Product review: a camera bag that doesn’t scream “CAMERA BAG!”

When I bought my first (and so far, only) digital SLR, the bundle offered included a fully-padded and compartmentalized backpack that could carry the body with a 70-200mm lens attached, at least four other lenses, a flash unit, and all the other accessories you could think of. Besides being too huge for someone who’s just starting out, it none-too-subtly had the camera’s brand emblazoned all over the bag. Not really something you’d want to use if you want to keep a low profile. The solution? A Crumpler “5 Million Dollar Home” camera bag.

crumpler 5 million dollar home exterior

At first glance, the “5 Million Dollar Home” looks more like a lunchbox than a camera bag. The bright and contrasting colors also gives it a more fun feel. Inside, you’ll find a padded interior with two configurable dividers. The 26 x 20 x 14 inch bag will comfortably hold a compact DSLR with attached zoom lens, your other lens, and the external flash unit. The external and mesh pockets hold your memory cards, extra batteries, manuals, and the like.

The Good:
1. It doesn’t look like a camera bag. This is Crumpler’s primary selling point. Less conspicuous bag = less likely that thieves will take an interest.

2. Great padding. It’s fallen and landed on its top quite a few times but the camera’s unharmed.

3. The shell is made of water resistant 1000D nylon. The bag’s gotten splashed but it’s still good.

4. The interior lining is a color other than black. A minor cosmetic difference compared to other camera bags but hey, it makes stuff like an extra battery easy to see.

The Not-So-Good:
1. No easily reachable pocket on the outside. This is my major peeve, as I can’t just reach in and grab a memory card in an emergency. Nowhere to store maps and other scraps of paper either.

2. The shoulder strap is slippery. Not really an issue if you’re carrying just the one bag but becomes a big issue if you’re struggling with luggage.

3. The two hidden internal side pockets are pretty small. My mobile phone barely fits.

4. No way to attach a tripod to the bag.

5. Price tag. Crumpler’s bags are slightly more expensive compared to others of comparable specs.

All in all, the “5 Million Dollar Home” is decent. It does what it’s supposed to do (keep your gear safe) and looks good at the same time. The only thing you need to worry about is filling it up.

crumpler 5 million dollar home interior

2 Replies to “Product review: a camera bag that doesn’t scream “CAMERA BAG!””

  1. I just picked up the 5 million dollar bag, too, and chose it for the very same reasons you did.

    As for the cons you listed, you can somewhat mediate them by getting The Bundle bags or The Thirsty pouches. They attach to the loops on the outside of the bag. I purchased one for my cell phone, and it actually works out better because you can access your phone without opening the bag, and they can be moved to over Crumpler bags you might have. You could also purchase the shoulder strap separately (it’s $15).

    As for cost, I agree that they are expensive, but not that much more expensive for the features. If carrying a tripod and other items is more necessary than not, you might want to invest in a 6 or 7 million dollar bag for those occasions, and use the 5 mil for around town. Those come with the shoulder pad (and you’d save $15!).

  2. So THAT”S what the loops on the outside are for! Haha. I didn’t know that. I’m hesitant about getting a pouch for my phone that attaches to the outside of the bag as I live in a city notorious for thieves.

    I’ll invest in the 6 or 7 million dollar home if/when I have more equipment to store in it ^-^

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