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Complete Buyers Guide to Camera Bags

Complete Buyers Guide to Camera Bags - Cameras, and camera equipment comes in all different shapes and sizes, luckily so too do bags, here we give an overview of what bags are available.

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Category : Digital SLRs
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Bags come in all shapes and sizes, which is good really, as cameras and camera equipment do as well. Here we'll highlight some of the choices available which should help you find the right bag when you buy a new camera. We'll start with the smallest and work our way up to the larger sizes.

Click the set-up which is more suitable for you:
Ultra Compact, Compact
Pocket Zoom / Travel Zoom
Ultra Zoom / Bridge Camera
Mirrorless (Compact System Camera)
Digital SLR
Digital SLR + Extra lens
Digital SLR + Laptop
Messenger Style
Digital SLR + Lenses + More

Ultra Compact Bags

Ultra compact bags are often tight fitting and don't have much space. They are ideal for protecting your compact when it's in your everyday bag, for example.

Tamrac Digital Neo's 12 Lowepro Apex 5 AW Sony Camera Sock
sony sock
Fits Kodak Easyshare m893 Fits Panasonic Lumix smaller models Fits most small Sony Cybershots
Neck strap, belt loop, two zips, no compartments, made from stretchy neoprene for a snug fit, padded, firmer back. All weather (rain cover), 2 inner pockets, 2 sections inside, Padded, Belt loop, Neck strap. Belt/ bag clip, soft inner material
Buy from Warehouse Express here Buy from Amazon here Buy from Amazon here

From simple sock style bags to more accessory laden bags like the Lowepro, there's plenty of choice for ultra compact cameras. If you're going to carry more than just your camera with you, consider a bag with more pockets for accessories.


Compact Camera Bags

Compact cameras are very versatile and can be very expensive, so ensure that you invest in a good case to minimise damage to your camera when you're out and about.

Tamrac Digital Neo's 14 LowePro Rezo 10 Lowepro Rezo 20
tamrac 143814 lowepro reso 10 lowepro reso 20
Fits: Fujifilm FinePix F550EXR and smaller (snug) Fits most compacts, roomy inside For the larger compact, spacey inside.
Neck strap, belt loop, two zips, no compartments, made from stretchy neoprene for a snug fit, padded, firmer back. Velcro, two compartments, belt loop, neck strap. Outer Velcro pocket with two sections, two zips, padded interior, belt loop.
Buy from Amazon here Buy from Amazon here Buy from Amazon here

Again, the neoprene style case is good when you just want to carry your camera, but Lowepro's strap and duo pockets make it a much more versatile and easy to carry bag.


Compact Pocket Zoom / Travel Zoom Camera Bags

Compact pocket zoom cameras are the step between a fully-fledged zoom camera and a compact digital. Because of this, there is some overlap in the bags that can be used for them, depending on the size of the camera. Take it along with you and try it in various bags so you get the size right.

Tamrac Pro Compact Digital Lowepro Apex 30AW Acme Made CMZ Pouch
tamrac 5689 lowepro apex 30 Acme Made CMZ Pouch
Ideal for Canon G9 or G10 Fits Olympus SZ30MR or smaller. Fits cameras smaller than the Olympus SZ30MR
Foam padded, small pocket on front for memory card etc, belt strap All weather (rain cover), 2 inner pockets, 2 sections inside, Padded, Belt loop, Neck strap. Padded, inner pocket, firm outer, hand strap.
Buy from Warehouse Express here Buy from Warehouse express here Buy from Warehouse express here

The Acme case is robust and stylish, but you need to have a smaller camera to use it. The Lowepro and Tamrac offer more space for larger models.


Ultra Zoom / Bridge Camera Bags

These bags are feature packed and often have plenty of storage for your accessories. This makes them ideal for carrying your ultra zoom or bridge camera.

Acme Made Union Ultra Zoom Lowepro Apex 100AW Tamrac Digital Zoom 2
acme ultra zoom tamrac digital zoon 2
Fits most ultra Zooms with attached lens For Sony Cybershot HX100v, etc For compact SLRs like Fuji FinePix HS20EXR
Includes carrying strap, front lens pocket, and room for small accessories. All weather (rain cover), padded shoulder strap, four inner pockets, belt loop, padded, screen cloth, two zips. Shoulder strap, specialized pockets for batteries and memory cards.
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Lowepro Apex 100AW fits the Sony Cybershot HX100v very well and the Fujifilm FinePix S3200 (very snug). Some of these bags may also fit some of the smaller, mirrorless cameras depending on what combination you have, for example the Panasonic G3 + 20mm lens, or the Olympus PEN + kit lens, or any of the small lenses like the 17mm.


