It looked like just another photo backpack when I took it out of its packaging. It had the finishing quality we’re used to seeing from Manfrotto’s products. While they’re better known for their durable tripod range, Manfrotto does have a large variety of camera bags under its brand umbrella. They refreshed their Street camera bag lineup in October this year, and I opted to review the Street Slim Backpack model. Having only ever used larger, heavier backpacks (that I mainly bought for travel) while out on the streets, I was hoping this would be a refreshing change. It didn’t disappoint. But how did the Street Slim backpack hold up during a walk around the streets of old Dubai?
Too Long, Didn’t Read
Despite being lightweight, my camera gear felt safe and protected inside. It’s designed for mirrorless cameras and medium-size DSLRs to be housed and can take a large laptop inside too. The lower compartment inside can be moved around to allow access to camera gear from either the front or the rear of the backpack. It comes with an all-new divider system that Manfrotto terms as M-Guard™. Made of high-density EVA foam, these provide a high level of shock resistance to your camera gear. I only wish the upper half of the backpack came with these customisable dividers. Lightweight and stylish, the Street Slim Backpack from Manfrotto is an excellent addition to any street photographer’s bag collection.
Pros and Cons
- Sturdy, shock absorbent EVA foam M-Guard™ dividers
- Cameras and lenses can be accessed via front or rear zippers
- Padded laptop case can be completely removed from the backpack
- Use the provided strap at the back to slide over your trolley handle when you want it off your back at the airport
- Water repellent
- Upper half didn’t have a padded compartment. But it doesn’t seem like Manfrotto intended for it to hold camera gear.
- Phone holder on the shoulder strap isn’t meant for larger phones (couldn’t hold my 6.4″ screen Huawei)
- No sternum strap
M-Guard™ Protection System padded dividers. As mentioned in the press release by Manfrotto:
An all new protection system in the form of high-performance modular divider that improve customizability and cushioning of the internal compartments. The M-Guard™ Protection System was specifically designed and laboratory tested to guarantee the highest level of protection and shock resistance especially on areas of the bag where protection is most crucial. M-Guard™ dividers are made of high-density EVA foam that provide exceptional shock absorption while maintaining a super slim profile.
I tested the Manfrotto Street Slim Backpack using the following gear:
- Nikon Z6 II
- Nikkor Z 50mm f1.8 S lens
- Nikkor Z 24-70 f4 S lens
- Laowa 10-18mm Z mount lens
- M1 MacBook Air 13″
- Benro MK10 mini tripod
- iPhone SE
- Gilet size S
- Two spiral notepads
- A pen
I wouldn’t recommend carrying more than two additional lenses in the padded insert, because everything would the fit too tightly in there.
As seen on the webpage for the Manfrotto Street Slim Backpack
|Minimum Weight||0.8 kg|
|Camera Insert Dimensions||25 x 19.5 x 10.5 cm|
|External Dimensions||29 x 18 x 43 cm|
|Compatible Drones Models||DJI Mavic Pro, DJI Mavic Pro Platinum, DJI Mavic Air, DJI Mavic 2 Pro, DJI Mavic 2 Zoom|
|Laptop Compartment Dimensions||25 x 1 x 35 cm|
|Personal Compartment Dimensions||29 x 11 x 21 cm|
|Types of Gear||Mirrorless, Point & shoot, Tripod, Foldable drone|
I like squarish backpacks, and even though the exterior of the Street Slim Backpack isn’t made of stiff material, on the whole, the surface looks solid. An almost military shade of green, it doesn’t scream out to passersby and doesn’t look like a dedicated camera bag.
The left shoulder strap has a phone compartment with an elastic loop to hold it in place.
I could fit my Huawei P30 Pro in here, but the loop wasn’t large enough to hold it safely. Had to swap it out with an iPhone SE.
The backpack comes configured with the open side of the compartment facing the backpack’s front.
