Must Have Accessories

Camera Bags

By Damion Fearron


As you may know a camera bag is an essential accessory for every photographer. Camera bags make it easier to transport your camera and gear to the next shooting location, or travel destination if you’re planning a trip. The short and sweet of this accessory is that camera bags are available in an assortment of styles, colors and sizes. You will also find they are all made from a variety of materials from canvas and cotton, or leather to nylon. Some are even made to be weather proof. These are things to take into consideration when looking to purchase this camera accessory.

Now that I have your attention, I know that you’re just dying to read more about how to choose a camera bag, right? Well the next few topics will help you decide what to look for when you purchase this useful accessory.

First let’s start with the different types that are available. Since there are many different types of camera bags I will say what’s available and explain the differences and benefits of each one. There are camera holsters, shoulder bags also called a top loader, sling back, backpacks, and rolling bags or case. They each have a distinct design and functionality. Also take into account the capacity and the way to carry the bag. They each have a variety of uses, so everything should be taken into consideration when deciding to purchase this must have accessory.

We will start with a camera holster, which is specifically designed to carry and protect your camera and lens without having to detach the lens from the camera body. Since the shape of a DSLR camera body with a lens attached has its own shape the camera holster has a special look. The camera holster is wide at the top and narrow on the bottom, similar to the shape of your camera body and lens when attached. Due to this unique shape, you can take your camera as a combination on the go, so you’re ready to shoot immediately. You will not waste time attaching the lens to the camera, nor will you have to remove the lens to stow away in the holster.

There is also the popular shoulder bag with the strap over one shoulder. A big advantage with a shoulder bag is that you can take your camera easily and quickly out of the bag without having to put the bag on the ground. You’re taking the camera out of the bag from the top of the shoulder bag, which is also why it is also called a top loader. A camera shoulder bag resembles a sling bag which we will talk about in a few, but the difference is that you wear a camera shoulder bag on the side over your shoulder.

A camera sling bag is basically a backpack with a single strap that, like a shoulder bag, wears over your shoulder. The big difference from a shoulder bag and a sling bag is the sling bag is worn crosswise. A camera sling bag is a cross between a camera backpack and a shoulder bag. You carry the bag on your back, but the strap will be like a sash crossing over the upper body. This way a camera sling bag will not slip off your shoulder, which adds to your wearing comfort. A sling bag is a good choice for short trips or long walks.

You can also carry your camera and gear comfortably with a backpack. A backpack will allow you to carry a lot more of your equipment. A big advantage is that the weight distributes equally across both shoulders so therefore, your hands are free for shooting while carrying your gear. In many backpacks, you have an area to carry a tripod and there is also space for a laptop and or a tablet which makes it great for traveling.

Finally, you can easily transport your gear with a rolling bag or case. It’s like a small suitcase and ideal way to carry your equipment with you in a light way thanks to the wheels and handle. It prevents you from carrying heavy loads of equipment on your back. An advantage of a rolling camera bag is its ability to house and display all your gear at once, without the need to remove items, which sometimes you would have to with the previous accessories. A rolling camera bag is like having a portable studio on wheels. They are the ultimate travel companions with enormous carrying capacities. Perfect to take with you whether you’re driving or flying to your next destination. They also offer added protection and security to photographer’s expensive gear, especially when traveling by air. The interchangeable dividers allow you to customize the size of each compartment to fit your needs. Just like the backpack you also have the ability to place a laptop or tablet as well. As you can see camera bags come in many forms so you will have many choices. Hopefully this will help with your decision. The next step is deciding the style, fabric and functionality which of course would become a matter of personal choice. Functionality and style will be another topic that can be discussed if you decide to return and read the next article. Till then keep shooting.

All bag images courtesy of Manfrotto