A camera bag must provide adequate protection and space to the expensive gear it carries. Thus, the rule of thumb to follow while going through myriad of options is to go in for a camera bag that meets these two criteria above all else. Thereafter, you must consider the design and accessibility, additional storage space, weather protection, weight, cost, and the ease with which you can carry the bag. Some brands you can trust are Lowepro, Tamrac, Crumpler, Kata, and Boda camera bags.
Know the Types of Camera Bags
There is a plethora of options when it comes to such camera bags; however, you must go in for a bag that is weather-protected, has plenty of external compartments, and lots of space to store the camera inside.
- Camera shoulder bags are perhaps the most popular choice among both amateur as well as professional photographers. These bags are very comfortable to carry and can be slung around the neck and arm, thereby, allowing the photographer to move and run more easily. Such bags also accommodate laptops and chargers.
- Camera backpacks are mostly used for storing a lot of camera gear; however, such bags are not easily accessible and are thus, not preferred by most professional photographers.
- Lens bags are extremely useful for protecting camera lenses. Being the most important part of a camera, the lens is often extremely expensive and hard to replace. Securing the lenses in a sturdy bag can go a long way in increasing the life and durability of your camera gear.
- Waist pack camera bags are perhaps the least popular and used bags among the lot. Using such a bag makes sense, if you’re carrying a small camera and wish to keep your hands free most of the time. Those carrying a large camera may use a waist pack for carrying smaller lenses, memory cards, and other knickknacks.
- Camera hard cases are equipped with several compartments and are preferred by traveling and media crew photographers. The hard case ensures that the expensive and delicate camera gear stays safe. Such cases are able to withstand rough handling and falls.
- Camera pouch bags are designed for storing pocket-sized digital cameras and come in an array of colors and designs. Larger alternatives can be found with zips and extra compartments for storing memory cards and cords.
- Camera rolling bags, on the other hand, are more like backpacks on wheels. These camera bags are intended for carrying a lot of camera gear without having to actually carry it. Some cameras and the additional equipment can become extremely heavy, and using a rolling bag makes the task a lot easier.
- Camera tripod/monopod bags ensure that the gear does not lose its stability or get damaged during transit. These bags are longer and are usually weather-protected to prevent moisture or dust from affecting the gear within.
Tips for Buying a Camera Bag
- Appropriate Size
You will need to place your camera in the bag and see if it fits snugly without sliding or rolling to the sides. The camera and its additional gear must all fit into their individual compartments. Therefore, you may consider going in for a bag that has internal padding that also act as compartments. Choose a bag that has a lot of pockets, where you can keep everything you need while photographing, without having to use another bag as a standby for extra items. That being said, you must always travel light and avoid carrying the gear that you never really use.
- Weight and Portability
The bigger your camera, the more it will weigh. Therefore, choose a bag that has thick adjustable straps that won’t rub against your skin and cause discomfort. It can get extremely annoying to constantly adjust a bag strap, while you’re busy trying to take rapid camera shots and at fluid angles. The weight of the bag also needs to be considered if you plan on carrying your camera rather than using a monopod or alternative stand. The bag must make it easier for you to carry the camera and not add to the overall weight. It must also be extremely portable and preferably must have a handle. When it comes to hard cases and roller bags, go in for one that is sturdy, lightweight, has smooth wheels, and a strong handle that is comfortable to use.
- Sufficient Padding and Durability
The camera bag you select must have adequate padding within the bag to protect the gear from crashing into another or cracking from impact. Your bag must be able to withstand a fall or two, if ever it slips off your hand. Therefore, it must have adequate padding on its exterior as well. The second important criteria you must keep in mind is that the bag must be designed to last for several years to come. The seams of the bag must be well-stitched, and the material used must be durable, waterproof, and resistant to tearing and damage. The lining of the bag must be soft so that the fiber does not scratch the lenses. Do not opt for bags that look fancy and stylish, but fall short of providing adequate support and protection to your camera gear.
- Secure System
Before you buy the camera bag, make sure that you check its zippers, locking system, buckles, and Velcro. These features must work perfectly in order to ensure that the contents of your bag stay secure and do not slip out. The main pocket that contains the main gear must ideally have a flap that provides additional coverage.
The cost of the camera bag must also be taken into consideration. The more features the bag has and the better the material and design, the more expensive the bag is likely to be. Therefore, assess your budget and determine the features of the bag that you can and cannot do without.