Review: Manfrotto Manhattan 3-Way Shoulder Bag Changer 20

The Manfrotto Manhattan 3-Way Shoulder Bag Changer 20 is a bag I was wary of had predispositions about. But in the end I was pleasantly surprised and rather infatuated with just how good of a camera bag Manfrotto created. Indeed, they’ve made the only good three-in-one camera bag that I’ve ever used or tested–better than anything Peak Design or others have made. Considering the fact that I personally have never had any sort of affinity for Manfrotto camera bags, the Manfrotto Manhattan 3-Way Shoulder Bag Changer 20 has really changed my mind. The bag has the capabilities of being a tote shoulder bag, a military map case style messenger bag, and a backpack all in one. Plus, it does it in a very functional and sensical way.

In truth, it really is one of my favorite bags reviewed this year so far.

Gear Used

The Manfrotto Manhattan 3-Way Shoulder Bag Changer 20 was reviewed with various Sony cameras and lenses, film cameras, my Macbook, shoes, chargers, and my cape from Top Man London.

Tech Specs

Specs taken from the Manfrotto page listing.

Weight 43.73 oz
Collection/Series Manhattan
Types of Gear DSLR, Mirrorless
Number of Lenses 3
Tripod Connection Yes
Storage for personal items Yes
Color Gray
Material Synthetic Fabric
External Height 17.32 in
External Length 13.78 in
External Width 5.51 in
Internal main compartment height(H) 16.14 in
Internal main compartment length(L) 12.6 in
Internal main compartment width(W) 4.72 in
Personal Compartment Height 12.6 in
Personal Compartment Length 4.72 in
Personal Compartment Width 3.94 in
Laptop Compartment Height 11.42 in
Laptop Compartment Length 13.78 in
Laptop Compartment Width 0.79 in
Type of Bag Shoulder Bag
Camera Insert Height 11.42 in
Camera Insert Length 7.87 in
Camersa Insert Width 3.94 in
Compatible CSC camera models Fujifilm X-Pro2, Fujifilm X-T1, Fujifilm X-T1 IR, Fujifilm X-T10, Fujifilm X-T2, Leica TL, Olympus OM-D E-M1 II, Olympus OM-D E-M10, Olympus OM-D E-M10 II, Olympus OM-D E-M5 II, Panasonic Lumix DMC-G7, Panasonic Lumix DMC-G85, Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4, Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8, Sony Alpha 7 II, Sony Alpha 7R II, Sony Alpha 7S, Sony Alpha 7S II

Ergonomics

The Manfrotto Manhattan 3-Way Shoulder Bag Changer 20 is a special, versatile camera bag. Designed for the photographer who lives in NYC and big cities, the bag proved to be very capable during my review period. Here, we spot the bag in a resting position. This is the front, and there is a pocket that covers an exterior zippered pocket. There is also an attachment that is used for holding tripods but in this image is holding my cape due to the fact that it was pretty cold in El Capitan Canyon when I was shooting these photos.

Turn to the side of the Manfrotto Manhattan 3-Way Shoulder Bag Changer 20 and you’ll spot these zippered pockets. Again, this is another way of storing things. The bag is in backpack configuration right now, hence the straps at the back which connect to hooks and are adjustable.

Before we continue with the exterior, I want to bring you to the interior section really quick. The interior has this removable section with dividers in place. You access it from the top and the padding is pretty nice.

Here’s what that section looks like.

Here’s what one of the exterior pockets of the Manfrotto Manhattan 3-Way Shoulder Bag Changer 20 looks like. These aren’t sufficient for storing a computer but they’re great for a tablet, books, or other thin stuff.

The pockets, which are on both sides of the bag, also store the straps that make the bag become a backpack or a tote. These pockets close with either velcro or zippers. Be sure to keep the Velcro pockets tightly sealed when you’re not using them and when it rains.

Here’s what the interior looks like when the removable section is placed inside the Manfrotto Manhattan 3-Way Shoulder Bag Changer 20. As you can see, there are loads of pockets on the inside.

Here’s the bag in messenger style configuration. That strap simply goes over your shoulder or cross body. The padding is extremely comfortable.

Here’s the Manfrotto Manhattan 3-Way Shoulder Bag Changer 20 in a tote configuration. The sides of the top of the bag never quite fold down and considering the zipper, it’s not smart to do that.

Here’s what the bottom section looks like when it’s unbuckled. That flap goes back into the bottom and zippers shut when you need it. You can also store the rain cover in there but I’ve honestly never liked rain covers or use them due to how much they limit mobility and accessibility.

Build Quality

The build quality of the Manfrotto Manhattan 3-Way Shoulder Bag Changer 20 is extremely solid. This for sure isn’t the most fashionable camera bag I’ve used but it also isn’t the worst at all. When you’re out and about in the rain, just remember to close the velcro pockets so that rain water doesn’t saturate the inside of said pockets.

Ease of Use

The absolutely amazing thing about the Manfrotto Manhattan 3-Way Shoulder Bag Changer 20 is that, throughout the entire time testing it, I had legitimate usage reasons for all three configurations. Whether going into the subways, hiking up a hill, running the bag through airports with the WANDRD PRVKE Pack on my back as my main travel bag, going to a number of events, shooting film along the shore line, hanging out with friends, etc., I had a major reason to configure this bag into something else at one time or another. For that reason, I not only can recommend it for the NYC and city photographer in general, but for the travel photographer who brings all carry-ons on a flight simply because you’ve lost all sort of faith in the TSA. When you’re needing to go to a shoot and an airline loses your luggage, it makes a whole lot of sense to keep all your stuff with you when travelling. What’s also really nice is, because this bag can hold my cape on the bottom, it can double as being something very comfortable for those moments where you just want to lay down in the grass under the stars at night.

Conclusions

This marks not only the first time I’m falling in love with a Manfrotto camera bag, but also the first time I’ve found a great bag that functions to do more than one thing. The Manfrotto Manhattan 3-Way Shoulder Bag Changer 20 is leaps and bounds better than the Peak Design Tote. The only thing that I could possibly ask for is a canvas and leather edition–which would be so, super nice.

The Manfrotto Manhattan 3-Way Shoulder Bag Changer 20 wins our Editor’s Choice award and five out of five stars. Want one? They’re pretty affordable at $120.