Lowepro SlingShot 200 AW – review

Lowepro – SlingShot 200 AW: http://www.lowepro.com/Products/Sling_Bags/All_Weather_Cover/SlingShot_200_AW.aspx

Update 05feb07: I’ve just replaced my 200AW with the Tamrac Adventure 9, and have a review of that bag as a comparison to this bag

I wanted two things above all others for my replacement camera bag:

  1. to look anonymous
  2. to be quick to access

The anonymity is purely because I don’t want to advertise how attractive the contents of the bag are to a casual snatcher, but the quick access is because I want to take the camera out with me and the kids, and I want to be able to leave it in the bag until it’s appropriate: anyone who’s tried to help a toddler climb a slide whilst having an SLR swinging around their neck will know what I’m on about, and it’s not simply a case of choosing between trying to grab the camera or child should they fall (that’s an easy choice) but more about not striking the child around the side of the head with the camera whilst bending over them.

The main advantage of the Lowepro is that it’s a normal rucksack/backpack for the most part, except that there is only a single main strap which passes diagonally from left to right across the chest. To access the camera, simply pull on the bottom right of the strap and lift your left arm and the whole bag slides around and down in front, exposing the otherwise odd looking side panel zip. Your SLR (with telephoto attached) can then be pulled out and you can start shooting. The bag doesn’t need to be moved back (unless you want to), and it’s perfectly possible to kneel in this position with the bag in front and shoot naturally. Why ? This is usually where I end up when trying to take pictures of the kids playing. There are also a couple of clips to prevent the whole 180 degree opening pocket from becoming unzipped in this position, which is great for peace of mind.

Other features which truly show that the bag was designed by a digital camera user are the digital card pocket, which is in the roof of the flap which opens to access the camera and is velcro sealed and contains little pockets that take memory card plastic cases perfectly. The soft cloth tucked into the back of the main opening unfolds to lay across the LCD on the back of the camera to help protect it from zip damage, and which is also soft enough to givethe screen a quick wipe. The All Weather covering (which gives the bag the AW suffix) was pretty hard for me to find at first and I thought it hadn’t been included in the shipping bag, but at the bottom rear of the bag there is a very innocuous velcro seal, which opens up into a small pocket that the cover lives in. The cover itself unfurls like a Pak-a-mac to cover the entire bag (and all zips) from direct contact with the elements, and is stitched in at the base so there’s no chance of forgetting it when it’s most needed.

The top of the bag as a triangular pocket with its own zip and this looks to be the ideal size for a small first aid kit, a couple of small bags of crisps, a chewy bar or two and a small bottle of water. Essential supplies when out with young accidents children, although I might cut down on the food and add in some baby wipes instead. For ‘grown-up’ shooting (especially on early mornings), it’d be possible to get a survival bag in there to make lying down on wet ground no problem at all.

There are also Sliplock mouting points in three places, but as I’ve not had those before I can’t comment on their placement. An extra stability strap is also present which ought to keep the pack in place even when scrambling up a rocky outcrop, and a front pocket which I must admit to having no immediate plans for. All of the internal dividers are attached by velcro and can be shuffled around to suit the load: by default the bag comes configured for an SLR with standard lens, space for one more lens below that, and two lenses on each size. This would be for average size 50mm lenses with average diameter filters (52/58mm) – if you have telephoto lenses or very wide filters then it would be best to check things out in advance (I can measure the pockets on each side without the dividers in place if required).

I bought mine from The Digital Camera Company which had the best UK price and managed to get it to me the very next day, even on the cheapest delivery option.

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  1. Kim Jensen

    Nice review. I’m wondering what size lenses you fit in the bag? I have a Sigma EX 24-70/2.8, Simga EX 105/2.8 macro, a Canon 50/1.8 and (very soon) a Sigma EX 70-200/2.8. The latter is 18 cm in length. Mounted on my Canon 300D (Digital Rebel) I estimate it to be a total of 25-26 cm. Do you think this will fit in this bag? I figure, that the 3 other lenses should fit in the remaining space.

    Best regards,
    Kim Jensen

  2. Thanks Kim ! I have the kit Canon EF-S 18-55/3.5 lens and the Canon EF 55-200/4.5 Mk II on my 350D, and want to get the Canon 50/1.8 next.

