Manfrotto recently launched a bevy of new camera bags for modern creators. One of the new lines is the Street collection. It’s a family of bags designed to meet the needs of creators who love to capture the essence of their city. The smallest and most affordable bag in this collection is the Manfrotto Street Slim Backpack.
If you have read my previous camera bag reviews, you’ll know that I’m rather picky when it comes to camera bags. It takes me an age to find the ‘perfect’ bag. Then, that bag tends to stay with me until it’s ready to go to the big camera bag store in the sky. What can I say, I’m a creature of habit and don’t like change that much.
Recently, Manfrotto won me over with the new Manfrotto Pro Lite Flexloader (read my review here). It made me ditch my old do-it-all work camera bag before its time was up. Can the affordable, and rather unassuming Manfrotto Street Slim Backpack make me give up my daily carry? Let’s find out.
Note: Manfrotto sent us the Manfrotto Street Slim Backpack to review and keep. However, this is an independent review. We have not been told what to say. All thoughts and views about this product are those of the reviewer. We tell you this as we always want to be honest with you, our loyal readers.
- Small and light
- Great build quality
- Water repellent
- Surprisingly spacious
- Can switch between camera bag and day bag
- Incredibly affordable
- Not the most breathable material
Manfrotto Street Slim Backpack — Technical specifications
All technical specifications for the Manfrotto Street Slim Backpack have been taken directly from the official Manfrotto website:
- Material: Water repellent synthetic fabric
- Weight: 1.76 lbs.
- Volume: 12L
- External dimensions: 11.42 x 7.09 x 16.93 in
- Camera insert dimensions: 9.84 x 7.68 x 4.13 in
- Laptop compartment dimensions: 9.84 x 0.39 x 13.78 in
- Personal compartment dimensions: 11.42 x 4.33 x 8.27 in
- Double side pockets for small tripods or water bottles
Manfrotto Street Slim Backpack — Ergonomics and build quality
The first thing that you’ll notice about the Manfrotto Street Slim Backpack is just how small it is. Looks can be deceiving, though. This slim backpack can hold a lot of your belongings. The exterior of the bag measures 11.42 x 7.09 x 16.93 inches and it weighs just 1.76lbs. This makes the bag ideal to carry around on bustling city streets or public transport. You won’t be bashing and banging it into objects or people.
Each side of the bag has an expandable pocket that can hold a small travel tripod or a water bottle. The shoulder straps have attachment points for a small Joby-like tripod and even an expandable pocket for your phone. The main camera compartment of the bag can be accessed either from the front or the rear (more on this later).
You access the personal belongings compartment from a zippered compartment on the top of the bag. There is a grab handle at the top of the bag, and there is a strap across the back that will allow you to place it over the handle of a rolling bag when traveling. The Manfrotto Street Slim Backpack is also plane cabin luggage approved. That’s all there is to this bag. It’s just a nice simple bag with a fuss-free design.
The Street Slim looks and feels great
Overall, the Street Slim backpack looks fantastic. it comes in just one color (green) but the best part is that it doesn’t look like a camera bag at all. This is perfect for those who like to remain low-key and off people’s radar. You won’t attract the wrong kind of attention with this bag. As you would expect from Manfrotto, the build quality is also top-notch.
The lightly textured synthetic fabric feels nice to the touch. It’s also water repellent. While out and about some light rain the bag and the water beaded up. I’m not sure how much rain it will be able to take before it gets too soaked. However, I know that you’ll have more than enough time to make it to a dry spot.
The hardware used on the bag is pretty great as well. The zips glide smoothly when in use and do not snag. The clips and clasps are plastic but they feel solid and secure. The elasticated bungee cords that can be used to hold items in place are high quality too. The Stitching on the bag looks great and the fit and finish are as you would expect them to be. The build quality is impressive for a bag that costs less than $100.
What gear can it hold?
As I mentioned above, when looking at the Manfrotto Street Slim Backpack you wouldn’t think you’d be able to take much gear with you. However, you’d be wrong to think that. The camera compartment can hold a decent amount of equipment. I was able to fit a full-frame Panasonic Lumix S5 with a Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 DG DN Art attached. There was still space for a 50mm f/1.4, and a vintage 135mm f/2.8 and two more small primes.
