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Gear Reviews

LowePro’s Echelon Attache | Review

By Anthony Thurston on April 29th 2015

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.

attache-0001-2

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.

attache-0002

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.

attache-0001-3

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.

attache-0002-2
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.

attache-0002-3

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.

Anthony Thurston is a photographer based in the Salem, Oregon area specializing in Boudoir. He recently started a new project, Fiercely Boudoir to help support the growing boudoir community. Find him over on Instagram. You may also connect with him via Email.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Jesper Ek

    They make good workimg product, but the look like sh-t…

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  2. Ralph Hightower

    I’m an “average Joe” photographer, so I agree that this bag is overkill for those. I have a Lowepro Magnum 35 that has my Canon A-1 gear. I’m looking for larger bag that can carry my Canon FD lenses, flash, , filters, and my two Canon film cameras: A-1, F-1N. A smaller bag for when I don’t want to or carry the bulk in my 35; right now, I’m using an insulated lunch cooler bag. Once I get another EF lens for my DSLR, I’ll have to get a bigger bag.

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  3. Chuck Eggen

    In 6 months it will be 80% off at B&H. I’m not even sure that is a deal.

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    • J. Dennis Thomas

      They’ll be throwing it in for free along with a lens cloth and cheap SD card with their Digital Rebel package deal.

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  4. Lissette Garcia

    WAY overpriced and it isn’t even a nice looking bag. Disappointed.

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  5. Jason Boa

    High quality low sexiness

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  6. Paddy McDougall

    Looks like something a suit would put their bowling ball in. ;)

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  7. Barry Cunningham

    I don’t want my camera bag to turn heads, except maybe in disgust. I’d rather it flew under the radar.

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    • Thomas Horton

      Which is why when I am looking for an inconspicuous bag to carry my kit in, the last place I will look is a manufacturer of camera bags.

      I think that some of these customizable inserts work a lot better as you can change the visible bag to blend in with the surroundings.

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    • adam sanford

      Yep. This. +500.

      I just use a Tenba insert or two (http://goo.gl/xLkElY) and drop it into whatever old satchel I need that — a low profile one, a small or large one, a waterproof one, one with an extra chamber for a laptop, etc.

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    • J. Dennis Thomas

      @Adam Sandford

      “I just use a Tenba insert or two (http://goo.gl/xLkElY) and drop it into whatever old satchel I need that — a low profile one, a small or large one, a waterproof one, one with an extra chamber for a laptop, etc.”

      Same here. I buy military surplus bags and drop in the Tenba. Right now I’m using a German military bag I picked up for $20. It can Hold 2 DSLRs (one compact one gripped typically) with 2 lenses easily, along with my 13″ MBP and assorted batteries and cards.

      For my Leicas I found a waterproof canvas and leather French Foreign Legion bag that holds 2 cameras each with a lens mounted (as long as its not a huge Nocti or wide -angle Lux) and a few batteries and cards. No inserts needed. Typically I put one body in one compartment and 2-3 lenses in the other.

      Never again will I use a “camera” bag. Honestly the bag that is reviewed here is ugly as sin. I wouldn’t use it if it were free, and I’m not even joking.

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    • Thomas Horton

      Military surplus bags are often a great deal. They are strong, inexpensive, and pretty common so they can blend in.

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  8. Miika Vuorimaa

    For that price, I’d really pass that one. I could get ThinkTankPhoto bag for that price, even two of them. Lowepro has got problems with their products. The products that are priced nicely, are sub-bar with quality but those that are high quality, are sub-bar.

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  9. Chuck Eggen

    $420 for $15 worth of material. A bit ridiculous I think.

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    • Thomas Horton

      I tried explaining that my wife about Louis Vuitton… It didn’t work. :)

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    • robert s

      @thomas horton

      Louis Vuitton uses high level couture fabricators and highest grade leathers. there is a reason they cost so much.

      unlike lowepro who has it made in a sweat shop in asia and use run of the mill cheap cordura fabric

      for shame lowepro!

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    • Rafael Steffen

      I totally agree!

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    • Thomas Horton

      Robert, I would disagree.

      I actually purchased a LV handbag for my wife. It was a legitimate version. It is a canvas bag with plastic glued to the outside with some leather trim. I was shocked, especially considering the $2K price.

      At least Coach and MK use actual leather.

      I was very surprised at the LV handbag. You are truly only paying for the name.

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  10. robert s

    $420- HAHAHA!

    you so crazy lowepro.

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    • adam sanford

      Yep. Lowepro and the other larger bag manufacturers finally realized what the margins are on courting nouveau riche & style-mongers. I see higher end canvas and leather satchels with a stylish matching colored photo insert inside being sold north of $500 all the time. It’s absurd, of course, but money is money and Lowepro wants a piece. Thanks, one percenters. :-P

      But I will say that there *is* a high-end to really well designed and built camera bags (see GuraGear as one example) to court the ‘Apple customer’, who are not necessarily wealthy so much as willing to pay more to get something that offers more value. Perhaps that’s Lowepro’s angle here.

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    • robert s

      for $420 they should have used nappa leather for the main body and for trim that crappy cordura. not the opposite

      you can find lowepro bags very cheap on ebay. the mini trekker AW sells for $45 shipped.

      btw, making the bags is one thing, people buying is the other.
      I have a lot of their older bags. was looking for a new bag last year. will stick to what I have now.
      the quality is not the same with the new bags. theyve gone downhill.

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    • Dave Haynie

      But Adam… Apple fanatics who need more than the “perfect” camera in the iPhone-of-the-year pretty much always buy Nikon 1 systems. They don’t need a bag this big, but like the Nikon 1, it does have the same kind of low value per dollar and form over function they’re used to from Apple gear. So I guess they might get it anyway.

      I also kind of wonder about the top zipper. I have two LowePro “Stealth Reporter” bags… a big one for the Canon system, a smaller one for the m43 system. The top zipper has a pretty obvious integrated seal, which does a nice job of keeping all that expensive goodness dry… with the option of pulling out the rain cover if the rain gets serious. I don’t see that on this way more expensive bag. I guess there could have been some kid of inner seal — might have been nice to see the inside.

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  11. adam sanford

    Pictures of the *inside* would be nice. Hearing it holds a 70-200 is nice, but seeing how that actually works in reality would be a nice add. And no shoulder strap for this thing? Surprising.

    As always, my boycott of black puffy coffins that scream ‘I have expensive stuff in here!’ continues, even if they are styled up to look like doctor’s bags. But I *do* want to see how bags are evolving these days — they give me ideas in retrofitting my own homebrew camera bags. Thx as always, Anthony.

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    • Anthony Thurston

      There is a shoulder strap, It is removable and I just happened to have it removed when I shot these images. I thought I mentioned it in the post, but I must have missed that.

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  12. Thomas Horton

    “It comes with a TSA lock for security when flying”
    With TSA, I would never feel comfortable checking photography gear in an obvious camera bag like this.

    What we really need is a lock to keep TSA out!

    I would like to see camera bags like this offered in different colors. Not everything has to be black.

    $420 is a lot to pay for a bag.

    “It is a bag that turns heads and helps you look your best. ”

    I think that pretty much sums up this bag and sums up my reason why I would never pay $420 for such a bag. For that much money, I want something other than turned heads.

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