Both Janine and myself are professional mountain sport photographers. We are also very dedicated, serious athletes in many of the sports we photograph. As such, we regularly combine what we do for sport with what we do for work. With all of this centering around mountains, photography, performance, reliability and results – we need the best gear.
In the last 12 years of our career, we have made it a specialty to photograph real trips; ski tours, climbing, trekking, and especially trail running. For much of this, we have been both the photographers and subjects. We’ve run across Iceland, around Patagonia, through the Dolomites, around Mont Blanc and done countless day trips throughout the Alps, Sierra Nevada and Rockies. All with camera on hand. For years I dreamed of a pack that would allow me to run/hike/bike comfortably while having a camera safely protected, easily accessible, yet in a real backpack… for an athlete.
Finally, a few months ago, Lowepro contacted us to help test a new pack that they had been developing; the Photo Sport 200. Designed specifically for active mountain sport photographers or for anyone needing a superlight pack to carry camera gear. With all of our experience, they wanted to know what we thought.
We think it is perfect.
The key with this pack is that it is a go to bag for when you want to go shoot in the mountains, and getting to where you need to go is involved. It isn’t going to be your standard pack for mountain biking or running, it isn’t meant to be. It is simply the ideal system for being a working photographer in the mountains.
We’ve used it hiking, trail running and mountain biking and can honestly say it functions perfectly for what it was designed for.
Lowpro Photo Sport features and how we use them
We carry the lighter, more compact Canon 5d when we do these longer, more difficult trips. On the body we keep the 17-40 f4.0 and below it fits the Canon 70-200 f4.0. Both fit snugly in the padded internal case. There is a drawstring closure to cinch the entire system tight inside the pack to prevent shaking, and the camera bag is low enough to keep the weight balanced on the body – brilliant.
The pack has another, external sleeve specifically for a hydration system. The design is well thought out in case it leaks, the water will not get to the camera system. There is also a built in rain cover.
The rest of the pack is pretty much just a backpack, super light, a couple of pockets, all with enough room still inside for clothes food or more camera gear. The suspension & padding system allows for the pack to be worn comfortably for long periods. It carries up to about 15kg very well. External straps allow you to attach a tripod.
So as bloggers writing a gear review, aren’t we required to now admit that we were given free gear and that this fact might influence words of praise…? Yep, the pack was a freebie. And yep, if you run into me in the mountains while I am working you’ll see a bright orange Lowepro Photo Sport 200 on my back. Because… I really like it.
Want to get your own? Lowepro says June. For more information – visit Lowepro
To see what we have done as running photographers, visit our Running Portfolio
Follow what we do, as we do it in the mountains – via our Twitter feed @patitucciphoto
I was looking forward for this when I read your post weeks ago.
For the looks of it, it seems what I’ve wishing for a while: a true mountain backpack. I see this as the “professional” version of my current system: a very much improvised 25L backpack with smaller camera and/or lens bags inside. 🙂
Will definitely try one, maybe even buy it.
Thank you for sharing!
I agree with you, it was something I was anxious for as well. The simple need for a true superlight pack with a real camera system. This is it. I really am sold.
Is there room for an iPad with all of the gear and hydration?
For sure there is enough room, but it depends on how much extra you pack inside. Or, you could not take a hydration pack and put it in the protective sleeve, taking a water bottle instead.
Great review of the Photo Sport 200! A couple of questions – is there a sternum strap with this backpack? Second, how thin/thick are the shoulder straps? I tend to like wider and more cushy straps because they distribute weight better.
Yes on the sternum strap and padded shoulder straps, better yet a real hipbelt.
Thanks for the great writeup. I’m glad Lowepro finally decided to release a mountain backpack. I’ve been looking at some other alternatives, and it looks like i’ll need to head over to B&H photo for a better look in June.
Thanks for the review! I’m always looking for a pack that I can use for trail running, hiking and overall outdoor activities, but primarily, a pack that I can run with. I just happened to see this new pack on the Lowepro website, then looked for reviews and found yours. Definitely looks like something that will work well.
I’ve been photographing a mountain running camp for the last few summers (steensmrc.net) and I’m always trying to find a better camera bag; I think I’ll be trying this one in the summer!