If you use a smaller camera system (APS-C or micro four-thirds) you’ll be able to cram even more lenses into the bag. The camera compartment offers a fair amount of configuration options as well thanks to the movable M-Guard dividers.
The expandable side pockets are big enough to house a bottle of water and a travel tripod. The personal compartment has a dedicated laptop/tablet pouch that held my 12.9-inch iPad Pro snuggly (max laptop size is 14 inches). I even fit a camera and lens cleaning kit, a journal and a spare T-shirt in the personal compartment.
A couple of pockets are also stitched into the interior of the bag. These can hold cables, memory cards, keys, etc. The Manfrotto Street Slim Backpack may be minimalist in design, but it doesn’t mean you have to be a minimalist when it comes to bringing gear with you.
Manfrotto Street Slim Backpack — Out in the field
I have used the Manfrotto Street Slim Backpack extensively over the last few weeks and I have been seriously impressed with it. As you can see, I’m a big guy, yet the Street Slim still fits me well. The straps don’t have as much in the way of configuration. The shoulder straps are fixed in position to the top of the bag. Still, once the straps were adjusted correctly the bag was comfortable and it didn’t cause any discomfort. Also, note that there’s no sternum strap or waist strap. This makes sense as this bag is designed to keep things light.
In terms of padding on the bag and the shoulder straps, well there’s not much of it. The shoulder straps are pretty thin, to be honest, and there’s just a small amount of padding on the back. Again, though, given that this bag is designed to be light and not be weighed down with enough gear to break your back this is fine. I found that the bag was still comfortable even after long periods of use.
My biggest complaint is that there’s no breathable mesh on the back of the bag. I did notice that my back was sweaty after carrying this bag around for a while. Apart from this, the Manfrotto Street Slim Backpack was a delight to use. It’s easy to configure, It’s easy to get to your gear, it was comfortable, and it protected my gear well.
The Manfrotto Street Slim backpack has some party tricks
There are a couple of unique features that make the Manfrotto Street Slim Backpack stand out from other bags. The first trick is that you can access your camera gear either from the front of the bag or the rear. The way this works is you take the camera cube out of the bag (it’s held in place with Velcro) and you turn it around. You also turn around the laptop sleeve and then place both items back in the bag.
It’s a simple hack, but it offers a ton of versatility and security. If you’re worried about someone coming up to your bag and opening the front zipper, turn the cube around and make it so that to get to your gear you have to use the rear zipper. It’s pretty genius.
The other trick is that you can convert the Manfrotto Street Slim into a day bag or overnight bag that can carry clothes and other personal belongings. Just simply remove the camera cube, and voilà, your camera bag has transformed. It’s nice to have this much versatility in a top-quality bag that costs less than $100.
The Manfrotto Street Slim Backpack is a great bag for daily use
The Manfrotto Street Slim Backpack is a bag that has impressed me during my time with it. The bag looks great and it holds just the right amount of gear and personal belongings to make a day of shooting easy.
The Street Slim is on the small side externally which makes it ideal for life in the city. The bag is water repellent, and the overall build quality is excellent. The Street Slim remained comfortable after long periods of use as well. Throw in the fact that you can convert this bag into a day bag or overnight bag and you have a versatile bag that will suit many creators down to the ground.
If you’re a creator who likes to head out around town with a camera and just a few lenses, and maybe a small drone, the Manfrotto Street Slim Backpack will be right up your alley. You won’t stick out like a sore thumb while wearing it and you won’t have to break the bank to own one. To answer my question of if the Street Slim will replace my current daily carry, the answer is a resounding yes.
Manfrotto Street Slim Backpack 12L
The Manfrotto Street Slim Backpack is a small, light camera bag that is incredibly versatile. Street photographers will like that the bag will not draw unwanted attention to them, and they will love that this bag can easily carry a camera, a few primes, a 14-inch laptop or tablet, a tripod, and even some personal items. The bag can also quickly convert into a day bag or overnight bag that can carry a change of clothes and other personal items. It’s built tough and it can fight off some rain. For the price, this bag is hard to beat.