    The 55-200 is just a shade under 13cm in length and doesn’t fill the space at the side when stored vertically, although an 18cm one would have to lie flat as the bag is only 14 to 15cm deep. With the lens on my body it’s 17.5cm in total and has a fair gap at the end: it looks like 23cm or so in total for the body+lens in the main compartment.

    I wouldn’t feel confident about 25cm – I’d be worried that the padding was being squashed too much to provide proper protection, but you ought to be able to get the 70-200 laid flat to one side of the body if you make one of the panels fit at an angle, and then there would be room for one lens on the camera and two more in the other side pocket. Do bear in mind that my lenses take 52 and 55mm filter sizes: if any of your lenses are much wider (say 72mm filters) then it might be a bit of a squeeze.

    It does sound like you are right to be wary of the dimensions – all the internal panels can be moved around, but if I were you I’d want to try it out in a shop with that 70-200 attached before buying.


  3. This was a really good practical review.

    I’ve been mulling over the different LowePro bags for quite some time now and I think I’m going to be focusing most of my attention on this bag. But, like you said, it’s not very wide. I don’t think I’d be able to keep my Canon 70-200 f/4 mounted on my 300D in the bag, but I can deal with that. As long as I can fit it in the bag in one of the other locations, I’m set. But, I guess the best thing I can do for myself is go to the local store that carries this bag and fit all of my stuff into it.

  4. Hi
    Nice review ,I like the fact that you have the safty aspect in mind,for both the camera and the kids!
    I am looking at getting this bag for my 350D but was wondering if you think this bag would be capable of taking the camera with the BG-E3 grip attached.

  5. I use the Slingshot 200AW as my primary camera bag. I shoot with a Canon 20D (with the BG-E2 grip attached), which fits nicely into the 200 even with my 24-70 f/2.8L attached with filters on the end and the hood turned around. In terms of my 70-200 f/4L, I’ve found that if I open up one of the side pockets, I can get the lens in with the hood reversed, but it’s not the best fit. Recently, I’ve started to just use my Lowepro Lens Case 3 sliplocked to the side of the bag to carry the 70-200 when I need it. All in all, though, this bag is great. In the top pocket I carry batteries
    (in the mesh pocket), cable release, filters, 430EX flash, and lens cleaning stuff. In the front pocket, there is a nice organizer for pens and a small pad or pda. I highly recommend this bag.

  6. Angelo

    I’ve just purchased my Slingshot 200AW and haven’t put it to the test yet. It’s maiden voyage will be to Scotland the end of this month.

    I carry a Canon 20D with two lenses, EF70-300, EFS 17-85, and filters. Batteries, cleaning kit and misc items in the top compartment.

    I had to change around the configuration inside the Slingshot in order to accomodate the battery grip (BG-E2)pack. By so doing I lost the inside section which didn’t have much room anyway.

    I’m also looking for one of those 18 inch or less tripods to take with me. It will strap to the convenient loop on the side of the bag or through the two loops provided in the front of the bag.

    At this point everything fits snuggly but I must confess, one more inch would have been perfect for me.

    All in all, the bag looks and feels great. Can’t wait…

  7. Angelo

    To follow up on my last comment, I removed the unused padding and got the “One inch” I needed. Now I must give it “the perfect bag” seal of approval.:wink:

    💡 I’ve also been playiing around with the bag; bringing it to the front makes a good perch for the arms (to rest and stabalize them while I am shooting).

  8. Angelo

    Kim, Ian and Ryan, If you eliminate the velcro padding from the smaller compartment the 20D will fit nicely with the 70-300mm. The hood will have to be reversed of course. I hope this helps anyone that is considering the 200AW

  9. Ian,

    Spot on with that review…You asked the same questions I was pondering I have bought a slingshot 200 AW on the strength of it (actually I did examing one in Jessops & Photo optix as well) I can’t take my photo gear out at the moment as I my wife and I both use Digital SLR and have 2 children under 4, If I dont take out the Canon 100mm macro lens and get an external waterbottle holder for the sliplock I can probably get in nappies, baby wipes vaseline, nappy sack and a GPS too

  10. Thanks for the nice comments guys – by my count this makes two bags I have caused others to buy, and a third that became a Lowepro Toploader 70 AW as the bag had to be even smaller than this one so the wearer could take it on the rides at Disneyland with a Nikon D70.

