Concert photography is by far my favourite subject. Savouring my passion for photography together with the intoxication of the rhythm of the music is what makes me happy. Up to now, I’ve always used a backpack to carry my equipment during concerts. Backpacks are very comfortable but here’s the problem: they are not at all adapted to suit the situation you find in a concert hall. In these places, where there is a lack of space, where you have to act fast and for good reason, as the artists don’t wait for you to click the shutter. And more often than not, you’ve only got 3 pieces with which to express your art. When you have to change your lens, or memory card, you have to do it as fast as possible and in total darkness. A shoulder bag seems to me the ideal solution to meet the demands of this type of photography and short-length reportage more generally, being a good compromise between ease of access to equipment and comfort.
I had been searching for the shoulder bag of my dreams for a long time, the bag that would enable me to carry the equipment I needed to concerts, yet also be comfortable and not too heavy. My choice ended up being the Manfrotto Advanced Shoulder 7, which fits perfectly with all the criteria I was looking for. It is sturdy and not too big, a bag with which I’m not worried about being shoved around whilst taking pictures in the madness of the mosh pit at a rock concert and which won’t hinder my movements in the crush of a crowd! It has a very modern look but is still quite sober with its Manfrotto black and red detail and a quilted red and grey interior to protect your precious equipment!
It has enough room for my « semi-pro » Sony Alpha 77 camera with a mounted lens (50 mm) and my assortment of additional lenses – 14 mm, 35 mm, 90 mm and 70-300 mm. There is even enough room for my 18-55 mm which serves as my emergency lens. I was truly surprised by the design of this bag! I can get all my equipment into the smallest possible space. I now also use it to store my equipment instead of cluttering up my shelves.
Inside, the bag has two compartments useful for holding memory cards. And your portable hard disks fit just perfectly too! The bag has two pockets for accessories (filters, chargers, batteries…) on the sides. The “accessory” pockets include little flaps to stop the contents from falling out – a great design feature! You can slip the waterproof cover into one of the pockets. I would have liked it to have been directly integrated as a double bottom but I have to say that the system is really well designed. Making it part of the bag wouldn’t have enabled such good protection. And, in any case, the material is remarkably water resistant!
The finishing touches inspire confidence: the zips seem durable, the bag is rigid enough to protect it from knocks but not so much so as to create a loss of comfort. I also love the thick handle on the top that allows you to carry it by hand instead of over the shoulder. The handle is comfortable and the bag is well balanced and sits straight, which is worth mentioning, as it is not the case with a lot of other shoulder bags …
In conclusion, the fact that I now have this bag by my side will be a real help in my concert photography. The shoulder strap would have to be a little more padded to make the bag perfect, but that’s the only negative thing I have to say about it. From now on, this bag will follow me everywhere for my live reportages and even for short photo trips. If you are going on full day-long photo outings, shoulder bags are not suitable; opt for a backpack instead – you will love the wide range Manfrotto offers.
This bag keeps me dreaming and I am going to make full use of it in my future adventures.