The Tenba Messenger Mini Camera/Laptop Bag

The New Tenba Messenger Mini Camera/Laptop Bag

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I am liking what I see in the video below by Tenba on their new Messenger bag that will hold your photo gear and laptop while having some pretty cool features such as waterproof bottom (so if you have to sit your bag down on a wet surface it will not soak inside the bag) and compartments and the overall design (as well as the wide color selection). I have spoken with Tenba about getting a sample to review as it seems like a GREAT travel bag. I love my Fogg bag but it does not hold much besides my camera and lens and it costs 5X the amount of this Tenba bag. My very nice Think Tank “Mirrorless Mover” has somehow found its way to my Son for his Nikon V1 setup.

I like these Tenba bags because even the smallest MINI Messenger will hold a macbook air or iPad and the brown would look pretty sharp in my copper Mini Cooper πŸ™‚ Take a look at the video below and you can also check it out on their website to see all of the cool colors available.

The Messenger comes in three sizes: Mini, Small and LargeΒ 

and Look at all of the colors on Amazon πŸ™‚

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B&H Photo also sells these and the reviews are fantastic, so I may end up just ordering one πŸ™‚ If so, I will do a video review as soon as I give it a spin.

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30 Comments

  1. I have a large Tenba Messenger bag and have used it for years for my medium format kit. I don’t love the size of it (or the size of medium format equipment), but the pockets and zippered compartments are really useful for keeping everything separated and organized.

    The waterproof bottom is worthwhile. Once I accidentally set my bag down in a puddle of water in a restaurant and didn’t notice the puddle until we were almost done eating. The puddle was about half an inch deep, but the interior of the bag was completely dry. Lucky for me and the restaurant.

    It would be great to have the option of a khaki color as walking around Phoenix (or any hot and sunny locale) with a black bag can result in some very hot equipment.

  2. I’ve owned many bags, including Think Tank, Lowepro, and others. All I can say is Tenba really engineers their bags to be user friendly, and this bag is now my favorite for daily use. Especially like how easy the Tenba zippers work.. amazing. Love how the bag sits flat without tipping over. Bring it to work, open, and all of your gear is quickly accessible. Kudos Tenba.

  3. I just don’t get the comments about one type of bag being more susceptible to theft than another. Here’s the deal.. thieves case tourist areas. They look for bags and unless you carry a garbage bag that has flies coming out of it they will pay attention. And the moment u pull a camera out to take a photo you have revealed yourself.
    They could not care less about the bag.

    • You may not get it but it happens quite often actually. For example, many Leica users own Billingham bags. Thieves know this. I’ve personally known 4 photographers who had their (billingham) bags stolen because the thief assumed they had high dollar equipment inside. It happens.

      • Were they stolen off them or from hotel rooms/ unattended cars etc?

        The moment you pull a camera out of a bag in a public place you have revealed yourself to thieves.

        Either way it is a reall good idea to insure your gear. It is just added to your homeowner’s or renter’s policy. Cheap to do too.

      • I know of a gentleman who had a Billingham bag. Poor soul left it in his hotel room while eating lunch and the bag went missing. The staff at the hotel warned him not to wander around with it. Sometimes I wish Mountain Co-Op or some such company who used to make those canvas school backpacks would make something small for a camera. You know the ones, with the big drawstring at the top and the flaps with soft leather and metal latches. They just looked a little ratty but held up for years through university.

        • what we need is a control. Steve can you leave two camera bags full of Leica gear in a hotel room – one a billingham and the other a tenba – and see which one gets stolen.
          i’d help but i’m busy that day.

          • I’m not sure in his case it would have mattered. He was walking around the whole hotel with it… Fiddling with it, opening, closing it, waving his camera around. Really not very discrete.

  4. Beleive it or not but I bought my tenba in 1982 in NY. I still holds my gear (now omd, kitzoom plus 25mm), plus glasses, ipad if needed, passport, and a lot of little things. Found nothing better, it’s still perfect and we travelled to a lot of places with it.

    Leendert Maarleveld, the netherlands

    • I can believe it. I am impressed with the quality of my Tenba especially since it was on sale and relatively cheap. It really looks well made. Sure the materials don’t have any real wonderful tactile feel to them, but they certainly do the job well.

  5. I have a Thinktank Urban Disguise 35 to transport a 13″ MBP and photo equipment, is a great choice to travel with but when arrive to destination I leave it in my room and pick up a Lowepro Passport Sling packed in main luggage for I don’t need my 13″ MBP, and eventually other stuff. That’s a great option to travel light and walk on streets very inconspicuous and low profile.

  6. Hmm… This can’t be new. I have one here in that Copper Orange colour that I bought two years ago.
    It’s a nice bag but I still use my Domke f-5XC more often because the Tenba is a bit on the large size for daily use while I still carry a small messenger bag.

    • Instead, how about showing plain commonsense and sensible precaution, happy? When has “confidence” deterred thieves? Yeah, right.
      And how about learning from the experience of other travellers and help yourself, as well as the authorities who have to constantly put up with irresponsible whiners knocking on their doors after they’ve been robbed?

      Take responsibility instead, rather like locking your car doors in an unknown neighbourhood.

