What kind of photographer are you? There’s a giveaway in how you transport your camera – one of the best camera backpacks or one of the best camera sling bags. The Niko 3.0 Camera Sling is firmly in the latter camp, with a cross-body sling design that attempts to fuse the comfort of a backpack with the convenience of a shoulder bag.
A nine-litre bag aimed at urban photographers on the move, the Niko 3.0 Camera Sling has enough nice design flourishes and practical features to make Chrome’s first attempt at a sling worth investigating.
Announced in March 2022, the Nico 3.0 Camera Sling will be on the Chrome website and from selected retailers for US$145 / £110 / AUS$194. All Chrome products include a lifetime guarantee against manufacturing and material defects.
Weight empty: 970g/2.14lbs
Dimensions: 190.5x317.5x139.7mm/7.5x12.5x5.5 inches
Materials: 1050D bluesign-approved Nylon
Waterproofing: Water resistant
Pockets: 2x waterproof zipped pockets, 4x small stretch pockets, rear pocket
Design and features
The Niko Camera Sling 3.0 is made of tough stuff. Like a lot of camera bags it’s constructed from 1050D bluesign-approved Nylon – aka ‘ballistic’ Nylon, which is natively weather-proof – with an impermeable 500D TPE Tarp shell on the flap across the front pocket. Altogether it weighs 970g when empty. That pocket opens outwards for easy access to a large, zipped waterproof pocket and three small compartments best suited to small accessories. This pocket – which, frankly, can’t hold much stuff since it closes flat – is secured using (a lot of) Velcro and two heavy-duty clips. Slight overkill? Perhaps, but those clips are attached to straps with loops underneath that can be tightened around a collapsed tripod. On the body-side of the bag is another full-length zipped pocket while on each end are stretch pockets for taking small items.
The lid of the nine-litre main compartment is secured by waterproof zippers and features a full-length waterproof pocket on its interior. The main compartment itself contains a mess of dividers arranged on a Tricot liner, though they can all be customized and/or removed. There are two small stretch pockets inside the bag for cables and batteries. However, most importantly, the interior of the Niko Camera Sling 3.0 is enough to take up to a full-frame DSLR sporting a 70-200mm lens. However, there’s no room for a tablet, which many slings now offer, though we’re not convinced that’s important.
Although the Niko Camera Sling 3.0 can indeed fit a full-frame DSLR sporting a 70-200mm lens, it's a bit of a squeeze. With a Canon 6D rocking a 24-105mm travel zoom inside we did have enough room at one end to fit an additional prime lens, though actually extracting the camera wasn’t a quick affair. It’s for that reason that we think the Niko Camera Sling 3.0 is better suited to using with mirrorless cameras or entry-level APS-C DSLRs.
Using just the crossbody strap the Niko Camera Sling 3.0’s top-opening design makes it easy and quick to swing it around the hip to quickly access camera gear. The crossbody strap is easy to tighten and loosen while the metal buckle makes it really quick to remove the bag from the body.
There’s also an optional clip on the outward-facing part of the bag that can be brought around to clip onto the front of the crossbody strap, thereby securing the bag completely. It’s then not only more stable, but safer, though it does mean you can’t swing the bag around. Effectively this makes it into a small backpack.
In theory it can also be worn around the waist, but in practice it’s likely to be way too heavy for that to be a comfortable option.
We like the quick release metal buckle, which bears the Chrome logo, though it does clunk and clank against jacket buttons, chair legs in cafes and camera equipment. It would probably work better if it was a softer (and much lighter) plastic construction. If that’s a niggle, so is the fact that the front pocket is secured using a lot of Velcro that’s extremely loud … don’t bother creeping up on wildlife with this bag! However, we did appreciate how easy the pocket is to unfold to 90º, effectively creating a small work surface while on-the-go.
Straps on the Niko Camera Sling 3.0’s undercarriage work really well with a travel tripod, which can be tightly secured and kept out of the way.
The Niko Camera Sling 3.0 is an excellent example of its genre. Its size makes it best used with mirrorless cameras and entry-level APS-C DSLRs, though it proves itself incredibly versatile in use. We love the fold-out front pocket for storing batteries and SD cards and it’s really easy to access camera equipment. The strap that secures it to the body and turns it into a small backpack is a nice touch, too, while the Niko Camera Sling 3.0’s ability to have a tripod attached to its bottom makes it a bag worth considering for more than just hand-held street photography.
Best camera backpacks
Best camera bags and cases for photographers
Best messenger bags for photographers
Best camera sling bags
Best rain covers for your camera gear
Best waterproof jackets for photographers