The Lowepro Pro Roller x200 is an option to the recently reviewed Think Tank Airport International roller bag. How does the Lowepro measure up to the fine bag from Think Tank that we enjoyed to use? Find out in this quick review.
The Lowepro Pro Roller x200 was kindly provided by B&H Photo – where we buy most of our photo equipment.
1) General Information and Dimensions
- TSA approved cable lock system
- Reserve Pack feature provides a dual carrying system – back pack or roller
- Retractable Telepod system to mount a camera or light
- Premium replaceable wheels
- Front pouch to hold a laptop
- Empty/Full indicator flaps on memory card pockets
- Business or ID card holder
- Flexible divider system
- Cord management pouch
Internal Dimensions: 12.2W x 6.6D x. 19.8H in. (31 x 16.8 x 50.5 cm)
External Dimensions: 15.7W x 11.2D x 24.2H in. (40 x 28.5 x 61.5 cm)
Weight: 13.23 lbs / 6kg
Notebook Compartment Inner Dimensions: 12.7W x 1.1D x 18.1H in. (32.5 x 3 x 46 cm)
1.3) What’s in the Bag?
Below is a loaded Lowepro Pro Roller x200. Note that there are two empty spaces: one for a flash and the other for either another lens or a camera body, in this case, all were being used to take the photo. Also note that the LensCoat RainCoat Pro is not pictured but lays on top of the gear before it is zipped closed.
Here is a list of what was packed in the above-pictured Lowepro Pro Roller x200 which still had space for more gear:
- Nikon D4 DSLR
- Nikkor 500mm f/4 VR (attached to the D4)
- Nikkor 18-200mm VR II
- Nikkor AF-S Micro 105mm VR
- Nikkor AF-S Micro 60mm
- Nikkor AF-S 50mm f1.4G
- Tokina 11-16 mm
- Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E II
- Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-17E II
- Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-20E III
- Nikon Battery Charger MH-26
- Nikon MH-18A Battery Charger
- LensCoat RainCoat Pro
- Assorted Filters x7
- Extra Compact Flash Cards x3
- Extra XQD card
- Nikon EN-EL3a Battery
- Nikon EN-EL18 Battery
- Extra lens caps
Here is a photo of all the gear that was packed and listed above:
2)Size and Function (Handling)
2.1) Outside the Bag
The front of the bag has two zippered compartments, the larger to hold a laptop or files and the second, smaller compartment to hold chargers, phones, keys, etc. When the bag is fully packed, the laptop is very snug to slide in and out of the compartment. I tried with a MacBook Pro, the newer one with a retina display that is thinner than the older model and it was very tight to slide in and out. If the LenCoat RainCoat Pro is removed, it makes it a bit easier but it is still tight. A thick laptop will be harder to slide in. Included is a tripod holder with a foot holder and a strap to secure at tripod to the outside of the roller.
There are three grab handles on the outside of the bag – 2 padded handles on the top and the side and a molded plastic handle on the bottom. The retractable pull handle recesses into the bag and is covered with a zippered flap which has a small compartment on the inside which you might put keys or loose change. I am not sure what else would fit in there, but it’s there. The retractable handle is what Lowepro calls their “telepod” system, there is a mount in the handle so that you can turn the roller into an impromptu stand for a camera or a remote flash:
On the back of the bag there is a stand that folds out to let the bag rest at an angle. The stand seems somewhat cheap and if the bag is full, I wouldn’t trust it, so it seems fairly useless to me. Maybe if the bag is front heavy after being packed, you can tip it back on to the stand if you so desire:
On the side of the bag is a TSA-approved cable lock to secure the contents of the zippered compartments:
2.2) Inside the Main Compartment
The main compartment like most bags, has ample dividers to customize the interior to best fit your gear needs. It can carry 1-2 DSLR bodies and 6-8 lenses. It is large enough to accommodate an unmounted lens up to 600mm or a 500mm mounted to a pro body. A small separate cable management bag is included to help keep things organized.
2.3) Overall Size and Weight
This bag will hold a large amount of gear, very comparable to the Think Tank Airport International v2.0 bag. I have to give the nod to the Lowepro on being a bit bigger inside, despite the removable backpack adding a layer. With the larger bag comes more weight as well, and the Pro Roller x200 is heavier empty than the Think Tank Airport International. When carrying heavy gear, every pound adds up, so please remember to watch weight restrictions on international flights as it is easy to over-pack either of these bags.
The inside of the cover has zippered pockets for accessories and dedicated memory card pouches. Each memory card pouch has a flap that indicates whether the card inside is full or empty. This is a nice bonus – the Think Tank counterpart does not have this particular feature:
3) Build Quality
Lowepro has made the exterior of the bag out of 1680 D ballistic nylon (the same as the referenced Think Tank Airport International v2.0). On all corners there are plastic guards to prevent wear and abrasion. The wheels roll smoothly and are replaceable, should the need arise. The zippers are heavy duty zippers designed for Lowepro. The pull handle feels flimsy, although I had no problems with it.
Lowepro has made a good, functional bag here and it represents a good value overall considering its build quality and features.
