Lately I have been shooting more stock photography and love carrying my DSLR with me all the time, so I don't miss any photo opportunities. Like most of us I have a couple of camera bags that are nice and practical. But not wanting to look like a tourist or paparazzi, I used to put my camera in a small camera bag then stuff it in my regular backpack. This way I just looked like a dude with a backpack. However, that wasn't working. It was a bit much every time I wanted to take my camera out. Sometimes I even let a photo opportunity pass me by, just thinking of the trouble it would be to reach for my equipment.
Then a couple of months ago I got my hands on the "Tamrac Adventure Messenger 4" the one with a trendy camouflage design.
It really does look like a messenger bag, has a fashionable statement and a nice slim profile.
Once packed with my equipment and strapped on. It feels and looks like a regular messenger bag full of books, my superman outfit or just my lunch.
That's what first attracted me about this bag. It's so discrete!
It's perfect for everyday use when you just want to carry only what's necessary. For me that means: one DSLR body, one Flash, one zoom 18-200mm and one 105mm macro lens. This bag fits them all pretty neatly.
As you can see, because of its slim profile, it wouldn't be able to fit a Nikon D3 or a Canon 1D. But it's perfect for other bodies such as: the Canon 5D, 40D, the Nikon D80, D4o and others. In this case it works for the D300, without of course any Battery pack attached.
As plain as the bag looks, it does have some nice special features. Like the front pocket with two compartments to keep things nicely organized (wallet, notepad, pen, LensPen, memory cards, batteries, Altoids...).
The front flap has a zip pocket where I keep little things like a microfiber cloth...
The back has a flat zipper pocket for papers. It's where I keep my gray card .
But also in the back there is this flap for using on a Piggy Back. I guess for some that can be useful ?
Personally I'm really keen on the handle. It's handy and we don't always see this on a camera bag.
The side has a small pocket for your cell or Ipod or Iphone or whatever your cool gadget of choice is these days.
The strap has a nice comfortable shoulder pad.
The inside has two vertical dividers and three horizontal dividers that I keep at the bottom of the bag for extra padding. Given the way I pack my equipment, they work better for me there.
In general, the bag is well constructed, and the entire case is nicely padded. Although, I do feel that the foam used could be a bit more rigid. Lately, I've seen camera bags on the market with new materials that are semi rigid/semi soft that look more protective.
The one thing I'm not crazy about is the bag's buckle closure.
I looks good, but I have a hard time closing it with one hand. The ends have to line up perfectly before they slide in together and click, something my fingers don't agree with.
The flap has a little piece of Velcro, that helps to keep it closed,when you're on the move and can't click the buckle. But I find it too flimsy, not secure enough. So I sewed two big pieces of Velcro on there. You can see in the picture, the one in the middle is the original and the two on either side of it are the ones I added for peace of mind.
So to wrap-up my review. I can honestly say, I love the Tamrac Adventure Messenger 4 bag. It's discrete and practical. I can access all the contents easily and it's comfortable to carry around. I wasn't crazy about the small piece of Velcro, but it's fixed now. I'm going to have to do something about that annoying buckle soon. I'll post whatever I come up with. Other than wishing for more rigid padding, the bag looks well made. I'm using it almost everyday, so I'm going to find out pretty quickly how durable it really is.
Discrete, Messenger bag look
Practical, has a lot of useful features
Hard to close buckle
Small flimsy Velcro
Wish for firmer foam protection