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.
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.
Table of Contents
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
Build & Appearance
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Langly Alpha Compact 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.
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.
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).
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!
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
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, 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.
Langly Alpha Compact Review | Conclusion
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.
- Endless organization possibilities. It has more pockets than you’ll know what to do with.
- Incredible fit and airflow
- Removable cubes for alternate purposes
- Double unzipping each time you want to access gear
- Accessory cube is incompatible with padded Velcro inserts