Buying a camera bag is something every camera owner has to deal with. What you will spend will, however, depend on the type of camera and equipment you own. Generally speaking, the material, type, capacity and other features of the bag will determine what it will cost.
From our findings, most entry-level camera bags which can accommodate a DSLR and a few lenses can cost less than $30 on average. More sophisticated camera bags can cost between $30 and $150 while large backpacks full of compartments can go over $150 and up to $250 in some cases. Whatever your need, you are likely to find something suitable. Whilst you can look for more expensive camera bags that offer more options, be sure to avoid cheap camera bags, as they may not serve your camera well because of their low quality.
Construction and Design
Camera bags are not all the same, just as cameras are not all the same – they have different needs. It is important that you choose a camera bag that suits your exact needs. There are different types of camera bags, including compact bags, shoulder bags, backpack bags, hard bags and cases, waist pack bags, mini cases, DSLR bags and more.
Compact: These different types of camera bags are suitable for different needs and situations. A person who needs a bag that will hold just a camera and a lens without any other accessories should consider getting the compact camera bag or the DSLR camera bag. Either of these two is sufficient to hold your camera with its lens and, at most, one more lens.
Shoulder: The shoulder camera bag is a bigger bag that can take your camera and other accessories. This camera bag is great for freeing up your hands so you can focus on shooting your pictures. It is carried on the shoulder by means of a shoulder strap, which is usually adjustable. It is also usually tough enough to protect the camera and its accessories from damage resulting from bumping against a hard object.
Backpack: As the name suggests, a backpack camera bag is like your regular backpack and is ideal for holding your camera and a number of other accessories. This will easily hold more than one camera and all the accessories you need. This is great for when you need to travel with your full gear. Everything you need will fit into a good backpack camera bag. They are also heavy duty and very protective.
Hard Cases: Hard cases are heavy-duty cases for holding a large amount of camera equipment safely. These can be safely shipped, making it ideal for when you need to travel for major events. The hard case ensures everything inside is protected from damage, while the dividers inside ensure everything is securely arranged and won’t move around inside the bag.
Waist: Waist pack bags are ideal for hikes and other situations where you may need to whip out your camera for a quick shot. As you would expect, you cannot hold much else in this bag except your camera and lens. These are some major types of camera bags to consider.
After deciding on the type of camera bag you want, you will also want to look at the material it is made of. A camera bag can be made of many materials, ranging from polyester and nylon, to canvas and leather. Each material will have its advantages. If you need a bag that will be water resistant, you should of course rule out fabric, unless it is lined with a water-resistant material. For the highest quality, you will want to look at bags made of leather. No doubt, the material a camera bag is made of will affect its durability, among other things.
At the risk of stating the obvious, we will mention the issue of the capacity of the bag you need. A lot of photographers today work a lot with their laptops. While you will be able to save your shots on a memory card so you can transfer them to your workstation later, you may find yourself in a situation where you need to travel with your camera, accessories and laptop. Determine what you will need at any given time and look for a bag that can meet those demands. Professional photographers will need different types of bags for different situations. A hobbyist may, however, just have one that serves their major needs.
Aside from the capacity of the bag, there’s also the issue of the compartments available in the bag. It’s not enough that there is enough space; considering that many of the camera accessories are delicate, it is important that they are stored securely inside the bag. Compartments for lenses, cards, batteries, etc. will go a long way in ensuring these items are kept securely. Consider what you will need to carry and get a bag that will securely store it.
It is important that the camera and accessories inside the bag are well protected. As we mentioned above, the material used will affect this. Another thing that will affect it is the padding. A well-padded bag will provide a cushion that will absorb any impact that would have a damaging effect on your gear. Any camera bag that is not well padded cannot do the job of protecting the camera and its accessories well. Padding is an important feature to note.
In addition to protection, securing your precious gear is very important. You do not want a bag that anyone can easily reach into and pick something out. Zippers and other forms of closures can increase the security a bag offers. The higher the security, the safer the equipment inside the bag will be.
Performance and Ease of Use
There are a few factors that will make a camera bag comfortable to use. One of the major ones is how it is carried. You should not focus so entirely on the protection and security of the gear that you forget that you will need to carry it. If the bag has a strap, an adjustable strap is usually preferred, as it offers the user the ability to adjust the length to a comfortable position. The material and padding available on the strap will also determine if the strap will dig into your shoulders, making it a painful task to carry the bag.
Depending on the type of bag, it may have wheels that allow you to roll the bag along the street. This is usually common among the heavy-duty bags that pack a lot of gear. This is great since you would not enjoy lugging such a heavy bag around.
Carefully look at all the points mentioned above before choosing a camera bag, and you will be sure to find one that will serve you well.