|Image Courtesy Wotancraft Atelier|
This time, the Taiwan-based manufacturer of high-quality camera bags (amongst other leather luxury products) sent me two bags to test and review: the Urban Classic 001 Ryker (pictured above), and the City Explorer 006 Scout (which I reviewed in India).
|On my way for a bit of street photography in New York City with the|
Urban Classic 001 Ryker camera bag and a Leica M9
It's the same sensory sensation one gets when sliding into the seats of a luxury car...the smell of quality leather and its tactility. Soft and pliable...everything with this camera bag screams "well-made and detail attentive. I tried hard, but failed to find a single errant strand of stitching, a knot or anything that seemed out of place. It's extremely well-made, and quality control at Wotancraft must be handled by an eagle-eyed individual(s), with no tolerance for any defect, no matter how insignificant.
|Crammed the Ryker with my street photography equipment: a Leica M9, a Fuji X Pro-1, |
a Voigtlander 40mm lens and a Tascam DR40 audio recorder
It's size is deceiving...it initially appeared small to me, but I managed to cram a Leica M9 with an Elmarit 28mm, a Fuji X Pro-1 with a Fujinon 18mm, a Voigtlander 40mm lens and the Tascam DR40 audio recorder with no difficulty. Schlepping it with all this gear on my street photography walk in New York City last Saturday, I kept the M9 dangling from my neck as I usually do, and had easy access to the rest of the rest of my gear. I could have carried my iPad Mini in the bag's integrated pocket if I wished to, but I never take it on my street photography routes.
This particular model of the Ryker is made of black and brown leather, which makes it virtually invisible when wearing dark colored clothes as I mostly do, so it doesn't stand out at all. Its purple microfiber inner lining is soft, and safeguards the finish of the stowed equipment, which is a very smart idea. Both of my cameras show some wear and tear...so the softness of the inner compartment is probably superfluous in my case, but will surely be appreciated by photographers with new cameras and lenses.
The bag is stylish, and feels very comfortable. It easily holds my Leica or my Fuji X Pro-1, and 2-3 lenses as well as my iPad mini. . It feels secure across the shoulder, and its inner compartment is well padded. It's made of soft leather which every time I used it, smelled like the interior of a brand new Jaguar or Bentley.
|Image Courtesy Wotancraft Atelier|
The curved removable shoulder strap is comfortable, with a non-slip shoulder pad. Since the Ryker was laden with my heavy gear, it stubbornly remained on my shoulder with no slippage. I don't know if that would be the case if it had been lighter. The strap's buckles are heavy duty, and feel well made and solid.
So who is the Ryker for? First off, it's not at all for DSLR-totting photographers because of its size limitations, but it's ideal for those who work with rangefinders, whether Leicas or similar rangefinders (or rangefinder-like cameras such as the Fuji X Pro-1, X-100, X-100S et al.) As I mentioned earlier, its low profile is perfect for the street photographer with a need for a camera bag whilst walking around.
|On the way to the subway with the Ryker in tow.|
I must also mention that Wotancraft Atelier generously made a City Explorer 006 Scout available as a contest prize during my The Sacred Cities Photo Expedition-Workshop in India in March. It was won by Charlotte Rush Bailey, and you can read all about it in this post.