LowePro S&F Camera Exchange AW Bag 100 [REVIEW] - Digital Photography School

LowePro S&F Camera Exchange AW Bag 100 [REVIEW]

I see a lot of bags and packs that look like gimmicks trying to be passed off as something the average consumer can’t live without. Often they are toured as such. Few of them live up to the concept of making photography easier.

And that is why I eyed the LowePro S&F Lens Exchange 100 AW with a skeptical eye. “Look!” I imagined the PR rep shouting from on high, “You can change lenses more easily!!” I’m not a fan of individual lens cases and I usually only carry one extra lens not on my camera when I travel. But with my recent need to test a Tamron 90mm Macro, I decided to see if the small bag could deliver when I used it in conjunction with a Canon EF 10-24mm.

Specifications

  • Internal Dimensions: 11 x 11 x 17 cm (4.33 x 4.33 x 6.69 in)
  • External Dimensions: 14 x 14 x 19.5 cm (5.51 x 5.51 x 7.68 in)
  • Weight: 0.4 kg (0.88 lbs)

In The Real World

The concept is simple: When opened, this bag has holders for two lenses. It can’t hold them both when closed, but the idea is you open the bag, expand it out, drop one lens into the empty holder, swap end caps and put the first lens on your camera. It’s meant to make things easier for one handed operation when you don’t have a place to set your second lens during a swap.

And it works! I’ve been using the under-the-arm technique for a while and it frankly frightens me. I’m not the steadiest of hands at times and dropping a $1500 lens is a bad idea. This bag actually cures that problem.

What’s more, this bag doesn’t try to be everything to everyone and I really like that. It holds a smaller lens (like a 16-35mm, 50mm or even 90mm) well and has space for another. I didn’t try it with a 16-35mm and the wide lens hood, but it should fit as well. It can’t handle a 70-200mm but for that it has a big brother, the 200 model.

There are a couple of elastic pouches on the sides to hold lens or end caps. Beyond that, the bag isn’t larger than it needs to be to accommodate extra stuff. No pockets for keys or extra cards or cell phone. Just a lens bag.

There is a nice belt loop velcro attachment on the back built in the normal, rugged LowePro fashion. The zipper pulls on the top are smooth, as I’ve also come to expect from LowePro and the use of a single handle is astonishingly easy. I’ve tried binding it up and it keeps on working properly. Very well designed for being so dang simple. There’s also a snap on the back (when both of your hands are free) to help secure the bag.

A shoulder strap is supplied and there is a rain cover. The rain cover seems a bit silly to me especially since it has holes form the shoulder strap. There is no way to get into the bag with the shoulder strap attached and the rain cover on. I have to remove the shoulder strap then take the cover off, which obviously requires more than two hands and a place to set the bag, most likely. If the rain cover were not attached to the bag (a long time gripe of mine about LowePro rain covers in general) I could flip the rain cover the opposite way and still work the system with one hand.

Conclusion

The LowePro S&F Lens Exchange 100 AW works and despite me not wanting to like it (or lens pouches in general) I will be using it with my other bags when I want a slimmed down kit. I can attach it to the hip belt of a f-stop bag or the outer loops on a smaller camera/lens bag. I can also just loop my belt through it and forget about the bags altogether.

It also works better for me than the standard LowePro lens cases. With this bag, the case opens wise (I find those single lens bags have a lid that likes to flop closed when I don’t want it to) and the opening with a handle is just easier.

Get a price on the LowePro S&F Camera Exchange AW Bag 100 at Amazon.

Summary
Reviewer
Peter West Carey
Review Date
Reviewed Item
LowePro S&F Camera Exchange AW Bag 100
Author Rating
4

Read more from our Cameras & Equipment category.

Peter West Carey is a world traveling photographer who now is spending a large amount of time going back through 6 years of travel photo and processing them like he should have to start with. He is also helping others learn about photography with the free series 31+ Days Of Photography Experiments which builds off of the 31+ Days To Better Photography series on his blog.

  • http://www.brooksimages.com Darryl Brooks

    I’ve been using this case for a while (I have the 200) and it is great. works as advertised and makes one handed lens changing easy and safe

  • Charlton Vaughan

    I really enjoy this forum and website for all the informative articles and reviews it helps alot. I have the Lowepro Slingshot 102 AW. I do alot of homework before I make a purchase and this was no exception when it came time to find a great camera bag. It’s just the right size for me. The S&F 100 AW is probably great but I find it too small for my needs. I am usually hiking or away from home and I like to carry my camera most everywhere since I never know when I might find a great photo op. I have a Canon T2i, EFS 18-55mm lens, 100mm macro, there is even room for a small wide angle lens if I needed it. It all barely fits in the main compartment but I find it’s all I need. It has a smaller secondary compartment above this one that can handle the 110 charger cable, hardline remote, small lens cleaning kit with small bulb, etc. There is two small pockets for extra memory cards on the inside of the flap of the camera compartment. All areas are well padded. There’s an adequate rain cover and the only con with that is that it doesn’t cover the backside of the sling that would be pressing against your back. Water is going to be cascading down between these two places theoretically. I’m in the desert and it hardly rains here so I don’t really have to worry about that. I’ve had it for about two years now and the inside is like new. It must be good at keeping out the dust because we certainly do have more dust storms here than rain. So far I think Lowepro’s are great if the other models are equal to the Slingshot. BTW, that’s the best part. I don’t have to squirm to get anything out of the bag as I would with a backpack style. I bring it around front, the camera compartment is facing up. Nothing spills out. Lens are changed and BAM! I’m back to taking photos. I love it.

Some older comments

  • Charlton Vaughan

    December 7, 2012 02:49 pm

    I really enjoy this forum and website for all the informative articles and reviews it helps alot. I have the Lowepro Slingshot 102 AW. I do alot of homework before I make a purchase and this was no exception when it came time to find a great camera bag. It's just the right size for me. The S&F 100 AW is probably great but I find it too small for my needs. I am usually hiking or away from home and I like to carry my camera most everywhere since I never know when I might find a great photo op. I have a Canon T2i, EFS 18-55mm lens, 100mm macro, there is even room for a small wide angle lens if I needed it. It all barely fits in the main compartment but I find it's all I need. It has a smaller secondary compartment above this one that can handle the 110 charger cable, hardline remote, small lens cleaning kit with small bulb, etc. There is two small pockets for extra memory cards on the inside of the flap of the camera compartment. All areas are well padded. There's an adequate rain cover and the only con with that is that it doesn't cover the backside of the sling that would be pressing against your back. Water is going to be cascading down between these two places theoretically. I'm in the desert and it hardly rains here so I don't really have to worry about that. I've had it for about two years now and the inside is like new. It must be good at keeping out the dust because we certainly do have more dust storms here than rain. So far I think Lowepro's are great if the other models are equal to the Slingshot. BTW, that's the best part. I don't have to squirm to get anything out of the bag as I would with a backpack style. I bring it around front, the camera compartment is facing up. Nothing spills out. Lens are changed and BAM! I'm back to taking photos. I love it.

  • Darryl Brooks

    October 30, 2012 06:37 am

    I've been using this case for a while (I have the 200) and it is great. works as advertised and makes one handed lens changing easy and safe

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