I remember reportage bags showing a fighter side of the photographer. Thinking about the Nikon reporter bag and everything that made the panoply of the photojournalist: the cheiche (Arabic scarf) and the frayed jacket… Le Messenger Unica V is for myself the modern version of these reporter bags.
In my memories, these bags were much taller and wider than the Messenger Unica V. They were approximately the same width but the interior compartment measured 25 by 25 centimetres. They allowed to carry an SLR camera with two or three lenses and a flash. Not to mention the notebook and something to take notes on.
The modern version of the reportage bags
With slightly different dimensions (40x32cm and 19 cm deep), the Unica V Messenger is a modernised version. You recover the logic of the opening at the front with a tie and velcros. There is, of course, always the possibility of putting there an SLR camera. But the section once used for the objectives is now dedicated to personal devices and things. It is, of course, possible to reassign the portion dedicated to personal devices for the camera equipment.
The updating of the bag also makes it narrower and taller. Today, publishing the reportages, the laptop is part of core equipment of the reportage photographer. And that’s good, as the Unica V Messenger allows you to carry along a 15 or 17 inch laptop. The front of the bag opens to a compartment dedicated to mobile phone, computer mouse, pens and it also has a slot for the Pocket Manfrotto tripod.
No more cables between the lenses
Another compartment is located under the bag. It reduces the useful volume of the main compartment but it provides space for cables and batteries for the computer or camera. This part is also designed to allow you to bring along a Pocket format tripod.
The fact that the cables are grouped in a separate compartment simplifies my shots. On assignment, I always ensure that my equipment is carefully stowed in the bag. Always in a specific order which I usually avoid changing too often. This saves me time. When I make pictures of a show or night event, when everything is tidy, I will find the right lens quickly.
The zippered opening on the top of the bag allows quick access to the equipment while keeping the bag on the shoulder. Documents or magazines can be slid in the back of the bag. Practical when working to take away anything that is in A4 (21×29,7 cm).
Unlike backpacks, Unica V Messenger allows using everything without leaving the bag from the shoulder. The contents of the bag are fully accessible even when walking which allows you to follow a group or a demonstration. Particularly well suited for use when shooting photos on the fly and rather freehand and without a tripod. For a person on vacation or for a reportage on fairs and exhibitions, you will maintain a good mobility.
It’s been almost fifteen years since I use nothing but backpacks to carry along my equipment. Even in the studio. I have the habit of placing my bag in the corner and leaving it wide open. I pick the necessary material while shooting from a bag in transformed into a perfect tool box. Thanks to Unica V Messenger, the lens changes are done with no need to put the bag down. I stay closer to the subject even on a situation that is constantly moving. I actually revive the reportage taking views in motion.