I had the opportunity to use this do-all bag for the last four weeks. I used it at one wedding, a birthday party and a personal trip to Dallas TX so, how did this hybrid bag do? Let’s find out.
When you look this bag over it does not scream camera bag unless you have your tripod mounted on the front. It really does look more like a standard airline roller bag. The Lowepro logo is small and subtle and the bag model tag is even more subtle, there is no screaming logo to detract from its purposeful yet professional look. Only when you use the Lowepro AW rain cover does the Lowepro logo take center stage but even then it is not over the top.
In the tradition of Lowepro photo bags the quality is excellent, the outer shell is solid, strong and made of weather resistant ripstop. The zippers, seams, handles, wheels, pull handle and straps are all constructed of good quality materials and function as designed. The interior dividers are of standard Lowepro fare, well padded and of varied size to allow customization of the inside.
Many hybrid backpack/rolling camera bags that I have used seem to ignore the quality of either the wheels or backpack straps doing neither well, but the Lowepro Pro Runner x450 AW pays equal attention to the quality and function of both the rolling portions of the bag and the backpack straps and waist belt. I also decided to pay close attention to the zippers and buckles as these are traditionally areas that fail on camera bags. I spent some time working the zippers and buckles to find a weak spot or areas where they might catch or fail, in 4 weeks of heavy use I have yet to find fault in any of the Lowepro zippers or buckles.
|detailed view||high quality straps|
Gear Capacity, Protection and Fit:
This is a large bag so I loaded it down to see how much it would hold and how it would fit (See list and photo H below). I tried several different ways to pack it including having both my D700 and F100 with attached lens and without..
I found I preferred the attached lens but I did have to bend one of the dividers in a way that it was not designed to, but it worked very well. All the gear was well protected and fit nicely. The only lens I own I had trouble getting into the bag was my 500 f/4 Nikkor but to be honest the bag is not designed to carry such a large lens. That said I could get it in if I removed just about everything else.
|inside with gear||inside|
List of Gear Loaded in photo above:
- D700/MB-D10 with attached Nikkor 24-120G AF-S VR w/hood
- F100/ MB-15 with attached Nikkor 18-35 AF-D ED w/hood
- Coolpix P7000
- Nikkor 50 f1.8 AF-D
- Nikkor 70-300G AFS ED VR w/hood
- Tamron SP 70-200 f2.8 Di LD Macro w/hood
- Nikkor 28-105 AF-D Macro w/hood
- Kenko TC 1.4 TC 300 Pro DGX
- SB-600 w/diffuser
MS-D10, MH-18 charger and cord, MH-24 Charger, Cable release, Delkin Multi Card Reader, 72mm, 77mm Nikon CPL Filters, 2 extra CF Cards and 1 SD Card, Mini USB Cable. 2 extra EN-EL3e Batteries.
The only minor weakness I can find in regards to how this bag holds gear is the specifications say it can hold a 15.4” widescreen laptop. Now this bag does not have a padded laptop compartment, instead a padded laptop sleeve is provided that then fits in a compartment in the front of the bag. When I tried to zip the padded laptop sleeve with my 15.4” Toshiba laptop in it I could not. The padded laptop sleeve does have its own strap so it can function as a laptop carrier without the bag itself.
|laptop bag with a 15" Toshiba||laptop bag|
I did manage to get the sleeve in its intended spot in the front, but then I had a lot of trouble zipping the front compartment. The front compartment was so tight with my laptop in it I could not store my charging cables or mouse in the front of the bag.
If I needed to store them they would have to have been in the camera gear compartment.
I came to the conclusion if you have a 15” laptop you may need to try it first as not all laptops with a 15” screen will fit in this bag. This did cause me to use another Lowepro computer backpack to carry my laptop and associated computer gear. Other than that this bag holds a ton of gear in a very secure way. It even has a tripod holder that can be removed when not in use. But if you have a large 3-section tripod it will stick up above the bag and at times can be a bit tricky to get it seated.
This bag’s capacity for holding camera gear is very versatile and the added Lowepro SlipLock loops only add to its versatility bringing in a host of Lowepro accessories that can be used on the bag for example a water bottle holder or small/med and large lens cases.
Comfort and Function:
During my trip to Dallas TX I found that the hybrid design of the Lowepro Pro Runner x450 AW was so versatile that there wasn’t a situation I ran across that it was not comfortable yet fully functional. The rolling function of the bag was as good crossing the train station waiting room as it was going up the escalators and across the carpeted floor of the hotel lobby.
|Testing the rolling function||during my trip to Dallas|
The top and side handles provided made getting the bag into and out of cars, SUVs and vans easy. With some bags it seems the handle is always in the wrong place not with this bag no matter how you load it there is a handle there for you to grab onto. The backpack portion of this bags acts like a photo backpack with all the comfort of my Lowepro Vertex 300 AW. During my trip to Dallas we planned a photo shoot at Dealey Plaza and took the hotel shuttle. We had an emergency and instead of waiting for the hotel shuttle we took the DART mass transit train back to the hotel. This bag converted to a backpack in minutes and when using the waist belt it was so comfortable that even this fully loaded large bag was easy to move around with. We had to walk a half mile to the station and then a mile from the station to our hotel. During this time the Lowepro Pro Runner lived up to its name it was defiantly a Pro level bag and a Runner since I could have walked 10 miles with this bag. The straps and gear stayed secure and did not move around on my back. The padded shoulder straps and chest strap along with the waist belt distributed the weight evenly and without pain. Having used many backpacks this was every bit as good as a dedicated backpack!
|For using it as a backpack|
One word of caution as with many backpacks you should always open this bag lying flat, if you open it standing up your gear could fall out.
Well made in the Lowepro tradition.
Excellent internal padding, wheels, zippers, buckles and straps.
Versatile with many internal and external configuration options.
Carriers a ton of gear in safety and comfort.
Professional appearance, yet low key.
Laptop compartment and padded laptop sleeve.
Nice hideaway name tag holder.
The laptop compartment and sleeve are small and very tight for a 15” laptop; it is more suited for a 13” laptop.
The outer compartment is not suited well to hold your laptop mouse and charging cables if you have a 15” laptop this may be better with a 13” laptop or net book.
The tripod holder can be a bit tricky to get seated right if you have a large tripod.
It is a pricey bag with a street price of $320 USD
My conclusion this is one of the best hybrid rolling/backpack camera bags on the market. It carriers a ton of gear securely and comfortably. This is an event photographers dream bag and it will double well on those family or professional photo trips! I can highly recommend this bag to my fellow Nikonians!
More articles that might interest you