Elegantly designed,the chameleon-like nature of Manfrotto’s unique bag from the Manhattan line can fit many situations and needs.
In brief, the Manhattan 3-Way Shoulder bag Changer-20 is reminiscent of a bicycle messenger pack in shape, taller than wide, with a top opening, padded camera insert, and three different ways to carry.
Winner of the Red Dot award, details on the particulars of this bag can be found on the Manfrotto website:


The bag is itself is a top-loading tote-style bag with a single zipper across the tip.  Inside is a pocket for both a laptop and a tablet, another interior zippered pocket, a Velcro pocket on both front and back (to hold straps not being used) zipper pockets both front and back, and a zipper closure slot that can turn into a slot to slip over a suitcase or trolly handle.  One can never have too many pockets and this bag has a pocket for everything.Camera equipment is held in a padded insert that is vertical in orientation, loading at the top.

The small dividers are equipped with a webbing loop to facilitate easy removal by slipping a finger through and pulling.  The insert can hold a full frame body without grip, lens attached, another lens, with room to carry the grip separately in case it was needed.  There was also room to the outside of the insert to slip a flash, chargers, snacks, water bottle, or whatever other small accessories are needed.

An attached tripod sling unfolds from a zippered pouch on the bottom front and connects to the front, to hold a compact tripod horizontally. The straps cinch tight to keep it in place. The sling is equipped with textured rubber gripper strips to keep the tripod in place. A water-proof bottom panel protects gear from a damp ground. In preparing for this review, the bag was used in general walking around situations, transporting gear, and shooting out of it (the bag stayed put while the photographer moved around and came back to it to swap out gear).

As a walking around bag worn as a backpack, it has the feel of a carry-your-gear-from-point-A-to-B and not as much a shooting-out-of-the-bag-while-on-the-go bag. In order to access gear, it must be removed (or have a friend get in there for you).

When used as a shoulder bag, access is as easy as a regular shoulder bag, yet seems more secure.  As there are no lids to unbuckle or flip open, access is uncommonly convenient.  The vertical orientation keeps the bag from tipping and contents from spilling. When wearing as a backpack the bag rides comfortably against the back and the wide soft straps did not dig or chafe. the cross-chest strap attached to the backpack straps keeps it from bouncing around on the back.

This bag, however, is not designed for hiking or all day wear (as the name Manhattan implies, it’s more a city thing than an outdoors adventure thing). After walking with it for about four hours as a backpack strain could be felt.  But with the versatility the carrying method could effortlessly be changed around to ease that strain.

In spite of the unlimited sliding ability of the cross-chest strap, I had a difficult time finding a comfortable fit for that part so just left it unbuckled. This particular hitch will vary with user preferences and body type.When using the bag at a shoot, with the bag sitting in one place the photographer moving around and coming back to it, this bag is a dream.

The top loading style allows for easy of access without the worry of things falling out while open.I loved this bag because it is so easy to grab and go. With all the different carrying options, it can be grabbed and carried with whatever method works best with whatever other items are also being carried at the time. And the instant the situation changes, so can the bag.

I have found I prefer to leave the carry handles out and the backpack straps connected at out.  This makes it easy to carry backpack style, one shouldered, with hands using handles, or even with the carry-handles hitched over a shoulder.

This is not a bag that tries to be all things to all people.  In a market with seemingly limits options, with many of them being a variation of a similar thing, the Manfrotto Manhattan 3-Way Shoulder Bag Changer, offers something truly different, not only in versatility, but in appearance as well.  It doesn’t scream “expensive camera inside” but carries said camera with efficiency and convenience. It fits many styles and situations, and can easily shift from urban, to hip to elegant to business.  And with Manfrotto’s reputation for quality workmanship, this bag should provide convenient carrying options for a long time.

 The bag used for this review was generously provided by Manfrotto (the images of the the entire bag are also courtesy Manfrotto)

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