    I haven’t asked what else went in the pack, but for the record he got onto most of the rides in the park (Orlando) and for the ones he was refused access to, he agreed that it wouldn’t have been safe and didn’t feel at all put out. For someone from the UK to take it around Florida in June for 8 hours a day and declare it comfortable even at the end of the day, it’s certainly worth bearing in mind if you’re prepared to sacrifice equipment space for portability.


  11. P.S. got mine from the Digital Camera Company too ordered at 14:00 Tuesday and it was there by 12:30 the next day … also used the cheapest dilevery option… extensive searching reveales they are still the best price got mine for £60 in delivery (high street was £69)

  12. Carole Haines

    Thanks for the great review and comments. I’m going to Alaska the end of this month and have been researching camera bags. From this review and subsequent comments, I’m convinced that this bag is close to perfect for my needs. thanks again!

  13. Good review. I’ve just got my 200AW and have managed to fit 300D + battery grip, Canon EF28-135+hood, Sigma 10-20mm+hood, Canon 70-200 2.8L + hood, 50mm 1.8, Sigma Super DG Flash, battery charger + cable and extra memory cards/batteries. 70-200 2.8 has to go in seperately and the 300D with grip goes in mounted with 28-135mm. It’s a snug fit but it all goes in without looking too cramped. All in all, I’m very happy with this bag and even though that’s a lot of (heavy-ish) equipment, it’s still very comfortable for long periods of time.

  14. Hi there,
    Too many good posts here. But, I haven’t seen anything about a topic which is very important to me: changing lens “on the fly”. Looking to the pics (in the Lowepro webpage), looks like just the first part of the main compartment can be opened when the bag is in front of you, because if opening all the way (and so, exposing all the stuff) things can become dangerous for the lenses/filters/etc going to the floor. Is that right?
    Or is it easy to access all the material and change lenses/filters without having to sit somewhere?

    Thanks in advance and hope the question was clear enough.


  15. Hi Marcio,

    I do this all the time – there are two plastic buckles on the side of the bag near the zipper so that when the bag is rotated round in front the zip can be undone only part of the way. The buckles prevent the zipper from moving further across the bag and so allow easy extraction of the camera and the access to the CF pocket. I have found there’s enough play in the interior padding to allow short lenses (eg: Canon 50mm or EF-S 18-55) in the frontmost compartments to be pulled out although it’s not really designed for that, and that the top pocket and front outside pocket can be half unzipped. I tend to keep my filters in a folder in one of those pockets and find it easy to pull out with the bag half open and with the camera strap round my neck use the space the camera was in as somewhere to put things whilst changing filters or lenses.

    Long lenses, or ones in the compartments furthest from the zip can’t be easily extracted with the buckles fastened, and yes, you are correct in that unzipping the entire bag with it round in front of you would cause things to fall out – you might be able to crouch down and support things on your knees, but I tend to take the bag off as I can’t afford to drop a lens 🙂


  16. Ok, Ian.
    Thanks for the comprehensive answer. 🙂


  17. Looks like the pple here can really pack a lot of stuff into the bag.

    Ultimately you have to remember that the Slingshot is a shoulder bag. After some weeks of using I have cut down my equipment to just this: Canon 350D w/o batt grip, EF-S 17-55mm f2.8, lens hood, one filter, EX420 flash, spare batteries. I may carry a 85mm f.18 now and then.

    That’s it. Anything more, it gets quite heavy and will be uncomfortable.

  18. Hey, nice review but I have one question. Will 350D, EFS 17-85mm, EF 50mm and a common size book or few a4 pages (without folding) fit?

  19. There’s no space for unfolded A4 anywhere in the bag, with or without kit 🙁 The main space just isn’t tall enough to take it, even if all the padding was removed (which would be fairly pointless in terms of carrying cameras !).

    Lowepro have announced the 300 AW, which is a little larger than this one, but I’ve not seen one so can’t comment on the suitability of that for carrying A4. Something like the Computrekker AW might be worth a look, as that’s designed to take a laptop, which are usually bigger than A4.


  20. Can someone tell me if its possible to reconfigure the dividers in the bag in a way that you can lay the body with 70-200 attached in the other direction than is shown in the pictures of this bag? I realize this might take away some of the available space in the bag but it might allow for a better fit of this lens mounted on the body.