  7. I love the “look” of the Tenba, but I have to say that I can’t see any advantage over having a perhaps more discreet TT Retro. I’ve had mine for a while and it’s been through a lot. It’s rugged and versatile. i get a lot in there too. The tenba looks a lot like a city day bag in comparison, but that might just be me.
    The Think Tanks are by no means perfect, but they haven’t let me down yet…

  8. Since most parvenues and pillocks target expensive looking stuff that is badly garded and highly advertised (like the Kusthal found out to it’s expence) a camerabag should look like crap the dog dragged in from the rain accros a muddy driveway….this looks way to nice to me and since I”m not in the business of showing of my camerabag but using the crap that is inside it.

    Greets, Ed.

  9. I have a Tenba Small Messenger (one size larger than the mini), it is a solid bag with a great padded strap that disconnects quickly. The strap is so nice I use it for all my smaller camera bags. The quality is top notch, really well made, just make sure your kit will fit before buying one.

    Loaded with a 13″ MBP, laptop charger, a pentax K7 with CZ ZK 35mm f/2, rocketblower, and 3 extra primes it is a bit heavy to carry on one shoulder for long distances. The K7 though small was not a great fit, I had to remove it’s tripod mount and the bag’s inner padding to get enough room, it always seemed to get caught on the hot-shoe when I was removing it. Unfortunately, the bag is rigid and does not allow any expansion for the depth. It would be much better suited for a mirrorless kit than a DSLR.

    Eventually I grew tired of the heavy shoulder bag and the back problems that came with regularly carrying it. I reverted back to my old trusty LowePro CompuDayPack as it is far more comfortable to carry the weight on my back. After selling my Pentax system I can still fit my laptop, charger, D3x and three primes in the CompuDayPack.

    I recently purchased a Domke F-6 Little Bit Smaller as a walk-around bag, it fits my D3x, 35mm f1.4, 85mm f/1.8, and 50mm f/1.8 comfortably.

  10. Just cut to the chase and buy a Billingham. Lots of variety and options and instead of looking like yet another metrosexual, and a rather weary one at that in several years, the Billy gathers even more elan and class as it ages.

    (Passport in the bag? Well in familiar cities maybe but everywhere else in an under-shirt pouch. That video guy needs to get out more. Embassies are driven mad by passport losers who have had their bags stolen.)

    • Billinghams SCREAM “I have expensive gear in here”. I have owned three of them and they are superb bags…but today, not my preference. I actually enjoy low key black messenger style, like A&A but always like trying new things.

      • Hi Steve, Billingham do black. Very low key, in fact. But an old plastic shopping bag may be the only sure way to fool the low-life. It’s interesting to stand aside under the Eiffel in Paris and watch them case the tourists.

        Have to go to London in a few days time and thought of picking up the small Stowaway Airline Billingham for use with the Nex-7 and some small Leica glass; carrying less gear if you can guess what you’ll need for a day, makes safe stowage a little more manageable.

        Cheers.

  11. A tempting bag! Unfortunately, I’m a bagaholic, and also tend to fill all the available space in any bag I carry. If there’s too much room, it gets really heavy to carry. Time and again, I come back to my Think Tank Urban Disguise 40 for general use (fits a MacBook Air and my Leica kit) and the bigger Urban Disguise 60 for serious travelling.

  12. I am thinking to get one of these mini bags but too many to choose from. How about the ThinkTank Mirrorless Mover 30i? Any recommendation?

  13. IMHO most camera bag manufacturers add too much padding. Takes up excessive space and adds weight. Most cameras and lenses are quite robust in my experience and thinner padding much like that found in quality lens pouches is quite adequate. I’m not seeing “wow” factor with this bag.

    • While you are right that most of the time it’s not that necessary…and I’ve had many a modern digital camera or even older antique film cameras bounce around in my messenger bag that’s not much more than just canvas, I’d like a bit more padding when traveling and a stiffer bag like this that keeps it’s form (unlike the Thinktank Retrospectives, my other favorite bag, that is, like you say, pretty thin and molds to your body) is good when you have to put it up in an overhead or under the seat and such. I’ve traveled with both but in the end, for flying at least, I like the stiffer Tenba. For walking around though, it’s hard to beat the Retrospective line.

  14. I don’t think this is new…or maybe it is in the US? I bought one of these back around 2009 in Japan. It was my travel camera bag for a long time since it fit my second laptop (if I’m traveling for work I have one laptop for work and one for me…) as well as a good amount of gear. I agree with Mark that it’s a bit stiff. But it’s pretty durable and I like it quite a bit. It’s held everything from my DSLR gear to my Hassy as well as my Rolleiflex, sometimes my Land Camera and pack film, etc..

    I still use it but now it’s become my large format camera bag since it will hold my Linhof Technika folded up on one half and then a set of film holders and polaroid backs and such on the other half and the laptop area can hold my dark cloth and the pockes will fit my loupe and my light meter and so on. It’s gone around the world with me a number of times, shoved under airline seats and overhead compartments, been in rain and snow and been placed on who knows how many surfaces, but it’s still good. Plus I love that zipper up top that allows you to get into the bag without unbuckling or tearing the velcro and lifting the flap. Nice idea there πŸ™‚

  15. Two points:

    1. only the bottom is waterproof? why not the whole bag? what if you get caught in the rain?

    2. what Fogg bag do u have? my b sharp carries my Leica, plus sf 24 flash, 90mm elmar, 35mm summicron, 18mm super elmar, 50mm lux, 28mm , i pad, viewfinders, filters etc.

  16. I have one of their medium messengers. The only issue is that they’re fairly heavy and stiff. I’ve settled on the Think Tank Retrospective 7, which is their smallest size that still holds an iPad for when I travel.

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