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Aug 22, 2017
Best Camera Bag(s)?
Right now I am keeping everything in one bag of a rather small size. Which bag or bags do you guys use? I also do videography, so that just means I have to keep more stuff on me.
chikwa, Jmongan, and 4 others
It really depends on what you are doing with your photography bag. If you are a pro or semi pro who just needs to transport your gear to the job, I can't find fault with the various Lowepro, Manfrotto and Pelican solutions. However, if you are doing walk around with a bag on your back photography. Such as street photography, or just being a plain old tourist, I think such brands are a bad idea. Thieves aren't stupid. They know to look for bags that are photo-equipment specific. For this reason I stick to non-photography bags. Or bags made by companies that also make regular bags for regular Janes and Joes. Such as Chrome Industries, Manhattan Portage etc. Currently own a Manhattan Portage Focus and a Pelican uh, forgot the name bubt it's a backpack with a rigid laptop section. I use the Focus as my daily driver. The laptop and camera sections are removable and the bag can be cinched down very small. Or for gigs or weekends I can expand it to carry camera, lenses, some clothes, laptop and misc gear. The Pelican is my legit gig bag. It can fit everything and it's got super solid straps and lumbar pads.
I have been through a plethora of camera backpacks and bags over the years. You name it and I've probably tried it. For a day to day pack/camera bag I have found the Boundary Prima to be the one that takes the cake. Roll top, expandable storage, modular, amazing construction, not big but not to small, magnetic clasps, stylish, the list goes on. Every part of this pack has been thought about and designed with purpose.
For bigger multi day packs F Stop is pretty hard to heat.
For more traditional camera bags, Ape Case has always done me right.
My favorite bag is simply a padded insert with dividers that I can put into my messenger bag to convert it into a camera bag. I'll carry my d750 with a fairly heftly lens on it, a flash, and an additional lens. That's what I walk around with usually. I mostly do street shooting and events so lugging around a big backpack full of gear isn't very practical. Besides being hard to access quickly, a backpack just gets in the way too much.
If I need some additional room to carry other things when I'm walking about, I'll usually opt for a ThinkTank pouch strapped to my belt so I have a place to stash an extra lens or another flash. I'll do anything to avoid looking like I'm trying to ascend a summit when I'm walking about, but I do have one of those big Lowepro backpacks that'll fit almost my entire gear collection in it plus electronics. I usually only use that to transport my gear when traveling. Once I get to where I'm going, I pare down to just the essentials and downsize to my messenger bag and an insert.
I've really liked my Manfrotto Street backpack and haven't had the need to use any other ones.
It's compact and doesn't look... 'weird' - I've found that a lot of camera backpacks look too utilitarian. I like the slim form factor of it. I can get in trains and busses without disturbing people around me, and I can fit plenty of gear into it.
I like the peak design backpack. Appreciate the customization and ability to open while it remains on my back. I think it was on a drop recently
I've been using a Lowepro Flipside 400 since 2012 and have been pleased with it.
I typically bring a D750, 24-120, 70-200 f/2.8, flash, a few filters, charger, and 15" macbook pro when flying, then leave the laptop at hotel since it blocks access to the rest of the gear.
The rain fly has been useful for a few trips, especially in Singapore where thunderstorms are frequent and come in quickly.
My only complaints:
* it sticks out a bit more than I'd like
* the waist strips stick out unless you tuck them behind your lower back
* no laptop pouch, so it rests on other things and blocks access
Considering an update, possibly to Peak Designs 30L Everyday Backpack after playing with a friend's pack.
Agreed with ChimeraReunion - the Lower ProTactics are really good backpacks. Versatile internals, hardy outer with plenty of attachment points and all at a very competitive price.
350AW is the perfect size for me - DSLR + 24-70/2.8 (Attached) + 85mm/14 + 16-35/2.8 + 50mm/1.8 and some cleaning gear.
Rookie error made by me though as I have a 15" laptop - 350AW only has room for a 13" laptop. I guess that's something to keep in mind if you're carrying it around with you.
I use the Everyday Sling 10L by Peak Designs most of the time. It can carry my Canon 80D, extra prime lens, Rode VideoPro mic, batteries, zoom adapter, filters, a Dell XPS13 or Macbook Air 11.5" and a tripod in the outer straps. When you need to move around (trains, planes, crowds) the sling is real compact on your back and then you can swing it around and use it like a shoulder bag. This is my go-to unless I need to pack all my clothes and stuff in one backpack and then it is the Lowepro Stealth which I've used for about 10 years+
I use a Timbuk2 Tuck Pack Carbon. It wasn't designed for camera gear, it's just a backpack, but it works wonderfully for equipment. Since it's a backpack there are only a few pouches so you'll have to find a way to make separators if you need them. It's fully waterproof which is a huge plus when it comes to carrying gear around and it's built like a tank. It's comfortable as hell and has a sleek look to it. It's not for everyone, but I think it's worth checking out.
