I guess there is no single bag that meets everyone's needs and all the major manufacturers have features the others lack. Its the same with this Tenba Messenger bag. First, the good. Its light. Current pro digital SLRs are simply too heavy (I've seen guys doing "street shooting" using roll around bags!) so shaving a pound off the bag weight is terrific. Next, the reason I bought the bag--it opens at the top! Eureka. After you've had to use 2 or 3 hands to mess with clips or even set your bag down to open or close it, you realize the easiest & quickest way to open a camera bag (or a box of corn flakes) is from the top. While this bag doesn't have the superior, double zipper arrangement that really gives unlimited access, having just a slit does help conceal what's in the bag. Of course, once you pull out your 5D with giant white L lens, people will probably guess the bag is not full of old socks.
Now for the less good. Remember that great top access? The top flap has no rigidity at all. So, when the bag is on your shoulder and you tug on the zipper, its like trying to zip a jacket that's crumpled up. You have to straighten the two sides of the top flap, so now we're back to needing 2 hands. That's still better than having a bag with clips on the bottom but there's another hitch. Even with everything zipped and latched there's a lot of clearance between the top flap and the interior of the bag. In other words, for small lenses, you don't even need the top zipper; you can reach under the sides of the top flap even when its "closed". So not a bag for wet weather.
This is just my personal taste but the type of shoulder pad Tenba uses on this bag is like an SUV. Big enough to call attention to itself yet not very comfortable. True, it does not slip but it tugs. My preference is the suede pads used on the better Tamrac bags, which miraculously don't slip yet are super comfortable. But that's personal taste and I can just clip on a Tamrac strap. Lastly--and this shows Tenba really does listen--this bag has the usual enormous strip of Velcro but it also has a fold-down flap to cover the Velcro so you don't announce yourself every time you need to take a photo.
All taken into account, on a dry day, with the top flap unzipped, and for just over $100, its a nice bag but (my opinion) not as well thought out as other Tenba bags.
on December 21, 2010
I spent a lot of time looking fpr the right bag, this is clearly it.
when i first pulled it out I was dissapointed, it didnt look any bigger than my standard canon bag. however I have grown to love it.
this is what I currently havein mine:
canon 60 d
sigma 50mm 1.4 with hood on
sigma 17-70 with hood on
canon 135mm f2
1gary fong lightspere
I still have room left, lots of cool pockets for memory cards etc.
the quick access flap is very cool and functional also.
one added feature, it fits an IPAD perfectly down the side, not a designed feature, but works great, I even have my Ipad in a leather case
on November 1, 2012
I admit that I like to carry all of my equipment with me whenever I go out. Fortunately I am big enough to carry a heavy bag without too much problem. I have had this bag for about six months and I have to say that it is the best camera bag I have ever used. I currently am carrying a Nikon d300, a Nikon d700 (attached to), Nikon 17-55mm; Tokina 11-16mm, Nikon 35mm, Nikon 50mm, Nikon 70-300mm, Nikon SB700 flash unit and the Nikon 18-55mm kit lens that I use for close up photography. This makes for a heavy bag, but that's my choice. All the items are easily accessible. The zipper on the top of the bag allowing access from the outside without having to open the entire bag up is great. It is true that this is not a rigid zipper. You do have to swing the bag to the front of your body to open effectively. However, I don't find that much of a problem. When I am out I am using wearing one camera with a Black Rapid strap with the other camera inside the bag, lens attached ready to pull out. Since I can use both hands to accomplish this, I have had no problem shooting with both cameras when necessary. I have read some reviews that complain about the bag not being secure because the cover flap does not zipper down and can puff out in a way that theoretically could give someone access to your camera. In other words, the complaint is that the bag is not as secure as it could be. I have had no trouble with this aspect of the bag. In fact, despite the fact that I have the bag loaded with gear, the top easily covers the edges of the bag, leaving nothing in plain site to outsiders. I use the side pockets for cables and such. This bag does not have the capability of carrying a laptop, but I didn't buy it for that purpose. The bag is a little bulky when loaded down. I have done several walking tours with this bag and have had no problem. I don't know how I would feel if I were doing some serious hiking and climbing, but I'm not. The front flap of the bag is roomy enough to carry small note pads, etc. I use mine to carry additional CF and SD cards. There are two nice sized pockets on the front of the bag under the over flap that is big enough to carry additional drives. The shoulder strap is padded and comfortable and does not dig into you even if you are wearing a T-shirt. There are a million ways you can configure this bag to meet your needs. If you are carrying more than one camera body and more than one lens around this is the camera bag for you.
on December 10, 2013
Having owned quite a few cameras and even more camera bags I have found this to be one of my favorite camera bags. I say one of, because it doesn't do everything I need it do, nor is it reasonable to expect it to do so. A good camera bag is determined as much by the task it is being used for as it is the quality of the bag itself. For instance, this isn't a bag I would use on a hiking trip, I much prefer a backpack for that. This bag also doesn't have a dedicated tablet or laptop compartment (though I can stick my nexus in here with no problem.
To me, this is a bag that is meant for photography. You may be saying that since this is a camera bag that is rather obvious, but let me elaborate. This is the bag when I'm going to take pictures, not take pictures and worry about editing (where I need a laptop) or a bag for a hike where I might take pictures. This is a bag for when the big goal of what I'm going to be doing is photography. It lets me carry an organize a large amount of photo equipment, easily access it and know that its stored in a safe, padded bag the entire time.
All in all, a great camera bag so long as its features align to your needs.
on June 15, 2015
Just received my medium size burnt orange Messenger camera bag. Very impressed. Love the color since it is pretty much the 'Sony' brand color.
