[mini-review]Xennec Cityscape Messenger 13 bag (prototype)


Staff member
Dec 18, 2003
really MORE diaper changes
*for those of you who are unaware, currently, Xennec's Kickstarter campaign is found here*.

*for a more comprehensive review of Xennec's Daypack 15 plus much better looking pictures, please refer to Keith's post here*.

*disclaimer - i already put in my early-bird buy on the Kickstarter campaign long before TK Foto offered to let me try this prototype. so these are my personal views of the prototype, which i am told is very similar to the final product.*

when it comes to camera bags, it is like ladies' preferences for shoes and handbags... you can't have enough of them. hehe... we are all guilty of it, somehow. for me, it is always about finding a good (i long ago gave up the idea of perfect) shoulder bag for my use. over the years, i have tried most of the major brands from lowepros to billinghams. currently, 2 of my shoulder bags are from domke which i like very much cos of their canvas material which kinda 'wraps' around the body when i am using them. both carry decent amount of gear when i am out and about. but what i did not particularly like about domke is their bag's padding as it does not allow me to reconfigure the bag easily. also, they do not provide much padding for their carrying strap. for both my domke bags, i had to buy separate shoulder pads for the carrying slings so that they do not bite into my shoulders on a long day using.

so, is the xennec cityscape 13 better than my 2 domkes after 1 week of using it? in some ways, it is. in some ways, i would still go to my domkes. but bear in mind, this is a prototype bag.


what i liked:
1. it is a stylish bag that i can use on daily purposes without cameras. it doesn't really scream 'camera bag' like my domkes.
2. for a messenger bag, it is surprisingly roomy. i was told (and it is mentioned in the KS campaign site) that this bag is primarily designed for small-to-mid size DSLRs and mirrorless cameras. but as a film shooter most of the time, i can pack a pro-size film body into the bag with room to spare for other stuff.
3. the material for the bag is actually quite soft. yet the bag remains rigid enough for gear protection.
4. the overall weight of the bag is actually quite light. the internal padding is sufficient to protect gear from minor bumps. yet, it is not so thick until the bag becomes a burden to carry even when empty.
5. the magnetic locks, which i thought was gimmicky at first, actually work pretty well in daily use. it is quick to secure the bag flap and i don't have to fumble around like the usual clips.
6. the internal paddings can be quite easily reconfigure to suit my needs.

what i didn't particularly liked:
1. while the material is comfortable, i do wish it is a little softer so that it can wrap around the body when carrying.
2. the provided shoulder pad could be a little bit better padded and wider so that it can help to distribute the weight of the bag better.
3. personally, i do like 'feet' or grooves on the bottom of the bag so that i can keep the bag off the floor when i do need to put it down. i know not many people care for this. but i found this feature useful. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
4. more pockets would be nice. and hopefully in the final version, the pockets can be extended. i will explain later in a photo.
5. i don't normally carry a laptop or tablet around for photo shoots. so the internal pockets for them are wasted space for me. i know many people do carry them around nowadays. i would prefer to have the option to remove the pockets' paddings when not needed to give me more space.
6. for a film user like me, the deepness of the bag is very useful. but for mirrorless photographers who only use short primes/zooms, or those who do not have many long lenses, the depth of the bag might make it difficult for you to grab your equipment out of the bag in a hurry.

these are my personal views of the prototype bag after 1 week of using. is it a good bag? pretty much yes. but will it replace my domkes in the long run? well.... not yet. for a light loadout or walkabouts, i will use this bag. but for shooting events at work, i will still go to my domke bags.

Last edited:
some photos:

a) currently it comes in 2 versions. eventually when the campaign closes, i will be ordering the black version cos it just looks way cooler...


b) i don't have any long lens of my own since i am mainly using my kit lens on my Fuji XT2/XE3. but rest assured, this bag can carry a Nikon 70-200 with hood extended, or the new Fuji 200mm/f2 with teleconverter attached without any problems.



c) my basic loadout for the week - an EOS 1 with 50mm/f1.8, XE3 with 35/2 and an Instax SP-3 printer (plus other odds and ends). more than enough space leftover.




d)the roominess of the bag is a big plus for film users like me. this is how i can pack my Bronica ETR/SP with 75mm/f2.8.


e)and the one thing i wish Xennec can look into is the design of the front pockets. i wish it can be expanded cos the current prototype makes it difficult to get things out if the bag is loaded. plus a few more pocket slots will be nice so that i can slot in film canisters, or for digital shooters to slot in batteries and other odds and ends for shoots.


one last thing - some of my friends commented it looks a lot like Thinktank or Peak Design's bags. i have not used PD's bags cos they are way too pricey IMO for a camera bag that doesn't really offer me anything that cheaper price-point bags can do just as well. i did have a few TT's bags over the years. but i always thought they are over engineered and uncomfortable to use for extended periods of time. overall, i do have to say that the construction of this Xennec's bag is actually pretty good. the stitches are well done and doesn't feel 'cheap'. after my friends' comments, i think the design of this bag is pretty much on par with the more famous brands. :)