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How To Choose The Ideal Camera Bag

Here are a few things you need to consider next time you're buying a camera bag.

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When it comes to picking a bag to carry your camera and other bits of kit around in, it can take a while to come to a final decision as there's plenty of top brands and styles to choose from. Some photographers will have a go-to bag for all occasions while others will choose to have a few different designs that have different uses.

To help you decide what camera bag is perfect for you, we've put together a few tips on what to look our for and we'll also be asking questions you'll probably be thinking about next time you're shopping for a camera bag.

What Type Of Photography Do You Enjoy?

By thinking about the above question, you should be able to narrow down your choices. For example, a landscape photographer will find a backpack style more appropriate than a shoulder bag but someone who travels on planes a lot may want a roller case they can use as hand luggage but will pack a smaller bag inside it which they can use when they arrive at their destination. 



What Will You Be Carrying?

For the majority of shooters, it's important to keep the weight of your bag to a minimum, even more so if you're heading off on a long walk in a National Park. A Body and two or three good all-around lenses should be fine for most but if you do need to carry more, make sure there's plenty of dividers in your bag to keep your gear snug and safe. Look for pockets that are easy to access so you can quickly grab memory cards, spare batteries etc. and a tablet / laptop pocket is a feature more and more of us are needing in our camera bags, too. 

How Quickly Will You Need To Access Gear? 

A good camera bag will allow you to access your camera gear quickly and easily. If you're shooting in busy locations where you don't want to have your camera out around your neck constantly, such as in popular tourist locations or in towns and cities, a sling design may be better than a rucksack as they're easier to swing around to your front so you can access equipment without removing your bag. Shoulder bags can also be accessed easily while on the move but do take care not to overload this style of bag if carrying it on one shoulder.



Features To Look For:


1. Comfort

No matter what your planned shoot for the day is, be it a long photo-walk or a short trip to the local park, your camera bag needs to be comfortable as you don't want to injure yourself and if something's annoying you, it can distract you from your photography as well as irritate you. If possible, try your bag out before you buy it to test where straps sit etc. 


2. Material 

You want your bag to last so look for models made from hard-wearing fabrics and pay attention to how the bag is sealed. Waterproof covers can be very useful and many bags now come with them built-in. It's also important to pay attention to small details such as zippers as plastic ones can be less durable than those made from metal.



3. Internal Dividers 

Having a bag that allows you to customise the interior will give you more flexibility when it comes to the gear you carry and how you carry it. Some bags feature inserts that can be removed when not needed, giving the user a bag that reverts to everyday use which is useful when travelling on planes when weight is limited so taking two bags may not be an option. 



4. Protection

Your bag doesn't want too much padding so it's bulky but you do want to make sure there's enough to provide protection for your gear in the right places. Make sure you pay attention to the bottom of the bag to see if feet or a protective layer are provided. 

For more information on camera bags, take a look at ePHOTOzine's guide to camera bag types


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JackAllTog Plus
10 5.7k 58 United Kingdom
2 May 2016 10:47PM
I presently have more bags than lenses, think of the shoots you might do and lay all the kit out for each then look at how the bag might store each of these setups.
Don't forget to include, if necessary, tripod, laptop, water/food, sunhat etc - the better walking bags i think include camera space and food space etc all in one bag.

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jd314 4
4 May 2016 4:38PM
There is one more type of bag that is not mentioned; waist or fanny pack bags such as ThinkTank's Speed line, the Tamrac 5765 Velocity 5x Photo Hip Pack, Lowepro's Inverse line, or the Mountainswift Swift FX. Large retailers such as B&H even have an entire section for " Waist Packs ".

Waist packs provide advantages of both shoulder/sling bags and backpacks. Like a sling/shoulder bag, many of them can be used as a shoulder bag using only their shoulder strap. Like a backpack, many can be used with both the waist belt plus the shoulder strap, distributing the weight over both your waist an shoulder, better than any shoulder or sling pack.

They are better than either a shoulder/sling or back pack for activities because the weight is at your hips, keeping your center of gravity lower than a backpack, and they will not slip off your shoulder or suddenly around from your side to in front. Even with both the waist and shoulder strap in place, they can be located on your back, your side, or your front and they stay in place there during activities.

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