Shooting with micro four thirds cameras, I want to be able to carry my gear around with me without needing to carry around enormous bags. The lenses , bodies and system are all nice and small, so why should you need a large camera bag?
I’ve used for some time, a Manfrotto Sling Bag however found I had outgrown it, it was difficult to get to everything so was always taking it off. (which was a chore since it was always over my head across my body) It also had a poor tripod holder… so, in the market for a new camera bag I was keen to find one that wasn’t too small, had a tripod holder and allowed me to easily take it off, open up and get to everything without messing about.
Welcome to the K&F Concept® Multifunction Security Camera DSLR Bag. Bought from Amazon, fulfilled by Amazon UK, I was happy to purchase this knowing I wasn’t putting my trust in a company i’d never used before from ebay etc..
Build Quality. The bag is well made, feels solid and exterior material is nice and hardy. I’d have no problems putting this down on the floor or pavement. Comparing with my Manfrotto sling bag i’d rate them similarly. The Interior is fine, it has a smooth plastic feel to it with sewn in velcro so the addition of dividers is easy. Compared with manfrotto, which has soft fabric allowing the dividers anywhere it’s not quite plush, however it’s no major problem and allows you to wipe clean if it got dirty. I’m also happy with the options for moving and changing the layout of the bag.
Size and Fit
Wearing the bag is nice. It’s small and will only hold a 12inch laptop (or ipad etc) but given it’s smaller size, i’m happy that it feels and sits nicely on my back. It has chest straps that are adjustable for both the size of someones chest, as well as how high up they come on your body. Being a 15stone 6ft gent, I found moving those straps down low felt nicer. It also stops people from ripping the bag from your back. It does also have waist straps however due to my size, I found they fitted too high around my belly, not something you’re going to get away from on a smaller bag like this… but saying that, if you are hiking, don’t have a larger belly, then you’ll find the additional strapping nice to stop it from moving around.
Space I use Olympus Gear, so I managed quite easily to get my OMD E-M1 with battery grip on it to fit. I had attached the 12-40mm F2.8PRO lens and still had plenty of room to fit directly beneath it, my 40-150mm F2.8 Pro lens too. If i had a full frame body with 70-200mm f2.8 lens on then i’d have to locate the 24-70mm lens somewhere else in the bag but as it was I didn’t and they fit perfectly down the middle. That leaves space for my Panasonic Lumix 25mm F1.7, Olympus 45mm F1.8 , Flash Trigger, 2 x speedlights and the 1.4x teleconverter. Plenty of space for my Black Rapid Strap too. This is pretty much all the gear i’ll need to take with me on an outing. In fact there was room also for my spare OMD E-M10 Camera body too.
The main compartment also has some waterproof pouches that I housed spare batteries, sd cards and various other things like cloths.
ND Filters, iPad, waterproof cover that comes with it all fit in the zipped compartment on the outside of the bag. plenty of room in there too for flash gels pack as well as my K&F Concept 100mm Square Filters too. I was pleasantly surprised to find a zipped bag with air duster, wipes and brush included in the package.
Previously with my sling bag from Manfrotto, I found the tripod I use (a travel one) hung too heavy on the side.. with the K&F Concept backpack , you fold out a little pouch to stand one leg on which will take the majority of the weight, and the strap secures it well at the time. I’m very much pleased with that as I won’t feel I have to carry it around with me while clambering up a waterfall etc…
Overall, It’s a nice bag it’s £43 on Amazon (at time of writing) K&F have obviously spent some time and effort trying to make convenient choices for the design of this bag and an ideal choice for those especially wanting to do some walking with smaller camera systems like Olympus and Panasonic while still being suitable for larger camera systems if you don’t have heaps of large fast lenses. If you purchase now you can 10% off from amazon with code UKF13026 (code expires in March 31st 2018.)
This is a pictorial view of the K&F Concept Multifunction Bag. Showing how i use it with my Mirrorless Olympus OMD Camera System. Follow my link for my written review on my Blog.
http://www.iomize.co.uk/ This bag is available from Amazon http://amzn.eu/j8n94IM
Recently I spotted an advert asking for photographers to complete a product review in exchange for a free photobook. Since I have been putting together a book of my favourite prints, almost yearly, I figured it would be an appropriate test. This would, as you’ll read on, come from Saal Digital and actually cost me around £10 (as I chose to order a slightly better book than the basic photobook and I had to add postage). Keep reading and you’ll see my review below. First however, I think it is appropriate to explain my past record of printing photobooks.
I have been printing photobooks since 2011 and have used a variety of different photo labs online. Starting with Photobox, I would always wait to get one of their special offers of a 100page photobook for approximately £30. For me at that point I could put together a catalogue of photos from a year in the life of my children. Quality wise? They were the first books I had printed and I was very pleased with them… but over time as my photos have improved, my need for something better quality has also increased.
So when I needed a photobook for my Brother-in-Law’s wedding photos I turned to Photobox again and produced a lay-flat book. It was 16inch square and cost me nearly £60 (approximately 30 pages in total). So, these books were double the price, for a third of the pages (but they were larger…) so not horrendous cost all in all. This was the first time I had produced something that needed to be good enough to sell, after all it was a wedding gift. It arrived within a couple of weeks but sadly the glue holding the pages to the cover was poor and came loose almost immediately. I ordered it with a case and that was bashed too. Now full credit to Photobox for replacing it without any major issues. I do wonder though, if quality control is pretty poor with these large-scale labs. I’ve had similar problems with Max Speilmann (Tesco) with canvases and likewise they’d just send me another canvas and say sorry. The question is, should it be expected that they’ll arrive like this? I don’t think so.
