Cedaero Viewfinder Camera Pack Review: Shooting from the Saddle

Share This

Thanks in advance for spreading the word!

The new Cedaero Viewfinder Camera Pack is a purpose-built handlebar bag for photographers looking to keep their camera and some extra gear close at hand. We’ve been testing one out for several weeks for this review…

For the last five years, I’ve been shooting product reviews and bikes and documenting rides with a Canon 6D, usually with a 50mm prime lens. This setup is neither lightweight nor compact, but it’s reliable and produces some exceptional photos. During this time, I’ve carried this setup exclusively in my well-worn Porcelain Rocket Big Dumpling hip pack (now made by Rockgeist), padded by a removable camera insert I purchased online. For big cameras with big lenses, I have yet to find a better setup. With some practice, it’s quick to deploy, protected from camera-killing trail vibrations, and safe from the elements.

Things changed when I picked up a smaller Fuji X-T3 a few months back. The big dumpling was far too large for such a small camera, and due to its size and weight, I wasn’t quite as concerned about vibrations from the trail. After riding with a hip pack for so many years, I thought it might be a good opportunity to ditch the pack altogether. As luck would have it, Minnesota-based bag maker Cedaero shared some details of a new camera bag that was in development right around the same time. They introduced it as “the perfect point-and-shoot companion,” a versatile handlebar/cross-body camera pack for cameras and more, aptly named the Viewfinder.

Cedaero Viewfinder Camera Pack
  • Cedaero Viewfinder Camera Pack
  • Cedaero Viewfinder Camera Pack

The Cedaero Viewfinder Pack is a small-ish 2.8L bag that can be secured to your handlebar or worn as a cross-body bag when paired with their optional Light Meter Strap. The exterior is made from your choice of 1000D Cordura nylon or 15oz Martexin Waxed Canvas. I opted for the latter in a classy Rust Bucket color. The interior is finished with a mix of 200D nylon and a soft Velcro loop fabric that provides a place for the included removable divider to be secured. Two fixed hook and loop D-hook straps attach the bag securely to your bar, a small piece of velcro is included to secure around back of the bag around the head tube, and the main straps can be tucked out of the way against the back of the bag when not in use.

The Viewfinder feels solid. So solid, in fact, that I thought it was lined with a plastic stiffener between the two layers of fabrics. However, it’s just 1/8″ thick closed-cell foam on all sides, including the lid, which does a great job at keeping the bag’s shape, even when loaded up. It uses a dense foam, and I would have expected to see something slightly softer in a camera bag to help cushion things further.

  • Cedaero Viewfinder Pack Review
  • Cedaero Viewfinder Pack Review
  • Cedaero Viewfinder Pack Review
  • Cedaero Viewfinder Pack Review
  • Cedaero Viewfinder Pack Review

The main compartment is accessed via a single plastic buckle and top-opening lid. The lid is shaped in a way that overlaps the sides of the bag when closed, which helps keep dust, water, and grime at bay. The lid has a fairly snug fit, and although the pack itself isn’t 100% waterproof, I’d have no problem riding in everything but the heaviest of downpours. Cedaero includes a removable/adjustable internal divider that can be positioned around different camera setups, helping keep things tight and bounce-free. Otherwise, the bag is kept quite clean and simple, with just a minimal zippered exterior pocket out front for small items.

Cedaero Viewfinder Pack

It’s worth mentioning that the two handlebar straps are fixed in place and just under 1.75″ apart. While I had no problems with clearance on any of the stems at my disposal, the straps don’t leave that much wiggle room, so there’s a chance they might not pair up nicely with some rigs. They are long enough to properly wrap around any type of bar, but there isn’t any excess to slide in a foam spacer or two, for those with a crowded cockpit. Again, this wasn’t an issue for me, but it could be for some.

