The Bag Man Reviews the Tenba Switch Camera Bag System

You may think that the main appeal of Tenba’s new line of Switch camera bags is the assortment of flaps that can be zipped on to replace the standard leather-like top. Choose from denim, urban camo, brick red—check Tenba’s website for all the flavors. But even without the far-out fashion flair, these bags are the real deal.

I’m here to tell you that you can love these bags even without the fashion flap.

One of the attractions of mirrorless camera systems is the compact size of the bodies and lenses. My Fujifilm X-series cameras, for instance, are about the same size and heft as the Leica rangefinders I regularly used back in the days of Tri-X and Kodachrome. Tenba has designed their new Switch series of camera bags with the mirrorless user in mind.

The Switch 7 handily accommodates smaller models plus three or four lenses. Tenba Switch 8 camera bag, the model I’m currently enjoying, will hold larger models (my Fujifilm X-T1 fits fine) plus at least four lenses and a flash, and has loops on the bottom where I can lash a tripod or monopod. The larger Switch 10 is good for mirrorless cameras but is also okay for regular DSLRs along with a couple-three lenses (up to a 70-200mm f2.8). Both the 8 and 10 models have a zippered, padded slot that stows a small tablet or iPad.

Gear is accessible through the full length zippered opening that bisects the top flap (the original flap as well as the fashion “Switch” flaps). That flap is held closed by silent magnets, or optionally by secure snaps. All three models are made with heavy denier nylon fabrics, YKK zippers and snaps, and a water and abrasion-resistant bottom. All come with a fitted rain cover. The rain cover (they have branded it “WeatherWrap”) is reversible silver over black, so you can choose between reflecting the sun’s rays or running stealth.

I like the little touches. The repositionable interior dividers are sturdy and soft and include two half-flaps that allow you to stack two lenses in the same silo. On either end of the interior you’ll find a stretchy pocket that’s perfect for holding lens caps, memory cards or a tin of aspirin. The shoulder strap has a non-slip pad sewn in middle and is made of seatbelt-like webbing. Although I personally frown on space wasted on organizer pouches (how many of you carry your keys in your gadget bag?) this one is nice in that it contains a pair of rubberized straps that can be used to attach a tripod or rolled up jacket. Behind the organizer pouch there’s a large zippered pocket that holds flat items like Cokin filters.

Tenba Switch camera bags are well designed and well made. They’re serious camera gear and are reasonably priced. The big Switch 10 has an MSRP of $109. The Switch 8 and 7 list at $99 and $79. Fashion flaps are sold separately.

—Jon Sienkiewicz