5) Lowepro Pro Roller vs. Think Tank Airport International v2.0
Both bags are pictured below, with the Lowepro on the left and the Think Tank on the right:
- The Lowepro will hold a little more gear so if amount of gear is critical, the edge goes to the Pro Roller x200.
- The Think Tank Airport International v2.0 is a more compact bag and I like that, because it is less likely to draw the scrutiny of airline personnel that might ask you weigh it or to gate check the bag.
- I have to give a slight edge in value to Lowepro, but that is a very difficult decision because, while the cost of the Lowepro is lower, I like the overall feel of the Think Tank better.
- Speaking of feel, I prefer the padded handles on the Think Tank better. If you have smaller hands, the Lowepro might suit you better as the padding is not as thick. Also in the subjective area of “feel”, the Think Tank wheels seem quieter and smoother, they are a polyurethane like on skateboards and inline hockey wheels, whereas the Lowepro is more of a hard rubber.
- I like the divider system in the Think Tank better than the Lowepro.
- I like the separate case for the laptop in the Think Tank. A couple of downsides to that: added cost and the strap on the case can drag, so you have to tuck it between the roller bag and the laptop case to keep it out of the way.
- A notable difference is that there are three locks on the Think Tank and one lock on the Lowepro. Take your pick, because there are pros and cons to both.
- The exterior material is the same, but the Lowepro has rubber corner guards, something that I think would be helpful to guard against wear.
- The Lowepro has a backpack option to unzip the inner backpack and still have a light suitcase that you can check.
Lowepro has made a nice bag at a good price point. It doesn’t have the same quality and feel that the Think Tank bag has, but it is functional. It will hold a lot of gear and it will serve your needs if your particular kit will fit in this size bag or if you are looking to conserve a few dollars.
7) Where to buy
The Lowepro Pro Roller x200 is avaialble at B&H Photo for $349.95 (as of 08/26/2012).
Lowepro Pro Roller x200
- Build Quality
- Size and Weight
Photography Life Overall Rating
This bag is 11.2 inches. Any chance it will squish down to 9 inches? That seems to be the standard international carry on size limit.
Thai, I don’t think so.
I was able to get the x200 for $269 from henry’s, the retail is $299
Thanks Ali, I think you will enjoy it.
Great Review. Picked one up couple days ago..
I own one of these bags and love it, however, the TSA lock gets jammed. One particular time I had the TSA lock locked and had a shoot the next day, it did not open! I started to get worried and that’s when I found a hammer, yes a hammer, and I hit the lock in the middle and “Voila” it opened. So now the lock doesn’t work but the bag is still awesome.
I really wanted the Think Tank Airport International™ V 2.0, but for the price, you can’t beat the Lowepro. (Just keep in mind about the locks)
Christopher, we always appreciate the readers’ feedback with products, so thank you. Interesting about the price, when I started using the Lowepro, the price was I think 60 dollars cheaper than it is now, so I felt this was a good economical alternative to the think Tank. Then right as this was going to post, the price on the Lowepro jumped and it is now only $20 cheaper than the think Tank. It is still a good deal, but not as much as it was.
Oh wow, I did not even look at the current price for the Lowepro. I have had that bag for over a year now and I purchased it for $269 new, the Think Tank bag I mentioned was $369 and is still the same price. So with the Lowepro being $349 now, there is a lot more to consider. Thanks for the comment.
getting out of the usa is maybe a problem with large carry on bags like this, but once in asia, as example, no problem .. they are not nearly so paranoid/concerned as america
Thanks for the great review.
Now, how to carry this bag while embarking on air travel? Send it to luggage compartment or hand carry?
Many airports are unlikely to allow me hand carry this big and heavy bag. On the other hand; I’m really concerned about treating it as a luggage which is not properly handled by all airports.
Looking forward to your advice on this. Thanks in advance.
Quazi, thanks for the question. The bag is not so big that most US domestic airlines would prevent you from carrying it on. Internationally, that is a different question as international flights often weigh carry on baggage and a bag this size would raise suspicion of the airline agents that it is too heavy. I would not trust this bag for checked luggage and you are better off carrying on your gear where possible. If you have a large amount of gear, then consider packing it differently and checking it, but theft can be a concern, obviously. I do know that some photographers will pack their large gear and ship it to their destination, that way they can insure it and it will be there when they arrive. Many will use a Pelican case or the case the lens comes with if it is a large Nikon lens such as the 500mm f/4 or similar. If shipped it can be insured
against damage or loss.
If there are two traveling, you could check the bag and split your gear between the two of you into smaller backpacks or bags. Think Tank has some bags called Urban Disguise, that are shoulder bags and may raise less concern from the airline personnel because they don’t look too big, but can still carry a lot of gear. Just another thought. Best to be prepared before you get to the airport and have to check your gear unexpectedly.
I like teh Retractable Telepod system feature
DukePro, it is not very stable as a tripod and I would not recommend it as a substitute, only in a pinch. It would hold a flash nicely.
I see, I just thought it helps sometime. You right, it would hold a flash :)