Every week, it seems, a new bag company is out to court the crowded world of products for camera-wielding creative types. Brenthaven has been making laptop bags and luggage since the 1980s, but the name might not be extremely familiar in the realm of camera gear. We gave its BX2 backpack two weeks to show how well it can haul some gear.
What Is It?
A medium-sized backpack for a DSLR camera, lenses, accessories, and a 15-inch laptop.
Who's It For?
Anyone looking for a camera backpack that looks good without trying too hard.
The BX2 Looks terrific. No loud colors, no giant logos. Medium-gray, clean lines, and a comfortable overall shape. The compartments are large, unencumbered, and distinct.
You know—zippers, pouches. It's a backpack. It's deep enough for a pro DSLR body and a few lenses. Access your camera body either on top, or through the side with the bag still on your back. You can strap a small tripod to the side or wrap the bag in an included rain cover, which is surprisingly easy to use.
The Best Part
The simplicity. Bags are often mazes of straps, pockets, buckles, and zippers. The BX2 has a pared-down design you never have to think about how to use.
The storage compartments.The sections lose their shape. The giant compartment that houses your camera body leaves empty space on all sides, even with a large camera like the Canon 1DX. Reconfiguring the Velcro sections could never make things snug. You open the bag to find the camera and lenses in awkward positions.
This Is Weird...
The BX2 features a tethered LED light for "low light conditions." Thanks?
- Some of the zippers aren't so smooth. You sometimes need a second hand on the bag for some resistance to aid the zip.
- It has a decent amount of storage for non-camera gear, including a well-placed laptop compartment.
- The abrasion-resistant surface has a really soft, inviting, tactile feel that trumps the stiff ballistic nylon often used on camera bags.
- Brenthaven makes much ado about the ruggedness of their bags, with abrasion and water resistant exteriors, and "Xtreme Protection" foam. We didn't belt-sand the BX2 or toss it off a cliffs, but it seems as rugged as advertised.
- A major contributing factor to the problems with the main camera compartment is that the Velcro is placed on small strips, which severely limits your ability to reshape and customize the layout to fit your particular setup.
- For side access, the opening is on the right side of the bag. This suits a right-hander, only.
- The bottom of the bag is durable, but not rigid enough. It tips over on flat surfaces.
- The BX2 could comfortably stow a Canon 7D with an attached lens, 2 additional lenses, a small hard drive, RODE video mic, and accessories. In the top compartment, we had some Sennheiser headphones and a Zoom H4N audio recorder.
Should You Buy It?
The BX2 is certainly stylish and comfortable, but it just doesn't seem like your gear is being securely stowed. Hold out for a bag that fits your camera just right.