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Tamrac Velocity 10X Pro Sling Pack Camera Bag Review

Tamrac Velocity 10X Pro Sling Pack Camera Bag Review  


 

March, 2012

Before starting this review I need to mention that a camera bag is very personal. What may work for one person may not work for another. There is no best or perfect camera bag out there. What a photographer requires and prefers is determined by the type and amount of gear one has and the style of photography the individual practices. Before you plunk down your hard earned money on a new camera bag I highly recommend you read multiple reviews and/or visit your local camera shop and try the bag first hand to see if it's the right one for you.

The Velocity X series is Tamrac's latest line of sling pack camera bags. The bags range in size from 6X, the smallest, to 10X, the largest (there's also a Velocity 5X which is a hip pack). The 10X comes in black only. The smaller bags come in several different colors. The idea behind a sling pack is that you can wear it like a regular backpack but also be able to swing it around in front of you for easy access to your camera equipment without putting the bag down. You place the strap over your neck and wear it on one shoulder and across your chest. The biggest improvement of the X series over the original Velocity series is the Quick Flip Top which opens away from the body, making it much easier to access your gear. Most of this review can be applied to the entire Velocity X sling pack line (note that the Velocity 6X does not have a waist strap). Velocity 10X specifications - Internal Dimensons: 12w x 6 1/2d x 13h in. (31 x 17 x 33 cm). External Dimensions: 14w x 10 1/2d x 15 1/2h in. (36 x 27 x 39 cm). Weight: 3 lbs. (1372g).

The build quality of the Velocity 10X is excellent. Everything is stitched together nicely. The shoulder strap is easily adjustable and long enough to accomodate all but the tallest of giants. The strap is well padded and comfortable, sort of (more on that later).

Tamrac Velocty 10X Sling Pack Camera Bag Review
A view of the back of the Velocity 10X and the padded shoulder strap.

One of the best features of the Velocity X series is that the top of the bag flips away from your body when you open it. This makes it very easy to access the main compartment while still carrying the bag. The top opens and closes with a zipper which is concealed under a flap. The flap can make access to the zipper a bit difficult and both zipping and unzipping is a two handed job. There's also a buckle on each side of the bag which serve as extra measures of security for the top. The top of the sling pack has a carrying handle for the times you want to give your back and shoulder a rest.

Tamrac Velocity 10X Pro Sling Pack Camera Bag Review
The top carrying handle makes it easy to transport the bag when you're not photographing.

The Velocity 10X also features a waist strap which conveniently tucks into the bag when not in use. The waist strap provides stability by preventing the sling pack from bouncing around when it's worn as a backpack. The strap is adjustable and fastens with a standard plastic clip buckle. You can still swing the pack around to the front of your body while the waist strap is attached as long as you keep it a little loose.

Tamrac Velocity 10X Pro Sling Pack Camera Bag Review
The waist strap is easily accesssible from the built in pouch.

The main compartment has two vertical dividers. The dividers are adjustable so you can configure the bag any way you want. You can also remove the dividers. There are three adjustable/removable horizontal dividers which keep your gear separated in each individual compartment. The top of the bag has a zippered pocket for extra storage.

Tamarc Velocity 10X Pro Sling Pack Camera Bag Review
The vertical dividers have flaps on top which help support bigger camera bodies.

The front of the Velocity 10X has a large zippered pocket which can hold accessories, small lenses, flashes, etc. Inside are three pouches which feature Tamrac's patented Memory and Battery Management System. All this system really consists of are red flags which are sewn into the pouches. The idea is that when you have a used up battery or memory card you put it in a pouch and pull up the red flag. You keep the "good" batteries and memory cards in the other pouches. It's simple, but effective. When you are out in the field you can often forget which batteries and cards have already been used.

Tamrac Velocity 10X Pro Sling Pack Camera Bag Review
Using the Management System pouches keeps your used and unused accessories separate.

