Two Camera Bags From Arco

I love camera and gadget bags. My closet is my proof. When people ask me how many camera and gadget bags I own, I always say, “More than I need, but fewer than I want.”

It must be like my old girlfriend and her shoes. But I digress…

I came upon a company (new to me) called Arco and tried two of their bags which are designed more for those who shoot video and use camcorders, etc., but which could be just as valuable to stills photographers or those who flirt between the two disciplines.

I’ll start with the smaller of the two bags I picked up.

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This is called the Arco V15G, Camcorder Shoulder Bag.

I usually don’t start a review with a discussion on price, but at only $89.99, this bag’s price deserves a prominent mention. In a world where $300, $400 and even $500 camera bags are way more common than they should be, to find ANY bag that is remotely decent at under $100 is nearly impossible.

In this case, the bag is way better than decent and way under $100.

Once again, remember that these bags are marketed to video people but I guarantee you that stills photographers would benefit from using either, and especially the Shoulder Bag.

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KEY FEATURES:

1. It will fit a camera/lens combo up to 15″ long.
2. It has four padded dividers that can be removed or arranged to a custom configuration
3. There is a quick-access, dual zipper opening
4. There is a large exterior zippered pocket (The interior of this pocket is lime green which makes it easy to find small accessories or cords that tend to be black)
5. It is very sturdy
6. It comes with an actually comfortable shoulder strap
7. There’s lots of padding all around the bag and I am pretty sure it would survive a fall from eight to 10 feet
8. The bag has a weather-resistant shell
9. Dimensions are:

9.5 x 19 x 9.5″ Exterior
8 x 17 x 6.5″ Interior

10. The bag weighs 3.1 pounds empty. This is a tad heavier than I would like it to be but once again, at this price point, nobody can reasonably complain
11. Comes with a three-year warranty

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IN THE FIELD

I am using this bag as my audio bag because it’s easy to open the flap and work directly out of the bag. I have a pair of headphones, a shotgun mic, two wired lav mics, a wireless lav mic, a camera mounted mic, and all the batteries, cables, cords, etc. to make all that stuff work.

The bag has overlapping carry handles for easy handheld transport, and an included shoulder strap that attaches to metal D-rings for over-the-shoulder carrying. It’s comfortable to work out of.

The bag’s construction is really surprisingly good. It’s well designed and the zippers appear to be pretty sturdy, especially for an $89 bag. The fit and finish on the bag is first rate.


 

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The second bag I want to mention is the Arco Video Dr. Bag 30.

This bag, like the smaller Shoulder Bag is a real bargain. At $149, it is shockingly good. I would have expected a bag like this to cost twice as much. Like the Shoulder bag, it is well made, very functional, and well-designed.

KEY FEATURES

1. Fits camera/lens combos up to 21″ long
2. Has a wide opening that makes it easy to get the gear in and out of the bag
3. It has a removable interior bucket design that is user configurable
4. It is water resistant
5. It is very sturdy
6. It comes with an actually comfortable shoulder strap and can also be carried using top handle or side pull handles
7. There’s lots of padding all around the bag and I am pretty sure it would survive a fall from eight to 10 feet
8. It has interior ripstop and soft lining
9. There are tie-down straps to secure the camera during transport
10. You can carry this bag on a trolley/dolly (not supplied)
11. It has exterior pockets
12. Dimensions are:

23 x 12 x 10.75″ Exterior
21 x 8.5 x 8″ Interior

13. The bag weighs 7.8 pounds empty. This is heavier than I would like it to be but once again, at this price point, nobody can reasonably complain
14. Comes with a five-year warranty

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IN THE FIELD

I am using this to carry my video-related cameras and gear. I can put several bodies inside with lenses or one big body with long lens attached plus accessories. There is room for just about anything you can imagine in this large bag but that is something to note with caution. I tend to overload these big bags which makes carrying them anything but fun. I do plan to get the dolly that attaches to the bag to make transport easier.

I have seen reviews where people complained that the strap failed. I haven’t seen any evidence that it will be a problem but then again, I am mindful of overloading the bag. It’s common sense. If you put too much stuff in the bag it will get so heavy that you have problems.

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On the inside of the bag, integrated tie-down straps are provided to secure your gear and prevent it from shifting during transport. A combination of tear-resistant ripstop nylon and a soft polyester nylon lining helps prevent scratches and other damage to your gear. To accommodate additional accessories, the bag exterior features a large zippered pocket and a pair of touch-fastener pockets. The zippers are first rate.

The bag can be carried using a top handle, side pull handles, or an included shoulder strap. Additionally, it can be used with an optional trolley system using the built-in trolley strap on the bottom of the bag.

I found the bag very easy to work out of and very sturdy for the money. I like the fact that the entire insert can be lifted out of the bag and again, I like the use of green colored lining makes it easier to find small accessories that can sometimes get lost in the bottom of a camera bag.

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CONCLUSION

These sorts of bags are becoming more popular with still photographers who also shoot video. And for creatives who use both video and do still photography, they are attractive options because they generally cost less than bags marketed as “camera” bags. For dedicated video shooters, the Arco bags are a no-brainer. They are the best value.

I have tested LOTS and LOTS of bags in my time. I cannot deny that pound-for-pound, dollar-for-dollar, these bags have no equal. They punch WAY above their weight and are a tremendous value.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!