Looking for a camera bag for your photo equipment? I’ll show you what’s important and give you three recommendations!
Below you will find a detailed article about camera bags. If you don’t want to read it all, here’s the quick overview.
My personal recommendations
I currently have three camera bags. One of them is the Mantona Colt, but I don’t use it anymore because I don’t like it in terms of accessibility.
When I bought my Canon EOS 77D, I also bought the Cullmann Malaga Vario 400. It is a rather small camera bag that really only fits the camera with kit lens, polarizing filter and battery.
I use this bag for short photo trips or put it directly in my backpack when I go somewhere to protect the camera. I really like it in terms of the material.
For day trips that I don’t use a photo backpack for, I have the Tamrac System 6.
It is exactly the size described above with room for camera and two extra compartments. On the sides I can stow cell phone and wallet, also a water bottle and a few cereal bars have space inside.
Unfortunately, the former manufacturer Tamrac has gone bankrupt. The trademark rights have been acquired by another company. In my opinion, however, what is sold under this name today does not come close to the quality of earlier photo bags. So you can look on eBay for used bags of this type. A good alternative that is available to buy new is, for example, the Lowepro Nova 180 AW II.
Update: My current camera bag for my Sony Alpha 7 III
Since January 2021, I have been using the Lowepro Nova 170 AW II for my Sony Alpha 7 III. This camera bag fits the camera with an attached lens and a few accessories. Especially for smaller photo trips on foot I like this bag very much. The biggest plus is the good padding and thus the protection of my camera. It is, as usual with Lowepro, very high quality workmanship. Therefore, the bag is still a very clear recommendation from me!
Criteria for the selection of the camera bag
Which size should I choose?
If you want to buy a camera bag, at least your camera including lens should find room in it. Maybe you already have a second lens and some accessories like filters, memory card, extra batteries and cleaning cloth. In addition to the actual photo equipment, it is useful for most photo tours to have a little space for cell phone, wallet, drinks and snacks. In this respect, a photo bag that offers space for the camera with attached lens and two additional lenses is usually a good idea. How you actually fill the compartments is up to you.
At what point should I consider a photo backpack?
I recommend a photo backpack from two additional lenses. But why? It’s because of the carrying comfort. A normal photo bag is usually carried over one shoulder. If your equipment becomes more, then the bag logically also becomes heavier. Carrying this weight over one shoulder for several hours is not a good idea from a health point of view. Of course, you can always change the side of the bag, but it will never be really comfortable.
One of the most important selection criteria: The carrying comfort
A photo bag usually has a shoulder strap that you use to carry the bag. This strap should be sufficiently wide and padded, so that you can carry the bag comfortably for a long time.
The downside to a camera bag is that you are carrying the weight on one shoulder. Therefore, I recommend changing the shoulder every now and then. If you have too much photo equipment with you, then the bag becomes heavy and is no longer comfortable to carry on one shoulder.
So if you already have several lenses and want to take them on longer photo trips, then I would prefer a photo backpack over a camera bag.
Is a tripod mount important?
For me personally, a tripod mount on the camera bag is not necessary. A normal tripod is often too heavy to attach to the bag and thus carry it on one shoulder for a long time. If you don’t want to take a photo backpack for this, you can use the carrying bag that came with the tripod. Alternatively, there are tripod bags that you can buy separately.
Pay attention to the protection of the equipment: Padding
Inside the photo bag, the protection of your own photo equipment is an important criterion. So the bag should be sufficiently padded on the outside to absorb small impacts. Nevertheless, the dead weight of the bag should not be too high. In addition to padding, protection from moisture and rain is also useful. More on this below.
Variable division can be useful
In many photo bags that offer multiple compartments, the partitions can be made variable with the help of Velcro. This way you can adjust the interior individually to your camera and lenses.
Also important: Good accessibility
Over the last few years, I’ve noticed how important it is to have good access to your camera. If the zipper doesn’t work properly or you have a hard time getting to the clip closures, it’s pretty annoying in the long run. In this respect, I recommend buying bags from brand manufacturers, which are usually well thought out and easy to access.
Should a camera bag be waterproof?
My personal opinion: A camera bag does not have to be waterproof. The equipment should provide protection against a rain shower, but I rarely submerge the bag in water. My experience also shows that even entry-level SLR cameras can handle a few raindrops without a problem. The same should be true for entry-level system cameras.
For me, it is enough if the „lid“ of the camera bag goes over the zipper.
Camera bag by type of camera
Camera bag for SLR camera / DSLR
A camera bag for an SLR camera / DSLR should, as mentioned, provide space for the camera with lens attached and two extra compartments. A recommendation here is the Lowepro Nova 180 AW II.
Camera bag for system camera
A camera bag for a system camera may also be a little smaller due to the smaller size. Here I also recommend the Lowepro Nova 180 AW II.
Camera bags by manufacturer and material
Camera bag from Canon
The Canon SB100 shoulder bag offers space for camera with camera kit and an additional lens. So for small equipment it is a good choice. It also has room for a full-frame camera with a small lens.
Camera bag from Nikon
Similar to the Canon bag, the Nikon CF-EU11 holds a camera kit and an additional lens. In addition to good padding and a chic look, it is also pleasantly lightweight.
Camera bag from Sony
The Sony LCS-U21 still has small pockets on the outside, which are handy for accessories. The main compartment fits a camera kit and another lens. The bag can be used for Sony Alpha models and Cybershot cameras as well as camcorders.
Camera bag from Lowepro
In the Lowepro range, I find the Nova 180 AW II interesting. It offers space for a camera with lens and accessories. It is a bit more expensive, but offers the All Weather Cover and has waterproof zippers.
Camera bag from Amazon
The AmazonBasics camera bag in size L offers excellent value for money and also comes off very well in numerous reviews. The interior you can design variable by means of partitions with Velcro closures. Likewise, the many additional pockets are a suitable idea to organize your own equipment well. The bag is relatively large.
Leather camera bags
It is not so easy to find a leather camera bag. The MegaGear Torres has its price, but it is made of genuine leather. This look goes incredibly well with retro design cameras. It comes off extremely well in the Amazon reviews.
I hope my post helps you choose your new camera bag. If you have any questions or want to share your experiences, feel free to write me in the comments!