I have a couple of waist packs from Lowepro. One, an Inverse 100 is small, good for running or climbing, is supposed to hold a camera in the center with lens (lens facing down) and 2 lenses, one on either side. I have a FF Nikon which doesn't fit in that center position, but the partitions are movable, so FF camera w lens plus one addl lens. Excellent for going light. Might be perfect for a video camera
Heavier waistpack: Lowepro AW200 (camera w lens attached plus 4 lenses plus accessories). the 200 is heavy enough loaded that I figured out how to attach for-waistpack suspenders.
I've since moved to a sports camera backpack (Clik Elite countrajour). Camera w lens available through side port. all gear behind zipper panel. Carries 2 camera bodies, 1 with lens attached and four-plus add'l lenses.
All of these come with weather covers.
Then there's all the bags I use that actually look like camera bags or briefcases. I guess the biggest is a Lowepro 'Magnum' that I have from my film days. Pretty huge. One danger: buying a bag with spots for lots of extra lenses means those spots will be shouting 'hey! buy another lens!' to you.
You know there are padded inserts that let you turn any bag into a camera bag? IMO the best non-camera bag to do this with is a diaper bag. Capacious, lots of non-padded pockets for accessories - and just being a diaper bag means it's a bit less likely to get nicked.
I'm a ThinkTank/Lowepro guy. Well-built, been around for years, plenty of form factors to chose from. My words of wisdom: consider bags/systems that will grow as your gear grows ('cuz it most likely will).
The ThinkTank below holds a trinity of lenses, (one with a body attached) lots of accessories, AND a 15" MacBook Pro. Took the whole mess to Alaska; shot all day and did my post work each night. This bag carries with handles or a shoulder strap. ThinkTank sells optional straps to convert these to a sudo-back pack (handy when you need both arms/hands free).
I also have a Photo Recon sling bag from from Hazard 4. It packs nearly anything the other bag can, but also has space for your 300-600mm long lenses (no room for your MBP, though).
Not a well known brand, but definitely worth a look:
Finally, my favorite one or two lens, walk'n around town bag, is a ThinkTank Digital Holster. It's available in a few sizes and does this neat trick where the bottom extends or collapses to accommodate whatever lens you brought with you (from a 50mm to a 70/200mm). It will also carry two smaller lenses--say a 50 and a 24/70 (with one attached to the body). These carry by the handle or shoulder strap, but also on an optional, padded belt system.
Final word of advice: stay away from trendy/hip/fashion bags (Peak Design, and their ilk)--
your gear should last longer than whatever's hip, next season
Hi RaF, would like to ask ID on thinktank, thanks
Not sure what you mean by ID? Lots of information on ThinkTank’s web site—have a look You’ll see the bags I have and a lot more...
The Lowepro ProTactic series are pretty good. I've got the 450 AW, which is a little oversized for what I normally carry, however it has room for other travel gear I take with me (lighting, clothing, food etc.). It comfortably fits my D7100 with 80-200 f2.8 plus multiple other lenses and a DJI Spark in the foam case with room to spare. If you aren't carrying stupid amounts of kit and want a slimmer approach, the 350 AW is a good choice
would help if you had a bit more details on what you carry, with that info more specific suggestions can be given. but for me, i carry a fuji xt2 plus a few lenses. including a 16-55 zoom which is decent sized for the mirrorless world. i use a billingham hadley pro. looks good and classy. most importantly it looks unlike a camera bag, so it wont be a target for theft. its cotton canvas, but billingham is fancy with a integrated rubber layer or something like that so its waterproof.
i love thinktank. i have a roller for huge jobs and a shoulder bag for core kit. my lighting bag is a tenba made for profoto
Lowpro tactic 450 is a affordable durable and reasonably sized. At the least I’ve managed to fit my 15inch mac, a full frame and apsc size bodies, about 4 lenses with some accessories here and there and has attachable pockets and hooks for tripods water bottles and more.
I have a dakine mission backpack with the photo insert, it is hands down the best bag I have ever used. Fits a ton of gear and the camer section is only accessible when you have the bag off, so it is perfect for travel! I never have to worry about gear going missing in a crowded area while I am wearing it!
worth searching one out.
