Lowepro Event Messenger Camera Bags
Lowepro’s Event Messenger bags could be just the ticket if you’re looking for a camera bag that’s discrete but capacious. Three sizes are available in this new line of shoulder bags, with capacities that range from a compact camera plus accessories to a DSLR with a couple of lenses and a 13-inch laptop. In line with the company’s traditions, all three bags are thoughtfully designed and well-made.
These bags are available in only one colour, a greyish-khaki hue described by the company as ‘Mica’. They have darker, brownish trims and broad, almost black woven shoulder straps with a sliding pad for added comfort and support. The overall impression is of subdued stylishness that doesn’t shout ‘photo equipment’.
The three bags in Lowepro’s Event Messenger line-up. (Source: Lowepro.)
All three bags are made from coated nylon, which is light but durable. The inner lining combines a polyester tricot knit over 3 mm polyurethane foam, which provides impact resistance and rigidity. The lining is also smooth and soft enough to protect surfaces like monitors and viewfinder windows.
The main compartment in each bag contains user-configurable dividers that can be set up to hold a camera plus lenses and other accessories. Behind the main compartment in the Event Messenger 250 and Event Messenger 150 bags is a slim envelope for a 13-inch laptop (Event Messenger 250) or tablet computer (Event Messenger 150)
The Event Messenger 250 shown open and loaded. (Source: Lowepro.)
A slim, zippered compartment on the front of each bag is lined with rip-stop nylon and divided into pockets that can hold smaller items like memory cards, spare batteries, portable hard disk drives, writing implements and/or a mobile phone. These pockets are slightly padded to protect their contents.
This compartment is protected by the flap that covers the main compartment and attaches to a clip on the lower edge of the bag’s front panel. Bean-sized plastic grips on the ends of the zipper tags make the zips easy to locate and open and close.
The main compartment in each bag doesn’t have a zippered closure. Instead, a pair of Velcro fasteners astride the clip on the inside of the cover flap are adjustable to provide secure closure. Opened out these flaps provide maximum security; folded over, they allow quick and quiet access to the contents of the bag.
Each bag’s shoulder strap is made from 50 mm wide webbing, which is strong but comfortable and long enough to allow the bag to be worn with the strap over the shoulder or across the user’s body. The bag can be worn on the user’s hip or swung around to the front to access its contents, as shown in the illustration below. A contoured sliding pad that ranges from 75 mm to 80 mm wide provides additional comfort and support.
Accessing equipment in the Event Messenger 250. (Source: Lowepro.)
The strap is fully adjustable but, unfortunately, the slot in the pad isn’t quite wide enough to accommodate the buckle on the strap, should you want to carry the bag without slinging it on your shoulder or across your body. Lowepro provides an additional grab handle at the back of the top flap, just in front of the slit pocket on the rear panel. It’s only 15 mm wide and unpadded but adequate when you need to grab the bag quickly.
Gusseted pockets below the strap anchors provide additional space for water bottles, fold-up umbrellas, cables, battery chargers or small flash guns. The slash pocket on the rear of the bag can store camera manuals, tickets, colour reference cards or other flat items.
For our user tests, we loaded each of the review bags with the recommended set of equipment. Into the Event Messenger 150 we packed a Canon EOS 1100D with 17-85mm lens attached plus EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM and EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 lenses. We had to move the dividers to accommodate the camera comfortably but once done, all three items fitted well and were easy to access.
Behind this equipment there was space for a 10-inch tablet PC, although not with a keyboard attached and it was a pretty tight fit. A slightly smaller device, like the 9.7-inch iPad should fit more comfortably.
A spare battery and charger, several memory cards, a pen and a mobile phone slipped easily into the front pocket. The camera manual created a small bulge in the back pocket, which also provided space for a very slim paperback book.
We were easily able to cram a Canon EOS 5D Mark II fitted with the EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens into the Event Messenger 250 and have enough space for the EF 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 DO IS USM lens plus an additional lens of similar (or slightly larger) size. Our tablet PC fitted comfortably into the slot pocket behind this gear with its keyboard and folio cover attached. There was also plenty of space for a 13-inch laptop as an alternative to the tablet.
The larger bag provided additional space in all the remaining pockets to be utilised as the photographer sees fit. A slightly larger or thicker book could be slid into the rear pocket without cramping access to either it or the camera manual.
The side pockets on the Event Messenger 250 were just large enough to take a normal-sized water bottle, while those on the Event Messenger 150 were a little too small. However, you can easily slip a bottle of sunscreen into either pocket.
On both bags it’s probably best to keep the length of anything stored in these side pockets under about 15 cm. Longer items can get in the way of the strap anchor points, although on both bags they are stitched down firmly on the body of the bag.
Even with relatively heavy loads, both bags were comfortable to carry ““ for shoulder bags. The broad straps on each bag spread the load well and the pad is wide enough to provide additional comfort, regardless of whether the strap is worn across the chest or hung from the shoulder.
Because of these features these bags are better suited photographers who operate in urban areas and, as their name suggests, ideal for ‘social’ photography, in the street or at events such as weddings and similar celebrations. Given their understated elegance and capacities, they could also be quite suitable for non-energetic travelling.
We would not recommend these bags for active situations like bushwalking and adventure travelling. Even when the strap is worn across the chest, a shoulder bag can swing about too much to be comfortable when you’re climbing rocky tracks or manoeuvring through forests and/or around rocks and these bags have no tethering facilities to keep them in place. A sudden slippage of a load could imperil both the wearer and the gear the bag contains.
When deciding which bag suits you best, take account of the amount of gear you usually need to carry and match the bag accordingly. Potential purchasers who need a single bag to carry a camera plus a laptop computer are virtually forced to pick the Event Messenger 250, although it can only accommodate smaller laptops (a 14-inch laptop would probably be a tight fit).
Owners of smaller, non-reflex (‘mirrorless’) interchangeable lens cameras, particularly Micro Four Thirds models will probably be able to pack a camera plus several lenses and accessories into the Event Messenger 100, which would be a good choice as a travel gear bag, provided it wasn’t required for strenuous exercise. This bag could also be a good choice for videographers with smaller camcorders.
Buy one of these bags if:
- You want secure and stylish storage for one camera body plus a small range of accessories and personal items.
- You want a camera bag that doesn’t look as if it contains photo equipment.
Don’t buy these bags if:
– You engage in strenuous physical activities or adventure travel.
- You require high levels of shock and water resistance.
- You need to carry a substantial amount of serious equipment while travelling.
Event Messenger 250
Internal (wxhxd): 350 x 120 x 345 mm
External (wxhxd): 388 x 188 x 298 mm
Weight: 800 grams
Accommodates: Standard DSLR with attached lens, 3 or 4 additional lenses/flash, accessories, 13-inch laptop
Event Messenger 150
Internal (wxhxd): 295 x 100 x 218 mm
External (wxhxd): 343 x 158 x 266 mm
Weight: 400 grams
Accommodates: Standard DSLR with attached lens, 2 or 3 additional lenses/flash, accessories, tablet computer
Event Messenger 100
Internal (wxhxd): 200 x 90 x 168 mm
External (wxhxd): 220 x 140 x 215 mm
Weight: 400 grams
Accommodates: Standard DSLR with attached 18-55mm lens, 1 or 2 additional lenses/flash, accessories or compact system camera with attached lens plus 2 or 3 additional lenses and accessories
RATING (out of 10):