Photography News 87 Web

First test

A fully laden backpack needs to offer comfort, store a day’s kit and be practical to use. A nice design helps, too. We pit two bags from imaging accessory experts Vanguard against this criteria VanguardVEO46BR&48BF PRICE: £109.99 & £129.99 VANGUARDWORLD.CO.UK

SPECS VANGUARD VEO SELECT 46BR ›  Price £109.99 ›  Colour options Black, green ›  Laptop pocket Holds 13in laptop ›  Tripod holder Yes ›  Rain cover Yes ›  Dimensions External: 28x21x47.5cm Internal: 25x15x46cm ›  Weight 1.38kg VANGUARD VEO SELECT 48BF ›  Price £129.99 ›  Colour options Black, green ›  Laptop pocket Holds 15in laptop ›  Tablet pocket Holds 10.5in tablet ›  Tripod holder Yes. A travel tripod fits inside ›  Rain cover Yes ›  Dimensions External: 33.5x24.5x52cm Internal: 30x16.5x48cm ›  Weight 1.94kg ›  Contact

EACH INDIVIDUAL HAS their own tastes. So, with varying kit demands for different subjects, it’s no wonder many photographers have more than one camera bag. I own several: the big travel one, the landscape backpack, the urban sling, a smart shoulder bag and a holster. Vanguard’s two offerings boast similar properties and high-quality finishes, but their handling characteristics differ. The VEO 46BR is the smaller of the two bags, suitable for full-frame DSLR or mirrorless cameras. For bigger, multi-lens outfits, or for a longer trip, the 48BF is probably the best option. The VEO 46BR has a slim profile, rendering it ideal for urban shoots and crowded areas. There’s access to the top compartment, and it’s roomy enough

for a camera fitted with a small zoom or personal items. The lid houses a couple of mesh pockets for storing spare cards and batteries. Access to the main compartment comes via the rear flap and, inside, there’s a 13-inch laptop sleeve securely fastened by a flap. Lined throughout, dividers can be fitted in the main compartment, offering ample customisation for the user’s unique outfit. Most of the time, I packed in a Nikon Z 7 with the lens attached, a couple of extra lenses and a Lee Filters 85 kit. That left plenty of space in the top compartment for trip essentials. I tended to put a hat, gloves, snacks and a water bottle in there, though occasionally stashing my camera to fit an extra telephoto to the main body. It was great to have the option. You can also access the main storage area’s contents via side panels on either side. This makes retrieving items easy while the bag hangs off one shoulder. Of course, the trick with such designs is remembering whereabouts you’ve packed the exact item you’re looking for. We all have our quirks when it comes to packing, so I’ll leave that one to you. On each side panel, a pull-out pocket takes a tripod’s feet, with a webbing strap to keep it in position. Trying out a Vanguard 265HCB carbon-fibre tripod, it fitted perfectly. The VEO 48BF differs majorly in size. Broader, taller and deeper compared to the 46BR, it’s roomy without being too bulky, and conforms with current airline hand-baggage size regulations. In terms of layout, there’s plenty of potential. Like the 46BR, the interior fits multiple dividers. Again, this level of customisation signals the backpack’s superb versatility. One large zipped flap provides access to the entire bag – webbing clips on each side restrict how far it opens. With these engaged, the main flap opens far enough to access the top area, but reaching the main compartment requires undoing the bag on a flat surface. The underside of this flap houses a tablet sleeve, as well as three smaller zipped pockets for batteries, cards and other modest items. Located on the flap’s front, there’s a handgrip and a zipped sleeve, accessible from either side. This is large enough to pack the supplied rain cover and personal requirements. It’s possible to access the main storage area from one side via an access

Vanguard VEO 46BR

Vanguard VEO 48BF

ABOVE The VEO 48BF (right) is a roomy backpack with capacity for a large full-frame outfit, while the VEO 46BR is ideal for mirrorless kit

flap. On the other side, an expandable pouch with a webbing clip secures a tripod leg in place. Finally, a zipped back pocket is large enough for a 15-inch laptop, while two smaller zipped pockets are located under the carry handle and at the top of the back-facing area. This has padding on both sides, with considerable space allowing air to circulate. A fully laden VEO 48BF easily packs two cameras, several lenses (the bag

is deep enough for shorter lenses to stand on their end), a laptop, tablet and accessories. Also equipped to strap a tripod to its side, this bag boasts serious capacity. There’s even space for spare clothing, if you’re packing for a trip or a day shooting in the wilderness. Despite its loaded weight, I found the 48BF comfortable to carry, thanks to back padding and broad shoulder straps. On top of that, the sternum and waist straps also provided great support. WC

Vanguard VEO 46BR

Vanguard VEO 48BF


PROS  VEO 46BR – slim design that excels in crowds or while travelling, good capacity, highly protective VEO48BF – capacity, pocket options, comfortable to carry, secure sternum strap, highly protective, laptop and tablet pockets CONS  VEO46BR – no sternum strap VEO48BF – no cons Choosing a camera bag – like any sort of bag – is a personal thing. It’s hugely important to get hands-on and try out pieces of kit. With life slowly returning to normal in the coming weeks, these Vanguard backpacks are definitely worth checking out. They offer high-quality finishes, practicality and capacity at an attractive price.

ABOVE Being fully lined to accept the dividers, each backpack offers great flexibility for tailoring its interior – amply prepared to stash the kit your shoot demands

34 Photography News | Issue 87

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