Ethnotek Raja 30L Review. There’s a Reason We Love Rolltops

“I noticed that these are all rolltops,” is what a rep from a manufacturer told me when he came by my apartment and into my office. It’s no lie, rolltop backpacks are my favorite camera bags. That’s for great reason. In fact, most of the staff like rolltops because they let us travel or accommodate lots of gear. But I’ve been in search of the perfect bag. Unfortunately, there isn’t one. But with a few fixes, the Ethnotek Raja 30L could easily be that bag. It combines my fervent love of ethics with fashion and durability better than most other bags on the market.

Continue reading…

Love Minimalism? Hold OLIVE Your Gear. Tenba Fulton 10L V2 Review

I’ll always say a waist strap is needed for a backpack. And for the Tenba Fulton 10L V2, I truly think it could’ve helped. This camera bag is designed to be minimal. It holds a small amount of camera gear and answers a constant complaint of mine: the need for more canvas bags. This bag is built very well in every way. It’s designed to be small and for a minimal carrying kit. But there’s just something about it that doesn’t feel right.

Continue reading…

The Best Backpack for Photographers? Tenba DNA 16 Backpack Review

Tenba pretty quietly announced the refresh to their DNA backpack last year. We reviewed most of their new messenger bags, which are arguably more popular. But among those satchels, there’s a pretty big, hidden secret: the Tenba DNA 16 backpack! Tenba’s previous DNA backpack was one of my favorites. What’s more, it also often served as my everyday bag. Looking at both camera bags, you’d never guess they’re from the same product line. But through and through, this could be the best backpack for photographers, or at least one of my top three.

Continue reading…

A Bag Full of Sadness. Manfrotto Advanced Active III Review

When it comes to camera bags, I’m incredibly proud of the work we’ve done here at The Phoblographer. We’ve arguably reviewed the most camera bags of any publication. And our team comes in a variety of body shapes, plus we’re of different genders. I’ve been reviewing Manfrotto bags for a long time, and they always seem to do something that doesn’t get it quite right. That’s what I experienced with the Manfrotto Advanced Active III for the most part. I purposely held off on writing this for a month. Why? I wanted to sit with my feelings on it and step away from the experience. But after some time away, I still feel the same.

Continue reading…

Beautiful and Ambidextrous: Jo Totes Bellbrook Backpack Review

Many camera backpacks overwhelm my small frame, with straps that dig into my skin and ergonomic pads that don’t sit where they should. Made from a company that makes camera bags for women, the Jo Totes Bellbrook is a smaller backpack. Designed with waxed canvas and leather accents, it charmingly looks like its primary purpose is fashion. But, with a number of different ways to stash gear, the Bellbrook is more than just good-looking.

Continue reading…

Like Magic, This Bag Converts: Manfrotto Advanced Hybrid III Review

Backpacks distribute weight on both shoulders for more comfort, but shoulder bags offer fast access to gear. For photographers stuck in the middle, there’s the Manfrotto Advanced Hybrid III camera bag. Part backpack, part shoulder bag, the Advanced Hybrid III allows photographers to convert from a backpack to a shoulder bag with just a few zips and clips. But, is the Manfrotto Advanced Hybrid III a useful convertible, or is it a bag that’s just stuck in the middle?

Continue reading…

Make Your Photowalks Lighter – Manfrotto Street Slim Backpack Review

It looked like just another photo backpack when I took it out of its packaging. It had the finishing quality we’re used to seeing from Manfrotto’s products. While they’re better known for their durable tripod range, Manfrotto does have a large variety of camera bags under its brand umbrella. They refreshed their Street camera bag lineup in October this year, and I opted to review the Street Slim Backpack model. Having only ever used larger, heavier backpacks (that I mainly bought for travel) while out on the streets, I was hoping this would be a refreshing change. It didn’t disappoint. But how did the Street Slim backpack hold up during a walk around the streets of old Dubai?

