Andy Westlake tries out a versatile shoulder bag
Manfrotto Windsor Reporter at a glance:
- Slimline shoulder bag
- For a DSLR and 2-3 lenses
- Pocket for 13in laptop
- Price: £129.95
- Website: www.manfrotto.co.uk
While Manfrotto is still best known for its tripods, more recently it has started to make camera bags for seemingly every taste. Its Windsor collection is a set of classically styled bags in olive and grey fabric with dark-brown leather detailing. The Reporter is a slimline shoulder bag designed for everyday use, with a flexible interior that will take a laptop and other items.
In essence it’s a simple bag, with a zipped main compartment and an outside pocket that covers its entire front face. This will hold a newspaper or magazine and includes two half-width slip pockets that can each hold an e-reader or a 7in tablet. The only carrying option is a shoulder strap made of a dark brown seatbelt-style material, which has generous length adjustment via twin sliding buckles.
It’s when we turn our attention to the interior that things get more interesting. It’s padded and soft-lined to protect your kit, with movable dividers that allow you to configure one half to fit your camera. This section will take an enthusiast DSLR such as a Canon EOS 7D Mark II with a short zoom attached, although the bag’s slim design means it’s a bit of a squeeze if you also want to carry a laptop, which slips into its own padded compartment at the back. Smaller cameras such as the Sony Alpha 7 series fit somewhat better. However, one quirk of the bag’s design is that it leaves several inches of empty space above your camera kit, which feels a bit wasteful.
An additional flexible divider can protect another lens, and is perfect for a 70-300mm telezoom. Alternatively, you can devote the second half of the bag to other items – perhaps your laptop charger and dongles, or your lunch. A full-width zipped document pocket and half-width mesh pocket complete the internal accommodation.
Manfrotto Windsor Reporter – key features
Double-pull zips are used to access the main bag and front pocket
Grippy and well padded, this makes the bag comfortable to carry
An elasticated expandable pocket can be folded away when not in use
Two leather straps on the front can hold a lightweight travel tripod, or perhaps an umbrella
Manfrotto Windsor Reporter – our verdict
It’s clear the Manfrotto Windsor Reporter isn’t designed to be a conventional camera bag – if that’s what you need, look at the messenger bags in the same range. But if you like to carry a camera with you while going about your daily life, perhaps carrying a laptop to and from work, it’s a really interesting option.
Like all Manfrotto bags, the Windsor Reporter is well made from quality materials, and the two-tone olive and grey finish looks quite smart. However, I’d be wary of how waterproof the zip closures might be in a downpour. Aside from this, though, if you want a quality bag that will carry more than just your camera kit, it’s well worth a look.
SCORE: 4.5 out of 5
The Windsor range
The Windsor range also includes two messenger bags of different sizes, as well as a backpack (rrp £159.95).