Manhattan camera messenger Speedy-30 snap verdict
The Manfrotto Manhattan camera messenger Speedy-30 at first glance looks like any other typical messenger bag. It really wouldn’t look out of place slung around a couriers shoulder as they thrash through the streets of London.
The design features the usual slim profile, a tough textured material outer and thin seatbelt style strap with a decent shoulder pad attached, so it really does look the part.
Only on closer inspection do you notice the small and subtle Manfrotto logo which signifies that this is a camera bag, not one designed for couriers.
It looks the part, feels tough, looks great and definitely reflects that urban feel, outwardly taken out of the photographic arena there’s not a great deal camera about it.
However, pop this bag over your shoulder and it packs in all the features you could want from a camera bag and more.
Quick direct access to kit, additional pockets where you need them, a removable inner section with additional space for extra stuff. A waterproof rain jacket which will never get used and a tripod flap.
Initially, I wasn’t caught on the design, but after the test, I have to say this is one of the best messenger bags I’ve ever come across. Yes, it has a fault or two but nothing major, it’s just a great bag.
ForManhattan camera messenger Speedy-30
- Plenty of capacity
- Two handy open side pockets
- Tripod flap
Against Manhattan camera messenger Speedy-30
- Stap buckle doesn’t sit right
- Inner section isn’t clipped in
- No waist strap
Messenger bags are a great everyday choice. They’re slim, easy to carry and best of all give you quick access to kit without needing to remove them.
I’m a keen advocate of the messenger bag for almost any type of use, they just make sense in almost any situation.
A messenger enables you quick access to kit, but there’s usually plenty of room to fit in other stuff such as a laptop.
Style-wise messenger bags are usually a little funkier than a shoulder bag or backpack, and that’s certainly the case for the Manhattan camera messenger Speedy-30.
It’s a medium sized bag with plenty of space for the latest selection of mirrorless or DSLR cameras, with additional space for an extra lens and maybe a flash.
The design also sees space for a laptop or tablet along with a few extra pockets for other essentials.
It may not look like a camera bag initially but once you delve into the design and inner workings the Manhattan camera messenger proves to be a very refined proposition.
The first thing you notice about the Manhattan camera messenger Speedy-30 is the tough exterior material and padding. This has been designed to keep your kit safe. It really is one up on the majority of other messenger bags.
Take a look at the base and like many pro backpacks, you find that it’s protected by a tough rubberised waterproof material that ensures your kit stays dry even when placed on a wet surface.
Looking over the bag and there’s plenty of other features that really do set this bag apart from the mass of other messenger bags on the market.
On the back is a small single strap, ideal for use as a trolly loop making a good option for those travelling.
Likewise, another pro traveller feature is the slip pocket at the back, ideal for tickets, passports and a kindle.
The bag is of the messenger style so has that slim profile with external dimensions of 43 x 16 x 30cm, inner dimensions of 40 x 14 x 28cm so plenty of room. The inner sections with movable dividers are more than large enough for most cameras up to the size of a Canon 5D Mark IV.
Inside and at the back of the bag, there are two slip pockets, one designed for tablets and the other for laptops. The laptop section measures in at 39 x 2 x 26cm so large enough to take a 15-inch MacBook Pro.
The main camera section is removable and just slips in and out as needed with a zipped mesh top for extra security.
Around the bag, there are a variety of other pockets, including two ingenious open side-expanding pockets.
Under the bag where you would usually find the waterproof cover is a flip down and clip-in tripod loop, a great additional feature.
Build quality and handling
As ever the Manfrotto build and material quality is apparent from the outset. Taking a look over the bag and the material used feels tough and durable.
There’s also plenty of padding for the internal section ensuring that all your kit stays safe and protected.
Starting with the two open side pockets, as these really demonstrate the build quality. Each features a zip to open the pocket, and this zip locks securely when the pocket is minimised showing the quality of the material and stitching is excellent.
On the exterior, there are a few details such as the logo which is in black so blends in subtly with the rest of the design. Then there are the clips that attach to the tripod loop.
