By Joan Sherwood
Lowepro brings simplicity to camera bags with its Cirrus TLZ line. These top-loading bags have a single compartment, two Velcro-attach supports, and a memory card pocket.
I tested the Cirrus TLZ 25 bag, largest of the line, initially intending to use it with the Nikon D200. The interior dimensions are listed as 6.1Wx4.1Dx8.3H, but the Nikon D200 body is just a little too chunky for it at 5.7x4.4 inches across the back. If you have a more compact DSLR, however, the size is optimal and can even handle a relatively long lens or leave room for cable storage at the bottom of the bag. My Nikon D40 fits perfectly at 5x3.7 inches across the body, with room to slip my fingers around the grip.
So your pro DSLR won't fit, but it might be a good choice for your carry-around or backup camera. Lowepro announced new 110, 120 and 140 models for the Cirrus line at PMA this year that should be a better fit for bigger pro models. The new Cirrus bags are available now. (Right: Lowepro Cirrus 110)
The top flap of the Cirrus TLZ 25 opens away from your body, making access easy. The belt loop is positioned in a spot that places the bag a bit high on the waist for my taste. I'd prefer a belt loop that suspends the entire bag below the belt, placing it lower on the hip.
The movable supports make it easy to configure the bag for your camera. My D40 has the lens mount on one side of the body, so I set one support to hold the body between the grip and the lens and the other to snug up against the other side of the lens.
Images above ©Joan T. Sherwood
The top handle fits comfortably in the hand the the strap comes with 360-degree swivel clips. The exterior fabric is the rugged water and wear resistant material you expect with Lowepro bags.
This camera case is also ideal to protect your camera inside a carry-on suitcase when you have to pack everything in one bag.
Camera bag designers face the never-ending challenge of reducing bag size while still providing adequate protection. Though the Cirrus TLZ 25 is still larger than what I'd ideally like to be able to carry a mid-range DSLR in, it's lightweight and offers plenty of protection, and at the end of the day, protecting the camera is what the case is all about.