I wanted to see just how much gear I could fit in the Velocity 10X so I grabbed my cameras, a couple of lenses, and a few other items and put them in the bag. Below you can see my Nikon D7000 with MB-D11 battery grip attached. Here I chose to place it in the middle section. Attached to the camera is the Sigma 100-300mm f/4 lens. Tamrac claims you can fit two pro cameras into this bag. Since I don't have two pro bodies I couldn't test this claim, but I'm guessing it can be done but it would be a tight fit.

Tamrac Velocity 10X Pro Sling Pack Camera Bag Review
You can fit two pro cameras in the bag w/lenses by turning them to portrait position and putting them in the end sections.

Below you can see all the camera gear I fit into the bag. In the main compartment I had my Nikon D7000 camera with the MB-D11 battery grip attached and the Sigma 100-300mm f/4 lens mounted on it. Also attached to the camera was my BosStrap. Also in the bag was my Nikon D50, no lens attached, and the Nikon 85mm f/1.8G, Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 OS, and Tokina 12-24mm f/4 lenses. There was still room left for a few more smaller lenses. In the front pocket was my Nikon SB-800 Speedlight, the D7000 battery charger, and a tabletop tripod. Again, I still had plenty of room for more stuff.

Tamrac Velocity 10X Pro Sling Pack Camera Bag Review
The Velocity 10X can hold more gear than most photographers own.

The Velocity 10X Pro Sling back has several pros and cons. Pro #1 - it's big. Bigger than most photographers will need. The next size down, the 9x would probably be better for most enthusiasts. I rarely carry as much gear as pictured above. But I like the size of the 10X because it can also hold all my other junk, ie phone and keys. Also, if I'm out photographing for an entire day I can also fit my lunch in the bag. But sometimes the 10X can be too big for me. I'll often carry a smaller bag with only the gear I need if I know what I'm going to photographing. And then there are times when I want to travel light where a big camera bag just doesn't make sense. Pro #2 - the bag just works. You can wear the bag like a regular backpack and swing it around to your front for full access to your gear in a matter of seconds, without putting the bag down. But...

Con #1 - wearing the sling pack as it's meant to be worn can be very uncomfortable if carrying heavy and/or a lot of gear. When I say uncomfortable I mean really uncomfortable to the point where it begins to hurt after only a few minutes. The padded part of the strap is a little too short so it digs into your shoulder. You can play around with the strap length and shoulder position to make carrying a heavy load bearable, but the design of the bag seems best suited for light gear which defeats the purpose of a big bag. When I was only carrying my D7000 with the MB-D11 grip and Sigma 100-300mm lens the Velocity 10X was comfortable to carry. (Note that this problem may not exist with the smaller bags since you can't fit as much gear in them). Con #2 - this bag isn't meant for women. I'm guessing the strap that comes across the chest will be too uncomfortable for a woman no matter how light the load is. Con #3  - if you only use a sling style camera strap, such as the CarrySpeed, this isn't the bag for you since they are both worn the same way. I tried having both straps on one shoulder without success. When I tried wearing one strap on each shoulder I felt like I was being strangled.

Luckily for me I always carry my camera bag over one shoulder, not over the neck and across the chest. Since my college days I've always worn a backpack on one shoulder only and do the same with my camera bags. With the Velocity 10X I keep the strap short so the padded section covers my shoulder completely and goes under and around my arm. The bag limits the mobility of my arm a little but I find carrying it this way much more comfortable than the way it's supposed to be carried. I can still easily swing the bag in front of me for easy access without it slipping off my shoulder and can still use the waist strap for extra security. Carrying it this way also allows me to use a sling style camera strap.


I can't give a full recommendation for this bag. If you pack it full of camera equipment and carry it sling style as it was designed it's just too uncomfortable to use. But if you usually travel light or modify the way you carry it such as I do then it really is a nice bag. When standing in a stream or walking through muddy woods it's great to be able to change lenses without putting the bag down. The smaller Velocity X bags are probably more comfortable to use. If you're looking for a new bag please take my advice at the beginning of this review before you decide. For more info on the Tamrac Velocity X series you can visit their website here. If you found this review useful and would like to help support this site you can use the links below when making your purchase.


 
 



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