At the base of the bag where you’d usually find the waterproof cover is the tripod loop, this flaps out and clips into place and is the perfect size to comfortably fit and secure a Manfrotto GT.
The main shoulder strap is simple and uses the same material as a car seatbelt. To ensure that this is comfortable it features a decent movable shoulder pad.
Here we find the first fault with the design, the straps line comes down to the two buckles on either side of the bag. Unfortunately, the leading one, with bag over shoulder, is angled straight rather than at an angle and this means the strap at that point rucks up.
This doesn’t affect the actual usability of the bag or comfort, it just looks out of place and messy.
Moving inside the bag and again there’s a real sense of overall quality. The inner divide can be removed and it’s inner sections reconfigured as you need dependent on your kit.
Although the inner section is well padded it’s free to move inside the outer, there are no clasps or clips to keep it in place. In all honesty, it didn’t move around during the test and this shouldn’t be an issue, but that inner divide unlike other similar designs that I have seen has been made to be slightly smaller than the cavity, and this has been done for a reason.
When the bag arrives this void between the inner and outer is partially filled with the waterproof cover, which has had its usual home beneath the bag taken by the tripod loop.
In its new home it’s more likely to be removed and lost and somehow just didn’t sit right with the rest of the design.
Cavity aside the inner section and cavity for that matter all work well, and at the back of the bag, the two specially designed slots for a laptop and tablet are ideally positioned.
At the top of the outer and inner section are zipped lids. The one on the outer provides clear pockets on the inner and the lid of the inner section is mesh.
Again the quality of these is good and should last out a number of years.
For a bag that looks and feels so slim, it fits a huge amount of kit. During the test, I had the Sony A7 MKIII, 12-24mm, 24-70mm and the Mavic 2 Pro. All of which fit snuggly. I also managed to fit in a MacBook Pro.
Weight wise it was starting to push the comfortable carrying weight, but it did all fit. Not only that but none of the kit was having to share a section and it all felt very well protected.
The shoulder strap and pad held the weight well and sat comfortably over the shoulder.
Unlike some other messenger bags, there is no waist strap which would have helped with a bit of the load.
With a more sensible load installed I headed off for a day in town and the bag throughout was comfortable to carry.
I loved the zipped lid and the design and weight of the messenger placed it at exactly the right position for easily extracting the kit I needed.
On the back of the bag is a thin but large slot pocket designed for maps, I found this incredibly useful during the day, for tickets, leaflets and a map.
There were three aspects however that really stood out. Those two outer open zipped pockets. These were ideal for stuffing things in.
Lenses, dog leads, small bottles of water. Whatever bag I take to Photokina I’m definitely going to need these open pockets, they’re excellent.
The next is that tripod loop, ok it’s stolen the waterproof covers home, but so what, I never really use that cover and being able to carry a tripod in this way just makes things so convenient.
Finally the small zipped pockets on the underside of the top lid. Although small they’re in the right position and enabled quick access to memory cards, spare battery and a variety of other small things. Just useful.
I see quite a few messenger bags come through the door. They’re probably the easiest style of bag to get right so to find one that stands above the rest is rare.
The Manhattan camera messenger Speedy-30 is just that messenger, it has its faults with the strap not quite sitting right in the buckle at the front, it could do with some type of front pocket and the inner section could fill the full cavity, but those are small things.
This bag offers you almost everything that a backpack will offer, with enough room for your camera and three lenses, that cavity minus the cover is ideal for slotting in a flash. How many messengers can fit that much in comfortably?
Then there’s the laptop, tablet and let’s not forget the tripod loop.
The material quality is high, and with the rubberised base and selection of pockets it’s been really well thought through and designed.
The Manhattan camera messenger Speedy-30 is a well thought out and designed bag. If you’re looking for a messenger with a little more than most, you’re off travelling and don’t want a normal daypack, or you just want an alternative to a day pack then I would highly recommend you check out the Manhattan camera messenger Speedy-30.