Earlier this year, LowePro announced their Echelon bag line, designed and developed to be the ultimate luxury bags for creative professionals, namely, photographers. I was lucky enough to get my hands on the Attache, the mid-sized day bag that sort of resembles a vintage doctor’s bag.
attache-0001I have been using the Echelon Attache, in addition to the Roller, almost exclusively for the last month or so. Today, I am giving you my full thoughts on the Attache, an interesting option for those looking for a luxury bag.

03-performance-4-stars

You may be wondering what sort of performance there is for a bag. But, in this case, I am referring to how well the bag works: do the zippers zip nicely, the buttons latch, etc. As a luxury bag that costs quite a bit of money, you expect the Attache to be flawless, and it comes darn close.

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My only real complaint with the performance of the Attache has to do with the front pocket. Simply put, it’s just too tight. I have really thin hands, and it is hard for me to get anything more than a piece of paper in there and back out. Now, maybe over time, it will loosen out, but as my unit currently is, the pocket is barely usable for me, and would be impossible for anyone with larger hands.

08-features-4-stars

As with any luxury product offering, the Echelon Attache brings all the features that you would want in a bag. It comes with a TSA lock for security when flying, a rain cover for when you are out in the elements, a pocket for both a small tablet and a 13″ laptop.

My only complaint with the features of the bag is the rain cover. The cover that comes with the bag is a pouch that you can take out and lose. I would much rather have had a rain cover built into the bag – or even better, just make the bag rainproof from the get go.

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13-design-4-stars

The design of the bag is something that I waver on, to be honest. At times, I find myself thinking it looks ridiculous with its top flaps, and at other times I am rather fond of it. No doubt, you will likely fall into one of those two camps, and either love it or hate it.

As far as the functionality of the design, besides the front pouch issue I detailed in the performance section, the bag design is great in terms of use. It was designed to be able to hold a DSLR with a 70-200mm attached face down into the bag. The interior is a bit useless in its default configuration, but once you customize it to your taste, it becomes quite good. Overall, the LowePro design team did a wonderful job with this bag regarding usability.

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19-quality-5-stars

What would a luxury bag be without all the trimmings? The bag features a brilliant all black facade, starting with its black textured exterior. No faux leather here; the Attache features probably the nicest feeling leather on a modern bag I have ever felt. As you would expect from a luxury bag, the quality is superb and much higher than you get with your average photography focused bags.

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22-value-3-stars

Unfortunately, as is usually the case for a luxury offering, the actual value of the product vs. the money spent on it is debatable. There are other bags with similar features, and functionality, with 80-90% of the quality for 50-60% of the price of this bag.

But when you purchase a luxury offering, you expect the best, and that means paying for the best. So, can you get a bag that is as good or better in terms of usability and functionality for cheaper? Yes. Will you find anything that matches the quality and hits the mark with all of the little details like this bag does? Unlikely.

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So at $420, is the Attache a good value? For most photographers, it’s just overkill. But for that select few who need/want that luxury aesthetic, it’s a price well worth paying for.

32-overall-score-4-stars

Overall, I am very happy with the Attache. It is a bag that turns heads and helps you look your best. It will protect your gear and look great doing so. As a luxury offering, it is exactly what you need and expect it to be.

If you are an ‘average joe’ photographer, there are honestly better options out there that will give you all the functionality and make much more sense for your wallet. So while I think these bags will be perfect for their target demographic, these bags are definitely not for everyone.

If you are interested in picking up the Attache and taking it out for a spin, you can find them exclusively through B&H here.