Fstoppers Reviews the Incase Ari Camera Bag

Fstoppers Reviews the Incase Ari Camera Bag

Incase has been making some of my favorite iPhone cases for the past couple of years. When I saw their camera bags, I was intrigued but skeptical. After doing some research and drooling over how this bag (Incase Ari) looked I decided to buy one and take if for a test spin. I figured I could always return it if it didn't meet my needs...

For the past year I have been using the Think Tank StreetWalker HardDrive. It is a great bag but has one major problem, I can't get my gear out of the bag without setting it down, which is a major obstacle when I need to shoot on the go. I looked at the Think Tank Retrospective 20 a buddy was using, but he was having issues with soreness after shooting for a couple of days. So after quite a bit of research, I decided to pick up the Incase Ari from B&H.

When I received the bag it took me a while to figure out how it works. Yep it has some tricks to it. First, I am a right shoulder bag wearer, and after inspecting the strap system I decided it was too complicated to switch the strap for the test spin, so I decided just to live with it. The strap has a buckling system that is a bit awkward to put on, even more so when you have thousands of dollars of heavy photo gear in your bag.

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www.jerritpruyn.com

www.jerritpruyn.com

After a couple days of use I finally figured out the strap system. There are two pulls on the strap, one tightens the other loosens by a simple tug. I have no clue if I am the only one that took a while to understand how the strap works, but now that I've got it all figured out, I actually really love it. I loosen and tighten the strap regularly as I use the bag. And moreover, at the end of a long day of shooting and a bag laden with heavy gear, I can just unclip the buckle rather than pull it over my head.

www.jerritpruyn.com

www.jerritpruyn.com

My favorite thing about this bag is how many different ways I can wear it. I can wear it uptight on my back (best for when I need to be walking or moving a lot), I can wear it loose on one shoulder (great for accessing my gear quickly), I can wear it one strap 90s backpack style, and it even has a handle so you can carry it like a briefcase. And the adjustable strap makes shifting between each of these "styles" quick and easy.

www.jerritpruyn.com

www.jerritpruyn.com

www.jerritpruyn.com

There is no denying this bag looks great. The salt and pepper color of the bag is stylish and the bad doesn't scream "I have expensive camera gear in me". There is also an external flap that covers a zipper that opens to a small internal pocket/divider where I tend to keep my sunglasses, keys and sometimes a small 50mm lens. I do not use the external access at all; however, I do like the flap's magnet because it keeps the flap shut flush and is also kinda fun to play with.

www.jerritpruyn.com

This bag is one of the best looking camera bags I have seen, but for some reason it also has the ugliest rain cover I have ever seen. I do not know why Incase didn't provide a neutral cover for such a great looking bag. I am debating spraying the bag down with a rain repellent.

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The bag has straps on the bottom that work great for a small tripod and are fully adjustable. There is a hidden pocket on the bottom of the bag that the rain cover goes it. I personally have chosen not to use the ugly rain cover and have replaced it with the Fstoppers FlashDisc.

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The Ari doesn't hold a ton of stuff, but it holds enough. It has a padded slot for an iPad or small laptop, a small section you can access from the front (and inside), 3 small netted areas for batteries or memory cards, and three divided sections(In the photo above I have removed one divider). It could be a negative that you are unable to change the position of the dividers, but you can remove them so this didn't cause an issue for me. I have a hard time deciding how to organize everything inside my bags, so the lack of layout options forced me to use it in it's particular way. I am able to fit everything I would need to carry on a portrait / elopement shoot; however, I can't fit everything I need to use for a full wedding in this one bag. This isn't really a deal breaker because I have a rolling bag for weddings I bring along as well. The bag does hold just the right amount of gear you want to carry around while you shoot; any more and you will definitely need a good back massage at the end of the day.

Cons:
•Expensive for the amount of gear it holds.
•Awkward to put on.
•The rain cover is ugly.
•Not 100% Waterproof.
•Some outside pockets would be nice.

Pros:
•Fits nice and snug.
•Great looking.
•Evenly distributes the weight across my chest.
•Different ways to wear the bag.
•Great strap system once you get the hang of it.

Specs from Incase:
Dimensions 1839" x 11" x 6.7"

In the end I decided to keep the bag. I carry this bag daily and it fits my needs while shooting or even just walking around the city. With a small bag for grip and speed-lights I could cover any entire event. Let me know if you have any questions about the bag and I will try and answer them for you in the comments.

