Count me a convert. I wasn't sure I'd like it, but after all of five minutes with my new Synapse, I am in love. Though I had long admired the design of the Synapse, I felt no need to buy one for myself. I carried a backpack all through college and had gladly abandoned them afterwards, because I felt they looked clunky and felt awkward to carry. I was a confirmed shoulder bag girl for many years.
Then I started lugging around a lot of camera gear, and shoulder bags didn't work all that well unless I happened to be walking around on sidewalks or inside buildings. Even the Imago, which swallowed everything I needed to carry, hurt my shoulder despite the Absolute Strap. [I resorted to carrying my Imago as a kind of jerry-rigged fanny pack when I was hiking in the Smokies last fall.] I tried a cheap Eddie Bauer sling bag (think Buzz), but that kept sliding around on me like some kind of hula hoop.
So almost grudgingly, I took a second look at the Synapse; and of course I asked everyone on the forum how it felt to carry one. Thanks to all of you, who helped reassure me on this score. Maverick's video about carrying a DSLR camera with lenses and gear in the Synapse was another big factor. Finally last week I took the plunge, partly because I was afraid that the last Indigo Synapses would be gone if I dithered around much longer. [A big hug to Katy by the way for making sure I got an Indigo Synapse, and for shipping it separately from my August back order without an additional charge just so I'd be certain to get one. You're the best!]
UPS wasn't such a big help, however. I was waiting outside in the 100-degree heat so I could spot the big brown truck as soon as it arrived with my new treasure, and my heart dropped when the delivery guy stepped out of the truck and I saw how the end of the box was crushed and partly open.
But apart from a few minor scuffs on the zipper at the top of the bag (they're more like rub marks than scuffs actually, and I think I can buff them out), the Synapse seemed to be in good shape. Hallelujah! And to my surprise, the little Handle Loop that I also ordered hadn't fallen out of the open box in transit; it was still there.
I haven't had time to take proper pictures, but here is the traditional unboxing photo
I've already done a quick trial pack of the Synapse with my camera gear, and it's absolutely perfect. I'll post photos and a packing list on the forum this weekend when I have more time, but right now I've got something in every pocket, and there is plenty of room to spare. I've got filters, lens caps, a Gorilla mini-tripod, and this DIY string-and-washer tripod in a mini-organizer pouch in the bottom pocket. I've got a case with my spare batteries, memory cards, remote, and cleaning cloth in the shallow top pocket. Right now I've got a telephoto lens in the water bottle pocket, but I've also tried my 16 oz. double-walled water bottle in there (by itself), and it fits perfectly. I've got pens, a lens brush, a Rhodia notebook, and two Moleskine Cahiers in one side pocket, and two lenses in the other. A photographic manual is in the sleeve inside the main compartment, and my Olympus 620, with a 14-42 lens attached, is in there, too. I've got it bundled in a Skooba wrap, and sitting on top of another Skooba wrap that's folded and laid on the bottom. There is so much room left in the main compartment that I'm having to restrain myself from stuffing it full: why do I always feel the need to that?
And it all feels remarkably comfortable on my back. I'm going to have to get used to the feel of straps on my chest, but I actually like the sternum strap because it helps the shoulder straps sit in a better position vis-a-vis my arms. And the waist strap works well to distribute the weight properly so it's not all on my neck and shoulders.
What a wonderful bag! I may even find myself packing the Synapse differently and using it for overnight travel. Thought I still don't count myself as a backpack convert. The only backpack I can envision myself using is the Synapse, because no other backpack out there can compare to its thoughtful design and construction.