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DPChallenge Forums >> Hardware and Software >> Camera bag - what to get?
Showing posts 1 - 18 of 18, (reverse)
02/11/2008 12:13:06 AM · #1
I've been using a normal backpack as a camera bag, and finding it increasingly inconvenient. It's time to get a good camera bag...

In the past, with my P&S, I had a bum bag (aka fanny pack, depending on where you live). This easily held the camera, spare batteries, cards, filters and a wide-angle attachment, mini-tripod, phone, and water bottle, food, etc, all organised in easy reach, which was great. Problem is, it's way too small for my SLR.

So, here's my options...

- look great to fit all the gear, organised well
- Comfortable to carry for long periods
- inconvenient, as you have to take the pack off and put it down somewhere to change lenses.
- Inconvenient for getting the camera in/out a lot
- Some have side-access ports, or 'spin-around to the front' access, but are these really useable?

Shoulder bags
- Easy to get stuff in/out while walking, without having to put the bag down on the ground.
- Would get uncomfortable to carry for a few hours or more

Smaller bags
- I haven't found any good big bum-bags that would hold an SLR, but it might be handy to have a second bag, which is small and convenient, for 'family trip' days, where the camera is an accessory.
- Enough storage for camera and second lens or flash unit.

I don't do a lot of hiking to a photo, and then hiking back. But I might be walking around for several hours to a full day, with my camera 'at the ready' for when I see a photo, so I really want friendly access to the camera and changing lenses without having to unload.

Ideally, something that will externally hold a tripod/light stands would also be good, for those times when I am doing some more serious on-location portraits or whatever.

Whatever bag I get will also serve as storage for all my gear at home, so it's always packed in the bag ready to go.

So, what are your thoughts? Am I right about the positives/negatives of the various bag types? Am I being overly pessimistic about the negatives, or are there ways around them in certain bags?

02/11/2008 12:27:27 AM · #2
Honestly, I have two bags and I'm looking to add a third. I prefer shoulder bags, especially if you can add a waist belt to help carry the load.

I have a cavernous Lowe Stealth 650AW that holds everything and then some. Of course, it weighs nearly 2 tons when fully loaded. I use it mostly as a "Mother Ship" to my Stealth 200AW, which holds enough for a good day or more.

02/11/2008 12:37:55 AM · #3
When I bought my 30D I decided to go with a shoulder bag. My case was that a backpack would get annoying when I wanted to change lenses. However, after a few times using the shoulder bag, I was pretty disappointed. I have three lenses (70-300, 50mm, 17-85), so the shoulder bag that held all of those plus the camera and some other goodies (like the battery charger, a few filters, cable release, etc.) was pretty big. While it was super easy to switch lenses, it was pretty cumbersome to carry around. The large size made it awkward, especially when trying to walk at a decent pace.

After doing some research, I decided to go with this Canon backpack. It had good reviews, and also the price was right. I've had it for about a year now, and have been very impressed. The thing I like best about it is it's comfortable to wear, even for longer periods of time. To me, this is a fair trade for the added difficulty in switching lenses. It's nice to be able to carry around all of my stuff while holding the camera in my hand and not have to be burdened with a bag swinging around by my side. So far it has held up great, and it even has a waterproof bag attached inside that can encase the whole backpack if it starts to rain (I didn't think I would ever use it, but it really has come in handy when the weather has gone sour).

Hope this helps!
02/11/2008 12:39:09 AM · #4
I recently bought a Tamrac velocity. Wears like a backpack, (sort of), and swings around to the front easily. large loops on the sides can hold a tripod or cellphone. (Or the lens cases that Tamrac also makes for it.)I have the smallest one that fits my S5 or Rebel XT nicely, but they make 3 larger sizes.
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Message edited by author 2008-02-11 00:39:29.
02/11/2008 12:44:52 AM · #5
I have 2 backpacks & 1 shoulder version... Each has some advantage and dis-advantage.

- Mountainsmith Quantum
Most comfortable pack by a long way... Huge open top for camera & decent space for other stuff... removable camera pack.

- Burton Zoom Pack
Great low profile... rear zip opening... great balance.

- Crumpler 7 Million Dollar Home
Just brilliant for a shoulder bag. Does not scream cam bag.... comfortable.
02/11/2008 01:30:16 AM · #6
I have the Lowe Slingshot 100 and love it. I plan to get a Slingshot 200 for longer trips, more gear, but the 100 is great most of the time. I use it along with a Mountain Smith waist pack for hiking: the mountainsmith carries my hiking gear, food, etc. The Slingshot 100 will sort of "rest" on top of the waist pack when back there, but swings around easily to give me camera/gear access without have to fool with the hiking load.
Lowepro Slingshot 100

02/11/2008 02:07:58 AM · #7
Any bag is gonna be a compromise. Get what you'd use most first. Then get the second later, if you need it.

I use a shoulder bag, actually I have two (a larger one and a small one). I use the large one most. I like having all my lenses and flashes with me. But, if I need to be light, the smaller one comes in quite handy.

I'll probably add a backpack one day also, although I don't hike that much.

