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.

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The Complete Confusion of the Modern Camera Bag Industry

I’m going to preface this by saying that none of the established manufacturers are making bad camera bags. We’d know; we’ve reviewed the most of any photography publication. Just take a look at our camera bag reviews! All the bags are varying degrees of mediocre to good, but none of them are truly awful. Even if they can’t be used as camera bags, they can be used for something else. But, the modern camera bag industry has a big problem.

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I’ve Tested Dozens of Camera Bags. Here’s Why I Use the Wandrd PRVKE

I’ve always been a bit picky about camera bags. I’ve been known to return bags that didn’t meet my expectations. My hypercritical backpack standards have only intensified as I’ve reviewed dozens of options as the Reviews Editor at The Phoblographer. But, as I have completely changed camera systems and then grew that system a little more, I keet coming back to one bag — the Wandrd PRVKE.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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3 Bags for Your Mirrorless Camera You’ll Love

The problem with lots of cameras bags these days is that they indeed look like camera bags. Photographers want a bag that gives them quick access, protection, comfort, and the room their gear needs. Luckily, we’ve been reviewing camera bags for over 12 years now. And today, we’re bringing you some of the best bags for your mirrorless camera. Think you’ve got the best bag? Well, wait until you see our third recommendation.

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It’s Survival Tested: Manfrotto Pro Light Tough 55 Review

I’ve had my fair share of airline baggage horror stories. I was once on an island for a week with no luggage and only a Kmart to clothe myself with because my bag had literally ripped into two pieces. (I know, it’s no Tom Hanks Castaway story, but it is true.) Since then, hard cases have always appealed to me for air travel. But, the most durable of cases typically don’t have smaller pockets for personal items or even a place to stash a laptop or tripod. That’s why the launch of Manfrotto’s new Pro Light Tough series caught my attention. The Manfrotto Pro Light Tough 55 case can pair with an add-on laptop sleeve, tripod case, or even a backpack harness system.

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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.

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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?

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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?

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Is This Unique, Light Bag Adventure Ready? F-Stop AJNA 37L Review

Aluminum frame backpacks tend to make me regret my life choices as soon as I put them on. Often, the added structure isn’t worth the added weight. That’s not the case with the F-Stop AJNA, an adventure and travel backpack that has an aluminum frame so light I didn’t even notice it at first. Combined with a waist belt, the backpack helps distribute weight on the hips instead of the back and shoulders.

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

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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.

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Beautiful and Almost Perfect – Billingham Eventer Mini Review

The cool thing about Billingham bags is that they last a very long time. On the camera bag market, their durability is truly second to none. The brand has also been around for a very long time and their products aren’t made cheaply. In 10 years, your bank account will thank you. Today, they’re announcing the new Billingham Eventer Mini. It’s a smaller version of their Eventer messenger bag (which is an even smaller Hadley more or less). It’s as durable as it is beautiful. However, there are some modern updates Billingham really needs to make at this point.

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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.

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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.

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Why You Actually Need a Dedicated Camera Bag, Not Just an Insert

A camera bag serves a much bigger and better purpose than just a bag with an insert.

Confession: I’ve failed to find the perfect camera bag. Here at The Phoblographer, we’ve probably reviewed the most camera bags on the market. Of course, we stand by ethical statements and won’t review some brands, but we’re pretty comprehensive. Everyone makes good camera bags. No one makes a perfect camera bag, at least for me. Many have gotten very close. But when I couldn’t find what I wanted, I started modifying camera bags to fit my needs. All of them failed over time. I’m writing this piece because of many folks who like using regular backpacks or messengers and throwing their cameras in there. But that’s really not the best idea. Here’s why.

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

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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. 

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Unexpected, Practical and Green: Lowepro PhotoSport BP AW III Review

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Hiking camera bags are made for the outdoors. But, too often, those bags forget the outdoors when it comes to what they are actually made with. The Lowepro PhotoSport BP AW III is the company’s first bag in a new, sustainable green line. The bag aims to appease outdoor photographers by helping carry gear while also eliminating waste by offering a build that’s 75 percent recycled fabrics. But, can a backpack made from things people threw away protect camera gear and offer quick access?

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