Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 11

Thread: F-stop Mountain Series Lotus Backpack Review

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Apr 2020
    Location
    Washington, DC
    Posts
    87

    F-stop Mountain Series Lotus Backpack Review

    I thought I’ll give you my impressions of the F-stop Mountain Series Lotus backpack that I have been using for a few months now.

    I bought it when it was on sale at B&H for $190.-, which was an attractive price, to haul around my Linhof Technika V. When I was looking for a backpack I narrowed my search to a back-loading backpack for simple reasons: when you have a front-loading backpack and you set it down, you’ll get dirt, mud, and water on the back side of your backpack, and when you put the backpack on your back, you get all that dirt and water on the back of your t-shirt/jacket. Not so with a back-loading backpack. Also, your gear can’t call fall out when you forget to fully close the zipper (because its sits against your back) and thieves have no access when you walk through the streets. That’s why in my opinion, a back-loading backpack is an absolute must.

    The size is perfect for my 4x5 and all the gear and accessories. Now, the one thing you need to know is that the backpack does’t come with an insert and the f-stop inserts are very expensive. The trick is to simply buy a cheaper insert. F-Stop’s ICU Large insert costs $100.- (ouch!), but the Jill-E Design insert is virtually identical in size and only costs $39.-.

    The insert has space for my 4x5 with plenty of room for 3 lenses, a light meter and other things. The full size of the insert is 11x18 inches, which should allow larger cameras. In the top compartment I have two filter pouches for large filters (up to 82mm), cable release, a Rocket blower, lens cleaning cloth, pens, and other things. In the large pocket in the front I store a notebook and dark cloth, with plenty of room to spare. The straps on the side allows you to carry a tripod, as long as it's not too heavy. Materials and zippers are all top notch. I used it a few times in the rain and no water came inside of any of the compartments. A bonus feature is that the aluminum frame inside the backpack is padded, which protects your gear, and there are plenty of attachment points where you can secures straps for your jacket, a blanket, etc.

    Overall, I find the backpack very comfortable to carry. I could go on hours-long hikes with my heavy gear and because the weight sits on your hips when you tighten the straps, it doesn’t feel heavy and there are no pressure points.

    Overall, it’s a great backpack for LF gear and highly recommended.

    IMG_9920

    IMG_1767

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Apr 2020
    Location
    Washington, DC
    Posts
    87

    Re: F-stop Mountain Series Lotus Backpack Review


  3. #3

    Join Date
    Apr 2020
    Location
    Washington, DC
    Posts
    87

    Re: F-stop Mountain Series Lotus Backpack Review

    Oh, and if you are interested how I carry the film holders, I use black lunch bags which have the prefect size for 4x5 film holders, and are waterproof, light tight, and only cost $13.-. I strap two of them on either side of the backpack, one for fresh and one for exposed films. 7 (4x5) holders fit into one bag.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	luch_bag.jpg 
Views:	15 
Size:	20.9 KB 
ID:	206829

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Posts
    452

    F-stop Mountain Series Lotus Backpack Review

    I use the Fstop Loka, which is a notch smaller and lighter and fits my 4x5 and associated stuff (pretty much like you) with no issues. I keep the holders directly inside in metalized ESD individual bags from McMaster which repel dust and reflect light. I can usually fit like 4-5 holders no problem in the main compartment above the ICU.

    They’re a very good option for 4x5 and 5x7. They’re however not wide enough to carry my 8x10.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Apr 2020
    Location
    Washington, DC
    Posts
    87

    Re: F-stop Mountain Series Lotus Backpack Review

    Yes, the Loka is great, too, and very similar. I liked the colors of the Lotus better.

    Are you using the f-stop ICUs?

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Posts
    452

    Re: F-stop Mountain Series Lotus Backpack Review

    I am. I saw your note on the Jill-E “clones” but it looks discontinued?

  7. #7
    Joe O'Hara's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Marlton, NJ
    Posts
    664

    Re: F-stop Mountain Series Lotus Backpack Review

    Thanks for your helpful review, giganova. I'm looking at the Lotus as a possible replacement for my f/64 backpack which has been with me since 2008 and looks it. Regarding the interior, will the velcro-fastened internal separators (like come with Lowepro and f/64 bags) stick to the interior material? That's what I've always done, and I'd prefer not having to open one more zipper to get at my gear once I've put down the bag and opened it up. I carry a 4x5 field camera, 5 lenses, and the other bits and bobs we all have for LF work.
    Where are we going?
    And why are we in this handbasket?


    www.josephoharaphotography.com

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    Suwanee, GA
    Posts
    759

    Re: F-stop Mountain Series Lotus Backpack Review

    Nice review and a bag I was seriously considering. TIP If you tend to carry your camera on your tripod once you are at your location, flip the ICU so that lenses are on the bottom. On my Atlas pack I have the camera in the top section and fill the ICU with all the other stuff.
    Adventure is worthwhile in itself. ... Never interrupt someone doing what you said couldn't be done. -- Amelia Earhart
    http://www.searing.photography

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Jan 2021
    Posts
    65

    Re: F-stop Mountain Series Lotus Backpack Review

    FWIW - the Lowepro Pro Tactic Utility Bag holds 5 (6 very tightly) 4x5 film holders each in a zip lock, rubber banded, and inside of a gallon zip lock perfectly. Well designed and should last. (Now there’s a run-on sentence for you)

  10. #10
    Joe O'Hara's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Marlton, NJ
    Posts
    664

    Re: F-stop Mountain Series Lotus Backpack Review

    BTW I inquired to f-stop directly in connection with my question above, and according to their support person, velcro separators will not stick to the interior of the Lotus bag. So that means you're locked into using either one of their "ICUs" or finding a similar solution elsewhere, if you want to pack the bag that way. The Jill-E case referenced by the OP does not seem to be available any more.
    Where are we going?
    And why are we in this handbasket?


    www.josephoharaphotography.com

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 0
    Last Post: 24-Dec-2017, 16:26

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •