It's amazing how complex some camera bags can be these days. Some have tiny pockets that are just the right size to hold Compact Flash cards and fancy backpack harness systems, which can be fine-tuned to put the weight of your cameras and lenses over your center of gravity to make it easier to carry them around. But, sometimes, you just want to carry an SLR body and a couple of lenses, along with a few odds and ends. Tamrac's Express 6 doesn't sport a lot of the fancy features found on some of the company's bags. Instead it's built for style, with a messenger bag look and ultrasuede accents that keep the bag from looking bland.
The front compartment gives you room for whatever extra things you need to bring along for a day of shooting.
Just because Tamrac didn't include nifty features, such as the company's Memory and Battery Management System
, in the Express 6, doesn't mean that it didn't put some effort into the bag's design. On the side of the bag, there's a pocket with a magnetic clasp for a cell phone or MP3 player. A large zippered compartment on the front of the bag includes a couple of pockets also suitable for an MP3 player, a photo storage device, or some filters, as well as a zippered pocket where you can store batteries or memory cards. The main flap has another small zippered pocket and covers the main compartment.
The main compartment doesn't have a zipper, but small side flaps help keep dust and dirt away from your gear.
Speaking of the main compartment, it has a pair of flaps that helps keep dust and dirt from sneaking in the sides of the cover and comes with removable dividers that can be configured to your liking. Of course, there aren't many configurations that I could come up with, since the bag itself is on the small side. I ended up with the pads in the same places they were when I got the bag, with the main compartment separated into three columns, so I could store a midsize lens on one side, slide the SLR's attached lens in the middle column with the camera body attached, and put a hot-shoe flash in the other side column. Tamrac includes two small pads so you can separate the columns into upper and lower sections. Since the pads are held in place by small Velcro tabs, you can reach past the small dividers if you choose that option, which comes in handy if you have a couple of not-very-deep lenses, such as Pentax's nifty Limited
series of lenses.
If you have a big SLR body with a vertical grip, then this bag isn't for you. However, if you have a smaller-size SLR (think Canon 40D or smaller), and don't have a slew of lenses, then the Express 6 deserves your consideration. Best of all, it doesn't look like a camera bag, but it protects your gear like one.