Case Logic’s new Kontrast Pro DSLR Backpack adds to its refreshed line of Kontrast gear. Case Logic has been doing a bang-up job lately with good-looking, functional camera bags. So, how does the Kontrast Pro DSLR Backpack stack up as a sub-$150 camera bag?
First, the positive points.
Case Logic did a good job with build quality. The zippers are easy to grasp thanks to the tassels attached to the metal zipper pulls. And, the zippers pull smoothly with no pinch points that stall as you zip or unzip compartments. The bag’s outer material is tough and the waterproof base gives you confidence no matter where you set the bag down.
There is quite a bit of room inside the bag for stowing a DSLR and several lenses and accessories. Here’s Case Logic’s own promo video that shows the key features of the bag and gives you an idea of its capacity.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0U0gwiMrtos&w=700&showinfo=0&rel=0]
The top entry features a nice hammock suspension system for your DSLR and attached lens, which works quite well. I was able to easily pack a Canon 5D Mark II, 24-105mm f/4L and 70-200mm f/2.8, along with several other accessories inside the bag.
It will hold a 15″ MacBook Pro and a full-size iPad in the well-placed back compartment. The front compartment easily houses your MacBook charging brick and other bulky items. There are also several smaller compartments (open pouches and another zippered compartment) inside that front compartment for smaller accessories.
The top compartment offers a smaller pouch with access from both inside and outside of the bag. It’s very handy for smaller items that you access frequently. I found myself using it for my keys and wallet on a regular basis when carrying the bag. There are additional zippered compartments inside the main compartment lid. This is something I really appreciate and feel like there is no wasted space on this camera bag.
The bag has grab handles on the top and front of the bag, which is great for loading it in and out of the trunk of your car. The side pouches serve to hold your tripod legs with straps further up the sides to secure it in place. These can double as accessory or water bottle pouches that are big enough to handle my favorite 32 oz. Nalgene water bottles.
On the down side though, the bag is uncomfortable to wear for any extended period of time. And that’s kind of a critical point for a backpack. It simply rides too high up on your back and the base digs into the middle of my back. There is simply no adjustment point that is comfortable. If you are very short or have a short torso, maybe it could work for you. I’m six feet tall and just couldn’t find an adjustment that works for me – and I’ve seen this complaint from other reviewers too.
Additionally, while the grab handles are nicely placed on the bag, they are just nylon webbing straps with no padding or other grip. Even the much smaller (and lighter when loaded) Case Logic Kontrast Action-Cam Case (which I loved) has a padded grab handle. When carrying the much heavier load that a fully packed backpack offers, these nylon webbing handles bunch up and dig into your grip – quite uncomfortable. It’s almost like these handles were an afterthought … “Oh, let’s put some handles to on this bag too.” … without considering the end user experience with a loaded bag.
The Case Logic Kontrast Pro DSLR Backpack had so much potential on the amount of gear it carries and the thoughtfulness of the layout for both the main gear compartments and the various accessory compartments. It is rugged and functional for a variety of camera kits.
It fails though in the critical area of comfort. It rides too high on the back for most men and cannot be adjusted to wear lower on the back without angling into the back for an even more uncomfortable experience. For carrying a kit though, this bag could certainly work if you aren’t going to be spending a lot of time with it on your back.
That may sound a little weird but I think it could be a solid bag as a work commuter for someone who needs/wants to tote a laptop and camera kit back and forth everyday. If you’re loading it from house to car to office and back, you probably aren’t going to care so much about the lack of comfort for extended treks.
Weekend hikers or urban trekkers, you probably want to avoid this back and check out other options dedicated to your shooting styles. Lowepro, Think Tank Photo and MindShift Gear have several recent models that should serve you well.