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The LowPro Pro Roller x-50 Attaché is something different in a market of photo bags. It attempts to be a hybrid, mixing camera bag with clothes bag. Personally I have been searching for a bag that can handle a subset of all my photo gear and clothes for a weekend trip. I have previously tried making a ProRoller X-200 work by morphing the interior dividers, but the result was lackluster at best and would not work for ‘nice’ clothes that don’t stand up to wrinkles well. It should also be known I have higher standards for roller bags because frankly, I don’t prefer to drag a bag behind me and instead prefer to carry the weight on my back. However, as I move along in years, I have started noting the distinct value in not always wearing my camera weight.
The Attaché x-50’s uniqueness lies in its ability to either be a roller bag or to switch to a shoulder strapped bag. I was skeptical of the ability of this bag to transition between the two setups as well as its ability to swallow up my Canon 7D with 28-300mm L lens attached (approximately the same size as the more popular 70-200mm L lens). I also wanted to bring along a wide angle lens, flash, filters, batteries and a few other items. If this bag fit the bill, it would be able to not only hold all my equipment, but also make it readily available so I did not have to sort through layers of internal dividers to access my camera for a quick shot.
Up to a pro DSLR (without grip) and attachéd lens; 2-4 lenses (up to a 70-200mm f/2.8) or accessories; up to 14” widescreen laptop; documents and personal items; main case may be used as luggage when inner case removed
16.3W X 9D X 16H in./
41.3 X 22.9 X 40.6 cm
14W X 4.5D X 9.3H in./
35.6 X 11.4 X 23.5 cm
1680d Nylon 600d polyester
210d nylon Nylon Velex
I liked the idea of the front kickstand as the bag is a bit front balanced when loaded. Meaning it tends to tip away from the handle end, so the kickstand is in place to stop that. The handle also extends to a comfortable length for me and I am 6’1”/1.85m tall. The bag has a number of dividers and can, in fact, handle a Canon 7D with battery grip attached and long lens. However, it is a tight fit and not entirely ideal as the camera is sitting on the lens (pointing down) and the zipper needs and extra tug to get around the bulge created in the lid.
As a stand alone clothes bag, the roller part of the setup with the attaché removed is basic and functional. There is a hold-down strap to help keep clothes in place but other than that, the bag is a blank canvas for your non-camera packing needs. With the attaché in place, the roller bag lid is held from opening all the way by two side straps. I found these to bind up if they weren’t adjusted properly, meaning the lid would not close all the way because the side panel would get in the way. This was, more or less, just a learning curve on my part but something that will take a new owner a few tries to adjust properly.
Like its brothers and sisters in the ProRoller series, the top of the pull handle has a hidden threading to hold a remote flash or a lightweight camera (typically a point and shoot as I would not want to put more than a pound of weight on this handle). This feature can be useful for those wanting a quick place to set an off-shoe flash and while the height isn’t all that great, the unit is light enough that it can be placed on a table or chair to bring the off-shoe flash to a more usable level.
Both the attaché section and the main body have a location for a laptop. While this is advertised, I ran into the same problem I had with the X-200; the space it not big and removing the laptop can be a chore. Maybe not a ‘chore’, but certainly not as easy as bags with their own dedicated computer slot. My knuckles were scratched up from the outside zipper when used often. The laptop compartment on the attaché was much easier than the compartment on the roller bag, plus the attaché has room for pens, papers and other office items.
The attaché section’s main opening is on top and it zips away from the user, making it easy to access. When it is in the roller bag section, this allows the attaché to remain open and ready, while still be covered by the roller bag. All in all, this combination is well thought out. Just don’t expect to fit anything in the roller bag section when the attaché is install. Lastly, the attaché has a sleeve on the back of it that slips over the handle for the roller bag, making conveyance a breeze.
I took this bag on a number of local trips and one pair of flights. The attaché, as expected, fits under a seat on a Boeing 737 (later tested on 757, 777, Airbus A321 and A320 as well) very easily. The roller section, being only about half the height of a standard roller bag, also fits in the overhead cabinet without having to be forced. In this day of flyers attempting to cram every last possession they own into a carry-on bag in order to avoid checked bag fees, finding space for this half-pint bag is much easier, especially on smaller aircraft.
The bag is designed to flip open forward to access the attaché section. Because there is no way to attach the attaché section firmly to the opening lid, it doesn’t always fall completely forward as might be expected. This is a minor annoyance. The other factor I hadn’t counted on was placing filters in the front flap (it’s almost perfectly sized to hold two filters in cases side by side) will make the attaché too bulky to fit inside the roller bag.
Now then, for some of the items that work well; the handle extends without effort and contracts easily. The front kickstand does in fact help the bag stop from tipping forward when the front flap of the roller bag is open. Also, the main zipper on the roller bag is well chosen and seems better than previous Lowe Pro bags I have reviewed. Because my unit was new, the wheels zipped as if they were floating on air and I’m curious to see how long this wheels last. To their credit, LowePro made the wheels easy to remove and replace, knowing they are a part that wears.
But can the bag be used for a weekend away? For my needs: Yes. I was able to fit more than enough clothes for a summer weekend trip. Will it work with heavy parkas during the winter? You will have to be fairly skilled to get them in (but you’ll likely be wearing them anyway). Three shirts, a pair of pants and a pair of shorts. Underwear, socks and toiletries. It all fits easily. Plus a polartech jacket. Of course there is no room for the attaché at this point and it is easily slung over my shoulder for trips of this nature. While one of the promotional videos for the bag shows the photographer emptying the roller bag’s contents into a hotel cabinet and then placing the attaché back inside, I can’t think of many instances when I would do this. Again, I prefer to carry my bags than roll them and rolling this smaller bag seems like more work than it is worth, but this is a personal preference.
The water bottle holders on both sides were perfect. Well, maybe ‘just about perfect’. Having two allowed for one bottle (40 oz Klean Kanteen) and the other pocket for sunblock and hand sanitizer. The larger 40oz bottle made the zippers a little difficult to quickly grab, so I left them situated in the front most of the time, feeling a little less secure.
ADDENDUM: Since completing this review and before it was fully posted, I brought just the attaché section with me, minus the roller bag, to Peru for 16 days of non-stop travel. The bag fit well under the seats of various airplanes even when I had it stuffed to the brim. I only had one camera in the main compartment which allows me to add in various other items, such as that 1 quart bag of liquids TSA loves to take a look at. Further, when I had to leave a bag behind, such as taking the train to Machu Picchu, I was able to remove all of the dividers and cram even more souvenirs, papers and unneeded items. Because the main compartment has two zippers, it can be locked with a luggage lock. This bag by itself was a perfect compliment to a larger bag.
I found, in real life, I ended up using this bag more than I thought. The bag is solid, with ample handles and protection on all the roller parts that rub. It makes easy work of carrying a weekend’s worth of clothes and camera, although carrying a laptop on the roll section left my knuckles a bit rubbed. If most of my assignments called for bringing just one body and three lenses, plus 4 days worth of clothes, this bag would be an easy choice. It is versatile and stylish and can take rough treatment.
Get a price on the LowPro Pro Roller x-50 Attaché at Amazon.
Disclaimer: The author was provided with a complimentary bag for the purpose of this review.