I've had a LowePro for 19 years. That thing is awesome. It's built like a tank. Their customer service is great too.
I've been using Domke's for over a decade now and I think they're great. They are simple, durable, understated canvas bags which come in a variety of sizes and muted colors. Apply some of their Refinishing Wax and you've got some weatherproofing. I also like that their F series shoulder bags have nice and thick padding at the bottom. Pair one up with the optional shoulder pad and you won't even notice it's there. The Gripper camera straps are pretty good too.
Ona makes some really incredible bags if you're into the messenger style. My personal is the gray canvas Brixton which is perfect for my Micro 4/3rds or 35mm cameras plus extra space for whatever when I'm traveling. If you need something a little bigger for video equipment or multiple bodies and lenses, the Union Street has the same amazing looks with more capacity.
I still want the all leather version of the Brixton. Excellent bag.
I had the leather Berlin I (Leica limited edition) and found both the design and hardware underwhelming
After 13 years of wearing a Crumpler Sinking Barge on my back (long live the Sinking Barge) I switched to the Peak Design everyday backpack (
) and I highly recommend it. I bought it because of the function and got great form and innovation to boot. It holds my Fuji X-T2 gear (body w/lens, 1 extra lens, batteries, flash) with room to spare. It doesn't look like a camera bag which will save you, and it's a backpack so you won't develop SIS (Satchel Induced Sciatica).
My only single gripe is that the lower rear fabric covering is prone to tearing due to it being a friction point. Not a deal killer, they should fix it on the next rev hopefully.
I’m a Peak Design guy now, too, but I use the everyday messenger.
Its all up to the user but I've used Domke bags forever and love them. I don't care for backpacks - I'm usually on the go when shooting and like access to everything at my hip.
I have at least 6 bags. My go to bag for Travel is case logic KDB-101. we’ll made. Balanced. Lots of room. Very very easy access, stands up, absolute water proof on the bottom. etc etc
Hello! I use an Osprey 40L with a Lowepro for my DJI Mavic Pro and a Tenba BYOB for my camera. Hope this helps!
I use a backpack to store all my gear. It is the WNDRD backpack with the camera cube inside. Works to fit all my gear and super convenient
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what camera do you use with it -- any issues with loading gear or pulling it in/out via the side-access opening?
I've got a Nikon D750 and am wondering if that'll be an issue
Hey sorry for the late response. I have the 31. It fit my Nikon 810 with a Massive zoom lens on it. You can ajust the camera cube with the Velcro dividers and have no issue getting the body in the opening
I have a Tenba, and I love it. My favorite thing about it is that the dividers are all adjustable, so even if I change what I'm carrying, things will still fit perfectly.
And they have a huge variety of options, including gigantic cases for lugging all sorts of equipment around.
I've had good experiences with LowePro but the plastic clips are brittle and broke after 5 years of heavy use. So I try to find designs that do not have plastic clips. So I've converted to other bags.
If you're a pro, take a look at ThinkTank. I use a Speed Racer when working events. It's a sidebag with a retractable belt you can hang stuff off, like a Spider Holster. Makes it easy to swap gear while being super-mobile.
For travel, again, ThinkTank. Depends how much gear you have to transport. Rollers are great and they have a Video series too.
For lighter carry, I love the Peak Design Sling. Holds a body with attached lens and room for 2 more things, like a flash or lens. There are straps underneath to carry a tripod. And you can attach a Peak Capture Clip to either side if you want quick access. Plus it has a strap that lets you slide it onto a carry-on handle.
While we're on the topic, I like the Spider Holster for working events since it's super-quick access. But if I'm travelling the Capture Clip provides a bit more security and you can attach it to nearly everything.
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Looks like a manfrotto
I think it is the Amazon Basics bag (available from Amazon). It looks very similar to the one I have, which is Amazon Basics.
I have this Sierra Club carry bag I got by making a donation.
It's REALLY roomy, and made of very sturdy, water repellant gore-tex.
Compartments and a nice exterior zip-pocket... better camera gear bag than all these expensive designated bag.
For lugging my lens stable and other cameras about for a shoot, I prefer those foam lined metal hard-cases.
Anything I buy from Manfrotto is actual gear.
Like window mounts and tripods.
Anything by Lowpro or something by Manfrotto, there looking pretty functional and stylish these days. A little pricey but closer to Christmas you might be able to score a deal!
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