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Thread: F-stop Mountain Series Lotus Backpack Review

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Apr 2020
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    Washington, DC
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    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.

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  2. #2

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    Apr 2020
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    Posts
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    Re: F-stop Mountain Series Lotus Backpack Review


  3. #3

    Join Date
    Apr 2020
    Location
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    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. 

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  4. #4

    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Posts
    308

    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
    85

    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
    308

    Re: F-stop Mountain Series Lotus Backpack Review

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

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