Continue reading…

Useful for a Lightweight Hike – Lowepro RunAbout BP 18L Review

When the package from Lowepro arrived at my home, I was surprised by the size of the rolled-up backpack. It crumples down to about the size of an extra-large burrito or rolled up bath towel. At just over 400 grams, the Lowepro RunAbout BP 18L won’t weigh you down when you’re on a hike. And for those who are conscious of how earth-friendly a company is, this bag is made of 84% recycled fabric. It’s made to easily hold the Lowepro GearUp series of camera inserts. But how good is it for those who don’t own any of these?

Continue reading…

This is the Camera Bag I Bought Twice. And it’s Close to Perfect

For more stories like this, please subscribe to the Phoblographer.

The Oliday Journeyman backpack is a bag that I was known to use by many other journalists and folks in the industry. It looks nice, functions well, and overall just feels good. Long-time readers know that we’ve reviewed the most camera bags of any photography outlet still standing. I’d probably argue that we’d done the most, ever. We often get things for free, that we declare, from manufacturers. But I also tend to get frustrated with camera bags. Like you, few of them are ever everything that you want. The Journeyman came so close that I repurchased it. And before you go on, I’d recommend that you not rough it around too much.

Continue reading…

This Bag Is Unique. Morally Toxic Valkyrie 20L Review

From the shed (as they like to call it) of UK-based camera bag and tripod brand 3LeggedThing comes an all-new backpack series – the Morally Toxic Valkyrie. 3LeggedThing is well known in the industry for its bold colors and innovative designs, and the new Morally Toxic brand is no deviation from this. Say hello to some shiny exteriors with not-so-subtle patterns. There are some fabulous functional additions in their first series of backpacks (called Valkyrie). Available in three colors and two sizes, the Morally Toxic Valkyrie bags aim to challenge conventional camera bag design by weaving in premium quality and extraordinary style. I spent a few days testing the 20L Blue Valkyrie, and I was pleasantly impressed with what it has to offer.

Continue reading…

Comfortable. Practical. Award-Winning. Morally Toxic Valkyrie 25L Review

The camera bag world is truly fascinating. The camera world itself has shrunk. Fewer people are buying dedicated cameras, according to sales data of the past decade. But camera bags are ever more proliferated. With the addition of the brand new Morally Toxic company, the folks behind 3 Legged thing are getting into the game. Their Morally Toxic Valkyrie 25L was designed and had input by a team of men and women. What’s more, the folks are all different sizes and shapes. And perhaps this is what helps to make the Morally Toxic Valkyrie 25L a genuinely fantastic bag.

Continue reading…

This Bag Has a Big Flaw. Sunny 16 Voyager Camera Bag Review

For more stories like this, please subscribe to The Phoblographer.

The most wonderful thing about the Sunny 16 Voyager is that it ends up being incredibly comfortable. Your gear inside may be a hot mess, getting a camera out through the side will be puzzling, the hardware is oddly constructed, and the waist straps may end up falling off by accident. But despite all of this, the Sunny 16 Voyager is like an awkward hug filled with love and comfort if you’re open to it. Think of a teenager that’s close to you in your life before the stage of them being too cool to hug their adult peers. It’s awkward. It’s weird. But the Sunny 16 Voyager is also the new kid on the block. And they have yet to grow into their own skin. It’s lovable nonetheless. 

Continue reading…

This Actually Solves Stupid Back Sweat: Cosyspeed Photohiker 44 Review

We’re streaming daily on Apple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsStitcherPocket Casts, and Spotify! You can also listen to it right here on The Phoblographer.

When camera bag makers design bags, they design around the camera. Cosyspeed’s newest backpack takes the opposite approach. The Cosyspeed Photohiker 44 is made around the carrying system first, and the camera second. The goal, the company says, was to create a bag that was comfortable to carry lots of gear for long hikes. So, was putting emphasis on the comfort first and camera second worth the effort?

Continue reading…

How to Store Everything. Gura Gear KIBOKO V2.0 30L Review

The Gura Gear KIBOKO V2.0 30L is a massive backpack for your camera gear.

