Shooting with multiple lenses is always a bit of a challenge, but there are various methods to make it easier. What suits one person might not suit another. There’s those who solve the problem by lugging around two camera bodies, those who stash lenses in hiding spots or in bags under tables, those who decorate themselves with lens belts/holsters, and those who use a quick-access bag. The Shootsac is a quick-access bag with a little more style than the others.
It’s a compact shoulder bag made from stretchy neoprene (wetsuit) material and provides a snug fit for your gear, moulding to the shape of your lenses. This prevents your lenses sliding around in the bag without having the bulky foam dividers that most traditional camera bags have. Depending on the size of your lenses and the weight of other lenses in the bag, you may need one hand to hold the bag in place while you slide the lenses out.
What does it fit
The bag is split into two halves, each with three pockets. The main three pockets are covered by a neoprene sleeve/cover and are deep enough to fit lenses such as the Nikon 70-200 f2.8. The pockets also stretch wide enough to fit bulkier lenses such as a the Nikon 14-24. If you use a lens hood on a long lens (such as the Nikon 70-200), you will need to reverse the lens hood on the lens so that it fits in the bag – but this is fairly typical for most camera bags I have used.
The secondary three pockets are held by a press stud, and are designed to hold smaller items such as a flash, spare batteries, phone, wallet, etc.
Is it comfortable
Because it is made from soft, flexible fabric it moulds slightly to your body – sitting comfortably at your side rather than swinging around like other more rigid shoulder bags can. The shoulder strap is made from seatbelt-style nylon and is surprisingly soft and slightly stretchy. It is not that thick though, so you’ll definitely want the shoulder pad (which is sold separately for AU$12). Although the shoulder pad is soft and spongy, it is slightly narrower than some pads on other shoulder bags I have seen. I have heard complaints that some people find the shoulder pad too small, but personally, I found it reasonably comfortable.
Is it made from strong materials
The neoprene material is thick and durable with tough stitching, and the shoulder strap clips are top quality. I think you would need to try pretty hard to rip the fabric or break the clips. It is clear that this bag has been manufactured with quality in mind.
Does it fit your budget
The bag itself retails for AU$179, plus the necessary shoulder pad for AU$12 (total $191). This is quite a lot, but if it improves productivity for you then it is probably money well spent. If you know someone with one of these bags, it might be worth borrowing it for a shoot to see how you find it – as bag ergonomics can be a very particular thing.
You can also purchase alternative sleeves for AU$39. The standard black sleeve can be removed (it attaches along a velcro strip) and replaced with sleeves of various patterns and colours.
The bag is comfortable, it fits a good range of lens sizes and is very well made (which is reflected in the price). It also gives you quick access to your lenses, as intended. So are there any negatives?
The main drawback for me is that there are no sealable pockets (with a zip, for example). The press-studded pockets are fine to secure medium sized items like a wallet or phone, but spare batteries or memory cards may be able to slip out of these pockets (particularly if you rest the bag down on the ground for some reason). I’m paranoid when it comes to keeping memory cards safe, so would not feel comfortable keeping a card full of precious photos into the Shootsac. It would be good if the removable sleeve had a zippered compartment.
Another slight disadvantage is that it’s not really made to be put on the ground (you wouldn’t want to throw it down too quickly, or you may damage your lenses). That said, the bag was not really designed to be a “storage” bag – it’s purpose is simply to carry lenses on you, worn at all times.
The Shootsac is sold officially in Australia through Cambags, as is definitely worth considering if you shoot with multiple lenses frequently.