Camera Bag Review: Tenba DNA 15 Backpack

The Tenba DNA 15 Backpack is so incredibly functional; and it doesn’t look too bad either.

For the past few months, one bag has really dominated my use: the Tenba DNA 15 backpack. The Tenba DNA messenger line was designed for commuters in large cities and was billed as being stylish–though quite honestly it’s nowhere near as eye catching as their Cooper series. The Tenba DNA 15 backpack follows the same ideology but brings the idea to a backpack. They’re nice, but more so in a functional way that gives a photographer all they need while not being super ugly, breaking the bank, or making you look like you subscribe to the bro culture deeply rooted in everything Peak Design ever manufactured. Instead, the Tenba DNA backpack is a beast all in its own, incorporating a roll-top style design, pockets on the side, pockets within pockets, and a really nice way to access your gear.

Best of all: it works really, really well when you’re traveling on airplanes.

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Review: Shimoda Explore 40 Backpack (the Essential Adventure Camera Bag)

The Shimoda Explore 40 is arguably overkill for most photographers.

I’ve known about the Shimoda backpacks well before they were announced, and for a period of a few months I’ve been reviewing and testing the Shimoda Explore 40. For the first time ever, I’m shocked to say it – this bag is overkill for most photographers in almost every single way. For the working professional, the travel photographer, or for the photographer who essentially needs to bring their life with them as they traverse their nomadic lifestyle, the Shimoda Explore 40 backpack will let you do all that and more. With tons of weather sealing, a three way zipper, pockets within pockets, dividers that can be placed throughout the entire bag, lumbar support, expandable storage, and a whole lot more there is so much the Shimoda Explore 40 backpack has to offer.

Again, I’m going to preface this by saying that this is a very extreme backpack. If you live in a city, there’s no reason to have this thing. If you trek out, hike, camp, or essentially need to carry all the things with you, this bag will become your best friend.

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Review: Peak Design Everyday Sling 5L (Don’t Call it a Fanny Pack)

Though it can be used as a fanny pack, the Peak Design Everyday Sling 5L is much more versatile.

When the Peak Design Everyday Sling 5L came in for review, I was almost put off by it. You see, the Peak Design Messenger bag left a very bad taste in my mouth because of how little thought was put into making it both versatile and comfortable at the same time. But after a few emails between the Peak Design team and I, I learned that the Peak Design Everyday Sling 5L is perhaps one of the best bags for a photographer who wants to carry a minimal kit for a day out. If you’re a biker in a big city and you don’t want to feel as if you’re carrying the equivalent of a small person, the Peak Design Everyday Sling 5L will ensure that doesn’t happen. It’s small and so it really only houses a camera with a lens (and perhaps an extra lens), along with small pockets for a bit more stuff. I often bring it out when I’m shooting film. But one of the absolute best things about it is that it doesn’t look like a camera bag at all.

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Review: Vanguard Alta Sky 510 Backpack

 

The Vanguard Alta Sky 510 Backpack won a Red Dot design award

For the last many years I’ve been a Tamrac / Lowepro user and I spent years in a local camera store using, training on and selling those brands and several others. This backpack was my first real world foray into the Vanguard’s products and I was eager to see how it would compare to the many types of bags that I’ve been through already. And, as it won a Red Dot design award this year, I was eager to give it a go.

After pulling the Alta Sky from its box, I was first blown away by the sheer girth of this bag and then impressed by the quality feel and build of it. Size wise and access wise, this is a bag for someone who has been looking at the Tenba Shootout 32L or Peak Design Everyday Backpack 30L or a backpack in the 24-32 liter range. From its pro level hiking style strap construction to its drone pouch on the front, any casual mirrorless user or anyone with a few kit lenses and normal camera body need not read farther: this bag was meant for big camera users. This bag is also not meant for anyone who is looking for an airline carry-on bag. Empty, the Alta Sky weighs almost 7 pounds, measures just outside of FAA dimensions and its lack of a removable waist belt mean that you’re going to look like a crazy person trying to get this beast into an overhead bin.

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Camera Bag Review: Vinta Type II (Prototype)

The Vinta Type II backpack has some nice upgrades, but not necessarily the ones I wanted

When the Vinta Type II was announced on Kickstarter, I was pretty excited. The Vinta S series backpack has been one of my mainstays for a very long time. Any time that I’ve brought it out, folks fell in love with it. But in addition to that, I warmed up to it after some time. I didn’t like the lack of quick access, but I learned how to work around that. And even further, I thought that the arrangements of the pockets was a bit odd. To be honest, I still do. But it taught me to pack light and I continued to use it because it’s such a damned comfortable camera bag. I told myself that Vinta would make a much better bag the second time around. In some ways, the Vinta Type II is that bag. But in other ways, I genuinely feel like the company created even more problems.

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Camera Bag Review: CRAVAR Rana 13 Messenger Bag

Photographers who want to carry their gear in style at an affordable price will love the CRAVAR Rana 13.

The CRAVAR Rana 13 is a bag that I really thought that I wasn’t going to fall for due to my moving away from messenger bags for my back’s sake; but CRAVAR got to my heart like a bad ex that woes you back into their web. In some ways, you know that it can be bad for you, but it works. It’s what you need for the moment. The CRAVAR Rana 13 is a gorgeous leather messenger bag designed for the photographer. They’re made of all leather and have weather resistance built in alongside a number of other of standard features for photographers. Specifically, it may appeal to mirrorless camera owners a bit more considering that it can surely hold a lot of gear and it can double as a daily work bag.

Are there groundbreaking features that differentiate it from the rest though?

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Review: Vanguard Alta Fly 49T Roller Bag

All images and words by Feroz Khan. Used with permission.

If there’s one thing photographers are obsessed with, as much as with bodies and lenses, it’s camera bags. In the nine years or so that I’ve been shooting professionally, I’ve owned no less than 10 different backpacks or roller bags. Most of them have been phased out as my gear list got bigger or as my personal requirements for a camera bag changed. Despite looking them up before, I’ve never owned a Vanguard one so far. I took the Alta 49T for a few spins around Dubai, to see if it matched up to my current bags of choice.

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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.

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