I’ve never been one to consider style in my bag purchases, but if that style comes at no extra cost, then, why not? That’s certainly the case with the new HEX x Misshattan Ranger DSLR Sling, a different take on the company’s regular Ranger DSLR Sling.
It goes without saying that if you’re checking out this bag, you’re probably already familiar with the work of Natalie Amrossi, AKA Misshattan, whose photographs of Manhattan from the air are pretty eye-catching. They’re also eye-catching when they’re printed on the custom rain cover and interior panels of this bag.
On the exterior, the Misshattan branding is subtle. An embroidered logo on the back and a polished metal badge on the side are the only clues that this particular bag is different from the standard Ranger DSLR Sling. That’s a good thing, because no one wants their camera bag to scream “steal me” with anything flashier than that.
Before the folks at HEX sent me the bag to try, I’ve never used a sling-style bag. I’ve always had the standard shoulder bags and backpacks. I had to actually cruise on over to the information page for the bag to see some photos of how it was supposed to be worn. It’s supposedly something like how Amrossi wears it in the photo at the top of this review.
According to the company, it can be worn around the waist as a fanny pack well. I don’t think that’s something I’ll ever be doing with my cameras.
The bag is made of water-resistant Cordura fabric and has a strap with a small pad for comfort on it. The strap has a clip that is just a bit too easy to come apart (I dropped the whole bag ones with only a light touch of the clip), but makes taking the bag off easy enough. There is a decent-sized compartment to hold your camera and lenses, but the features I really liked were the secret compartments built into the straps, a grab handle at the back, and the faux-fur lined pockets at the front for holding accessories. On a couple of hikes and while shooting at a protest, I quickly got used to the sling-style of backpack and was able to whip around the bag near my hands to easily access lenses other gear. At the bottom, there are a few easy-on, easy-off straps to hold a tripod or monopod.
If I have one issue with the bag, it’s probably in the misleading name. It’s called a “DSLR Sling” but it’s not quite the right size for a DSLR. Placing a Canon EOS 6D and EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM Lens, a not uncommon setup for walk-around shooting or light-duty photojournalism work, filled up the entire main compartment of the bag, with only room for the smallest of 50mm or 85mm lenses left. I understand that the purpose of the bag is more of a “day bag” setup, but a little more elbow room would be appreciated. The fit is very, very tight with most DSLRs larger than a Canon EOS Rebel.
The game changes a bit if you’re a shooter of a smaller mirrorless shooter. I loaded up some of my Micro Four Thirds gear in this bag and actually found it to be perfect. In most other bags, the smaller size of Micro Four Thirds gear makes it feel like it’s “swimming” in the main compartments — it often feels like there’s too much room for things to bounce around, but this bag was the perfect fit for my Panasonic Lumix G85, Olympus 75mm f/1.8 lens, and a few extra lenses. If you’re shooting a slimmer body such as a GX85, the fit will probably be even better. Fuji X-series shooters will also probably very much enjoy the bag.
One of the nice things about all of HEX’s Ranger lineup is that there isn’t a price difference based on the color. If the features of the bag sound nice to you, and you don’t want the Misshattan branding, there’s always the standard black color. There are also a variety of camo colors as well. It always irked me to pay extra just for the looks of an accessory if it did the same thing (I’m looking at you, MeFoto). It’s a solid bag on its own, and the Misshattan image and branding add just a bit of style.
What I Liked
- Useful, well thought out features
- Premium feel to the materials
- Sling style grows on you
- Great for smaller mirrorless cameras
What I Didn't Like
- The clip on the shoulder strap comes off just a bit too easily
- While it can hold a DSLR, it’s a tight fit for all but the smallest models
You can purchase the HEX x Misshattan Ranger DSLR Sling here.