All photos except the Evolution Roller by Joe Gunawan | fotosiamo.com for SLRLounge.com
A proper storage and transport unit is essential for any photographers who are looking to carry multiple lenses and accessories such as flash, filter, flash triggers, and battery grips. While you can go be pretty minimalistic with just a satchel bag or messenger bag like the UNDFIND One Bags, if you’re on the job, or if you’re a want to have all your essentials with you, then I highly recommend the Tamrac Evolution backpacks. Today, I’m reviewing the largest of the non-rolling Evolution line, the Tamrac 5789 Evolution 9.
Here are the specs from B&H Photo Video:
Triple Access System
Convert to a Sling Pack
Foam-Padded Computer Pocket
Foam-Padded Top Compartment
QuickClip Tripod Attachment System
Side Pockets and Rain Cover
Carry-On Form Factor
Versatility is a great way to describe this backpack. There are tons of pockets and storage, particularly the day pack compartment on the top half of the backpack and the laptop compartment on the top/back side. I can easily put my 15″ laptop in the back and there is a lot of room up top.
And here is all the items I have in the top compartment. The zippered flap also has a wide see-through zippered pocket that you can put even more little items.
Each sides of the backpack have two openings. In the higher, smaller flap I keep my memory card holder and speedlight gel filters on one side, and the backpack rain cover and lenspen on the other side. The lower, larger flaps gives me side access to the main camera compartment, in case I want to grab another lens or camera without having to put the backpack down. That big white object on the lefthand side is the Graslon Prodigy Dome and Flat speedlight modifier that I did a review on.
Along the top, I have a Metz 50 AF-1 speedlight and a pair of Lensbaby lenses. Behind those Lensbaby is an AA/AAA battery case and a roll of 1/2″ wide gaffer tape. You can put a 24-70mm full frame lens in its place of the Lensbaby, battery case, and gaffer tape. In the middle row is my cell phone charger (you can put a battery charger here) and a Canon 5D mkIII body since I’m using my Panasonic GH2 to take these photo. In the bottom row is a set of wireless Cactus v5 triggers and Paul Buff CyberCommander, and three mu4/3 primes – the Panasonic-Leica 25mm f/1.4, Panasonic 20mm f/1.7, and the Olympus 45mm f/1.8. You can easily put in a full frame 50 or 85mm prime lens here, too.
If you want to have a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens in here, you just have to take out the Graslon modifier and the middle row divider, and have the lens and camera attached together through the left side and into the middle row.
The big flap that closes the compartment also has its own zippered see-through pocket to put even more little items!
Here is everything I have inside this compartment, including the GH2 (photo taken with the 5D mkIII).
There is also a tripod holder down the center. It holds my awesome and highly recommended Vanguard Alta Pro 284CT Tripod & BBH-200 Ballhead pretty well, although the tripod foot holder is a bit small.
Towards the back, we have two backpack straps that can be used as a traditional backpack straps, or converted to either a left or right sling. It’s fairly easy to convert, but since this is a rather large backpack, I don’t find the sling particularly comfortable. In fact, one of the cons that I have with the straps is that the foam and fabric material simply does not match up with the rest of the backpack. They don’t feel that great, are rather cheap looking, and are only fairly good in terms of comfort. But the straps do have chest strap and a belt strap to spread the weight around and have more security. Plus the part of the backpack that lays against your back is comfortable and fairly breathable.
So all in all, this bag holds a lot of stuff. But what about the details? Well, here are some things that I wish they can improve on:
And now here are the things that I like:
There is really a lot to like about this bag and it has become my full-time go-to backpack for work and when I want or need everything. Lots of spaces, pockets, and flexibility. Great material on most of the backpack. Nicely balanced and efficient shape.
Best of all, if you feel that the Tamrac Evolution 9 is too big, there are two smaller sizes, the Tamrac 5788 Evolution 8 and the even smaller Tamrac 5786 Evolution 6. There is even a rolling version of the Evolution, which is the Tamrac 5797 Evolution Speed Roller Backpack. That last version, however, does not have side access to the main compartment, just larger side pockets.