Oh, and I looked at your portfolio, great photos! That’s the kind of photography I’m interested in! Taking photos AND being part of the activity.
I just got this pack and I have a couple of thoughts about it. First it’s VERY lightweight, to the point that I’m wondering about the durability of the material in the long term. There is very little padding, which I mostly like, but it does not let you store much camera gear in the camera pouch. For instance, I can fit a smaller nikon film body in there well (Nikon FM2n, F100) but a pro body like my Nikon F5, F4 (even with the small MB20 battery pack) any Canon pro bodies etc don’t fit very well..you have to force them in to the point of distorting the pouch and forcing the zipper. If only they had made the bag 1.5″ thicker it would be perfect.
Aside from this, you can only really fit the body with one lens attached and maybe two small primes in the secondary storage area..which leaves no real place for your flash. In my case I’ve put the flash on the outside of the protective pouch but inside the main compartment and an extra lens or two. They bulge into the pack material and any sharp points (aperture rings on AIS nikkor lenses) dig into the material..I’m wondering how well the material will hold up. So, I wish the pack was an inch or two larger in all dimensions.
Aside from those complaints, it is the most comfortable camera bag I’ve worn with 20-25 pounds of gear loaded. The strap system works really well. For my torso it fits perfectly. I’m 6′ and fairly thin. Everything stays stable on your back and your back stays fairly cool.
With my reservations about how long the material will last I’m keeping it and hoping it holds up better than I expect.
At first I felt the same about not being able to get my Mark IV in the camera holding part – but then I realized I don’t want to carry that one anyway when I am truly doing fast trips for work. I have always used a Canon 5d while on running and hiking trips and this of course slots right in. The idea is light.
Very tempting but the price isn’t completely light…
Are you able to take the camera body/lenses without removing the backpack ?
You are not able to get to the camera body or lenses without taking off the pack.
Hi Dan, great running portfolio and thanks for the Lowepro Photo Sport 200 review. I am curious if this bag will hold a 70-200 f/2.8L in the bottom pouch (its diameter is 13mm / half an inch wider than the 70-200 f/4L) without sacrificing room for a compact DSLR and attached 24-70 f/2.8L lens. The 24-70 is the same diameter as the 17-40.
For sure the 70-200 2.8 fits in the very bottom sleeve, no problem, even with the lens hood turned around. With a 24-70 2.8 the issue is not the width but the length, it is going to start bulging out at the zipper, especially if you try to put something down the side of the inside of the pack.
I’ve been searching for the perfect bag for shooting snow sports. Water/ snow resistant with snow cover for when it’s really coming down. Room for a Nikon D300 with a 70-300 or 18-200 and SB-800 flash plus room for a little extra gear, lunch, hand warmers… I wanted easy side access to my camera mainly so I can keep it dry in between racers without having to expose the whole pack to snowflakes. This bag looks like it may work well. My only concern is, based on some of the comments here, will it hold my camera without having to stretch the bag to get it in? Should I just wait until Lowepro makes a slightly larger bag?
Hi Ted, Based on your gear description, I think it may be a bit small and tight for all the gear – and because it is winter everything is just that much bulkier. What about a front loader for the camera, then the bag on your back with everything else – that’ll open up some room.
Greatest pack ever! After reading your review I bought one for an upcoming assignment shooting a 120 mile trailrunning stage-race in the rocky mountains. The bag arrived one week before my assignment and worked absolutely flawlessly all week! Thanks for sharing!
After reading this i waited…and waited for them to arrive in New Zealand. I finally picked one up a few weeks ago and we have been “stuck” together ever since.
What a great PACK! I wrote a wee review on my thoughts…
THANKS for sharing your thoughts. I appreciated the post!
I realise this artical was from a while ago, but one quick question, is it possible for the 70-200 F4 lens attached to the body to fit in? I’ve got a 600d, so a touch smaller than the 5D.
thanks for a nice review.
With the Photosport 200 AW, if you have the 200 on it will not fit in the camera case inside, but it might in the actual pack, but certainly not ideal. Try the Flipside 15, it’ll work as you can adjust the foam to fit your setup. I prefer the Flipside for my needs.