I once owned a vest, and it was the ultimate for accesibility, but well... I didn't date much then :-D
02/11/2008 03:04:17 AM · #8
I use a backpack with one body, one flash, and 10 lenses in it. For on the run shooting, I carry the camera with one lens, and put 2 more lenses in a "bum bag" so that I can change lenses without setting anything down. If I am going to do heavy shooting and want to carry a light jacket or the like, I put on a photo vest and fill the pockets with things that I think I may need and put the jacket in the pocket in the back of the vest.
Carrying the camera with monopod attached, and bum bag is my fav way to shoot light if I plan on moving around the woods or standing in a crowd for periods of time. The monopod can be extended while just standing, and it takes the load off my shoulders, as I can support part of the weight of my arms and hands on it with the camera attached.
02/11/2008 07:35:52 AM · #9
Originally posted by robs:

Crumpler 7 Million Dollar Home
Just brilliant for a shoulder bag. Does not scream cam bag.... comfortable.

I love this bag!
02/11/2008 01:39:48 PM · #10
I just went through the same analysis, since I use a tamrac adventure 7 day pack which has enough room to carry 3 or 4 lenses + the camera and accessories when I'm out in the field, but isn't enough to hold all my gear, which ended up being spread out in several locations around the house where I store my stuff. I went back and forth between a larger backpack (like the tamrac expedition 5 or 7) and a traditional shoulder bag, and ended up going with the bag option in the form of a tamrac pro 12.

I actually ordered both that bag and the Expedition 5 from b&h, then shipped the expedition bag back. Both had enough room for all my gear, but the shoulder bag was easier to get in and out of, and a more organized solution for holding everything with some room to expand. The Expedition 5 was just too heavy with all my gear in it, and I decided there just weren't enough times that I'd want to be out hiking with every piece of equipment I owned to make it worth it. The one thing I thought I would like about that bag was how the tripod mounted vertically in the back, but when I tried it out the tripod head ended up being a little too close to my head for comfort.

Other than still not having a great solution for carrying my tripod while hiking (other than my gorillapod!), the combo of the adventure 7 and the pro 12 has worked out very well for me.
02/11/2008 03:09:31 PM · #11

M-rock has some very flexible systems, easy to add or subtract as needed. Well built/designed stuff too.
02/11/2008 03:20:23 PM · #12
Originally posted by dassilem:

Originally posted by robs:

Crumpler 7 Million Dollar Home
Just brilliant for a shoulder bag. Does not scream cam bag.... comfortable.

I love this bag!

I tried out this bag and actually quite liked it but it doesn't hold as much as my Lowepro MiniTrekker backpack, nor is it laid out as well.

If you can, go to a shop that sells camera bags. Check out their return policy. Most will let you bring it back if it does not suit your purpose.
02/11/2008 03:25:35 PM · #13
Lowepro Fastpack

This bag is basically the larger Lowepro Sling Shot 300 AW in backpack form. The camera/lens compartment is a little smaller than the 300AW (maybe the size of the slingshot 200AW or bigger) but the top compartment is a lot bigger than the 300AW. There is also a padded compartment for a 17" laptop. As for the negative of having to put a backpack down to remove gear, with the Fastpack you just have to remove one shoulder strap and swing it around similar to the Sing Shot. I got it for christmas when B&H had it for $80, but even for $112 its definitely worth it.

Edit to add: I have two flashes in the top compartment but you could easily fit 4 without it being crowded. The camera compartment can hold 5 lenses and a body w/lens or 4 lenses with a body w/telephoto lens. I have a lot of room to grow into this bag. Looks wise, it just looks like an ordinary backpack and in all black I don't think it stands out at all.

Message edited by author 2008-02-11 15:30:20.
02/11/2008 03:26:24 PM · #14
I have a Lowepro shoulder bag thing that holds my body, my grip, spare lens and/or a flash. And there's enough space in the pockets for spare batts, pen and paper and my flash firing stuff.

Cost me £32 about 6 months ago.
02/11/2008 05:40:26 PM · #15
i have been using the slingshot 200. Holds lots of stuff and easy to get at things.
02/11/2008 06:10:00 PM · #16
I also have a Lowepro Slingshot - the 100 AW. I LOVE it - very comfortable, easy to get at my equipment without taking off the bag.

I got the smallest bag (after confirming that my camera would fit) because convenience is more important to me than carrying all my stuff. The main compartment is divided into three sections (two adjustable padded lens compartments and a T-shaped place to put the camera/lens). There's also a roomy triangular top compartment, and a few little pockets here and there. I currently have my Canon 40D, a 70-300 mm lens, a 50 mm lens, and the battery charger and an extra battery in the bag. I could fit another small/medium-sized lens in the main compartment and some more misc stuff in the top compartment. Also has a water-resistant cover which pulls out of the bottom of the bag - a nice touch.

Link to Lowepro Slingshot bags.

Message edited by author 2008-02-11 18:16:27.
02/11/2008 06:31:01 PM · #17
Wow, lots of great replies here. I'm glad to see many people using shoulder bags. Until very recently, I thought backpacks were the only option, and I'm happy that shoulder bags are very common for their good access. I will also have a good look at the slingshot bags. I'm really enthused to get a good bag now. :)

Thanks for all the feedback. I'll keep this in mind when I go shopping.
02/11/2008 07:07:58 PM · #18
For shoulder bags I love my Crumpler Talle its an awesome bag with easy access.

But for backpacks I have the Crumpler Sinking Barge I love this bag also very good when you want to carry everything

Look here for bags //www.cambags.com they have awesome reviews by users with their pics
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