Guys, here it is. A lot of people have been waiting for this review of the ZKIN Champ Camera Bag, and we at West End Camera Club are happy to bring this extended video review from our experience with the bag over the last few weeks. Firstly watch the video review and then read our final thoughts of the bag and see some more detail shots of the bag below, enjoy!
So when I found this bag online, I was searching for something very specific, not just any camera bag, but a damn fine looking camera bag. After spending hours trawling the interwebs, I eventually found a little known camera bag manufacturer called ZKIN from Hong Kong. So what was I looking for more specifically?? What I was searching for was a camera bag that looked classic, original, and incorporated a simple design that was still striking and unique. ZKIN have a large range of bags (which we hope to review more of soon) and I settled on this ZKIN Champ Camera Bag as the one that I wanted to test out most. It had all the right things that I was looking for, from the leather components lending its hand to the classic look that I was seeking, down to the well thought out internal and external compartments to store your iPad - comfortably!
When I received the bag, it was delivered in a cardboard box, which in itself was nothing special, but what was immediately present upon opening the bag was a sense of awe. This was a high quality, premium camera bag. Inside the box was a black cloth bag with the ZKIN logo printed in gold across the front of the bag, which upon opening we found the ZKIN Champ Camera Bag nestled safely. Immediately the bag felt great, all prior thoughts and opinions of the bag diminished and I began filling it with my street gear as soon as I could!
After getting so excited about receiving the bag, all I wanted to do was fill it with camera gear and take it for a spin. So I decided to load up my current favourite street photography kit which comprises of the following –
- Nikon D600
- Nikkor 35mm f1.4G
- Nikkor 50mm f1.4G
- Nikkor 85mm f1.4G
- Lowepro soft memory card case
- 2x Spare batteries
- iPad Air + iPad Air Smart Case
Im not going to lie, it isn't exactly a small kit or a light kit, but its a pretty good cover-all-bases kinda street photography kit. I was pretty comfortable walking around for a few hours with this kit and didn't get overly fatigued thanks to the brilliant shoulder pad that ZKIN provide with the bag. The shoulder pad is made of a really nice and comfortable memory foam type of material which is covered in leather on the top and a nice soft material similar to a lens cloth on the underside which would contact your shoulder. A really nice touch with this shoulder pad is the ability to quickly remove it thanks to the two button clasps, which gives you the option of using the bag without the shoulder pad, replace the shoulder pad if it gets worn out, or switch it for another shoulder pad.
Who is this bag for?
This is a fantastic little street photography camera bag, and I can't really fault it for street photographers. Having said this, you have to wonder who exactly this bag is for due to its design and internal layout which I discussed in the video earlier. After playing around with the bag and different setups, it quickly became clear that with the internal dividers provided with the bag, it was not really designed for small mirrorless interchangeable lens camera systems. I found that the bag really swallowed and dwarfed my Fujifilm X-E1 and 18-55mm kit. I found that my Nikon D600 (without battery grip), Nikkor 35mm f1.4G, 50mm f1.4G, and 85mm f1.4G was a much more suitable kit for this bag. As well as this, I easily fit my spare batteries, memory cards and iPad Air in the bag without any issues. Alternatively, I would imagine due to the size of the bag, that it would suit someone using a rangefinder camera kit like the following – Leica Monochrom with 35mm Summicron, Leica M Type 240 with 50mm Summicron, and a Leica M6 with a 28mm Summicron attached. Im going to put it out there and say that if you own that kit, you are going to either buy a Billingham, a Louis Vutton (thanks to JCH for this one), or this lovely ZKIN Champ Camera Bag.
Sorry for the innate ramblings of what should have been a relatively short and sweet review of yet another camera bag, but Im happy to say this has been a fantastic little camera bag and an absolute pleasure to use for the last few weeks. If there was anything that I could improve on the bag it would be to simply include a few more internal dividers to give you a few more options to set the bag up for your kit and to provide something like a fold away rain cover for the added piece of mind.
If you want to get a hold of one of these bags, currently there are no stockists of this ZKIN Champ Camera Bag in Australia, however our main man Scott at Mainline Photographics does stock a few other styles of ZKIN bags in his shop in Sydney. Depending on demand for this bag, we will do our best to make it available to you directly through West End Camera Club if you all ask nicely and ZKIN agree to provide us with a few to sell.
More information about the bag can be found here - ZKIN Champ Camera Bag