Cutline A1 Backpack Evaluate: A Close to-Good Modular Bag for Photographers

Like many photographers, I personal 1,000,000 luggage. Some have completely different functions, one for day-to-day work and one for touring, one for fast entry throughout wet days, one for studio days.

My first bag was a Lowepro sling bag that was like carrying an enormous padded dice. As a photojournalist and avenue photographer, I’ve many various setups so I acquired fairly a number of completely different luggage. The commonest backpack for years amongst photojournalists was the Suppose Tank Shapeshifter, which permits one to hold a ton of drugs every in its personal padded neoprene sleeves. It additionally permits for fast entry to 2 cameras with 24-70mm and 70-200mm lenses hooked up, the commonest setup for many people. For DSLRs it was nice.

The ThinkTank Form Shifter 15 V2.0 digital camera backpack.

Now with mirrorless, its issues are extra obvious: it’s a big bag and although it zips down, it’s very heavy and cumbersome and weighs nearly 5 lbs empty. This makes a distinction on lengthy days. I by no means preferred that it’s clearly a digital camera bag or a minimum of a bag with electronics inside. Suppose Tank briefly tried to make a “bare” model and a smaller model however neither labored very effectively and had been quickly deserted.

For years after I attempted utilizing noncamera luggage, a North Face Recon, Topo Daypack, Prometheus Design Werks, and lastly a wide range of Go Ruck luggage. Every labored moderately effectively and I preferred that they had been extra discreet than a digital camera bag. The primary drawback was that they often had no laptop computer compartment (North Face, Topo) or no sections to separate cameras from one another, lenses, and issues like lunch, further jackets, and many others (Go Ruck). The Prometheus Design Werks had dividers and a laptop computer compartment however the cameras slid round on the within and the backstraps weren’t very cushioned given how a lot it was meant to hold.

The Go Ruck luggage had been my go-to for years however they’re extraordinarily costly and don’t have any inner dividers.

Enter the Cutline A1. Developed by a photojournalist, it’s the greatest hybrid bag I’ve seen to this point.

The Cutline A1 backpack. Picture: Cutline.

It’s light-weight, weighing in underneath 3 lbs, however powerful sufficient for each day assignments. It has Molle stitching in each horizontal and vertical so you may strap digital camera our bodies, lenses, or flashes so that they don’t hit in opposition to one another, or you may add pouches on the within just like the shapeshifter.

Picture: Cutline

Intelligent orange velcro straps permit issues to be suspended inside the bag however are simple to undo or reattach in a rush. It has two facet pockets for small objects similar to cellular hotspots, laptop computer batteries, a passport, and many others. Two zippered compartments on the outside make it simple to stow a press move, a granola bar, some keys, or issues like a laptop computer twine. It has sufficient pockets however not too many the place you neglect the place issues are.

Picture: Cutline

Having the facet entry to the laptop computer permits me quick access in a automotive or on the sidewalk when submitting footage. You may add a pouch for a water bottle or further lenses on the entrance or connect them on the backpack straps.

The Cutline bag itself slims down while you’re taking pictures together with your cameras out, one thing that turns out to be useful whereas protecting protests or politics the place there isn’t lots of house to maneuver round or packing it right into a suitcase when touring.

The zippers are the right dimension for sturdiness, however not as heavy because the Suppose Tank ones, which appear overbuilt and clunky. The Cutline zippers are water-sealed eliminating the necessity for extra material. As an alternative of clips, the bag makes use of Fidlock magnetic fasteners, that are each simple to open and shut and lighter. It doesn’t seem like a digital camera bag and has better-padded straps and again panels than some other bag I’ve used.

The modularity permits for combos of setups, which is especially good for touring or switching from journalism to avenue pictures. It may maintain massive mirrorless zooms, however then shrink down in order for you a day with simply a few primes. For portrait days it could actually maintain a Profoto B10+ with a few lenses.

Additional card reader, card case, and face wipe

There are a few issues I’d wish to see in future luggage: a built-in water bottle pocket could be good. I’d love a smaller model of this bag, possibly 15L for much more pared-down setups and completely different even lighter materials like X-Pac.

Will this be the final bag I ever purchase? Most likely not. I nonetheless love my Domke 803, which I’ve used longer than some other. The remaining have been offered or dwell in a closet. However the Cutline one is fairly near the right modular bag for a working photographer I’ve seen but.

In regards to the writer: Stephen Yang is a contract photojournalist from New York Metropolis. Together with protecting day-to-day information and options in New York, he has frolicked protecting the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in North Dakota, social uprisings in Hong Kong and Baltimore, and hurricanes in Florida and Puerto Rico.

Stephen’s work has appeared in The New York Put up, The New York Occasions, Reuters, The Wall Road Journal, Der Spiegel, and Newsweek amongst others and his archive is syndicated by Redux Photos. When not taking pictures, he’s often looking for a greater sandwich and spicy Chinese language meals. You may see Stephen’s work on his website and Instagram.

Picture credit: Images (until in any other case indicated) by Stephen Yang