Mirrorless / Compact System Camera Bags

Depending what you have, you may be able to fit your camera in the bags above - e.g. Olympus PEN + collapsible kit lens is small enough to fit in a bridge camera bag.

Lowepro Apex 110AW Acme Lunchbox Tamrac Aero 36
Lowepro Apex 110AW Acme lunchbox  tamrac aero 36
Fits most of todays popular DSLR and compact system cameras with kit lens and pancake. Ideal for smaller compact DSLRS Designed for any CSC with lens attached plus an extra lens.
All weather (rain cover shown), screen cloth, padded divider, and mesh pockets for small essential accessories. Adds a touch of style to your bag, features zip pocket on the back for essentials, and adjustable shoulder strap. Multiple pockets on sides and compartments on front, carry strap, foam separators in main compartment for secure fit of cameras and lens.
Buy from Warehouse Express here Buy from Warehouse Express here Buy from Warehouse Express here

There is a lot of choice in compact system camera bags. there are some that fit extra lenses, and some more compact ones ideal if you only want to take the camera and some bits out with you. They range from the very stylish to the very convenient. Again, take your camera out with you and find the one that best fits yours.


Digital SLR Bags

These bags are great if you just want a handy bag for your DSLR, no extras, no fuss. A front zipped pocket is all you need for memory cards, and away you go. These come in a range of designs and colours, so there's bound to be one to suit you.

Lowepro Nova 140AW Acme Made The Bowler Tamrac Evolution Zoom 16
Lowepro Nova 140AW acme made the bowler tamrac evolution zoom 16
Most DSLRs with kit lens. Fits most medium DSLRs. Fits a DSLR with a 4 1/4 zoom lens attached.
Fits a DSLR, a kit lens and a flash, or another lens if small, all weather cover, it has dual memory card pockets. This stylish bag is a quirky alternative for women photographers. Holds a camera plus basic essentials. Shoulder strap, and front pocket for memory cards and small accessories. back opening for ease of access to your camera.
Buy from Amazon here Buy from Warehouse Express here Buy from Warehouse Express here

These DSLR bags fit a wide variety of the leading DSLRs and larger compact mirrorless cameras. Some have more free space than others, so take your camera with you to ensure that your model fits in the bag you like. They often come in smaller or larger sizes in the same model bag too. You can also get DSLR bags that will fit a DSLR with a longer lens attached, such as the Tamrac Velocity 6X.


Digital SLR + Extra Lens Bags

These bags are ideal if you need to take an extra lens with you to achieve a variety of shots. They often have a snug fit to stop kit rattling about, and they come in different sizes depending on whether you want to take a small, medium or large extra lens with you, and what size lens you already have attached to the camera.

Lowepro Nova 160AW Lowepro Adventura 170 Crumpler Messenger 2500
Lowepro Nova 160AW lowepro adventura 170 crumpler messenger 2500
Fits DSLR, Kit lens, plus another lens. Fits medium to large DSLRs, with an easy to access extra lens. This stylish bag fits a DSLR with an extra lens right next to your camera.
All weather cover, Built in dual memory card pockets, Ergonomic collar cut shoulder strap. With its easy to use clip design, this simple yet effective bag has side pockets a carry handle, an adjustable shoulder strap and rain flap. With a comfortable shoulder strap, and convenient clip design, this model is available in various sizes depending on what you want from the bag. there is a smaller model for just a camera, or bigger models to accommodate several extra lenses and more.
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There is a good variety of these bags on the market, and often you can get bigger ones that allow you to store your camera body and two or even four lenses, depending on how many you need to take with you. Any spare lens' pockets could double for other accessory storage, such as a small flash or wire bundles.


Messenger Style Bags

These bags are great for easy access to your equipment. Their style means that they can look less conspicuous than a normal rucksack style, and enable the user to easily pull out their laptop should they need it.

Kata CS 17 Tamrac Rally 7 Lowepro Classified 250 AW
Kata CS 17  tamrac rally 7  lowepro classified 250 aw
Fits a DSLR, extra lenses, and a 17 inch laptop. Fits a 17 inch laptop, DSLR and spare lenses. Fits a 15 inch laptop, 2 camera bodies with lenses attached and a spare lens.
This messenger bag style is ideal for quick access to both your laptop and camera alike - without taking your bag off. shoulder strap, and again, lots of cubby holes and pockets to securely secure you accessories. This bag features fully moveable dividers, enabling you to fit in whatever equipment you need easily. Fits a 17 inch laptop in a padded back pocket. This is a sleek bag, and with all the above listed in it, it is a tight fit, but this stops things moving around too much.
Buy from Warehouse Express here
Buy from Warehouse Express here Buy from Warehouse Express here

These bags are very versatile and come in a variety of sizes, to fit various amounts of equipment and laptops. Depending on what you want, there is one out there for you somewhere.


