Langly Alpha Compact Review

alpha langley compact camera bag straight on

This is my full deep dive review of the Langly Alpha Compact, a camera backpack that’s drool-worthy for the minimalist photographer and adventurer with a hankering for extreme organization.

Langly are best known for having some pretty stylish and durable products.

With its vintage vibes, practical color options, and countless compartments, the Langly Alpha Compact certainly doesn’t fall short in the fashionable and functional departments…

Not to mention that it’s different to most camera backpacks thanks to its ability to serve multiple purposes outside of simply being a camera bag.

shk-fs-table__imageHighly RecommendedRugged good looks and a multipurpose design make for a comfortable and versatile backpack.Get Price

But does the Alpha Compact‘s hybrid characteristics make it practical for the average professional photographer?

I’m incredibly torn between whether this might actually be one of the coolest camera backpacks I’ve ever seen, or if I’m just blinded by its good looks and my desire to be organized.

Let’s take a closer look.

Langly Alpha Compact Specs

  • External Dimensions: 18’’x 14’’ x 8’’ (LxWxH)
  • Top Compartment: 8.8’’ x 12.6’’ x 6.5’’ (LxWxH)
  • Bottom Compartment: 9.5’’ x 12.6’’ x 6.5’’ (LxWxH)
  • Accessories cube: 3.5″ H x 11″W x 4.5″ D
  • Camera Cube: 10″ H x 10″W x 6.25″ D

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Build & Appearance

langley alpha compact bag on body

The Langly Alpha Compact comes in three colours, and all of them look great.

If you’re wondering whether or not this bag is going to keep your gear safe, the answer is a definite yes. It feels a bit like wearing your own personal turtle shell.

The Langly Alpha Compact is stiff in structure with reinforced, removable inserts that enable you to keep a camera body, lenses, and yes, even a laptop safe from impact.

It has YKK zippers and a waterproof body fabric. So rest assured your gear won’t be swimming if you find yourself caught in a downpour.

And let’s talk colors! In addition to Slate (pictured), it comes in a soft grey Cement and an easy-on-the-eyes deep red Brick as well – see them all here.

As someone who obsesses over autumn tones, the palette of the Langly Alpha Compact was a fresh breath of air outside the typical black/beige/navy.

I think the most fascinating thing about the Alpha Compact, however, is that if you stare at it long enough, it starts to feel as though it’s staring right back at you. (Fun fact: that phenomenon is called pareidolia.)

It’s a little bit charming, really.

Exterior Features

langly alpha compact close up

The design of the Langly Alpha Compact‘s straps and snaps is rather unique.

With a waterproof body fabric and some of the most interesting straps and snaps I have ever laid eyes on, the appearance and quality of material on this bag are both outstanding down to the last detail.

The snaps are incredibly easy to remove, but also extremely snug when fastened.

There’s a large pocket on the outside of the Alpha Compact as well, which you can use as an easy access point for smaller objects.

I’m also a huge fan of the air channels along the backside, which provide airflow and added protection for your gear inside.

It feels nice on your back, and quite frankly they just look really neat.

langly alpha compact air channels

Back air channels make the bag more breathable and comfortable to carry.

Spoiler alert: The cubes inside this bag are removable and usable on their own.

Both cubes come with handles, and the camera cube even comes with D-rings on either side so that you can attach a strap and use it as a shoulder bag.

langly alpha compact camera cube

The camera cube of the Langly Alpha Compact comes with its own handles.

Interior Features

langly alpha compact camera cube

Access to the camera cube is through the bag’s back panel.

The Langly Alpha CompactΒ has not one, but two cubes inside. The camera cube can be accessed individually through the back panel, and the separate, smaller accessories cube through the top compartment.

I have been fondly referring to the Alpha Compact as the “Matryoshka doll of camera bags,” and here’s why: Both cubes are removable and, as mentioned earlier, come with devoted handles.

They are also good-looking enough to be used as standalone bags.

langly alpha compact cubes

The Alpha Compact cubes: stylish and functional enough to be used on their own.

Whether you’re using the cubes for camera equipment or as toiletry and makeup travel bags, this backpack’s multipurpose usability is probably its most compelling feature.

Speaking of travel bags, once the cubes are removed, the Langly Alpha Compact becomes a fantastic lightweight carry on companion itself. You could theoretically use the camera cube as your personal carry-on, reserving your now empty backpack for clothing and toiletries.

langly alpha compact laptop sleeve

The Langly Alpha Compact has a laptop sleeve and plenty of pockets.

Pockets pockets pockets! Those who have a lot of smaller, loose items in their kit from cords to business cards can really go nuts with all the different compartments.

It’s an exciting feature for someone who has a hunger for organization. These additional pockets also serve as some extra cushion for the laptop sleeve (which, in fact, also has its own pocket).

Storage Capacity

The camera cube fits a Canon 5D Mark IV with lens plus a DJI Mavic Pro and controller.

Gear minimalists and some mirrorless users will find that the Langly Alpha Compact has just the right amount of space.

However, if you’re a wedding photographer like I am, you may want to look elsewhere for your wedding day bag.

The word “compact” is in the name for a reason – it’s not supposed to hold everything or serve as a one-stop-shop for storage. It’s mean to house the essentials.

