Jan 9, 2010

Review: Kata KT D-3N1-10 sling/backpack camera bag with photos

I recently purchased the Kata 3n1-10 camera bag to hold my burgeoning collection of camera equipment. I originally started looking at the Lowepro Slingshot but came to realize that a sling bag with a body plus multiple lenses puts a lot of weight on a single shoulder. Okay for short periods but not all day walking. The Kata converts between a two-strap backpack and a single strap over-the-shoulder sling bag but I expected to use it in backpack mode most of the time. Here's the 3n1-10 next to the D90 and some lenses. Hopefully this brief review with pictures will give you a sense of the bag's size and layout in comparison to some common camera equipment.

Back of the 3n1-10. For sling use, you connect the red strap to the red hook. It can be reversed for left handed individuals as well.

Inside, there's a fair amount of room, but it's the smallest of the 3n1 series, so even with my gear the fit is tight. From left to right in the photo, you can see the 35mm f/1.8, D90 with 12-24 f/4 and lens hood, and the 18-105VR with lens hood. One improvement would be to extend the zippers an inch to the left as it can be difficult to reach lenses stored on the left hand side of the bag - this is a real annoyance. The bag came with a couple more foam dividers but I've taken them out for the time being as it was just too cramped. The quick draw feature works well although I'm not sure yet if it would fit the D90 with the 17-55mm or 70-300mm VR mounted. Probably possible but a close fit.

There's two side pockets next to the top compartment. They might barely hold the 35mm f/1.8 but clearly they're designed for smaller accessories.

The top compartment is as well padded as the rest of the bag and I have no reservations about storing a lens in that section. You can see it here with the 18-105VR for scale.

Overall the bag is well designed, solidly built, and comfortable. The bright yellow interior is a nice touch. As you can tell from the photos, it's a relatively small bag so if you have more than a couple lenses, you'd be better served by the 3n1-20. Don't even think that you could get a lens like the 80-200 f/2.8 into the 3n1-10. However, for a light travel bag, it's not bad. Ultimately I ended up returning the 3n1 because the single-strap mode just wasn't practical for a bag of this size. It's caught in the middle - too big to be a good sling bag, too small to be a useful backpack. Another issue was that the zippers didn't feel as smooth as I expected for a bag of this price, and was concerned that they would jam over time. Plus, there's no reason this bag needs to have 4 quick release clips on it - they almost defeat the purpose of having a quickdraw flap in the first place. I thought about trying the 3n1-20, but instead I ordered a Lowepro Fastpack 250. We'll see how it works out.


SazonPRO said...

nice post, thnx

i'm just trying to choose photobag for my new 5D MKII

After i read "Don't even think that you could get a lens like the 80-200 f/2.8 into the 3n1-10" i wanna read about 3n1-20 of 123go-20

Anonymous said...

Clear review. Thanks. The Kata 3N1 series looks realy nice. I'm currently looking for a bag myself, and I believe the 3n1-20 will fit my gear better.

Rafael said...

Will a D90 with batt grip fit in the 3n1-10? appreciate it - thanks.

tm said...

This may be just right for me. I'm in my 60s and still trek the boonies. I can no longer carry a big bag. I have to keep it light and small. I only carry a Pentax K30 with two small zooms and a few filters. I only use the built-in flash.