The Gura Gear KIBOKO V2.0 30L isn’t the perfect bag for everyone, but there are loads of ways to use it. It’s originally designed for folks who bring big lenses and big cameras. I’m aware that not all of you do that. So instead, the bag gives you convenient choices. If you’ve got gear acquisition syndrome, you can store all your stuff in there. If you need to have multiple imaging devices, it can store them all. And if you just need to comfortably bring a ton of equipment, this is one of the hardest bags to beat. But it’s got two small issues.

Continue reading…

A Beautiful Mess: Gitzo Legende Backpack Review

The Gitzo Legende Backpack is a stunning camera bag that’s super comfortable, but they messed up in a few spots.

I had so many high hopes for the Gitzo Legende backpack. But quite honestly, I’ve always felt that the Vitec group shoots themselves in the foot. Their products tend to get it 80% right most of the time. Rest assured that they’re not bad products, but something is just always weird or off. That’s the case with the beautiful Gitzo Legende backpack. It was backed on IndieGogo quite heavily. But, Gitzo messed up in a few critical spots. 

Continue reading…

The Beautiful Gitzo Legende Backpack Lacks Critical Features

We’re almost done putting the brand new Gitzo Legende backpack through its paces.

Funded in around 30 minutes on IndieGogo, the Gitzo Legende backpack is generating a lot of hype. We have one of around 100 in America right now. And trust us, it’s beautiful! It’s also incredibly weather-resistant. Believe it or not, it’s also surprisingly comfortable. However, it’s got a number of pretty big issues. We discussed that in our recent episode of Pro Camera Reviews.

Continue reading…

The Reasons You Need a Backpack as Your Next Camera Bag

Getting and choosing the right camera bag is crucial for so many reasons.

Of any standing photo publication, we’ve done the most reviews of camera bags. If you’re looking for one, you come to us. So today, we’re presenting an infographic on choosing the right camera bag. This is specifically for choosing a backpack. I used to love messengers bags, and still think they’re superior to camera bags in some cases. But overwhelmingly, backpacks are the better choice. If I had a week, I wouldn’t have enough time to explain why. But I’m going to try in this blog post.

Continue reading…

Less Than $65 and Great! The BAGSMART Camera Backpack Review

With the BAGSMART Camera Backpack, photographers are getting lots of high value at a super affordable price.

Quite honestly, the BAGSMART Camera Backpack should be at least double the price it goes for. But at under $65, the BAGSMART Camera Backpack is a significant value that gives photographers features and build quality that makes our jaws drop. In my opinion, this bag is a no-brainer. It’s so affordable yet so good that every photographer should pick one up even as a backup camera bag. We tested it out while trekking on hikes, commuting around the city, and with a variety of gear inside. Over the past few months, I’ve personally seen it outdo the quality of more expensive camera bags. Most importantly, this one bag is making me reconsider the entire thought process behind the pricing of camera bags.

Continue reading…

A Confusing Backpack: Thule Covert DSLR Rolltop Daypack Review

As far as camera bags go, the Thule Covert DSLR Rolltop Daypack probably needs to go back to the drawing board.

Every now and again, I’ll get frustrated with camera bags and I’ll go on a shopping spree in search of yet another bag that I think will be perfect. So, I bought the Thule Covert DSLR Rolltop Daypack and was mostly disappointed by it and their lack of understanding of a photographers’ needs. This bag is mostly designed for those of us who use and shoot with mirrorless cameras: and that’s most of us. But, while in theory this is a fantastic camera bag, in practice there are enough little issues with it to annoy me.

Continue reading…

Review Update: The New WANDRD Cubes Don’t Suck, They’re Great!

We’ve updated our PRVKE 31 pack review to include the new WANDRD Cubes.

It’s been a while since we reviewed the WANDRD PRVKE 31 pack, and even to this day, we tend to carry it with us on trips. The bag is fantastic in so many ways. Though it was marketed as an optional Tote bag, it’s evident to us this never worked out, but as a backpack, it has to be one of the most comfortable we’ve tested. In addition to that, the rolltop design allows photographers to carry extra lenses, clothing, and much more while on a shoot. They made it even better recently with the addition of their new cubes. These cubes are better built and also finally have dividers that don’t suck. As the ethical alternative and choice to Peak Design, we’re very happy a company that treats photographers well is doing something like this.

Continue reading…