Saturday, September 13, 2008

Tenba Messenger Bag [Digital 2.0] review

If you are like me, you are on an never ending journey to find the 'perfect' camera bag. I have a great backpack from Kata. {which I will review in a future post} It is nearly indestructible an works great when I travel via an airplane.

O.K. back to my newest bag, the Tenba Digital 2.0 Messenger bag. My first question is this, do the folks that have version 1.0 get to download an upgrade for their bag? :-)

This review is after doing two shoots in two different types of conditions. The first shoot was a photo walk I did in Columbus. [Hey, I needed to try it somewhere after I bought it.] I was on a business trip and the night was beautiful and I could not pass up the opportunity to shoot some pictures of Columbus. {which I posted earlier in the week}.

The second shoot was an engagement shoot along the shores of Lake Erie in Cleveland, Ohio. The bag proved to be an excellent bag and very simple to utilize. It has many pockets [many of which I have no idea what I will put in them but there are plenty]. There are two zipper pockets on the outside front of the bag that the video demonstrates can be used for a wallet and/or iPod, etc. I found them to be very useful for my spare battery and extra memory card case. I like to be able to access both items without searching in my bag.

The other item I like about the bag is the zipper on the flap that when opened enables the user to access anything in the bag without opening the large flap. This is great when you want to avoid putting the bag down or you do not want others to see what is in the bag. The third item I like is the removable dividers in the bag. I was able to put my Nikon D200 with a 17-50 f/2.8, 70-300 VR, 50 f/1.8, and SB800 comfortably in the bag with room for at least one or two smaller lenses. I also had a 67mm polarizer [in its protective case] and a few micro cloths in the main compartment. On the front of the bag under the flap, I had a lens pen and a few other items.

This bag has a compartment for a laptop but I doubt I will use the space for the laptop. It seems as if I put in my 15 in. Dell it will make the bag too bulky. Which takes away another item I like about the bag. It is not too bulky like a 'typical' over the shoulder camera bag. The strap works great when it goes over the neck and rest on the opposite shoulder. Hence, when I carry it on my right side, the bag strap rest on my left shoulder. It was very comfortable and neither my shoulder or neck was tired or sore after using it a few hours. [an all day shoot such as a wedding or sporting event might prove this to be different but...]

There is a section close to the body for magazines, papers, etc.. This is another item I like about the bag. It is close to the body and anything you put in it [e.g. map, notebook, instructions, etc.] they are within easy reach without the need to open the bag and search for the item.

The bag as a waterproof bottom to prevent damage if you put it on a damp surface. However, there is one major item I do not like. When the make flap is over the bag there is no flap or overlap to prevent water [rain, snow, sleet] from getting in the bag. When I was shooting the engagement shoot at the beach my first thought was will sand get in the bag if it [sand] blows around. I noticed some [maybe all] of the crumpler bags have a flap that folds over when the main flap closes.

I am sure I am not the only one that was caught in a storm when out on a shoot. When I was shooting the Bridgestone Open in Akron, OH, the skies opened and if I had this bag my thought would be to somehow protect the openening from water getting in it [maybe version 3.0 will have a fix and I can download it for free].

There have been other shoots where the weather turned sour very fast and there was little time to protect the gear. Although the opening is small and in most situations the opening will never come into play, it is a concern. However, even with that stated, I give the bag a rating of 8 out of 10. For most of my work, this fault will never come into play. When the situation arises where it could be an issue, I will use my rain gear to keep the opening protected.

The retail price of the bag is $100 [give or take a few dollars] and it comes in many different colors. Would I purchase it again or recommend it? Yes! Is it a perfect bag? No, but if there is one then write me a note!

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