Getting the camera out of the backpack in this manner wasn’t the most comfortable, as you can see above. I had to slide it completely off my shoulders to get at my camera using the front zipper.
Access to the Street Slim Backpack can be configured to your choice
A quick read through on the Street Slim Backpack page on the Manfrotto website, and I found that it could be flipped around. But this couldn’t be done without setting the backpack down and taking out the contents of the backpack, so it would have to be done when I was home later.
The strap on the right can hold a small tripod (or a selfie stick if you’re into vlogging). Secure this in place with the elastic strap that can be locked with the loop lock.
What you see here are the pockets built into the laptop protection sleeve, visible when I opened the rear zipper on the backpack. Of course, these would be accessible via the front zipper if you decided to configure the backpack to allow you access to your camera gear from the rear. I could fit in two spiral notebooks, a pen, and a few business cards in these pockets. You could probably also toss in your camera manual in the same area but outside the pockets.
The top of the Street Slim Backpack has a large zip that allows you access to what Manfrotto terms as the ‘Personal Compartment.’
The laptop sleeve, which is held in place by velcro but completely removable from the backpack, is also accesible from the top only.
With or without the laptop sleeve, there is sufficient place inside the Personal Compartment to hold a few clothes of yours (not that I carry clothes in my camera backpack while out on the streets). I’m unsure if Manfrotto sells camera inserts separately, but if you have these as part of other Manfrotto bags you own, they’d probably fit in here too. It doesn’t have any velcro except to hold the lower compartment in place. So any insert you place inside the Personal Compartment is likely to move around while you’re walking.
I could easily fit a size S gilet in this compartment. You could also fit in the DJI Mavic Pro 2 Fly More combo case and additional batteries. However, they would probably jiggle as you walk around.
A pocket each on either side of the Street Slim backpack is suitable for holding water bottles or similarly sized items. Manfrotto opted not to use elastic mesh pockets here, and I commend them for this. Such pockets usually end up getting stretched beyond their limits and eventually lose their elasticity and shape.
You can also use this to hold a small tripod, as well as a larger sized one, which can further be kept safely in place by tightening the available straps.
The prominently visible “Designed In Italy” tag is the first thing you see when you open the bag. Quality isn’t something Manfrotto scrimps on with its products.
The bag’s exterior is water repellent, and while clouds did gather on the day I took it out for a test, the rain didn’t materialize, sadly.
Ease of Use
Taking the inner compartment out isn’t quickly done, and I’m glad Manfrotto makes you go through a few steps to achieve this. For one, it makes you appreciate the efforts that the design team went through to create this bag. Second, you have to carefully and thoroughly velcro the sides of the compartment (once you’ve flipped it around) to the inside of the backpack.
Thirdly, you can see how well padded the laptop sleeve is when you take it out. The loops and lock heads that come with it ensure your laptop or tablet doesn’t slide out.
I find accessing my camera gear through the rear compartment a more preferable option as I can do this without having to take the whole backpack off my shoulders. I’m glad Manfrotto incorporated this option in the design of their Street Slim Backpack.
Another helpful addition to the Street Slim Backpack is the strap across the back, just above the rear zipper. If you’re running around an airport and just need to get the backpack off your back, you can slip your luggage trolley handle under this strap and safely balance it on your luggage.
- At just 800 grams, it’s not going to weigh you down. Some backpacks I’ve owned are nearly 2kg to begin with.
- Doesn’t look like a typical camera backpack: perfect to blend in on the streets.
- Configurable design means you can setup the backpack to access your camera gear either from the front or the rear, or from either side if you decide to not keep the laptop sleeve inside the backpack.
- Could have come with a smaller padded insert to use with the upper compartment, for those of us who want to carry more gear.
The Manfrotto Street Slim Backpack is a decent first choice for photographers who want an affordable, lightweight, customizable backpack. Travel photographers who don’t lug around a lot of gear would find this useful, especially the Personal compartment.