crumpler shoulder bags at B&H Photo.