[pull_quote_right] The Hama Miami 200 is a nice trolly bag with optional shoulder straps and plenty going for it with a lot of nice touches. [/pull_quote_right]When I started out in photography, I must admit I probably did not think of camera cases and bags being one of those essential pieces of gear that you need to choose just as carefully as the camera itself. Having been through a few bags since then and how my needs have evolved (and made mistakes) I’ve since revised that opinion. Yes you can just use a normal rucksack or bag, and I’ve done it for many years (and still occasionally do), but there are advantages to having a dedicated camera bag. Certainly when you start to accumulate equipment which you’d prefer to have with you on a photoshoot than to have left it home. I am also one of those who likes to be at least a little organised and know where to find those bits of equipment in a hurry. Some photo opportunities do not last long. So I was delighted when those lovely people at Lovecases gave me the opportunity to review the Hama Miami 200 camera bag.
First impressions are that the Hama Miami 200 is well designed, it is light weight (2.8Kg) with a lot of nice touches. Camera equipment is protected in the main compartment in a removable internal padded insert which naturally gives any equipment a double shell of protection. The insert has a zipped mesh cover and also removable Velcro dividers, so you can organise equipment as you want. The red internal lining also means it’s easier to find those small pieces of equipment. Capacity wise, it certainly seemed able to take the equipment I normally carry in a large messenger bag for a wedding shoot. Two cameras, lenses, speedlites and pocket wizards. In that respect the Hama Miami 200 looks to be ideal as there are disadvantages of carrying well over 15Kg of equipment in a messenger bag over one shoulder. So I was definitely reviewing the bag with a view to it becoming a potential replacement.
With the camera insert removed, there is a compression strap and zipped lining underneath, which can be used for changes of clothing etc. It also means with the camera insert removed the bag can double up and just be used for other things if desired.
The front flap has two zips which allow you to zip it all the way to the base and there are three sets of zipped compartments incorporated into the front. The largest is designed for a laptop and has a padded section with an elastic closure to retain any laptop put into it. The padded compartment was too small for my 17″ laptop though. I guess it will suit a 15″ laptop and it easily takes an iPad. I did however manage to get my 17″ laptop into the front of the padded compartment and close the zip. So it is possible, though this does leave the top corners of a laptop less protected (it was a tight fit).
There’s another zipped pocket designed to take mobiles, small phones, small compact cameras and other flat items such as passports. The very top pocket contains the rain cover and is gusseted with a single zip down the center. The rain cover itself is very easy to fit, elasticated and has holes for the handle, wheels and feet, so you can continue to use the trolley bag as a trolly bag without hindering it’s movement. Like I said, quite a bit of thought has gone into it.
Shoulder straps are padded with a chest strap, and retained in a zipped pocket at the back when not in use.
The sides on the outside have two deepish net pockets, one of which has a retention strap higher up allowing you attach a tripod.
All in all a decent bit of kit, but there is a rub and one I found annoying. With the trolly case vertical the front flap naturally lays flat on the ground, but it’s unlikely I’d ever want to pack or access my camera gear in this position. Unfortunately the design of the hinge means that the flap is not designed to go beyond 90 degrees and you are left having to hold the flap up and out of the way. Even with a relatively weighted item like an iPad in the front flap, it is impossible to keep the flap open naturally.
Overall I liked the design and little touches and it’s quite possibly something I’d consider using to lug my gear around.