The Tenba Cooper 15 Slim is a messenger bag for photographers that can hold a DSLR or mirrorless camera body along with 3-6 lenses (up to 70-200mm f/2.8 in size) and a laptop up to 15 inches.
On the outside it measures 15.5 x 11 x 5.5 inches, and inside it’s 15 x 10.5 x 3.5 inches. And the bag weighs just 1.5kg, or 3.3lbs.
At the bottom of Cooper 15 Slim is a water- and abrasion-resistant full-grain leather base. It also boasts a quick access zipper so you can remove your gear without having to open the front flap.
On the narrow sides are expandable accessory pockets and an adjustable shoulder strap.
Inside the Cooper 15 Slim is a padded insert that provides three compartments for storing your gear. These three compartments are adjustable via their Velcro sides. And the padded insert can also be removed to transform the Cooper 15 Slim from a camera bag to an all-purpose messenger bag.
Tenba has built a reputation for high-quality bags, and Cooper 15 Slim is no exception to this rule. Most impressive to me was the leather base.
It’s a thick, durable leather that won’t let water through, but most useful to me is how solid and square it is. I can set the bag down upright and fiddle with my camera settings without having to worry about the bag toppling over. Most messenger bags I’ve used can’t stand of their own accord and need to be propped against a tree or something to ensure they don’t roll over onto your 24-70mm.
The exterior material is a thick, black canvas. On the inside is a thin, black-and-grey patterned Nylon layer. I used the Cooper 15 Slim in a couple of rain showers, and I’m pleased to say no water ever seeped through to my gear. Everything was perfectly dry. That canvas is very thick.
But the bag is also lightweight, meaning it was my first choice for a small, go-anywhere bag while testing.
The stitching and straps are also robust. Nothing feels like it’s going to fly loose or unravel.
Do you remember when you’d buy a new backpack for school when you were a kid and in the store it had that perfect backpack shape, then you’d get it home, take out all the paper stuffing and it would just sort of sink in upon itself?
Well, the Tenba Cooper 15 Slim has that perfect rectangular shape, but there’s no stuffing and it never loses that shape! I’ve always taken a utilitarian approach to camera bags and not really cared what they looked like, but I must say I became quite smitten with the Tenba Cooper 15 Slim while using it because it looks very classy and made me forget all about those wonky bags from my youth!
I’ve already explained that the Cooper 15 Slim is built to last, but what also makes it stand out from other photo messenger bags is how much gear it can actually hold.
I was regularly carrying a Panasonic GH5 and whatever other camera body I was testing – usually another smaller mirrorless body like the Olympus PEN E-PL9. I also usually had another lens or two, and sometimes I’d cram the GoPro Fusion or another 360 camera in there.
Oh, and my MacBook. I’d fill the Cooper 15 Slim with these items and hop on a bus from where I live in the sticks to go into Bristol to shoot for a few hours.
The bag hung comfortably on my shoulder and wasn’t a burden. And when I caught the bus home I’d lay the bag flat on my lap, rest my Mac on top of it and download images.
Tenba says the bag holds DSLRs or mirrorless bodies, but I think it’s really more suited for mid-range or entry-level DSLRs. Smaller bodies, in other words. I loaded up the Nikon D850 and 24-70mm f/2.8 ED VR, and it did fit, but it was tight. And I couldn’t pack a whole lot else.
Then again, this is the ‘Slim’ version of the Cooper 15. You can buy a larger version of the Cooper 15 that should hold a DSLR body and lens of that size with ease.
Over time, I also found myself using the Tenba Cooper 15 Slim for more non-photographic purposes. Going camping with the kids, for instance, it’s the perfect size for a change of clothes and a toiletry bag for an overnight trip. Simply remove the insert and you can do anything with it!
With a £215 / $280 price tag, the Tenba Cooper 15 Slim isn’t cheap. But it’s extremely well built, can hold a sufficient amount of gear and is versatile as an everyday bag. It’s built to last, and feels like it was made for photographers by photographers.
If you’re an avid street or travel photographer who shoots with one or two mirrorless bodies and up to three lenses, the Tenba Cooper 15 Slim is one of the best options available.