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In the Bag

Manufacturers expand options for carrying cameras and gear.

By Earl Nottingham


As newer cameras and lenses diminish in size and weight with each new model, photographers are finding it easier to carry everything from a simple point-and-shoot camera to a full kit with multiple lenses and accessories. Camera bag makers are rising to the occasion by designing new products with these smaller sizes in mind, thus making those gear-intensive photo expeditions a little less burdensome. But how do you choose the best camera bag? The choices seem to be infinite.

The first step is to determine the type of photography you are planning to do. Is it a quick trip to a kid’s sporting event? Will you be traveling to remote, rugged locations for landscape or wildlife photography? Will you be carrying drones or laptop computers? These are just a few questions to consider to determine what level of carrying capacity you will need.

However you choose to travel and whatever the assignment, there is a camera bag for you. The only problem is that, over time, it’s easy to want them all.

Let’s look at some of the categories of cases available.



HOLSTERS AND POUCHES are the simplest of the carrying options, designed to carry a single camera and lens combination, whether it is a simple point-and-shoot, mirrorless or DSLR camera.


PICTURED: Case Logic DSLR Camera Holster TBC-406
MSRP: $26.99 • caselogic.com

SLING BAGS are a popular variation of a shoulder bag and backpack. They can swing around to the front to be opened like a shoulder bag for quick access and swing around to the back like a backpack.


PICTURED: Lowepro Passport Sling III
MSRP: $69.95 • lowepro.com

SHOULDER BAGS AND MESSENGER BAGS are the most traditional type of gear bag. A single strap makes them easy to take on and off, providing quick access to gear. Many have additional sleeves and pockets for paperwork and accessories. Their disadvantage is that carrying heavier equipment over one shoulder for a long time can become uncomfortable.


PICTURED: Think Tank Retrospective 5 V2.0
MSRP: $149.75 • thinktankphoto.com

HARD CASES for cameras offer the ultimate in protection against impact, rough handling and harsh environments.


PICTURED: Pelican 1400 Protector Case
MSRP: $99.95 • pelican.com

ROLLER BAGS are designed for photographers on the go who don’t want to carry the weight. With wheels and an extending handle, these bags can be pulled along like suitcases on smooth surfaces. They can easily be transported through airports and can be stored in most overhead bins on air carriers. They can be soft like a backpack or hard like a typical hard case.


PICTURED: Think Tank Airport Advantage
MSRP: $269.75 • thinktankphoto.com

BACKPACKS are traditionally the top choice for outdoor photographers and travelers who need to carry lots of gear over long distances and keep it well protected. The best backpacks will have plenty of customizable room for a variety of camera, lens and accessory combinations, including drones, laptops and tripods. A well-designed frame, along with soft shoulder straps and waist or chest straps, makes trekking much easier.


PICTURED: Manfrotto Pro Light RedBee-110
MSRP: $159.99 • manfrotto.com

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