It took some playing Tetras with the inserts, but when all was said and done, I’m able to fit a Canon 5D Mark IV with a Canon 35mm f/1.4 II lens attached, and a DJI Mavic Pro with controller in the camera cube.

This is about what I would pack for a day or weekend trip. And boy is it snug!

langly alpha compact camera and accessory cubes

Two lenses can fit in the additional accessory cube of the Langly Alpha Compact.

It’s also worth noting that the camera cube of the Langly Alpha Compact is a little bit awkwardly sized. I could fit a DSLR with lens attached, but was having difficulty figuring out how to fit additional lenses inside.

The camera cube may be better for getting gear from point A to point B, but not so much for use in the field if you don’t want to spend time solving puzzles.

This leads me to the accessories cube, which somehow can hold not one, but two lenses sitting upright.

Although it gets the job done, the downside of this is that the camera cube’s Velcro inserts are incompatible. This means your lenses might knock together a bit.

But thanks to the frame of this bag combined with the use of lens hoods, that might be a non-issue.

Fitting a speedlight with diffuser attached? Forget it.

Ease of Use/Comfort

langly alpha compact bag worn in use

Taking the Langly Alpha Compact for a literal spin.

I took the Alpha Compact for a spin, and noticed the weight and fit is amazing! When empty, it’s nearly weightless and the straps are extremely adjustable.

As someone with a relatively small frame, the ability to reduce a strap’s length enough to fit ergonomically is one of my greatest problems when it comes to camera bags, but this one fits like a glove.

The shoulder and chest straps are ventilated, and the molded air channels along the backside offer both comfort and that little extra bit of airflow that really comes in handy for the active photographer.

Furthermore, the detachable waist and chest straps have your back when it comes to that extra added support on a long day of hauling. This bag would be a fantastic fit for the adventurous, outdoorsy photographer.

In terms of the ease of use, I think that is where the Langly Alpha Compact falls the shortest. Users must be prepared to unzip two compartments instead of one every time they want to access their gear.

First you must get into the bag, and then you must get into the cubes. Impatient photographers on the go who find themselves constantly needing to get into the bag may find this maddening after enough repetition.

Value for Money

At around $200 (check here for latest price), whether or not you think the Langly Alpha Compact is enough bang for your buck depends entirely on what you do with photography.

The fashionable, minimalist photographer or traveler may find this bag to be the perfect fit. However, those who need to carry a lot of gear may find the price tag quite perplexing.

For those who like keeping it simple, the material, durability, and style of this bag alone do the price point plenty of justice.

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Langly Alpha Compact Review | Conclusion

langly alpha compact accessories cube

The Langly Alpha Compact has a lot to love, though getting through two lots of zips can be a little time-consuming.

There is a lot to love about the Langly Alpha Compact, and I would argue that there are more pros than cons.

All in all, I don’t think it’s fit for a traditional wedding photographer lifestyle, or for any photographer frequently working in unpredictable environments who therefore needs access to all their gear at once.

If I was an adventure-style elopement photographer, however, I might feel very differently about this bag.

The amount of gear needed in a spacious, outdoor environment with more controlled lighting would fit perfectly.

But I prefer to have access to two camera bodies, all five of my lenses, drone, and lighting equipment. That’s a lot of gear to stuff into a single backpack, and a lot of weight to carry pack mule style.

Furthermore, while its multipurpose use to serve as a carry on bag is an amazing feature, I’m personally a little too high maintenance to pack everything I need into just a backpack.

This will make a great bag for a weekend away, but I’ll be sticking to my hard case luggage as my carry-on companion.

Likes

  • Endless organization possibilities. It has more pockets than you’ll know what to do with.
  • Incredible fit and airflow
  • Removable cubes for alternate purposes

Dislikes

  • Double unzipping each time you want to access gear
  • Accessory cube is incompatible with padded Velcro inserts

shk-fs-table__imageHighly RecommendedRugged good looks and a multipurpose design make for a comfortable and versatile backpack.Get Price

Disclaimer: All recommendations are impartial and based on user experience, with no bias to the products or the brand. The products in this post may contain affiliate links.

Features10
Looks10
Build Quality10
Usefulness5
Value7

3 Comments

  1. Nesh on April 11, 2020 at 1:19 am

    I’m seriously considering buying this backpack, however I’m concerned if it will fit all my gear. Will it fit a Song a7s ii and 4 other lenses?

  2. Tommy Williams on March 22, 2020 at 9:24 pm

    Great article! Enjoyed reading it. It’s a great looking bag too I must add.

    I didn’t realise how similar it was to the Vinta Type-II, and it was interesting to see that you had the a number of the same feelings about the Langley as I did with the Vinta.

  3. Geoff Grant on March 21, 2020 at 12:50 am

    Thanks Mark. I always enjoy your posts! This bag looks big to me- lengthwise. As soon as you’re looking to take two bodies, or maybe even a full frame with two big lens, you’re no longer taking compact. For as many bags as you review, you might develop you’re own standards for what constitutes, small, medium, and large bags in terms of basic gear and/or capacity. Try to relate those sizes to street bag, day pack, hiking, etc. Don’t drive yourself crazy, but some standards size wise or capacity would help. Allow readers to comment on your standards as a way to refine them.
    Geoff

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