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another bag thread: chrome niko

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by caimi, Apr 19, 2013.

  1. caimi

    caimi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 13, 2012
    middle US
    Caimi caimiphotography.com
    Anyone using chrome niko bags? I looked them up after seeing a mention of them here and I like how they look and how they are laid out but they don't seem to hold a lot. Anyone?
     
  2. MisterMotion

    MisterMotion New to Mu-43

    2
    Apr 21, 2013
    Chicagoland
    Just ordered Niko Messenger

    Yeah, I just ordered the Chrome Niko Messenger, after seeing it in the bag thread. I wanted a bag that would hold my m4/3 system (OMD, 3 lenses, battery grip, 600R flash, batteries, etc) as if it was made for gear in that scale.

    I have spent days looking for a backpack/sling that rotates around to the front, like the Kata 3n1-10 or the Lowepro Slingshot 102, but that is made for the m4/3 gear - about half the size of those bags. I'm not sure the Niko Messenger is perfect but it's the closest I have found, and I love that it is totally waterproof by design, without the need for those ugly extra hoods that most bags come with.

    It's hard to believe that bag manufacturers are being so slow to develop m4/3 bags. Not just little pouches, but bags with all the features and quality of the Katas or ThinkTanks, but scaled down to fit an m4/3 system.

    I should get the Niko in a couple days and will post what I think soon.
     
  3. caimi

    caimi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 13, 2012
    middle US
    Caimi caimiphotography.com
    MM,

    I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the NIKO. I am interested for the same reasons: other camera bags are made for bigger systems and I like the waterresistant feature.
     
  4. hrsy1234

    hrsy1234 Mu-43 Regular

    72
    Mar 29, 2013
    East London
    please do, just googled it and it looks like a decent bag.
     
  5. MisterMotion

    MisterMotion New to Mu-43

    2
    Apr 21, 2013
    Chicagoland
    Quick Thoughts on Niko Messenger

    I've had the bag for a few days now and have to say I am liking it a lot. I will give a few details below and then follow up with some photos in the next day or so.

    First, it is an appropriate size for what I want to carry. I know this is subjective and everyone will be different, so here is what I currently have in it:

    OMD with HLD Grip
    Panasonic 20mm f1.7 Pancake
    Zuiko 60mm f2.8 Macro
    Olympus FL600R Strobe with Base
    Rogue FlashBender Large
    Carry Speed FS Slim Sling Strap with F1 Foldable Mounting Plate
    Aputure Intervelometer
    A couple filters
    Small Pouch of tripod screws, Bongo Ties, carabiners, etc
    ThinkTank SD Pixel Pocket Rocket

    And I have room for a couple more lenses.

    And the whole kit is still smaller than a backpack, half the weight of similar DSLR gear and pretty easy to work out of.

    I am a fan of the Sling concept, but if the bag is too big or deep, it always seems awkward to open it up and get stuff out with this big box on your chest. Thankfully the Niko is just small enough to not feel too bulky when swung around to the front. I would prefer it smaller/thinner but it is acceptable.

    The Niko stays tight to the body and doesn't flop around or knock one of my kids in the head when I bend over. This is a good thing. It takes about 2 seconds to spin around to the front and pull the zippered flap open enough to grab the camera and get ready to shoot. This is a detail that the Niko gets right, it has a large zippered opening that provides access to everything in the main compartment at once. I went to a camera store last weekend and discovered several other slings that, when seen in person, where nice and small, similar or smaller than the Niko, but they seemed to have very small access flaps designed to just barely let you grab the camera and tug it out, not giving much access to the lenses or strobes that you might be after. So in short, It's been great to work out of this bag, which is the whole point of this design. A backpack is fine to get your gear to a location, but then you have to plunk it down on the ground and start pulling stuff out, and pretty soon your gear is scattered all over the ground and that's not exactly conducive to a quick escape, should one be necessary.

    This thing is built like a tank. It is ready for some abuse. It has a waterproof 1000-denier nylon outer shell, a truck tarpaulin inner lining, and waterproof YKK zippers so, no, there is no need for those silly rain ponchos that are tucked in the pockets of most other camera bags. There is no need to even break stride if it starts to rain, just smile knowing your bag was ready for it.

    Now of course there are a couple things this bag doesn't get right. The padded divider inserts were simply useless. I tried to fit them together in some kind of way to make sections for the camera and lenses etc, but they have sparse little patches of velcro, are too floppy, and eventually just got tossed aside. I pulled all the really good ThinkTank dividers out of a big ThinkTank bag that I had for my DSLR stuff and they worked great in the Niko. But of course now I have a big ThinkTank bag with no dividers so I will probably have to order some replacements.

    The other quibble I have so far is that the 1000-denier nylon shell is a bit rougher than I would like, and tends to grab hold of every bit of dust and pet hair that you may have lurking about in your place. I've tape-rolled the thing every couple days, and I don't have to do that with other backpacks and bags that are a slicker, smoother material. I would actually love it if they had made the thing with truck tarpaulin on the outside and the inside. 1000-denier nylon just seems to be what bags were made of 10 or 20 years ago, and there are better performing materials now. I guess the positive about this rougher material is that the added friction that it provides keeps the bag from sliding around and trying to fall off your back like a slicker material would. I guess I can live with it.

