Over the past few months I have been using the Manfrotto SlingPro 30 bag whilst on location as an alternative to my larger camera bags. I am always on the look out for smaller, versatile camera bags that I can comfortably sling over my shoulder when wanting the convenience of less weight. Indeed, this conveniently sized Manfrotto bag allows me to safely and easily carry around an SLR, a couple of lenses and a speedlite as opposed to lugging around a much larger roller bag.
I have tested the bag in a variety of locations from the beaches of Miami to the Swiss Alps both for its versatility, portability and ability to perform in extremes of temperature and location.
The Bag is small enough and so unobrustive that I was even able to use it recently on a shoot where I needed to wear skis to access remote location. You can see in these two pictures the two different positions that you can manouever the bag into when shooting which comes in very handy as lighting conditions quickly change
One of the resultant shots of the Swiss Alps
I particularly like that it is not too large (although I will touch on this later) which, is a problem I have experienced with other ‘day’ camera bags in the past. This has especially helped me when photographing my “Abandoned Spaces” series where I often have to slip into small areas, climb up confined stairwells and creep along restricted walkways.
The bag is both sturdy and water repellant on the outside thus providing plenty of protection and has a well-padded and adjustable strap to sling over your shoulder; equally as comfortable as the Lowepro or Thinktank equivalents that I have tried in the past. Further, internally, there are a series of interchangeable dividers allowing you to custom configure the inside precisely to your needs. This means that it can comfortably fit in an SLR with an attached lens, an additional lens and a speedlite. It also has side pockets for accessories such as memory cards, filters, notepad, pens, cleaning cloth, business cards and a snack; all essentials that I never leave home without when going on a shoot. Ideally, the bag could be slightly larger allowing me to fit in an extra lens. Indeed, Manfrotto do make the bigger Professional Sling 50 although on seeing this I felt it was rather too big for my back and I would rather go up to a backpack in that size. Therefore, personally I think that the Manfrotto 30 despite its slight limitations in terms of what I can fit in it (perhaps an extra lens), is ideal for those wanting a bag that they can carry around all day without killing their backs and fulfill the majority of their needs in terms of carrying gear. Thus, for hobbyists and those on their holidays, I couldn’t recommend a better bag. Professionals may just find the size a little limiting.
The Bag was the perfect size for documenting life and landscapes along Miami Beach for a series that I’m currently working on
The fact that you can conveniently swivel the bag from your back to front to access your gear with an easy front access zip system is a huge advantage of purchasing a sling bag over a backpack where accessing gear often means taking the bag off and unzipping the whole thing. Indeed, with the Sling, once you familiarize yourself with the mechanism of swinging the bag around your shoulder and accessing the front opening pouch, you never need to worry about missing the shots as you can rapidly access your camera to capture at any moment. Subsequently, if you’re a street shooter or simply someone who enjoys being able to access your equipment incredibly quickly and conveniently, you will quickly fall in love with this feature. This has been incredibly helpful for me in many situations. For example, I’ve even managed to be able to fit the bag into the small, cramped space of a helicopter when shooting high above the skies of Manhattan and use this sling feature.
You can clearly see in this photograph of me before take off in a no doors helicopter how the Manfrotto 30 Bag easily swivels around even in a confined space allowing easy access to a different lens if needed as it zips from either the side or the top
Therefore to surmise this bag has certainly not disappointed and does a very good job of doing what it is designed for, providing both ample protection, ease of use and quick access to your camera gear. For those who do not want to trek around all of their cameras in a large backpack or roller which is often inconvenient if you want to travel light on a day out, I would therefore highly recommend this bag. Further, on-the-go or street-style shooters who want a versatile and light bag that offers them quick and easy access to their gear would not go wrong with one of these.