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Kata OMB-74 Production Equipment Bag Review

Kata OMB-74 Production Equipment Bag Review

Customizable, roomy, and ready for action! The OMB-74 is perfect for professional shooters who need a reliable equipment bag.

A Videographer's Best Friend

The Kata OMB-74 is more than just a camera bag: it's a bag for all your field production tools. The OMB-74 is ideal for the one-man-band video producer. In fact, that's why Kata gave it the OMB (i.e., One Man Band) model name. Inside the OMB-74 bag has plenty of configureable space for the professional shooter who needs to have their camera kit ready to sprint to the next gig.

The Exterior

The OMB-74 features the classic Kata blue exterior. There are 4 exterior pockets. The top exterior pocket has room to expand, and would be an ideal location to store rain slickers for you or your gear. At the top of this pocket is a reinforced strap for a collapsible tripod. Smaller tripods are ideal for this position, especially when carrying the bag on your shoulder. The external length measures 19.7 inches. This would be an ideal length for that tripod, although longer ones would still work.

Exterior zippers are heavily guarded from moisture with a top flap that nearly makes a seamless closure when zipped up. On the bottom of the bag, the Toblerones (two rows of durable, small legs) keep the bag safe from moist surfaces and tough impacts.

On the back-side is a insert that allows you to add the bag to a rolling trolley for portability. Kata has developed their own trolley, the Insertrolley (MSRP $100, which is sold separately. There is nothing so unique about this insert that you couldn't find a generic trolley to do the job. We're glad to see a level of compatibility with this accessory as we imagine most videographers will be using a trolley.

In addition to the trolley, the OMB-74 has an interlocking top handle, shoulder strap and two side straps that help load the bag on and off a trolley. The only significant issue on the exterior of the bag occurs when an over-sized tripod is strapped to the top. If the base of the tripod is too wide, you will not be able to interlock the top handle. Then, your method for carrying the bag is reduced to the shoulder strap or the trolley. All the tripods we tested fit with ample room. Our measurements reveal that there's about 6.5 inches of room between the top of the bag and the bottom of the handle. Keep in mind that the space will also be limited by what you store in the top pouch and the thickness of your fingers when they're gripping the handle.

Overall, the exterior of the bag is well-constructed. It definitely can survive a rigorous one-man-band lifestyle. The attention to detail on the zippers and reinforced straps gives a producer, who is likely to store most (if not all) of his gear in it, the much needed confidence that the gear is protected from wear and tear.

The Interior

As usual, the interior of the OMB-74 is classic Kata yellow and reveals the bag's true purpose of being the one-size-fits-all solution for lone producers. On the top flap, there's an interior pouch with a zipper entry. Nearly half the pouch is transparent so that you can glance at its contents. At the bottom of the pouch is a transparent business card holder to provide instructions on returning the bag, should it go missing. Below the top flap is the main interior compartment. This area is completely customizable to meet your needs, but the default layout seems ideal.

Inside, there are only three dividers and two pouches, but together they create six unique storage areas. The main storage area is perfect for prosumer-size camcorders (e.g., the Canon XH-A1, Panasonic AG-HVX200, Sony PMW-EX1, etc). The Kata website provides a complete equipment compatibility list if you want to know which cameras will work with the OMB-74. Even some camera models with a matte box will find enough room in this compartment. Additionally, there is plenty of depth, so that on camera lights, shotgun mics, monitors and hard drive recorders can likely stay attached if you so choose to pack your equipment in that manner. There is also a strap with a buckle that can go around your camera to keep it from jumping out of its compartment. Should your bag do a roll, your camera won't get thrown about in the bag. It could also help prevent a thief from a quick nab as it would be harder to remove from the compartment.

In the front of the interior, there is a slim compartment for laptops. The length of this compartment will support the majority of laptops with a 15.4-inch or smaller screen size. Many producers are shooting with laptops as production monitors or storage devices (especially when shooting on P2 or SxS solid state media). It's nice to see a bag configured this way. This feature acknowledges that many professional shooters have added laptops (or even flat-screen monitors) to their equipment list. We expect to see a lot more camera bags making room for these devices.

On the right side, behind the main camera compartment, is another small but deep compartment that would be ideal for another big object. You could easily put in your headphones, an external hard drive or a compact audio mixer in here. The top half of this divider also folds over, allowing you to close the compartment and use the top half for another storage space. Although, you wouldn't likely put anything too heavy on top of this flap as it could move about freely and land in your camera compartment. On the back-side of the interior are two pouches that are ideal for tape/media, batteries or lens filters. These pouches have clear top flaps that allow you to see the contents. This should help reduce the "which pouch has what" guessing game. The top flap secures to the pouch with Velcro. And, the pouch itself is secured to the interior with Velcro. You can move these around as you like, or take them out if you need more space.

Finally, below the two pouches is one small, but long divider that adds another compartment that would be ideal for a shotgun microphone or a bunch of smaller accessories. This compartment is less visible and less accessible with a camera stowed away. As such, you probably will store the low-priority items here. Or, with one pouch removed, you could gain easy access to this area.

Overall, the Kata OMB-74 is the perfect size for the producer who has rather a extensive camera kit and needs multiple compartments for today's modern tools. No longer are camera bags just for cameras. This bag encompasses multiple modes of video production with durability and mobility kept in mind. As such, it's a great solution for the solo video producer.

Tech Specs

External Dimensions
Length: 19.7"
Width: 13.8"
Height: 16.9"

Strengths

  • Extra protection against moisture on exterior zippers
  • Insert for additional trolley (supplied separately)
  • Great interior layout for all types of cameras and accessories

Weaknesses

  • Some tripods may conflict with inter-locking handle if strapped to the top

Summary

Customizable, roomy, and ready for action! The OMB-74 is perfect for professional shooters who need a reliable equipment bag.

Contributing columnist Mark Montgomery is a web content specialist and produces instructional videos for a leading web application developer.

Kata
www.kata-bags.com
$579

Tags:  January 2010
Mark
Montgomery
Fri, 01/01/2010 - 12:00am