    The last thing I'll comment on for now is the the iconic seatbelt strap and buckle that Chrome bags are famous for. The buckle is a big heavy chunk of chrome, and features the beautiful red and black chrome icon. It's a bold statement, but I love it. There is something so secure and satisfying about clicking the hefty clasp into the buckle, it feels great every time I strap the thing on. It is a feeling you will never get clicking a plastic fastex buckle into it's plastic clasp. Yeah it probably contributes several of the ounces in the bag's total weight of 2 lbs 3 ounces, but it's all good.

    As I said before, I'll try to get some pictures up in a few days.
     
  6. m43er

    m43er Mu-43 Regular

    71
    Oct 6, 2011
    The messenger is a damn good looking and fairly compact sling but as usual, it's too heavy on its own - 1kg - most likely due to the buckle alone taking up half its weight.

    If only they used lighter materials and made it slimmer.
     
  7. hrsy1234

    hrsy1234 Mu-43 Regular

    72
    Mar 29, 2013
    East London
    Great review. To confirm, it's this one here that you have:

    Chrome Niko Camera Bag | Chrome Industries

    I'm looking for a new bag to house my new OM-D kit, but I'm torn as to which style.

    Options are a shoulder bag, which would end up being a Retrospective Thinktank 5, but from using shoulder bags in the past, they can get annoying and a bit sore after a day. I have an injury which results in tightness and hot dull ache behind one of my shoulder blades, and shoulder bags accentuate this.

    I like how this Niko bag swings around quickly. Having it completely on my back would make it more comfortable to wear for long periods, eg days on end wandering and trekking. This review here shows that it has pretty good space near the top for things like a water bottle etc. My next big shooting opportunity is Glastonbury 2013 and this appears the kind of bag that I could wear throughout the festival in relative comfort. Glastonbury is notorious for rain too, so it would be good to have something waterproof. Hmmm, maybe I have just convinced myself...

    Or, I could just buy a decent insert and put that into a proper leather business satchel, which I want to purchase anyway and kind of need. But where are the decent inserts? Crumpler appear to have discontinued the Haven.

    Anyway, this was more just a stream of conciousness. I look forward to seeing the images.
     
  8. Mijo

    Mijo Mu-43 Veteran

    220
    Jan 23, 2012
    San Francisco, CA
    I've had the Niko sling since it came out and until recently it was the only bag I had. MrMotion pretty much summarized all of the positives points about the bag that I would have mentioned.

    Some of the negative points I have issue with include; the external straps for securing a tripod aren't long enough to completely wrap around all three legs and the additional support strap that connects is pretty much useless (which is why I cut mine off). I also wish that Chrome provided an additional divider as there is more than enough room in the main compartment.

    One thing I really like about the seat belt buckle is that it makes it really easy to get the bag on and off of you without accidently knocking off your glasses, you don't have to thread your head through the strap of the bag. There's also a quick release lever (which can serve as a bottle opener) to rapidly loosen or tighten the sling strap.
     
  9. sircam1

    sircam1 Mu-43 Regular

    27
    Jun 6, 2013
    Hi thanks for these write-ups. They help clarify a few things. Being in Australia, makes it harder to send this bag back if not happy with it. I would love to see some pics with OMD & kit packed inside, just to give relative measure of sizing. Thanks.
     
  10. Mijo

    Mijo Mu-43 Veteran

    220
    Jan 23, 2012
    San Francisco, CA
    I'll post a pic of my loaded Niko Sling; fully gripped OMD with three of my biggest lens when I get home this afternoon. Since your in AU have you considered Crumpler bags at all? I'm a fan of crumpler, I own two of their havens and also the Boston Heist. The only reason I favor Chrome over Crumpler is b/c Chrome's a local company and some of their bags are made in Northern CA (unfortunately the Niko is not).
     
  11. sircam1

    sircam1 Mu-43 Regular

    27
    Jun 6, 2013
    Mijo,
    Looking forward Fi the pics. Thanks for tip on Crumpler. Personally not a fan. Nothing wrong with their stuff, just a preference thing. I also have and like my TT Retro5, just wanted a backpack style option that also allows quick access and this fits the bill
     
  12. Mijo

    Mijo Mu-43 Veteran

    220
    Jan 23, 2012
    San Francisco, CA
    Please excuse the harsh lighting but here's the pic. Packed in there is my EM-5 (w/full grip), panny 100-300 (with hood reversed), CV 17 (w/hood) and the Oly 75 (w/hood). In between the EM-5 and the bottom of the bag is an Oly wrap which I used as padding. There's still room in the main compartment for another smaller lens and the upper compartment is completely empty. That's the 7-14 attached to the EM-5.
     

    Attached Files:

  13. sircam1

    sircam1 Mu-43 Regular

    27
    Jun 6, 2013
    Thanks Mijo. Exactly what I was after. I think this will work for me. Now to see how to best get one out to Melb Australia. 2 Australian distributors of Chrome stuff do not carry their camera bags.