AmSnaps - Digital Photography Basics For Amateur Snappers

Everything You Need To Know About Buying A Camera Bag

A suitable camera bag is vital not just to carry your photography equipment but to protect it from bad weather, damage and theft. When you’ve invested a small fortune on a camera, lenses and other gear, you want to keep your kit protected.

Some fundamental photography gear often goes unnoticed and the simple camera bag is a perfect example. Without it you’d be lost, carrying lenses and kit in coat pockets when you’re out-and-about.

Many people are still quick to buy the cheapest bag they can get their hands on. They're not aware that spending a little time shopping around and getting yourself a good quality bag can literally help to take the weight off your shoulders, leaving you to focus on what’s really important...taking photographs.

Choosing Your New Camera Bag

So, what should you look for in a new bag for your photography gear? Well, that all depends on what you’re after. There are many different shapes, sizes and manufacturers. You can find shoulder bags, backpacks, sling bags, rolling cases and hard cases.

Shoulder Bags - Useful for quick and easy access while on the move, with external pockets for batteries, memory cards, filters, etc.

Backpacks - These offer greater support for your spine, especially if you have a lot of equipment to carry. Some have areas for laptops and fastening straps for tripods, but are not as accessible for rapidly getting to your gear for quick lense changes, etc.

Sling Bags - A hybrid shoulder/back pack offering an simple swing to the side for easy access.

Rolling Cases - Cases with wheels and handles for carrying heavier equipment. Smaller versions can also be used as a backpack or briefcase.

Hard Cases - Aluminium cases are ideal for travelling on airlines or for protecting and storing your kit when you aren't using it. They come in a range of sizes from briefcase to large box types.

When purchasing a bag you need to consider a few factors. Do you regularly spend all day outdoors, carrying a selection of kit and walking from location to location? Maybe you only ever carry your camera and one other lens with you for a couple of hours at a time.

On the most basic level, your choice will come down to either a traditional shoulder bag or an increasingly popular backpack design. If you only go out at weekends and carry your camera and one or two lenses, then a small shoulder bag may be the choice for you.

If you carry three or four lenses and your camera, plus maybe a second camera and you are using it everyday out-and-about, then that is a lot of weight to put on one shoulder. You might like to consider a backpack style bag offering more support and space.

Watch this short video by Mark Wallace as he explains easily which bag would be best for you.

One of the best places to buy a new camera bag is Ebay. It is cheaper than most of the photography shops and items are usually posted to you in a few days. One thing is look out for though is the seller's feedback. My tip is to only buy stuff from reputable seller's with 100% feedback and good sales volume.

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David Coote
Wedding Photographer
Northern Ireland