The bag is thoughtfully designed and well constructed and holds a phenomenal amount of equipment.
The gear that I fit inside the bag is as follows:
Sony A77II Camera w/ Sigma 18-250mm lens, Sigma (Bigma) 50-500mm OS lens!!!!!, Sigma 10-20mm lens, Samsung 8mm fisheye lens, Minolta 70-210 Beercan lens, Minolta 50mm f1.7 lens, Kenko 2x and 1.4x teleconverters, set of extension tubes, Sony HVL-F56AM flash, Sony RX100 camera w/ charger, and accessories, 3 batteries and charger, Gary Fong gray sphere, iPod classic & headphones, Giotto blower, Filters, and misc. small accessories.
That is an extensive amount of gear, and I must admit it took me a while to fit it in the bag. Still, everything is easily accessible although the weight of the bag makes it impractical to carry it around for any length of time. So, the bag has become my main storage bag for keeping all my equipment together in one place.
In the meantime I have ordered the "mini" version of this bag (also in orange) that I will actually use in the field to carry whatever limited equipment I need for specific day trips.
That bag will be the temporary landing place for my original Sony A77 and the power grip that can be used on both cameras. Those items did not fit in the bigger bag.
on September 6, 2014
I LOVE this bag! I use it to haul camera gear on photo shoots. More than enough space to carry anything and everything you might need. Lots of nooks and crannies and it is so lightweight. That's a big plus over other bags I've had. The padded strap is a great combination with the zipper top opening. No more having to put the bag down to unclip the front clips to get inside the bag. It's also very well padded, balanced and water resistant. Highly recommended!!!!
on April 15, 2012
I used to use a Canon bookbag for all my needs and I was able to fit everything in that bag. The bookbag was VERY full but regardless, I fit it all in.
This camera bag fits everything I had in the Canon bookbag, and I still have empty pockets! There are just so many options to this bag and with the zipper top, just makes it all the better. It is very comfortable to carry on your shoulder and the carry strap is a nice addition.
What I carry in my bag:
Canon 5D II
24-70 2.8 (I keep this lens on when in the bag)
Canon 580ex II
2 Pocket Wizards
Impact wireless sync
Extra batteries, business cards, business postcards, pen, allen wrenches, backup sync cords, shutter release cable, etc....
Although there are still a few extra pockets, I have maxed out the amount of lens I can carry... not that I would want to carry more, but if I did, I would have to have the Prime lens' stacked on each other. The options on this bag were built directly for a photographer, preferably a photojournalist. I would buy this again!
UPDATE: 2 Years Later
The bag is still serving me very well. I have had no issues with it and over the past year, it has taken a little beating (not by choice, but things do happen) but has been great. Recently the hook holding the strap onto the bag broke on one side. I called Tenba and explained it broke. She just asked for my name and address and said "your new strap will be on it's way." No charge. I'm very pleased with how this was handled and that I can stop using my laptop bag strap (that has no padding) on it.
on March 13, 2014
My husband bought this to carry his voiceover gear. He can fit so much in it. Basically, if he packs it right, he can fit his headphone case, Mac Mini, microphone in case, and his electronic interface. It's sturdy and easy to get into. He has traveled with it many times. And he loves the orange, because the name of his studio is Nothing Rhymes with Orange.
I think if you asked him, he'd highly recommend it!
on April 24, 2016
Be aware, there is NO padding on the top. While driving back from a photo session, I had to brake quickly to avoid, of all things, a farm tractor that pulled out onto the road! The camera bag, with my 5D III in it, slid forward, off the back seat, and fell so the top of the bag collided with the hard middle console of my truck. There was a sickening cracking sound. For the money I spent on my camera, I wanted a bag that protected it. Unfortunately, this one big flaw, lack of padding, limits my rating on the bag.
on September 21, 2011
I subjected my new Tenba large Messenger camera bag to an admittedly severe test in France the past three weeks. I carried a Canon 5D2, a 70-200 zoom and four small primes all over Normandy and Brittany. Through airports I added my small laptop and a mesh bag of chargers, cards, card reader and other assorted stuff. So, the bag was admittedly rather heavy.
First of all, I really like this bag. It carries well, at least in part because of the well-padded strap. I am under no illusion that it does not look like a camera bag. Fully loaded, it couldn't be anything else. I do like the upper zipper access to the bag, allowing quick access to my camera with current choice of lens. I even did lens changes through the upper zipper. The bag accommodated my 70-200 zoom, even with the hood attached. In rainy weather, I kept a folded Velcro wrap between the lid and the contents. A user would do well to keep a plastic sheet to put over the entire bag in a downpour.
I carried it in very crowded cities and had some concern that a skilled pickpocket could access my lenses through the gap in the top on each side of the bag. I have heard other users say a zipper closure might be helpful in such situations.
In general, whatever one carries in the bag, whether body, lenses or small laptop is easily accessible, which is what I wanted.
I have one concern. After a few days of carrying the bag, I noticed tiny metal bits around the attachment points for the strap clips. On closer inspection, I see fairly deep cuts in the rounded portions of the strap clips. If I were a pro, carrying this bag often with this kind of weight to press conferences or to weddings, it looks as if I could expect one of these clips to snap eventually, dumping my gear in the floor.
Tenba should consider a fix for this. The triangular attachment points are super hard metal, just as the advertising material claims. However, the edges have very sharp angular corners. These are rough on the clips, which are made of an obviously softer metal. I suggest rounding off the attachment fixture edges and/or using a harder metal on the clips.
Again, I love this bag. Tenba obviously consulted working photographers when they designed it.