Lowepro Pro Roller x200 AW
I must be getting older, because a few years ago I wouldn’t have consider that a rolling camera bag might potentially be part of my camera gear collection, especially since I do most of my photography in the field. In my younger days I would just grab my large photo backpack full of all my camera gear; I couldn’t leave anything behind just in case. Now I’m being more selective and just taking the gear that I need for that session from my large photo backpack and transferring it to a smaller photo backpack. I can see keeping my gear in a rolling camera bag might be more practical as I can wheel it in and out to my vehicle instead of having to carry my heavy camera backpack.
Lowepro has recently released a trio of new rolling camera bags, the Pro Roller x-Series AW, which are a significant update to their previous rolling bag line. The smallest is the Pro Roller x100 AW, a little larger is the Pro Roller x200 AW, which is the basis of this review. The Pro Roller x300 AW is the largest of the three models.
The Pro Roller x200 AW, as are the other models, has a hardshell exterior that’s made of high-quality ballistic nylon that provides the contents with really good protection from the abuses encountered under normal traveling situations. It’s black exterior colour and nice, smooth lines gives it a pleasing appearance. One of the things I like about it is that it doesn’t look like a camera bag; it just looks like a normal suitcase, so it’s less likely to draw attention from thieves who are looking for valuables, like camera cases.
On the front of the case is a zippered, no-drop front pocket to hold small items, like travel documents and keys, and a deep laptop pocket that will hold a tablet or up to a 17” laptop. There’s a sturdy dual-button extendible trolley handle that allows you to pull the case around on its robust, smooth-gliding, vibration-absorbing wheels. There are also two grab handles for added convenience when having to lift and move the case. On the back is a hidden pocket that holds Lowepro’s patented, built-in All Weather AW Cover that can be used to protect the case from elements if the need arises. Two removable straps can be added to one side so a tripod can be attached.
According to Lowepro, both the Pro Roller x200 AW and x100 AW are “sized to meet standard airline carry-on requirements (each measures less than 114.3 linear centimetres/45 linear inches).” However, as is the case with airlines these days, you should always double check the airlines standards before you travel as their requirements may change. A really nice travel feature is that the cases all have a built-in TSA-approved lock with locking zippers.
A unique feature of all three Pro Roller xSeries cases is the inner “Reserve Pack” that unzips from the hard exterior case and become a camera backpack complete with shoulder straps. Since the shoulder straps and back are unpadded, and there’s no hip belt, don’t be planning on using it as a photo backpack on an all-day hike, but for short distances it’s a nice option.
Opening up the Pro Roller x200 AW exposed the padded main interior compartment that has Lowepro’s new patent-pending MaxFit System™of adjustable interior dividers. I was impressed with this new system; it actually makes it a lot easier to adjust the padded dividers to get the best fit possible so that the maximum amount of gear can be packed in the case while still providing superior protection. The interior of the Pro Roller x200 AW is deep enough to accommodate a pro DSLR body with a grip attached. I was able to put two DSLR camera bodies, eight lenses and two flash units in, as well as fill the two included removable accessory pouches and still have a little space left over. In addition, there’s a large interior storage panel with zippered see-through pockets for extra accessories like cables, filters, cleaning clothes and batteries.
I don’t see myself pulling the Pro Roller x200 AW along the trails when I’m photographing in the field (although it’s an appealing thought), but I’m starting to see that it could have a lot of practical uses, especially when travelling by car or jet. The Lowepro Pro Roller x200 AW is a well-designed rolling camera bag with lots of unique and functional features. It’s rugged and should stand up to years of professional use, as well as provide lots of protection for all the camera gear inside. The flexibility of the divider system allows the photographer the ability to customize its interior to maximize the amount of gear that Pro Roller x200 AW can carry.