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Accessories March, 3 2013

Field Testing the Chrome “Niko” SLR Backpack

Chrome was kind enough to let us field test one of their new “Niko” SLR bags during the latest iteration of New York fashion week. The bag graced the photography pit of over 20 shows scattered all over the borough of Manhattan during the eight day melee. We had it out for extended periods in the rain and the snow. Overall, we were very impressed with its performance.

As far as the styling goes, it certainly has that distinct Chrome bag look to it. In our opinion, one major factor in selecting a camera bag is finding one that doesn’t scream “camera bag” at a casual glance. The Niko definitely fits the bill of being incognito about the cash value of its contents.

The construction of the bag is the standard “bomb-proof” design that you would find in any of the bags that Chrome designs. The webbing and nylon are incredibly heavy duty, as are the weather-proof zippers and lining. It is designed to be a predominantly side-loading bag. But, the customizable internal configuration allows it to also be used as a top-loader.

The capacity is sufficient for even a modest scale professional shoot. We configured the Niko as a top-loader for Fashion week, because it was the most sensible way to pack in a camera body with a battery grip attached. The fact that it would even fit a camera body with a battery grip and lens attached is a relatively rare find in our experience. In addition to a Canon 5D with battery grip and 28-70, attached, we were still able to fit a back-up camera body, a 70-200 mm lens, and a speedlight (as well as the usual assortment of CF cards, cables and laptop). Finally let’s not forget the monopod strapped to rear of the pack.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t warm enough this February to be commuting on two wheels between the shows. But, the cam locks on the shoulder straps are easily adjustable with one hand, and the chest strap definitely mitigates lateral swaying that might occur while pedaling. We were impressed enough by the bag that we probably will be rocking it again during September fashion week, when it is warm enough to cycle to and from the shows.

Photography: Jacob Breinholt and Justin Bridges / Highsnobiety.com

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