Field Test: Manfrotto Bumblebee-230 PL Review

Pretty stoked to get my hands on the new range of Manfrotto Bumblebee camera bag, anyone who knows anything about photography will know that the guys at Manfrotto produce some stella photography gear from Tripods to Lighting and Camera Bags. The Manfrotto Bumblebee-230 PL camera backpack is a professional camera bag which I personally use for my wedding photography and my travels. This carry-on pack* is built to keep your pro photo gear protected while providing long-wearing comfort. The signature design produced by Manfrotto safeguards a gripped DSLR body with 70-200/2.8 attached plus 10 lenses, or an attached 400/2.8 with 5 lenses, or a professional camcorder with its accessories. The “checkpoint-friendly”, designated laptop-only section also holds a 17” laptop for editing on the move.


The bag can be divided into top and bottom compartments by closing the main zipper stopper, making gear quickly accessible from the top. Alternatively, the top section can be reserved for personal items. The unique AirSupport back & harness system not only distributes weight evenly on the shoulders, waist and hips but also maximizes breathability thanks to a suspended mesh panel. The load lifters, sternum straps, shoulder straps and waist belt are all fully adjustable in length to give you the utmost flexibility and comfort. The backpack’s water-repellent Rip-Stop nylon/polyester fabric, hollowed ITW Nexus buckles and Duraflex hardware make the pack both ultra-lightweight and strong enough to withstand the most intense use, ensuring long-term protection for large amounts of gear. The tuck-away NeverLose tripod connection is always ready to secure a variety of professional tripod sizes. Besides the external zip and stretchable pockets for accessories and a water bottle, there is also a lens pouch on the waist belt for super-quick and easy lens changing. This model comes with a DuoFace sun/rain cover, which provides extra protection in rough weather and reflects sunlight, keep gear cool and dry all day long.

*Check with your airline for current carry-on requirements.


Camera Protection System

Manfrotto's CPS – Camera Protection System has been specifically engineered and laboratory tested to garantee the highest level of protection and shock resistance where it really counts. I use the Bumblebee backpack to transport my wedding gear from the office to each wedding destination. Although I generally keep the backpack in a secure place whilst I'm shooting weddings, I still need protection whilst driving and transporting my kit in and out of various venues. I use the backpack to it's full potential when I'm shooting Pre Wedding Shoots and out capturing my own personal photography, whether that's street photography or landscape photography. 


Interchangeable Dividers

The dividers are a huge selling point for me, most pro photographers have an abundance of kit, and it won't all be needed on various shoots. I personally take different kit to weddings depending on the couple, the venue and of course the great British weather. The Bumblebee backpack allows you customise each compartment to easily fit to the exact size of the gear you're taking on a particular shoot. I often find myself packing gear for three or four days, during wedding season it's more often than not I can be shooting three weddings in a row. I not only need an abundance of kit, I also need backups, hard drives, chargers, Macbook and my Loupedeck. The Bumblebee-230 caters for all this and more! 


External Tripod Connections

This bag comes with the option and proper connections to attach your tripod externally. Again, this is another fantastic reason the Bumblebee-230 caters for all genres of photography. Lugging a tripod around, when you've already got a ton of kit on your back isn't always a pleasant experience, but the Bumblebee-230 does offer a decent solution for this. If I'm totally honest, when I heard the backpack can hold a decent weighty tripod, I did imagine it would end up swinging around on your back and giving someone a nice whack, but it's really really good! It sits perfectly at the side of the backpack and with the advanced supports on the Bumblebee-230 it doesn't weigh you down on that particular side. I tend to carry monopods whilst shooting weddings and I can easily fit a couple without any problems. 


UV Protection & Rain Protector

You also have the added piece of mind that the external rain protector has your back covered in extreme circumstances. On one side the protector protects your bag and gear from any crazy downpours. On the reverse you also have a silver side which will deflect direct sunshine and prevent your gear from overheating... unfortunately I haven't had much chance to field test this in the UK.. surprisingly! The Bumblebee-230's has come in use full during wet weather weddings, I always rock dual camera bodies on weddings. If the weather has taken a turn for the worst and I need to cover one, the 230 is large enough to just throw my bodies and lenses in and quickly throw the rain protector over... that's if you have a willing bride & groom to brave the rain!