Artisan & Artist Red Label Backpack RDB-BP300 Review

Woo hoo, new camera bag!

As a mirrorless camera fan, I have bought numerous camera bags to fit  my needs. From my favourite Billingham to the tough Wotancraft Etan to the 'one camera- one lens' pouch, I practically have a camera bag for different occasions... well almost. From the array of sling bags, what is missing is a backpack. If you are an avid traveller who likes to take photographs, a backpack might be more suitable in this case for overseas trips.

Artisan & Artist Red Label Backpack RDB-BP300

Why a new camera bag?

Recently the family had planned for an epic 16 days road trip around NZ. Given the destination and the length of travel, I had decided to get a backpack to go with the epic trip. Alas, the trip was cancelled but the bag remains. To make the most of it, I decided to use this opportunity to do a review of my latest addition to my little collection of camera bags.

Introducing , the Artisan & Artist Red Label Backpack RDB-BP300

Before I proceed further, this is not a sponsored review, as with other camera bags review, the bag was paid for by yours truely. As with the other reviews, I choose to do a post because I genuinely am delighted with my purchase.  ( Then again I AM open to sponsors * wink wink * )
Source : Artisan and Artist

About Artisan & Artist Red Label

Artisan & Artist is a camera bag maker from Japan. Their japan made goods are highly attractive and sadly a tad too expensive for me to indulge in. It was only by chance I came across the brand Red Label by Artisan and Artist. Designed by the same team from Japan, the items are actually made from China instead of Japan. Cost wise, it is as much as half compared to the main brand. Design and quality wise, it would not be too far from the parent group.

The 2nd generation of Artisan & Artist Red label bags  was launched earlier this year. These gorgeous bags caught my eyes during the search for a backpack. The new range includes a sling bag, a message bag and a backpack. It was the backpack that piqued my interest and thus the search for the ultimate lifestyle backpack.

The backpack comes in three colours - navy blue, brown and beige. Of the three colours, the blue one sings to me. From afar, it does not resemble a camera bag, but rather a slick modern bagpack. During my search for a bagpack, I had initially pledge to support Vinta from kickstarter. When I saw this bag that is going for half the price and looking stylishly rugged, I knew I had to cancel my pledge and go for this instead.

I did not regret the choice.

About the bag 

There are 2 main compartments  in the bag. The camera can be access from the front. It fits a mirrorless system with a couple of lens . In the bag I have the following equipment
  •  OMD EM1 with Olympus 12-40 f2.8mm attached
  • Olympus 40-150mm f2.8
  • Panasonic 7-14mm f4
  • Panasonic Lecia 25mm f1.4
  • Olympus Fisheye 9mm

There is a safety net and strap provided to hold your camera and lens in place to prevent them from accidentally falling out of the bag if unzipped.

As you could see I could almost fit a system from 7-150mm (14-300 mm on full frame) plus some specialty lens to boot. On top of that there is still space at the top to fit clothes, laptops (13 Inch), ipads, and even a light jacket.

If you are packing a full frame DSLR, you probably can fit the camera with lens attached and probably a lens or two depending on type.

There is a zipper compartment to put your passport there.If you need space for tripods, the side straps will be handy for that. It would be able to secure water bottles that had loops attached too. The  interior of the bag is in beige and that differentiates it from the signature red interior Artisan and Artist is famed for.
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Instead of Velcro or zips, a unique clip system holds the top flap in place. Open the flap and you have another zipper compartment for added protection against unwanted theft.

Zippers are also made from quality YKK zippers, the choice zippers known for its durability.

The material use is CORDURA fabric and leather. CORDURA fabric is known for its light weight and durability . The material is water resistant but it is not waterproof. There is no rain cover which can be a bummer if it rains. The colour on the bag might also fade as a result of getting wet.

As mentioned earlier, the red label is made from China.  The quality of the bag is quite decent regardless.

In honesty, I had earlier purchased a second hand Timbuk2 Espionage for the trip. The bag has much more compartments but it looks bulky and dull in comparison to the Red Label.

The great thing about the Artisan and Artist backpack is the ability to extend . As seen from the photo below, once extended, it is almost the same size as the Timbuk2 Espionage.  The delightful think is that it is half the weight too!

The official dimension of the bag as follows:

Body Size: W285 × H410-490 × D140mm
Inner Size: W260 × H320 × D105mm

Put the Timbuk2 and the Artisan & Artist camera bag size by size and you probably could make out which one is likely to be the camera bag. The Artisan & Artist is great as a city bag and hides its true colours well. It may not be the Espionage but it could very well be given its looks.

Glad to say, I managed to sell the Timbuk2 to partially fund this new purchase.
Timbuk2 Espionage vs Artisan and Artist.
Final thoughts

In a nutshell this is what I think of the bag

  • Stylish with unique colour choice.
  • Removable camera inserts that can transform this to a normal bag
  • Extendable if you need the extra space
  • Lightweight compared with similar backpacks

  • Limited compartment space
  • Colours might fade if wet
  • Not waterproof and no rain cover provided.

Finding one is challenging. However you can try your luck at certain camera shops in Funan Center (before it closes down). It is best you shop around because price difference can be as high as $50 from shop to shop.


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