Following those experiences with Photobox I decided my next photobook would come from a Groupon offer I found which allowed me to produce books from PrinterPix… seemingly out of this world pricing - 30 pages for £9, or even better still, £6 got me a ring bound book. That was until they arrived. Both had to be reproduced because of lines on the print, even the print was pixelated when my originals were not. . They owned up to their error and apologised and explained that my book was printed towards the end of the maintenance cycle of the printer, and they had since changed their processes, but still… if you worked there, you would surely just flick through the pages and see lines all over the photos and reject it, so either quality control was poor OR there was none! Either way I’ll never be using PrinterPix again. Great if you’ve not got high expectations but the books were much worse quality than I’d had before. So how exactly were they worse? Well the pages were thinner, the print was grainier, the covers were not as neat and you could tell that you were buying a cheaper product. It wasn’t just on offer at a low price, it really was not a comparable product to that we’d seen previously from Photobox for example.
On to the next lab. I’ve been getting prints from Simlab for the last year and really love the quality of just their basic prints on Lustre or Gloss, and if I wanted to spend more I could have metallic paper etc for a little more. So, with that in mind… and about 100 prints under my belt it was time for the next photobook.
So I’ve now welcomed to the world, Saal Digital. As I’ve said before this book was a ‘freebie’ but actually cost me £9 (extras + postage). All in, it should have cost £29 so I basically got a £20 voucher to review their photobook. So, what’s it like and how does it compare…
Software / Creation .
SaalDesignSoftware interface is well designed and easy to use.
The first thing with Saal I noticed is that you had to download the software to use with Saal. Immediately I thought, cool no more spending days uploading my photos (imagine how long it took me to upload enough photos for a 100 page book and find them in the right order etc… I had to date them all so they appeared online in an order I could sort them by!). I installed the software and I had a play. It was instantly much nicer to use than both Photobox and PrinterPix’s website. I could just find my photos and insert them. Moving the photos around on the page was easy too. Not quite as easy as something like microsoft publisher, but i was happy and it didn’t take long to figure out the quirks. I didn’t have a great deal of time so I used a feature which made the book and guessed how I would want it laid out, based on what I had uploaded. It seemed to group shots well, into date order, so shots taken on the same day seemed to be together. I had to move a few around as it didn’t pay much attention to the original file orientation… in fact some portrait shots ended up cropped to landscape orientation missing important detail. It didn’t take too long to rectify this though. So I finished my book and I had not noticed that the software complained about the quality of any of the photos.. but when it arrived I saw the error of my ways … I uploaded by mistake a 1400x1050 px photo I submitted to my camera club as a digital projected image, rather than a normal 16 Mpixel file. It’s fine, but notable since the photo covered a whole page … so perhaps you might want to pay closer attention to yours if you use them.
The software worked well otherwise… I placed the order through it and the sign up was simple.
Now I’m going to say I ordered my book just before Christmas, so I was not expecting an immediate delivery… however it was not sent out until between Christmas and New Year and that is when I realised it was coming from Germany. Compare that with Simlab who I’d been using for prints and received next day, I was shocked to find it took a few more days and I was anxious to see my photobook. I got a message saying it was on it’s way but when checking the website tracking it knew nothing of my parcel. When I queried the courier they took so long to get back to me, that my parcel was delivered when I finally received information with the correct tracking ID! I put all this down to Christmas period…
So the book I ordered was an A4 Book, portrait orientation, with lay-flat glossy pages. When it arrived I was shocked (in a good way!) by it’s quality. The pages were nice and thick. There was no paper first page… the photos started from the back of the front cover. Totally flat gloss finish and printed on both sides of the paper. Each page was better than any print I have had printed so far. I realised quickly that it would get finger prints on, but where I’m worried I might ruin a photopaper print, I could happily wipe finger print marks off with my sleeve. Colours were spot on, vibrant reds and on darker images, the details were not lost.
I chose to have a photo front cover. It too was of equal quality to the inside. It was printed to the edges. Closed, the book feels very well made and better than most hardback books of that size. This may have a lot to do with the fact that the pages are thicker as they provide a lot of additional stability.
The only marking on it was a QR Code on the back page.. otherwise nothing else to say where it had come from, great if you are producing it for a client. Both PrinterPix and Photobox wanted £5 extra to remove that.
Would I buy another product from Saal Digital? Absolutely! I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt on the shipping (as it was over Christmas).
Would I get this photobook again? Definitely! £30 doesn’t break the bank. While A4 isn’t a large book, double page makes an A3 print which is nice to look at.
All in all, a very pleasing ‘purchase’!
For us photographers, Saal offer a discount scheme also which will also help provide a good value to the customer.
If i were to score each lab out of 10 … from what i’ve learned and written about here. I would score them as follows.
Printerpix 4/10 Photobox 7/10 Saal Digital 9/10
I’m yet to test Simlab’s Photobook offering but that will be on my radar next.
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