The Lowepro Pro Runner RL x450 AW II is a new rolling bag out of the Pro Runner II Series. It is a reasonably-sized camera bag that holds quite a bit of gear. It also converts to a backpack when you need to traverse uneven terrain.
At its core though, the x450AW II is a rolling camera bag and performs well for a the traveling photographer who needs to move their kit around in an urban environment. It excels with plenty of options for housing your camera kit, as well as a device zone that holds a 15” laptop, 10” tablet and a Wacom tablet all in separate sleeves.
A (removable) padded accessory case sits at the bottom of the main camera compartment and serves as a nice organizer for hard drives, cables and other loose accessories. The top panel that folds open has plenty of see-through zippered pockets for memory cards, allen keys, remotes and other small items.
The x450AW II has two well-placed handles – one on the top and one on the side. These are heavy-duty, padded handles. I use the top handle when I’m going up or down stairs and the side handle when loading my bag into the trunk of my car.
The rolling handle feels like a high-quality handle from a top-notch rolling carry-on bag. It is robust and it extends and retracts with ease.
Inside the bag, there aren’t a lot of surprises for camera and lens area though. If you are familiar with Lowepro bags, you’ll recognize the MaxFit System dividers, which make it easier to accurately place the velcro dividers to fit your gear. By default, the MaxFit divider velcro tabs fold in so that they don’t catch the sides of the bag as you are placing them in position. Manfrotto cooked this feature up a couple of years ago and it really works well.
You can easily carry a couple DSLR bodies, along with a number of flashes, lenses and other accessories inside the bag. Your gear is well-protected inside with ample padding on all sides. The bag will also allow you to strap on a large tripod to the exterior.
One thing that I will point out that got me is the top flap that houses the laptop and table zone. I am accustomed to flipping open this top lid and grabbing my gear with other bags that I use. If you do this in the x450AW II, however, your laptop and tablet will smack down on the surface as you drop the lid open. It only took one time for me to break that habit when using this bag and, fortunately, my MacBook was well protected in there – but it was a cringe moment when it happened.
As noted above, the x450AW II can convert to a backpack, complete with a removable waist belt for added support. Everything about the backpack conversion works well but, as you might expect, it’s not the most comfortable backpack for extended treks. It is a big convenience feature that extends the functionality of the x450AW II but it is not something you want to carry on your back for miles and miles. The shoulder straps stow away when not in use.
The x450AW II keeps up with the AW name by including a built-in rain cover that allows you to use the extendable rolling handle while in use.
Here’s Lowepro’s intro video for the updated Pro Runner Series II bags that gives you another look at the overview of the bags and features that are found across the series.[vimeo https://vimeo.com/125518101 w=700]
All in all, the x450AW II is an excellent rolling camera bag with added versatility to be more than just another rolling bag. It’s small enough to fit into carry-on compartments but large enough to carry a decent-sized kit. The robust design and flexibility of its functions allow it to meet a variety of photographers’ everyday needs.
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