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REVIEW: Tenba Discovery Photo/Laptop Messenger Mini

tenba1I needed a bag that could carry my office issued 13″ Macbook Pro, a Nikon DSLR and a few lenses. I looked around the malls in Makati and was smitten with the Tenba Discovery Photo/Laptop Messenger Mini that I chanced upon at Camerahaus in the new Glorrieta mall. Let me tell you my experience with it.

I think photographers have a baggage issues. Not the emotional kind but the physical one. Photographers are in constant search for THE PERFECT bag for our cameras, lenses, accessories, and computers.

The Tenba messenger bag I bought was to satisfy an daily issue: how to carry with me  a camera with one or two lenses, plus a laptop, an iPad, smartphone, a notebook (the paper kind) and a book or magazine.  Oh, including all the various chargers, cables, power bricks needed to keep these working.

My search first took me to the Glorietta Malls in Makati, in the CameraHaus shop. There, I quickly saw the Tenba Discovery Messenger bag that would be the benchmark for the succeeding search I made. This happened almost a week before my trip to Myanmar. I wanted to travel light and believed that a photo/laptop messenger bag would do the trick. I wanted it at first sight. It was worth 3,250 pesos and would be able to get it at 3,000 if I paid in cash. But like all good husbands, I first “consulted” my wife.

The consultation did not proceed as planned. I ended up bringing my North Face backpack and packing in the camera in there. I placed my lenses inside Tamrac lens pouches and the body on top of all the other stuff inside the bag which included a book, basic toiletries, some snacks and the iPad.

After getting back from the trip, my itch to buy a photo/laptop messenger bag grew worse. Whereve we went, I would look for a messenger bag. Inside SM Malls, in the luggage section, there is a dealer of Case Logic bags. They too had a photo/laptop bag called the Case Logic FLXM-102 Reflexion DSLR with iPad Medium Cross Body Bag. I actually looked nice but it costs 5,000 so it was way out of my budget.tenba2

Just beside their booth was the PacSafe photo/laptop messenger bag. This was a great bag. It has anti-theft features and costs over 7,000! Way, way beyond my budget.

I wanted the Tenba even more so I decided that that was the bag I wanted. I went back to the CameraHaus shop in Glorieta and it was gone! They were out of stock! I was heartbroken. So I searched for it online and found its Philippine distributor, Lightroom, Inc., and asked where I could find it. They said PhotoBomb at the Trinoma Mall in quezon City would probably be still carrying it. No (excuse me for the word, this is just an expression) luck. They did not have it. I was bummed.

So a few days went on and I could not find it. Then, a few weeks ago, we went to MegaMall and again went to the CamraHaus shop there. The Tenba I wanted wasn’t being sold there. But the guy I talked to told me that the Canon shop across the hall may have it. Boom! ME and my wife immediately went but before getting there, we stopped by the Case Logic shop in the hall just to be sure and almost, almost bought a bag there. I told the saleslady there that I would go back if I willnot find the Tenba I was looking for at the Canon shop.

Fast forward to the Canon shop. There, right in front of the entrance was the elusive Tenba Discovery Photo/Laptop Messenger Mini. There was only one left, in the color I wanted. I did not hesitate and pulled out my credit card to buy it. I did not go back to the Case Logic shop.

tenba3THE REVIEW

Yes, let’s go back to the review. It has a padded slot for a 13″ Macbook Pro or Air, a photo insert where you can put a DSLR with lens attached up to 6 inches. Space for one or two more lenses and a flash.  When I did that you can still put the Macbook Pro’s charger charger in a big zippered pocket which contains a few more pockets for a small external hard drive, a smartphone, USB cables, pens, business cards, a Thunderbolt to VGA adapter and few small stuff. The photo equipment are housed in a photo insert which you can takeout if you are not bringing your photo gear.

Outside this pocket is another small zippered pocket where you can put keys or a purse. On the side that faces the body is a wide but narrow zippered pocket that can host a magazine or narrow book. I found the included raincover there which I am not too crazy about. The bag is, by the way, not waterproof, only water repellant, thus need for a separate reain cover which is a bit difficult to put on. You should be in a shade when you put this on because it may need a bit of pulling and tugging.

The bag includes a nice, wide strap that makes carrying a fully loaded bag easier. The strap is locked into a tri-angled bracket which allows to adjustthe bag in a more convenient way. The flap has clasps which seemed very sturdy. It also a has zipper on top of the flap so that you can access your camera without opening the flap, cool! A minor gripe is that even when the flap is closed, there is still a small gap at the sides where your bag can still be accessed.

Overall, I love this bag and its within my budget.

Photos were taken from tenba.com. I hope they don’t mind since Im promoting their bag. 😎

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