How did I initially got my hands on the Lowepro Passport Sling III ? Long weekend in Osaka, Japan (leaving from Hong Kong…). The economy airline restricted the number of bags I could take. As cabin luggage, I was only allowed to one backpack. As such, deciding to take a large non dedicated camera backpack to make the most of the luggage restriction. I put my camera w/ a few lenses carefully in between clothes. Threw in a tripod and was all packed up to go.
Arrived in Osaka, unpacked my bag at the hotel and was getting ready to go out. It is then that I realized I could not comfortably take the essential gear for the afternoon. The large bag I took was not suited to carry a single camera with a lens or 2. It was just too big to walk around the whole weekend. So the need for a very light but secure and padded bag came. And ideally one that could also accommodate carrying my tripod. In addition it ideally also had to be soft and foldable to fit into a larger bag to fly back to HK! Not exactly the easiest requirements for a single bag.
Off I went to a Bic Camera store. Bic Camera is a multi-storey retailer in Japan. They sell pretty much anything from high end watches to washing machines and everything in between, including floors dedicated to photography equipment.
I did not expect to actually find a small and affordable bag meeting the above requirements. I was just looking for the cheapest bag allowing to carry the minimum for sightseeing. That’s how I bumped into the Lowepro Passport Sling III.
Unlike many of their bags the Lowepro Passport Sling II is not all black and even has a bright color touch with its bright orange stitches around. Otherwise it is all gray, a rather mid gray tone that seems to slightly go toward military green. The inside is all light gray. It is sling bag with a central zip opening wide on the inside. The bag has a removable inside pouch / padded holder to place a camera body with a mounted lens +additional small lens. It also has 2 external tight pockets, one on each side along the orange stitches. As well as a larger and looser external pocket at the front. Additionally it also has a padded compartment on the inside of the bag (inside the zip) allowing to securely carry a tablet.
The bag can fit a travel tripod on one of its side, along the back of the bag. This immediately attracted me. Many bags can carry a tripod but they usually do it by way of attaching it on the outside of the bag. I left the tripod (Sirui t-025x) at the hotel so quickly went getting it to test the bag. And the Sirui t025x did fit, very tight with the C-10x ball head attached but still fitting though!
Capacity & Packing
The Lowepro Passport Sling III maximum capacity allows to carry:
- 1 full frame DSLR bodywith a lens mounted (not the huge telephoto lens though 😉 )
- +2 to 3 lenses
- +another body with a lens mounted.
- +1 small lens
- +a tablet
- +additional smaller accessories such as a blower, memory card box,…
With external dimensions of 16.14 x 5.71 x 17.32 inches (50 x 14.50 x 44 cm), the bag is pretty small. Especially considering that it is soft and will usually fit the shape of your body when carrying it. Therefore making it feel and look smaller than the above measurements. Note that the bag volume can be extended by unzipping the external zip at the back. It is especially handy when using the bag with a tripod inside.
When packing it with 1 full frame mirrorless body (the a7rII) w/ a lens mounted +1 additional lens +a tripod, the bag is perfect and even allows to carry additional gears. Carrying the bag fully loaded remains comfortable even after even after over an hour on the move.
After many hours walking around fully loaded with 2 cameras mounted with a lens +1 extra lens +a tripod +a tablet & additional accessories, the shoulder on which you carry the bag can feel the load. But overall as a city discovering bag / sightseeing companion, the bag is perfect.
The removable inside pouch really is great as it offers the option of removing the principal of your gear out of the bag for an even easier access. Additionally it also allows to be left out of the bag completely allowing more packing volume and more flexibility. Being completely padded on side, camera and lenses are well protected.
When being on one shoulder, the access to the inside is natural and it easily slide to the front, side or back depending on how you need to position it. The bag happens to be give a great solution to access your camera when you need to quickly access your camera when the need arises. Slide it to the front, open the zip and direct access to your gear. Finding accessories and momentarily storing things inside when shooting is easy.
The only thing that is a little less direct is removing the tripod when it is packed with its ball head mounted. Again it is only a little bit more difficult than accessing the rest of the gear that just happen to be right at the entrance of the open zip.
With the front looser pouch the bag allows to easily carry a bottle of water, even a larger one of 1 liter.
As all bags I have been using / tested so far, I travel extensively between the US, Asia and Europe. Especially between Asia and Europe and within each. Everything in the Lowepro Passport Sling III is in the same working state as when I initially got it over 5 months ago. Its fabric seems very durable and so far I have not had any issues with Lowepro on the durability arena.
The Lowepro Passport Sling III is a good purchase. Especially at this price point – see current price on Amazon here. It is probably one of the best reasonably prices bag to go sightseeing a city. The fact it is extremely light, soft and foldable makes it a great companion to larger bag that you may take for a long weekend or longer holidays.
Being able to carry a travel tripod such as the Sirui T-025x directly inside the bag in the dedicated area is a big plus. The overall construction is smart and it will naturally take the shape of your body when carrying with a single camera, lens and tripod. A great little and affordable bag!