Mike Harris takes to the streets with the Calumet Pro Series 580, a small rucksack that presents a deceptively spacious maze of compartments, pouches and pockets
The Pro Series 580 is an ideal companion for street or travel photographers. Photography by Mike Harris.
A good kit bag is an essential purchase. In fact, I reckon it’s second only to your camera. Here me out… Lugging kit around is easily the most frustrating aspect of photography and that’s amplified tenfold if you’re lumbered with an unsuitable bag. Fortunately, Calumet offers a range of kit bags to suit photographers (and filmmakers), from water-tight hard cases to sling bags and rucksacks.
The bag I’ve been using on my morning commute is the Pro Series 580. This small backpack is an ideal companion for anyone travelling light, and its diminutive size means you can dodge crowds or slip onto a busy tube train with relative ease. The bag is roughly 45 x 23 x 21cm. It might be thin, but it boasts a generous depth.
The backpack is thin but surprisingly deep, leaving
you with plenty of storage room.
The Pro Series 580 is officially designed to hold one to two DSLRs, one to two lenses, a flash and accessories. Rooting around the Wex Blog vault, I managed to find a Nikon D800 (with a NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8) and LUMIX GH5S (with an SLR Magic 25mm T0.95 HyperPrime). Both cameras aren’t exactly small, but fitted into the bag with their lenses still attached. In fact, there was still provision for a small zoom and another small lens or accessory.
The storage space doesn’t stop there. A zip on the top of the bag reveals a thin (7.8 x 10.8inch) pocket that will house a 9.7-inch tablet snuggly, and on either side of the bag you’ll find mesh pouches for drinking bottles. The left pouch sits in front of a zipped compartment, with two more pouches inside and a small clip to attach a USB or set of keys.
You'll find plenty of pouches and pockets in which to store small
accessories, such as filters and SD cards.
Access to the main compartment is achieved by unzipping a large flap on the front of the bag. On the inside of the flap you’ll find (you guessed it) even more storage space! There are three tiny pouches that are just the right size for SD cards and a zipped pocket that's large enough to hold a wallet or coin purse.
My only real reservation regards the tripod straps on the front of the bag. There are three straps in total, but the two central straps are secured across the zips to the main compartment. This means every time you want to access your kit, you need to unclip the straps first. Leaving the straps unsecured doesn’t really bother me, but if you’re carrying a tripod this could prove frustrating.
The Calumet Pro Series 580 really is a deceptively spacious backpack, and it isn’t limited to just street use. Whether you’re walking the dog, enjoying an impromptu outing or simply travelling light, this kit bag is sure to deliver. It’s a comfortable rucksack that offers plenty of protection for your precious gear, and its small footprint means you’ve far less chance of swatting passers-by as you line up your next shot.
About the Author
Mike Harris is Wex Photo Video’s production editor and is an experienced journalist with a passion for motorsport photography. You can view his portfolio via @MDHarrisPhoto on Instagram.