The Urban Photographers Dream Bag
When I first got into photography, I was using what I like to call a “stage 1” DSLR. I had a Canon EOS Rebel, which was great. It took decent pictures and got me used to the feel of a DSLR. At that time, I just had the kit lens and realized very quickly that for what I wanted to do, my photography gear was sorely lacking. I had aspirations of building up my production gear and owning a professional-level DSLR. In these dreams, Manfrotto was a key component in my photography ‘wishlist’.
For those who aren’t aware, Manfrotto is a photography company based in Northern Italy at Cassola.
“Manfrotto designs, manufactures and markets a wide range of camera and lighting support equipment for the professional photographic, film, theater, live entertainment, and video markets. The product line includes an extensive range of camera tripods and heads, lighting stands and accessories.”
I started my journey into gear from Manfrotto with a single tripod but then soon moved on to include monopods, clamps, and other accessories. Because of my love for Manfrotto as a brand that focuses on camera gear, I was thrilled when I was presented with the opportunity to try out the Manhattan Camera Backpack Mover 50. It’s the best camera backpack I’ve used for daily use.
The Manhattan Camera Backpack is designed to carry all your camera gear and keep it protected in any environment. It can hold a DSLR body with longer lens attached (i.e. Canon 5D Mark II with 70-200/2.8) along with various other accessories. The backpack fits the standard size for carry-on luggage and comes with a built-in trolley connection for easy transportation along with wheeled luggage. The inside of the backpack contains Flexi dividers and interchangeable dividers so that you can use your Manhattan Camera Backpack with any setup.
It is laptop compatible and my 15-inch MacBook Pro fits inside quite easily. In addition to the laptop sleeve that is part of the backpack, Manfrotto also included a tablet compartment, which easily fit with 9-10 inch tablets. Like many camera backpacks, a rain protector is included to help create a barrier between your bag and the environment. The fabric that the backpack is made from is pre-treated to make it water repellant, but the extra cover is added reassurance that your camera gear will stay nice and dry should you get caught in the rain.
There are four main storage areas to the Manhattan Camera Backpack:
- Internal Pouch – This area features the Flexy Camera Shell, an innovative protective system by Manfrotto. This area can accommodate a DSLR with larger lens (70-200/2.8) attached, up to 4 other lenses, and a flash. This area is accessed through the back of the bag. This pouch can be removed so that you can use the space for other items.
- Top Compartment – This premium space is perfect for a DSLR body or mirrorless camera plus one lens. If you have a small collapsible drone (like the Mavic Pro), this space would be large enough for that as well.
- NeverLose Tripod Holder System – Even though ‘tripod’ is in the name of this area of the backpack, it can be used for a jacket, skateboard, or other personal items.
- Padded Compartments (2) – These compartments are designed to hold your laptop (up to 15.6″) and tablet (up to 10 inches).
When the Manhattan Camera Backpack first arrived, I could barely contain myself. I will usually take camera bags and backpacks out ‘in the field’ to see how well it carries equipment in tough situations. So, I loaded it up with my Canon 5D Mark IV and a couple of lenses. I was going to be outdoors and it was a very bright day so I didn’t both packing any lights or audio equipment since I was just going to take some still photos.
The few items I stowed away fit comfortably, but I could see how it was a little awkward to pull things out quickly. In order to access the main compartment, you have to set the bag down — completely off your back — and fold the backpack straps away from the back so you can unzip that area. I couldn’t just swing the bag to one side and grab a lens while still wearing the bag. This is one of the things that made me feel as though the Manhattan wasn’t really meant for the outdoor adventure. The material is strong enough for outdoors and the interior protection for your gear is solid, but the function of the bag is a little limiting when it comes to outdoor environments.
The Manhattan Camera Backpack has been a very nice bag to use in town and for standard daily use. I was surprised at how much I could actually fit into this bag. It has enough room for most of my daily necessities. On a whim, I packed it up with a variety of accessories. This is what I was able to get to fit into the backpack comfortably.
- 15-inch MacBook Pro
- 9.7-inch iPad Pro
- Canon 5D Mark IV with 50mm lens attached
- Rode VideoMic Pro
- LED Panel Light
- Vello BG C14 Battery Grip
- Three (3) Lapel Microphones in storage pouches
- One (1) Table Top Tripod
- Canon 18-35mm lens
- Canon 24-105mm
- Tamron SP 70-300mm f/4-5.6
From the outside, the bag looks smaller than other camera backpacks but surprisingly had enough room for my gear. Even with all this loaded into the bag, the Manhattan Camera Backpack wears very well. Weight is displaced nicely across my back and I don’t feel weighed down or lopsided at all. Some other backpacks have left me sore the next day, but I’ve not really had that problem with the Manfrotto bag.
Camera Backpacks are a lot like shoes — you need to have a different pair for specific occasions. Over the years, I’ve found a few backpacks that I favor among others and each one has its place. The Manfrotto fills the void I’ve had by providing a backpack that is stylish and businesslike so that I can feel comfortable carrying my gear around without it looking too industrial or adventure-oriented. I have a camera backpack that is rough and built for the outdoors and while I don’t feel that the Manhattan Mover 50 can take its place, I do love it for daily use especially in the city environment.