I tend to be somewhat on the safer-than-sorry side when it comes to photography and travel. Aside from the obvious camera and lenses, I usually bring a few accessories and other production equipment. (You can never have too many audio, cable, and power options for an SSD.) the last Camera bag I checkedThe Orca OR-516 It was spacious enough to fit all of my gear, but unfortunately, it was too big for most planes. I was constantly negotiating with the cabin crew to let me put it in the cabin, but sometimes, the overhead storage wasn’t big enough, and I had to say goodbye with my precious gear for the flight. (I’ve seen how they handle bags in public storage, it’s scary). That’s when I decided to test 55which is the perfect size for air travel.
The bag has 360-degree (double) spinner wheels, which are great for light travel and smooth sidewalks. This makes the case a good candidate for city travel. It also features customizable dividers, making organizing gear a breeze. Finally, the Spin-55 features a water-resistant exterior, which should do with light rain.
Manfrotto is known for making quality products that last for years, and the Pro Light Reloader Spin 55 Camera Bag is no exception. It is a semi-solid state in a clamshell configuration. Considering the amount of padding and the fact that it’s solid, it’s very light at 3.66kg.
If you like a sleek design, you’ll love the glossy black exterior with red highlights.
The bag has four double wheels that make it easy to move around, even when fully loaded. No matter how much gear and weight you put inside, it stayed smooth. The handle is adjustable to two different heights and feels very sturdy. There is also a small handle when going up stairs. Finally, the Spin 55 comes with a TSA lock, but every airline where I got this bag has required them to keep it unlocked, so I’m not sure if the TSA locks are as big as they used to be for travel. They still allow you to lock the case against prying eyes and prevent accidental opening.
Bottom cover and general storage
One of the nice things Manfrotto has done here is that the bottom of the shell doesn’t go all the way up to meet the spacers. Instead, it cuts halfway through and leaves the dividers semi-exposed. Instead, Manfrotto added zip-mesh that “seals” the entire bag to prevent gear from falling out. I like this configuration much better than the usual cases. The mesh is secure, but the bag feels softer and lighter. In fact, the entire interior of the case can be removed and replaced. The more I use the bag, the more I like this interior design.
In terms of space, using a semi-hard (or semi-soft) shell allows for thinner walls, which in turn equals more storage space, more on this in a nutshell.
Top cover and accessibility
The upper crust here is not flat. It is symmetrical with the lower sleeve, and when closed down, completely covers the dividers. Like I mentioned, it felt kind of weird at first that the zipper wasn’t on top of the bag, but after a very short time, it became pretty normal.
In terms of storage, the top shell has a medium sized pocket and a medium sized mesh storage. The type of pockets you might use for batteries, cables, or other small accessories. Manfrotto says you can fit a small tablet in the bottom bag, but I haven’t tested this myself. But if I did, I would love the fact that the gear on the bottom was protected by that zip-mesh.
Finally, there is also a laptop sleeve that you can access from the outside of the case. According to Manfrotto, it fits 15 inches, and I certainly had no issues with my Asus since it’s only 14 inches. I love the fact that you can access the laptop from the outside without having to open the entire bag. This access point has two additional small mesh pockets just the right size for memory cards or more small cables.
There are two small Velcro straps that hold this access point from the opening to the end, which is a nice touch.
This is how much “status” you get
So here’s what I can find on the case. I’m clearly over the eight kilo limit, but the bag is so inconspicuous that I’ve never been asked to weigh it. I just wander along the check-in booths.
This makes the bag a good candidate for carrying everything you need for a two-person encounter (without lights and tripods). In fact, it has a bag and straps on the side for one mini tripod.
The only downside I found is that the bag is not long enough to fit a volume knob-equipped Sony FX3. You will have to break it when you put the kit in the bag.
The wheels on the case are very smooth, and use a variety where each wheel is doubled, so the weight is well distributed. On the other hand, these are small wheels and are not suitable for rough terrain.
The Manfrotto Pro Light Reloader Spin 55 Bag is a great option for carrying a lot of gear. Whether in the world of photos or videos. It is even more so if you need to get your equipment on a plane. Case sells $399.95 at B&Hmaking them a handy consideration if you’re looking for a new bag or an upgrade.
#DIYP #reviews #Pro #Light #Reloader #Spin