Tamrac Ultra Pro 17

Carry your digital darkroom in this surprisingly slim shoulder bag.

Nov 9, 2009
By Dan Havlik

Though you can stuff a ton of gear into this shoulder bag from Tamrac, it stays relatively compact.

Though you can stuff a ton of gear into this shoulder bag from Tamrac, it stays relatively compact.
Along with camera bodies and lenses, today's mobile photographers often need to carry an entire digital darkroom on their backs. This can be a problem if you don't have a strong back and/or are not particularly fond of looking like a snail.

Tamrac has been partially able to solve this problem with a brand new shoulder bag called the Ultra Pro 17 (Model 5617) which includes enough padded pockets, pouches and crevices to seemingly carry the gear of an entire team of photographers.

I recently had a chance to load up an Ultra Pro 17 with as much photographic test gear as I could find in my office—and at the end of the month, it can be quite overwhelming—and found the surprisingly slim Ultra Pro 17 (Model 5617) just about fit it all.

For starters, I put in two pro DSLR bodies, two lenses (including a honking 70-200 f/2.8 and a 16-35mm f/2.8 wide-angle), a Leica M9 rangefinder, a pair of flashes, nine Compact Flash memory cards, a 13-inch laptop (though it really could've fit a 15-inch model), an iPhone, an iPod, X-Rite's ColorChecker Passport, several lens cleaners, a DVD of the documentary War Photographer, a tattered Mets baseball cap, an airplane bottle of Smirnoff vodka, a package of Extra Polar Ice gum, a ticket stub from last year's Lucie awards, and the New York Knicks's diminutive guard Nate Robinson.

Ok, so Nate didn't fit in the bag but just about everything else did in a logical configuration that didn't add much bulk. Weight was another issue though. With all that gear stuffed into the Ultra Pro 17, it was extremely heavy which was daunting though not exactly surprising.

Balance was good, however, and since it's a shoulder bag and not a backpack, reaching in and grabbing gear was a breeze. The well-padded "BioCurve" shoulder strap also helped relieve some of the strain, and I liked the "Total Coverage Top" which can either be zipped shut or flopped over the bag to protect your gear while offering fast access via quick release buckles. Oh and there's also a rain cover hidden discreetly in a side pouch that's easy to pull out at the first sign of stormy skies.

Best of all, even when packed to the gills, the all-black Ultra Pro 17 looks professional.


If you travel with a ton of photo gear but don't want to cram it all into a hard-to-access backpack, the Ultra Pro 17 bag is a great off-the-shoulder solution.

Tamrac Ultra Pro 17 (Model 5617)

Pros: Can fit a ton of gear

Cons: Can't fit Nate Robinson.

Price: $99

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