    Thanks, Randy

  21. You can certainly remove all of the dividers without any problems (the three non-opening sides and base are all soft velcro, and the dividing panels have the hard velcro bits), and you might be able to put one panel back in to provide a corner support for the lens, but I’m afraid I don’t have a 70-200 so can’t say if the overall length would be enough.

    Hopefully someone with a bag can try this for you and comment here, but if not then I can measure the space, although that isn’t as good as trying it.


  22. hi,
    stumbled upon this webpage while googling about the slingshot 200AW. Try looking at this page for the configuration of the Slingshot 200 AW with a 1D MKII with 100-400 and other configuration


    most of those photos show ppl carrying 70-200 F4 with this bag, dunno about the 70-200 F2.8


    hope this helps

  23. hi there

    thanks for interesting reviews!

    i have found the slingshot 200 on http://www.7dayshop.com for £49 plus £4 deliv. they are also fantastically cheap for memory cards, batts and chargers


  24. barnacle

    i am making a trip to the US this summer from belize and want this bag. my concerns are also with space. i only need room for a nikon d100, with 35-70 {attached}, 80-200, sb800. it looks like with the removable dividers i should be fine? it’s just that since i have to order this in advance to be in denver when i get there, if it won’t work, i won’t have time to return and re-do!
    please tell me to rest assured,, it will all be OK:wink:


  25. I don’t have any Nikon gear, so I can’t be sure, but you might like to know that there’s now an AW300 that’s larger than the 200. Take a look at the following shop page:


    I know it’s a UK shop, but they have the clearest set of interior dimensions for all three bags with the fewest number of clicks (Lowepro‘s website has too much flash to be able to link easily) to be able to compare them.

    Hopefully a Nikon owner will be along shortly !

  26. thanks all for the help!:!:
    i just found a photo of this bag with similar gear in it on the http://www.cambags.com page.
    it looks like i will be happy with this setup. i want to monitor this site just in case anyone with simalar gear wants to share their poinions.
    my other option was the tamrac velocity, but i have had good luck with lowepro in the past.
    thanks again!!

  27. Well lots of good practical honest advice here for this bag – looks like it will be just the ticket to take on a tour vietnam – especially with the all weather cover. Cheers guys.

  28. I’ve had mine for 18 months now (see up the thread)
    In terms of a long term test I have taken it out almost every day,and it’s been brilliant however I’m a bit cross at the moment though as the internal padding at the top of the strap has come loose inside and slid down about six inches leaving a hollow fabric tube. I know I’ve used it lots but it’s demise seems a little premature. so watch out for that a weak point I feel.

  29. Llew Williams

    Thanks for all the good input, folks! I bought the 200 AW today and will give it its real trial run in Costa Rica in February. I tend not to like having things hanging off me and I’m genuinely encouraged with the comments about how comfortable this bag can be. If I’m pulling it off and setting it down every time I stop to make an image, it won’t have much value. A K10D, 50-200mm DA lens, 18-55m lens, and a Vivitar (Kiron-made) 100mm macro will go with me along with a 360 FGZ flash, batteries, chargers, teleconverters, filters and my carbon monopod strapped to the outside. If I decide I want to haul the 70-300 Sigma with me as well, it sounds from all your descriptions as though it won’t be a problem. THanks again!


  30. Great review!

    Just wondering, with all your gear in and after spending a whole day out walking, do you find it strains one side of your body?

  31. Hi Kevin,

    Well, it’s been a while since I sold mine (just for more equipment space: the AW 300 wasn’t out then 🙁 ) but I never had a problem. I mainly went out with it to take photos, so it wasn’t in one place on my shoulder all day anyway: I was pulling it round to access stuff fairly regularly, crouching down for shots, getting snacks out for the kids, etc.

    I didn’t try walking for a full day hiking without moving it: I would expect it’d be unsuitable for that as the uneven loading might be more noticeable and I have seen reports in forums elsewhere where people said it wasn’t comfortable for them. I should add that I carried my kids in a backpack when they were smaller so I don’t have any problems with loads on my back.

    So if you’re doing moorland hikes and are thinking of the AW 300 then I’d be cautious but say it’s worth taking your gear to a helpful local shop and loading one up. If you’re doing town walking, or expect to be stopping every five minutes (as I do !) to take pictures or change lenses then I’d be surprised if you had any problems. The extra securing strap is handy to stop it shifting when running for a bus, BTW 🙂