Case Logic has been making bags, tablet sleeves and accessory holders for quite some time, but this was my first time reviewing, and using, a dedicated camera bag from the company. The Luminosity DSLR Split Backpack is a hearty, sturdy bag with a few neat compartments and a unique design that is aimed toward either the professional photographer or pro-sumer who needs to protect their gear while on the go. When considering this bag, know that protection was at the forefront.
If safety was their primary concern, Case Logic did impress here. The bag is hefty, but not quite what I would call "heavy." Empty, the bag weights 4.4 pounds, and that's actually pretty noticeable. Though it would be great to wear going short distances, the bag can actually get uncomfortable over long distances. It does have pull-out waist pads, but they aren't stiffened by any central rods so they are only "ok" at dispersing weight and easing tension on the shoulders. Back to the safety of your equipment... the case logic has an almost hard-case design, making anything and everything inside the bag nearly impregnable to damage. Sure, if you drove over the bag with a car you probably would destroy it, but under normal conditions (or even if you fell while wearing the bag), your gear would likely go undamaged. The bag's exterior is well designed, and easily the highlight of the product.
Another selling point of the Luminosity is the split-pack opening design, which splays the bag open and gives the wearer access to a workstation-like environment. In the fully-open state, the bag grows by nearly 1.5 times in length and the resulting shape is quite conducive to managing a set of lenses, a tablet or cleaning supplies along with your camera. Oddly though, the bag has no laptop space, likely due to the way the bag opens (when splayed out, there is no place on the bag that would be large enough to hold a laptop). The reason I find this strange is the bag opens to supply me with a workstation, but doesn't let me carry one with me.
There is a handy grip handle at the bottom of the bag which when used with the grip found at the top of the bag makes it very easy to pull in and out of a car, or up off the ground.
Unfortunately, the actual storage capacity of the medium sized bag (which I had for this review) is limited, despite what appears to be a good-sized bag when you get it out of the box. The camera containment space, which is located on the back and only accessible if you aren't wearing the bag through the back zipper, is almost claustrophobically small. After rearranging the interior, I was able to fit a 5D Mark III and two small primes (an 85mm and a 50mm) inside, but it was a snug fit. The video below shows larger lenses fitting, but only just and only in a very specific arrangement. I can imagine a Fuji shooter would like the space, since it would easily accomodate an XT-1 with a lens and at least two more lenses in the space.
All that said, the actual storage compartment is well designed with plush, soft interiors that will surely keep your equipment safe.
The top portion of the bag is only accessible through the top, and it is again much smaller than I thought it would be. The space is clearly designed for non-camera equipment and is big enough for a water bottle or two, some snacks and maybe a light jacket. I attempted to stuff a hoodie in there and it was a very tight fit.
Aside from those two spaces, the Luminosity has very few other containment areas worth noting. Though you can lock a tripod onto the side of the bag using the adjustable clips, there is no footing for the tripod, which means with some shaking (that could come with running or climbing) a tripod could shake loose, or more realistically a twist-lock tripod leg could come undone and drop down, encumbering you (this has happened to me).
There is a front zipped pouch on the front of the bag, but it's best utilized for flat items like filters, lens cloths, memory cards and maybe a thin hard drive. Anything else would cause difficulty in closing the front zipper.
The weirdest thing about this bag, in my opinion, was how it fit on my back. The actual size of the bag seemed... odd. I'm not a big dude (5'10" on a good day), yet the bag seemed to fit oddly high on my back. After adjusting it so that if I wanted to use the waist straps, it felt too low. I think this is due to how deep the bag is- nearly a foot from front zipper to the back of the bag. Being just a hair bigger than two feet in height, the proportions of the bag just felt strange to me. If the bag was a bit longer, it might feel more natural to have it on my back. As it stands, it just felt like it was going to hit something if I took a turn too suddenly.
One final note, due to the design there is no real way to quickly access your gear. In order to get to the camera, you have to take the bag off, fold back the straps, zip open the compartment and pull out the camera. If you wanted a longer lens, you can't really store it in the bag attached to your camera, so you would have to switch out. All in all, not a problem if you are shooting on a set schedule, but annoying if you are attempting to shoot street work.
What I liked:
- Only $103, which is very well-priced
- Great exterior design keeps gear safe
- Interesting back-opening gives you a workspace while on-the-go
- Comfortable shoulder straps
- Lots of space for small items, like cleaning equipment and memory cards
- All-weather housing included
What could use improvement:
- Bag profile is odd, making it feel too deep for it's height
- The medium size, which we were given for this review, has extremly limited storage capacity and only holds maximum amount of gear in a very specific arrangement
- Heavy, especially when filled
- Waist straps are marginally effective
The Case Logic Luminosity Medium DSLR Split Backpack is a winner when it comes to keeping gear safe, but difficult to rationalize for a more advanced shooter who has more equipment. For that, you'll have to hope the large size (which is cheaper for some reason) is big enough, or look elsewhere. If you plan to keep things light, the medium bag might be a good fit for you, but be careful since it is rather heavy on its own, even before being stuffed with your favorite camera and lenses. However, the low price point puts it ahead of some competitor products if you are keeping things on a tight budget.