If you are at work when you read this review, do not – and I repeat, do not - click on the Crumpler link until you’ve turned your computer’s speakers way down. With that said, you just haven’t lived until you’ve clicked on the site and experienced the unintelligible hillbilly yodeling which could have made it onto the Deliverance soundtrack! Using your mouse to slide the pig, devil, horse – or whichever critter is showing – to the screen’s right will reveal the bag menu on the lower portion of the screen. The first option is computer bags, a topic that is usually covered here on Gear Diary, but we aren’t stopping there! Click on the next option, Photography Bags, and scroll through until you see the subject of today’s review – the photography bag.
Available in color combinations including dark brown/oatmeal/pale olive, black/gun metal/light gray, purple/light purple/orange, and the dark red/red/light blue I was sent, The 7 Million Dollar Home (7MDH) is touted as a “A protective environment for your basic photo and or video equipment that doesn’t scream “photo bag!”" At first glance I would have to agree – it looks like a fat messenger bag. In fact, I would be more likely to think that there was an expensive laptop inside the 7MDH than an expensive camera setup.
The 7 Million Dollar Home measures approximately 15″ wide x 10″ tall x 7″ deep; it has a water resistant 1000D Nylon shell, and its interior is lined in 420D Ripstop Nylon. This is all well and good for me to repeat here, but what will really stick in your mind when first unwrapping the bag is that it looks and feels substantial. The 7MDH is finished very well; there are no lose strings, no strange stitching, everything about it screams quality. The parts that touch your camera are soft, and the parts that will hold your gear don’t look like they will snag. The 7 Million Dollar Home is the second largest Crumpler photography bag; behind it are six smaller sized bags, with the next larger being the near gargantuan Brazillian Dollar Home.
Let’s start at the front and take a tour around the bag…
The wide front flap of the bag has a 1.1″ rubber Crumpler logo, and there is a same sized logo on the removable shoulder pad; these are the only external branding. There is a 1″ wide reinforced fabric handle on the top of the bag, which although it isn’t really padded should allow it to serve for relieving shoulder strain and repositioning the bag.
Although the 7MDH is technically a messenger style bag, it can double as a briefcase due to the handle position and the fact that the 2″ wide nylon shoulder strap can be completely removed. The back of the bag is bare; although I realize that this isn’t a traditional messenger bag per se, it does seem like a slash pocket should be here. Even photographers have down time and might like to carry along some reading material!
The left side of the bag has a 1.5″ wide reinforced fabric band which has been stitched to form two separate open loops for attaching accessories that have clips or for slipping a large tripod’s leg through.
The left side has the same two loops.
The bag is fastened with a 1.25″ plastic pinch-clip; a 1″ wide nylon strap allows the flap to be tightened or loosened depending upon the bag’s fullness.
Unclipping the front flap reveals a 5″ wide dual-purpose Velcro patch which attaches to the flaps 5.5″ x 2.5″ patch. Why in the world would there be a patch of Velcro here when there is a perfectly good clip on the bottom? Probably so that the flap does not always have to be clipped down, although the Velcro can seem a little redundant at times.
I called it dual-purpose because the same stiff loopy patch that catches the top flap also serves to catch the flap of the front internal pocket. On the inside of the flap is a 12″ wide x 11″ tall zippered mesh pocket which can hold any number of flatter accessories, small books, or cables.
Here is a shot of the opened bag standing upright…
…and here it is with the front internal pocket opened. This main portion of this pocket measures approximately 10″ wide x 8″ tall and due to its gussets will open to about 1.5″ deep.
On the back wall is an 8.5″ wide x 7″ tall flat mesh pocket which is secured by a 6″ long strip of Velcro; a black nylon loop on the front of the mesh pocket makes pulling it open easy.
On either side of the main compartment of the bag there is an approximately 5.5″ wide x 8″ tall open pocket worked into the area before the bag’s side.
These pockets are wonderful for tabletop tripods, larger cable coils, anything that needs a taller pocket.
The main compartment of the 7 Million Dollar Home is where things really get interesting! Composed of what feels like 0.25″ of padding covered by an incredibly soft brushed nylon (similar to velour), this compartment is one in which I would feel comfortable placing a camera costing many times that of my Rebel XTi. The base of the main compartment is reinforced with a plastic stiffening layer, and the overall effect is one of total cushioning. The bag’s main compartment comes configured as shown below…
But those eight 0.5″ thick padded soft dividers are all removable…
…meaning that the user can feel free to set up the main compartment to accommodate their own particular gear setup. Have an SLR with a particularly l-o-n-g lens on it? No problem, as the dividers can be removed and the camera can be situated inside the bag with dividers added afterwards to lend support and extra padding.
According to the Crumpler site, the 7 Million Dollar Home will accommodate “a digital SLR w/ vertical grip & “kit’ lens attached, approximately 3 extra lenses, external flash unit and basic accessories.” All I have so far is the camera body, a basic lens, an external flash, a few smaller accessories, a field guide and an XTi cheat sheet…but my collection is growing, and this bag will allow that!
Here is a shot of the 7 Million Dollar Home being modeled by Michael, who is 6′ tall. As you can see, it is definitely a larger bag, but not unmanageable or anything. It can feel a bit like overkill for those times when I am only carrying my camera with no attachments, but there is no question that keeping things in this bag is highly preferable to setting my kit on the truck’s rear carpeted floorboard while diving between “locations”.
Ever since I bought a Canon Rebel XTi, I’ve been looking for a safe way to transport the camera and accessories. Those of you who’ve been watching my have probably noticed I’ve been taking a lot more photos around San Angelo lately. The reason for that is simple – I’ve now got a very good looking and very protective bag to tote all my photography doodads. The Seven Million Dollar Home has provided extremely comfortable accommodations for all of my photography gear; it can do the same for you.
The Crumpler photography bag is available directly from the manufacturer.
What I Like: Extremely well made of quality materials; configurable main compartment will allow you to customize padded dividers depending upon carried gear; lots of pockets and compartments for carrying accessories
What Needs Improvement: The bag is pretty amazing, but if I had my way – the patch of Velcro securing the front flap would be made smaller or removed