Digital SLR + Laptop Bags

When it is necessary for your laptop to travel with you, there is now a great range of various sized bags to accompany your computer. Be it a small portable laptop or a full sized 17 inch one, there is a bag to accommodate not just it, but a DSLR complete with a spare lens or two as well.

Tamrac Evolution 8 Sling  Lowepro CompuRover AW Tamrac Expedition 6X
tamrac 5788 lowepro compurover aw  Tamrac expedition 6x
Fits a medium DSLR, and a 15 inch laptop Fits a DSLR with large lens attached, plus space for extra lenses.  Fits a medium netbook, DSLR with several lenses, and loads of small pockets for all your bits and bobs.
This bag has 3 different ways of opening it up for ease of access, and also lots of pockets and space for lenses, and a clip on the front to enable you to attach a tripod or other large device. Feature packed, this rucksack holds a 17 inch laptop, plus just about everything else you need for a day out photographing. Handy clips for your tripod and handy elastic strapping for a coat. It also has an inbuilt rain cover. These Expedition backpacks have been relaunched with a laptop pocket, which is easy to access without disturbing your photographic equipment. It has loads of pockets for all your memory cards and cables.
Buy from Warehouse Express here Buy from Warehouse Express here  Buy from Warehouse Express here

Laptop camera bags are handy because they let you to take your laptop with you safely and securely - you shouldn't have to take chances with expensive kit like this. All these bags have loads of storage and store your laptop in an easy to access padded pocket to keep it safe from any knocks or bumps you may have.


Digital SLR + Lenses (+ More) Bags

These huge bags are perfect for carrying everything you could possibly need for a shoot. Some also fit laptops, but most of these have infinite space for all your photography kit in one easily accessible space.

Tamrac Expedition 9X Think Tank Streetwalker Vanguard Skyborne 48
tamrac 9x think tank streetwalker vanguard skyborne 49
DSLR with full telescopic lens fits in here, plus multiple lenses, camera bodies and plenty of room for memory cards and other kit. Also fits a laptop. Fits any DSLR with lens fitted, plus multiple extra lenses. Fits multiple lenses, tripod, flash, and many more accessories.
Can fit a laptop, has loads of pockets, with specially designed pockets for lenses and memory cards, along with wires and other equipment. loads of room. Includes a pocket for tripod feet, and several pockets for all your equipment. Designed for urban photographing, this bag is great if you work in cities a lot. Removable seam-sealed rain cover. Compartments can be altered to accommodate different cameras and camcorders and different combinations of flash and lenses depending on what you require. Weather proof.
Buy from Warehouse Express here Buy from Amazon here Buy from Warehouse Express here

These bags can be pricey, but if you want a good-quality, no nonsense bag, it is worth the money. All these bags cater for your every need, all of them holding multiple lenses and some accommodating a tripod. All offer loads of room for memory cards, batteries and anything else you may need. Take all your kit with you easily with these easy to carry rucksacks.

Updated: Oct 2014.

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nice info...i currently in the market Smile

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any bags suggestion for dslr camera + 70-300mm lens ? thanks
I know a lot of photographers use backpacks and shoulder bags, but what I would love is a decent review of Belt systems, I've developed a back problem and it's proving difficult for me to use a backpack. So I'm thinking maybe a belt & pouch system such as the Think Tank system would be good for me. But I'm having trouble finding any decent reviews of this type of bag.
Mark, Photographer Monthly (May 2011 issue) advertised what I think you may be looking for. Go to www.cottoncarrier.eu. But again, not sure where to get reviews although they show enough videos on their site to show it off in action. Hope this helps. Disee
Most of these bags are neither waterproof nor have a rain shield which I regard as an essential feature. It rains in Britain so do you assume that ephotozine readers are fair weather photographers only.
Hi SunbeamUK, thanks for your feedback, we'll be updating this article soon, so will make sure to add more weather proof bags. The AW models from Lowepro have rain covers, but I realise we don't have weatherproof models for all categories. Thanks Josh
Article updated to make sure nearly every section has a weather-proof model.
The one thing my partner is interested in is the closure mechanism. I had a bag with velcro closure which is ideal for someone with arthritis but unfortunately lost it. I have searched but never found one anywhere. She is about to buy a superzoom and the bag being offered has zip closure

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