The ideal tiny photo bag for short field trips and travel; The Lowepro Event Messenger 100.
This is my confession in this post: I’m a bag aficionado. I love bags. Period! Small, huge, messenger, rucksacks whatever. But my only condition is: they have to be usable! A bag has to fullfill a purpose – a need! It is ok, if the bag looks cool, but if the usage fails, I’m out! For instance, my best bicycle bag is a skiing rucksack from Hagelöf. I can stove keys, mobile w earplugs, flashlights etc in all the right and easy accessible places, and the waist belt is second to none.
A photo bag may look cool and have all kind of features. But the only things that matters are:
- Fast and easy access, yet secure
- Protection and organization of my gear and equipment
When I’m out five in the morning on a beach and it’s dark, cold and windy, I should be able to get my camera out pretty easily, find and change batteries, find my filter case or remote without messing things up – or missing equipment. When I’m running around in a city, I want a secure bag – yet easy to operate; I am always cautious, but don’t want to be paranoid ;-)
Here is my ‘One Pager Review’, if you are in a hurry:
The Lowepro Event Messenger 100 is ideal for my mirrorless X-T2. Though it seems small, it takes a lot of gear, it is safe and quite robust. I describe all three topics in detail:
It takes a lot of gear
In addition to the camera and a lens, it can take an additional lens, a filter, remote cable, my wallet and/or mobile and plenty of batteries plus all the small, but nice items like a lenspen, an SD card reader and a plate for my tripod. When I’m out for landscapes, the side pockets also holds my step-up rings for my ND or polarizer.
I normally have the two adjustable L-shaped dividers in pretty fixed positions in the main compartment. In the small section, I can put several batteries beneath the padded divider – Four batteries, or two and the small flash EX-F8. The camera can then rest on the dividers with the attached lens pointing downwards. The small padded flaps acts nicely as pillows for the camera body. The last section is for an additional lens.
I am still amazed to see the small bag is able to contain any two of these lenses;
- XF 18-135mm
- XF 10-24mm
- XF 56mm
It’s possible to bring both of the two “large” lenses; XF18-135mm and XF10-24mm. Only problem is the lens hood of the XF10-24mm; If I want to bring both lense hoods, I have to mount the XF18-135mm backwards – or leave one of the hoods at home.
Often, I just unmount the lensehood for XF18-135mm and leaves it in the bottom of the bag. It takes 3 seconds to put it back on the lense, if needed. And I don’t risk to ‘draw’ the lens manually out in full length.
The back pocket is ‘top-loaded’ and can easily take my wallet or passport if I’m in non-crowded areas. If I’m in crowded places or in the streets, the front pocket can easily take my wallet in addition to the stuff stored in the small pockets.
It is safe
The bag is easy to carry either in the shoulder strap or in the small grip on top of the bag. On the shoulder strap, a 40cm (16″)rubber non-slip patch makes it pretty safe to carry the bag on the shoulder. With the adjustable buckle, you can widen the strap and carry it cross-body, if your route is too bumpy or you go by bicycle or scooter.
The front flap is easy to open – and close! – with one hand. When the bag is open or closed, the parts of the buckle doesn’t touch each. So no annoying noises.
Going around in crowded places always makes me a bit paranoid. One tiny moment of distraction, and a professional thief can slip his hand in my pocket or bag unnoticed. But this bag has side flaps attached to the front flap, so the main compartment cannot be accessed from the sides. Also the front pocket has two zippers, that can be zipped up to the middle of the pocket; again unaccessible behind the front flap. Finally you can activate ‘velcro’ lockers on the front flap (called ‘safe mode’), so it is very hard to open the front flap without a noise. The bag is not totally theft-safe, but I find the features a good compromize between safety and convenience.
The design of the bag is a bit ‘dull’ and doesn’t signal ‘CAMERA BAG’ from its look. It comes in black and olive green (‘mica’), and doesn’t try to call for attention. That is also a good feature.
Finally, the canvas is resistant, so your gear won’t swim around inside the bag, if you go out into the nature on a rainy day. It is not waterproof, but I have never observed any wet spots inside the bag, even though I have been out in some bad weather. I’m pretty sure, the side-flaps have the honor for not letting rain into the main compartment. But if you’r heading for a long trip in rainy conditions, it would be wise to put an additional raincover in one of the small side pockets.
The quality of the sewings, thick padding, dividers, inner linen, canvas, shoulder strap, buckle and zippers are great. I have used this bag for about two years now, and there is only small signs of wear and tear.
The only two minor things, I’ve found about this bag, is the small side pockets and the top padding. The side pockets are so small, that it feels unsafe to put anything important or expensive in them. And the size makes it hard to put something usable in them aswell.
The top padding is thick, but it doesn’t go all the way from the back side to front. This leaves a corner of the bag ‘unprotected’ for shocks. The X-T2 is pretty tough but the rear LCD-screen of other cameras could be at risk.
If you are an X-photographer, this bag is a no-brainer. It will serve you like a buttler; loyal, discrete and convenient, yet trustworthy.