The Ape Case ACPRO2000 offers rugged durability coupled with enormous storage potential.
One of the most important aspects of owning expensive camera equipment is the safety and security when in the storage during transportation. This is easily accomplished with a camera bag that is designed to carry and protect your precious gear no matter the circumstances. In earlier reviews, I tested out the Canon 200EG Deluxe Photo Backpack, the AmazonBasics Sling Backpack, and most recently the Manfrotto Veloce V, all of which are offer room to carry a single camera body along with a few accessories.This review will be slightly different as we will be looking at the Ape Case ACPRO 2000 Camera Backpack which is meant to carry multiple cameras, lenses, and an abundance of other gear.
Priced at $129.59 on Amazon, the ACPRO2000 probably won't fit into a beginner photographer's budget although a seasoned amateur or professional should have no issue dropping this type of cash on a quality camera bag. It is important to note that review is based solely on our hands on use of the ACPRO2000 and no outside influences had any affect on the outcome of this review.
The ACPRO2000 is a colossal model meant to easily haul all your photo or video gear while on the go. The design is broken down into four separate compartments that connect to one another via individual zippers. Starting from the bottom up, there is a large, reinforced pocket in the base of the bag followed by a smaller dividing compartment in the center of the bag. After that comes the padded laptop sleeve and last is a slim pocket which is divided into two smaller compartment. Similar to the AmazonBasics Sling Backpack, the bottom of the bag uses rubber feet to help support the bag in an upright position.
As you'd expect given the high price tag, the ACPRO2000's build quality is off the charts. Each material used within this bag is highly durable and built to withstand years of abuse. Transporting your gear in the rain or harsh conditions is not an issue due to the weather resistant design and covered zippers. The breathable shoulder harness system features extra padding and is highly adjustable to ensure superior comfort. Every aspect of the bag oozes high-end craftsmanship and there isn't any areas where Ape Case skimped on quality.
The main compartment is reinforced by some type of metal frame (to ensure your bag and contents cannot be crushed) and offers 12 separate sections for storing your camera bodies, lenses, flashes, microphones, GoPros, video lights, and any other valuable gear you may own. Each of the yellow dividers are attached using velcro so you have the freedom to adjust their individuals sizes or consolidate sections if you feed the need. I opted to get rid of a divider to allow adequate room for both my 5D Mark III and T3i camera bodies.
While the ACPRO2000's exterior fabric is weather resistant, they also included a dedicated rain shield that's hidden in the bottom zippered pocket. It pulls out neatly to fit over the entire front of bag thus adding an additional layer of water protection.
On each side of the bag you'll find two small zippered pockets which are ideal for storing spare memory cards, lens filters, batteries, or charging accessories (my personal favorite).
When testing the the Veloce V, I ran into issues with the tripod mounts not fitting on a full-sized tripod. This is not the case with the as ACPRO2000 as it offers two full-sized tripod mounts. You'll find one on the bottom of the bag and another located on the right side. If you prefer to carry a monopod while on the go, there is also a dedicated monopod mount on the leftside of the bag thus allowing the ability to carry 2 full-size tripods and a monopod simultaneously.
A downside of this bag is that it lacks direct access to your camera gear while the bag is worn. Both the Veloce V and the AmazonBasics Sling offered this type of quick access. This is a disadvantage as you won't be able to reach another camera body, lens, or accessory that is stored in the main compartment unless you take the bag off and unzip each of the top two layers.
An dedicated laptop sleeve should be expected on a bag of this caliber, but this one is particularly well-designed as it fits up to a 17-inch model and is padded for extra protection. The slim pockets on the exterior layer of the bag are perfect for paperwork (manuals, contracts, contact sheets, etc.) or can also be used to carry thin devices like a Wacom Intuos Pro tablet or an iPad Air.
I have been using this as my primary bag to store and transport all my gear for the past few months. While it has performed flawlessly, there are a few things I can elaborate on both good and bad. First off, this bag is seriously oversized and much larger than your traditional camera bag (see size reference photos below). While this is great for storage purposes, it can also be troublesome when traveling as it may be harder to fit into a small car trunk and won't comply with carry-on requirements for certain airlines.
I learned this first hand when traveling to CES in Vegas last month as I had planned to take it on SouthWest Airlines (where it passed the size restrictions) however after my flight was cancelled, I ended up booking a Delta flight which had different size requirements which deemed the ACPRO2000 too large for carry-on. If you're planning to travel on an airplane with this bag, I'd highly recommend looking up the carry-on restrictions to verify that it will be allowed on your airline of choice. For reference, the ACPRO2000 outer dimensions are 15.375″ x 19.25″ x 10.125″.
I was surprised how comfortable a bag of this size was even when its full of heavy gear. NORAZZA did an excellent job designing the shoulder harness system as it is heavily padded and easily adjustable to fit a person of any size. The straps contour to your body and take most of the stress off your back when carrying a heavy load.
Having the ability to take virtually my whole closet full of gear on the go in only one bag is so convenient. This includes my tripods, monopod, 2 camera bodies, 5 lenses, 2 flashes, a hotshoe video light, a GoPro, my 15″ Retina Macbook, Wacom Intuos Pro tablet, iPad Air, and many more accessories all while staying protected and easy to maneuver. Some may see the design's lack of quick access to the main compartment as a deal-breaker, but personally I don't think it is. The main reason for this thinking is that no one should logically take this bag to an event or in the field with the idea of carrying around only a few accessories to use that day.
The ACPRO2000 is built to bring the whole kitchen sink and offer protection and convenience while doing so. If I'm just bringing my 5DMIII and a few lenses, memory cards, and batteries then I'll opt for the Veloce V or AmazonBasics Sling BackPack because that is what those types of bags are designed for. It is important that you understand this distinction so you can make the right purchase depending on your own individual needs.
I found the Ape Case ACPRO200 to be a high-quality and well designed camera bag that blows away the competition in terms of storage space and advanced features. While the high price tag may turn away some consumers who are on a budget, it is my “go to” bag of choice to storage and transport my expensive camera gear when I'm out in the field or covering live events. The main downfalls of the bag is the lack of quick and immediate access to your gear while worn and the potential issues with airline travel.. If these aspects are a deal-breaker or you simply don't have the need for such a large camera bag, I'd recommend checking out the Manfrotto Veloce V, ACPRO1900, or ACPRO1800 as they are cheaper and smaller in size while still having a lot to offer.