  • Cedaero Viewfinder Pack
  • Cedaero Viewfinder Pack
  • Cedaero Viewfinder Pack
Cedaero Viewfinder Pack

While the Viewfinder might look pint-sized compared to the wide stance of the Ritchey Beacon bars in these photos, it’s actually quite spacious. My Fuji X-T3 with its impossibly slim 27mm lens tucks in neatly along the edge of the pack, leaving a solid two thirds of the main compartment for snacks, my cell phone, or an extra lens, if I had one. The interior measures to about 8″ long x 4″ wide x 6″ high, which also leaves enough room for larger format cameras. My Canon 6D with a 135mm lens is just over 7″ long and just under 6″ wide, which nests inside the Viewfinder with a little wiggle room. It fits, but at just under 4 pounds, the camera felt like overkill for the camera pack. I still prefer my padded hip pack for DSLR-hauling duties.

When the moment presents itself, the top-opening lid and plastic buckle closure are quick enough to access, but aren’t quite as seamless as other bags and hip packs I’ve used. The buckle sits out front towards the bottom of the bag, which requires some reach and is more of a one-handed opening, two handed-close type setup. Deploying and stashing the camera seems to work best when the rider is off the saddle with both feet planted on the ground. I can’t help but to think the Viewfinder would be the perfect candidate for a one-handed magnetic or bungee closure of some kind.

Viewfinder Pack + Light Meter Strap

Designed alongside the Viewfinder Pack, the Light Meter Strap attaches to the bag thanks to two snap hooks, allowing the bag to be used as a shoulder bag off the bike. Just like the Viewfinder, the strap can be made in your choice of 1000D Cordura or 15oz waxed canvas, with a softer 200D nylon liner that sits against the user. It can be adjusted from 32″ to 51.5″ in length, and the snap hooks can be easily removed to accommodate your favourite links, like the Pink Design Anchor Links, to pair up with your camera or a different pack.

Cedaero Viewfinder Pack Review
  • Cedaero Viewfinder Pack Review
  • Cedaero Viewfinder Pack Review
  • Cedaero Viewfinder Pack Review

The Light Meter Strap pairs up nicely with the Viewfinder Pack due to its simple, utilitarian design. It has no padding, no unnecessary features, and only a slight taper down towards the webbing ends that matches the aesthetics of the pack. It weighs just 66g, folds up small, and seems like it could be a great option for anyone who transitions between on and off the bike, but insists on their camera staying close by. The Light Meter Strap will set you back an additional $24.95.

Pros

  • Small-ish sized bag hits a sweet spot for mirrorless setups with extras or small DSLR setups
  • Sturdy and protective thanks to rigid, padded construction
  • Removable internal divider is key to accommodate different cameras
  • Solid attachment on most (if not all) handlebars
  • Made in USA and lots of colors to choose from

Cons

  • Buckle position can be awkward to reach
  • Not a true one-handed design
  • Not 100% waterproof but still very weather-resistant
  • High-density foam padding could be thicker and softer
  • Fixed straps and no room for spacers
  • Cedaero Viewfinder Pack Review
  • Cedaero Viewfinder Pack Review
  • Capacity: 2.8L
  • Material (as tested): 15oz Waxed Canvas
  • Weight: 322 grams
  • Place of Manufacture: Minnesota, USA
  • Price: $124.95 USD
  • Manufacturer’s Details: Cedaero.com

Wrap Up

It’s exciting to see bag makers designing solutions expressly for photographers. For a lot of us, shooting photos comes hand-in-hand with riding bikes, so having better options to carry a camera means there’s less likelihood we’ll leave it at home. The Cedaero Viewfinder Pack is a simple solution for carrying a wide variety of camera setups, but the design is well executed and the quality is top notch. The overall aesthetics and little details make for a smart-looking bag, both on and off the bike, and the waxed canvas option I have been testing is already developing a beautiful patina. I think a quicker-access design would take the Viewfinder to the next level, especially when compared against my roll-top Big Dumpling hip pack, Fidlock-equipped High Above Venture hip pack, and the equally thoughtful Outer Shell Drawcord Handlebar Bag, all of which feature true one-handed, quick-access designs.

Related Content

Make sure to dig into these related articles for more info...

FILED IN (CATEGORIES & TAGS)

Bikepacking Gear

Bikepacking Bags

Please keep the conversation civil, constructive, and inclusive, or your comment will be removed.

24 Comments