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11 Comments

Andrew Griswold's picture

Can't tell you how much I love Incase products. When I picked up my first DSLR a couple years back it came with a cheap camera bag from the local shop and I quickly began researching bags. I picked up the Incase Sling Pack almost immediately. Not the current grey fabric design but its black and is made of a more polyester material which is water resistant. I did a little test by leaving newspaper in the back and all its compartments and leaving it out in the rain for the day. Nada! Nothing got through it. Here is a link to the bag which I picked up on a 3rd party buyer on Amazon for $80 http://www.amazon.com/Incase-CL58032-Sling-Camera-Lenses/dp/B0047DXGHK. The dividers come out and you can get a few different layout options. I have squeezed 4 lenses and all gear for a small wedding before but this is mostly for every day walk about shooting and smaller shoots. A big difference I see with this bag and the one I have is the pockets on the inside of the flap have zippers to seal it all up and wont let it fall into the bag like this one does?

I'm shocked this pack is 200 bucks and has less than other sling packs offer. The pro sling pack is less than 150 and has a laptop and ipad sleeve with it. http://www.amazon.com/Incase-CL58060-DSLR-Sling-Pack/dp/B007D4ZDJO/ref=s...

Jerrit Pruyn's picture

Thanks for the recommendation. The downside to Incase is I never see their products in the NYC camera stores. I went ahead and ordered the Incase Pro bag to check it out in person. I am still happy with the Ari but we shall see.

Andrew Griswold's picture

Agreed, it took me awhile to finally pick one up for various reasons. One being incase is not one of the top dslr bag retailers out there. Not to mention not many reviews on them so seeing this was a great surprise! After I got the bag though it was well worth the price.

Andrew Chavis's picture

With as many camera bags as I own, incase has never really been on that list. It does indeed look like a pain to put on. I should give them a chance in the future...

As of late I've been using the Lowepro Passport Sling. I've been eyeing the Domke F3 backpack for a while now. Honestly, I need to get my obsession with camera bags under control.

I have the Sling which is what the Ari replaced and after looking at them both I have to admit the Ari is a step down. The sling is easy to put on, hold a 5D3 with a 24-105 and has space for a 430EX and a 35 1.4. I have travelled extensively with this bag as my 'small' bag when I do not want to bring my larger Flipside Lowe bag. Why they changed a good thing? who knows.

Yay, a camera bag for hipsters..

Jerrit Pruyn's picture

Do my glasses and hat make the bag hipster? It is a good looking camera bag.

Jason Ranalli's picture

Sorry but WAY overpriced IMO. My limit was the Lowepro Sling I have which was $100 and that holds much more equipment.

Specialized gear is a market that has really taken off in recent years. Those silly roller suitcases specifically for camera gear are $300+...I built my own for ~$60 that is just as good if not better. There was a guy on here recently that spoke about using simple hockey-bags for lighting gear rather than the special overpriced ones from the camera gear companies.

There are special considerations for a camera bag such as the need to fend off rain and the size and number of compartments...but other than that...it's just a bag.

But kudos to the companies that market and make this stuff. By appealing to the hipster vibe they're able to charge these kinds of prices for a glorified back-pack. Smart move on their part.

Quick question - can I buy this bag if I'm not a hipster douchebag who is verging on a Portlandia sketch? Above images suggest not, but surely there must be stockists outside the PNW.

It's actually a pretty nice looking bag. I prefer my thinktank retro, but this looks perfect for a n easy lightweight combo (gf670 + x100 + ipod + junk). Good review.

Jerrit Pruyn's picture

Thanks for the feedback. You Aussies have the wrong coast on your hipster stereotyping. It was cold the day I did the review so I kept the hat on.

I have had the Ari for around 2 years, and it's a well-built bag. The sling is really quite awesome once you get the hang of the quick-adjust system. It very quickly goes from long strap side-hip messenger type of bag to a short single strapped backpack. The material it's made of is beautiful, but I also think it will collect and show dirt. I've avoided going into dirty situations with the bag so I've never tested that.

The lack of customizability is a slight downfall, but I also can't really think of another formation for the interior anyways. The main issue I have with the bag is that it doesn't have the space to tote a camera with battery grip and lens attached, but not many bags do that.

I saw someone else complain about a lack of external pockets, but there is that one external access slot that gives you access to the one interior pocket.