GRAMS28 172 Camera Sling – Gear Review

GRAMS28 172 Camera Sling – Gear Review

2000 1125 James Tocchio

Grams28 recently sent us their 172 Camera Sling, a sleek, stylish, and compact camera bag. The day that it arrived, I loaded it with gear for a day trip to Wellfleet, Massachusetts, a small town which sits about halfway between the tip and the elbow of Cape Cod.

Wellfleet is the quintessential Cape Cod village, a place characterized by white clapboards and black shutters, houses rimmed with explosive hydrangeas, and a sparse population which balloons to six times its natural number during the steamy months of summer.

More than 70% of Wellfleet is under state or federal environmental protection, and nearly 50% of its land area falls within the Cape Cod National Seashore, a National Park. There, we find windswept sand dunes, the Atlantic Ocean, and all the wildlife which one might expect in such a place.

After an hour of driving, my family and I arrived in the small center of town. We hit the pavement, I pulled a camera from the bag, and started taking pictures.

Grams28 172 Camera Sling Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Stylish Design: Modern, sleek look pairs well with the “Leica aesthetic” (if such a thing exists).
  • Compact and Portable: Room for one or two cameras, extra lens, batteries, books and small tablet.
  • Durable Construction: High-quality, Italian leather, ample padding for longevity and protection.
  • Customizable Storage: Adjustable dividers and multiple compartments for organization.
  • Comfortable to Carry: Wide shoulder strap to reduce fatigue.
  • Quick Access: Smooth zippers and wide opening for easy gear retrieval.

Cons

  • Limited Space: Will not hold enough for professional photoshoots.
  • No Dedicated Full Size Laptop Sleeve: Lack of a dedicated compartment for a full size laptop or tablet might be a drawback for some users.
  • Leather: For some, leather is a deal-breaker on ethical grounds, for others, it’s simply a style faux pas.
  • Price: Normal price of $459 is not insignificant [on sale for $367 at time of publication]

Design and Build Quality

The Grams28 172 Camera Sling sits closer to the fashion end of the camera bag spectrum. While many camera bags embrace utilitarianism, with some leaning hard into a “military-spec” aesthetic, the Grams28 collection, which includes the 172, does not. This bag is as much a “European carry-all” as it is fully functional camera bag. (Does anyone understand that reference, or am I just really old?)

I won’t review the bag on the basis of style. Some people love the rich feel and smell and look of leather. It’ll remind some users of the seats on their old, sold, and dearly missed BMW Z3 Roadster. People like that will love this bag. Other people don’t vibe with the look of leather. They might want bright, vibrant colors and textile bags. And still others dislike that material on an ethical basis.

I’ve supplied plenty of images in this review. If you like how the bag looks, you’ll like how the bag looks. If you don’t, you won’t!

What’s more important than my opinion on the bag’s style, are my opinions on the bag’s build quality and construction. Here, I was not let down.

The quality of the leather is phenomenal. It is soft and supple, yet sturdy and thick. The stitching is tight and precise, where it’s visible. The strap is wide and finely woven, like an extra-thick seatbelt, and feels like silk. The interior lining is scratch-free material, and the padding is dense and cushy (even more so than the padding of my much larger Ona messenger bag).

A nice refinement is also found in the camera’s connecting hardware. The clasp which buckles the bag closed is a nicely milled and anodized aluminum mechanism, the levers of which add a splash of burnt orange coloring, and the clasps which hold the strap to the camera body are of similar high quality.

Storage and Organization

One of the key features of the Grams28 172 is its efficient use of space. It’s about the same size as an 8-week-old Bassett hound, which makes it smaller than a typical full-size messenger bag, yet it’s capable of holding what most users would need for a full day and night of photography.

The main compartment will hold a full-size camera and an extra lens or two. During my day out in Wellfleet, the bag was filled with a Nikon 1 digital point and shoot, a secret camera that I can’t talk about, my Nikon Z5 with 50mm macro lens, a book, a Nintendo GameBoy (for my girls to use on the ride), and my house keys.

The main compartment is well-padded and customizable with padded velcro-lined inserts, allowing users to rearrange the dividers to fit various camera bodies, lenses, and accessories. This flexibility ensures that DSLR, film camera, Polaroid and Instax, and mirrorless camera setups can be accommodated comfortably.

There are several pockets and compartments for additional storage, including dedicated slots for memory cards, batteries, and filters. There’s also a dedicated tablet slot which is capable of holding an 11″ iPad (or similarly sized device), but a full-size laptop or tablet will not fit. The front zippered pocket is suitable for a notebook or passport, and is especially handy for quick access to small items like lens caps or a smartphone.

Accessibility

Accessibility is crucial when on a shoot, or when trying to both wrestle with an ice cream and take pictures of children at the same time. The Grams28 172 does not disappoint. Via the bag’s single clasp, it’s possible to easily open the top flap with just one hand, grab what you need, and get back to shooting. While the top flap is not so flexible that it can completely fold out of the way, the design is such that it never gets in the way. The zippers are smooth and durable, allowing for quick access to accessories.

Additionally, and this is a small detail, the clasps which hold the strap to the body of the bag are mounted on a swivel, which means that the bag and strap never get tangled up or twisted.

Final Thoughts

It’s not easy to review camera bags. Or rather, it’s too easy to be interesting. Did the bag hold my stuff? How much of my stuff did it hold? Did it annoy me while it was holding my stuff? Did it look good holding my stuff?

The answers to these questions, while important for those deciding whether or not to buy a bag, are not very fun to write or read. For this reason, I seldom review camera bags. However, the Grams28 172 Camera Sling is worth a thousand-or-so words. It’s a solid bag, and for those who like its aesthetic and need a compact pack to carry a day’s worth of gear, it’s one to consider.

As a camera bag, the 172 Camera Sling isn’t breaking new ground or shattering records. But what it does, it does to a very high standard. This makes it a beautiful choice for photographers looking for a stylish, durable, and functional bag for their everyday gear. Its compact size makes it ideal for daily use and short trips, and though those with larger setups might find it somewhat limiting, overall, it offers great value, practicality, and a touch of elegance.


If you’d like to buy this camera bag, you can do so directly from Grams28.

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[The product reviewed was supplied for review purposes by the manufacturer.]

James Tocchio

James Tocchio is a writer and photographer, and the founder of Casual Photophile. He’s spent years researching, collecting, and shooting classic and collectible cameras. In addition to his work here, he’s also the founder of the online camera shop Fstopcameras.com.

All stories by:James Tocchio

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James Tocchio

James Tocchio is a writer and photographer, and the founder of Casual Photophile. He’s spent years researching, collecting, and shooting classic and collectible cameras. In addition to his work here, he’s also the founder of the online camera shop Fstopcameras.com.

All stories by:James Tocchio