From beginner photographers to experts, a camera’s features hold the spotlight. The more the features, the more expensive the camera. However, all this luggage needs a safe place to be stored, whether on the go or on standby. Many camera users have found themselves opting for the generic cases to carry around their equipment without considering how crucial a proper case is. Just as a camera’s features are important, a carrier needs to match its luggage. Here are the 5 must-have features that make a camera bag worth carrying the luggage worth thousands.
Camera equipment changes like clothes on a human. Standard camera lens backpacks come with fixed compartments for each piece of equipment which limits the things you can store in it. Velcro straps allow adjusting the compartments to safely hold whatever needs to be put in it. This feature is especially essential for storing different kinds of lens for varying occasions and adds to the functionality of the carrier.
Strap around the waist
Camera equipment can get quite heavy especially when it’s on your back for long hikes in the mountains to capture some ethereal scenes. Having a strap that buckles around the waist balances the weight on your back and prevents the back pain and exhaustion that might ruin the fun of your photography adventure.
A bag that doesn’t look like a camera bag.
Let’s be honest, carrying a bag that basically screams “I am carrying thousands of dollars worth of equipment” in a remote area isn’t the best option. Your safest bet is a bag that is very discreet in terms of what it is holding. Another added feature is a zipper on the inside to prevent access from the back.
An external feature to hold the tripod.
Tripod is another bulky piece of equipment without a home while on the go. You either need a large bag to carry one, or have no option than to just hold it. A backpack with an external pocket or strap to hold your tripod while having your arms thanking you.
A waterproof cover
In the outdoors, rain comes like the wind, especially in mountainous terrain. The paranoia of destroying hundreds of dollars worth of goods will make you hesitant to enjoy your trip to the fullest. Carrying a waterproof bag to protect your gear from water damage will not only allow a stress-free adventure but also prevent you from carrying back a soaked bag that weighs a hundred pounds.
Types of Camera Bags
Shoulder bags are designed to hold a camera and several lenses. There are many varieties of shoulder bags. When choosing one, consider the following:
- Do I want to work out of the bag, or carry it around with me?
- Do I want the bag to be multifunctional so it can act as both a camera bag and a day pack?
- Do I want to carry a laptop computer or tablet in the bag?
- Does the bag have a trolley strap included so if I want to attach it to rolling luggage, I can?
Camera backpacks are one of the most popular options for carrying around your gear. Backpacks are generally broken down into three categories:
- Backpacks designed to hold only camera gear.
- Backpacks designed to carry camera gear, as well as non-camera items, like your phone, keys, or a snack
- Backpacks that offer access your gear without having to remove the backpack from your back. These are usually designed like the backpacks described above.
Here are some questions to consider when shopping for a camera backpack:
- What gear do I want to put in this backpack? Is this a bag designed to hold all my gear, or a complement to a bag I own already?
- How will I be using the backpack? Will I be traveling where I might want room for non-camera items (like a map), or with kids?
- Do I want to have room to grow? Do I want to buy a camera that will allow room for gear I plan to buy in the future, or for what I have now?
- What kinds of other features would I like in my backpack? For example: a rain cover, tripod socket, or a trolley strap.
Sling bags are modified messenger-style bags that have one strap for quick and easy access to a camera. Here are some questions to think about when shopping for a sling bag:
- Is this bag deep enough for the biggest lens I want to carry?
- Do I favor one shoulder over the another for carrying a bag?
- How heavy will the case be once I fill it up? Unlike backpacks, slings are designed to go on one shoulder only. If that shoulder gets tired, you can’t (in most cases) switch it.
Holster cases are designed to be used with a camera and a single lens. They are the smallest, most compact carrying option, allowing it to be the easiest thing to carry and least likely to prevent you from leaving your camera at home. Here are some questions to think about:
- What is the biggest lens I want to carry in the holster case? Do I want it to have room to expand to hold a bigger lens or a battery grip?
- Is this a stand-alone item I want to be able to carry around my neck or belt, or is it something to go into another bag I will already be carrying?
- Do I want room for memory cards and spare batteries or something to wrap around and protect the camera without any additional pockets?
Fashion bags are a great choice if you want your camera bag to look more like a purse or high-end briefcase than a camera bag. Here are some questions for the fashion forward:
- What style and color do I like? Fashion bags come in different colors and styles that appeal to a wide range of people.
- How heavy is the bag? Bags may be heavier due to the fabric they’re made of (fashion leather versus a synthetic).
- If the bag will double as a purse and a camera bag, what else do I need room for?
Pouches are designed for small cameras. They are meant, typically, to be worn around your neck or on your waist. Here are some things to ask when considering a pouch:
- What size is my camera? You must know the size of your camera to pick the right pouch accurately.
- Do I want to camera to be oriented horizontally or vertically in the case? Neck straps on two sides of a camera are typically either hanging on the outside of a case with the case’s neck strap, or stuffed-in vertically.
- What other accessories do I want with me? Do I want room for a spare memory card, battery, or charger? If so, make sure your pouch has pockets to hold these accessories.
Rolling cases are a very convenient way to carry around a large amount of heavy gear. They are especially popular when traveling.
- What gear will I be putting in the case? Pay special attention to cameras with battery grips that require a bag with more depth.
- Do I need the rolling bag to fit airline regulations for a carry-on? Always check with your airline to ascertain what those dimensions are compared to the rolling case you are looking to purchase.
- Do I want the rolling case to have backpack straps in the event I want to carry it on my back? For example, walking down subway stairs or up in a walkup building are times when backpack straps come in handy.
Hard cases are the most versatile and durable type of photo transport equipment. They can be used for anything from cameras and lenses, light stands, and tripods. Here are some things to ask before you purchase a hard case:
- What type of interior protection do I want? The choices are pick-and-pluck foam or dividers. The advantage of pick-and-pluck foam is that it protects the gear on all four sides. The disadvantage is that once you pluck, you can’t change your setup. Dividers are more versatile because they can be reconfigured at will. They don’t provide the same type of snug fit as foam does, though.
- Do I want to carry a laptop with me? Some cases only offer that option as a kit rather than a separate accessory.
- How much does the case weigh? The lighter the case, the easier it is to transport. Obviously.
Fitted cases are designed to go with specific models only. Just because two cameras are the same brand, or one version is an upgrade over another, doesn’t mean they will automatically be compatible with the same fitted case. Important things to ask are:
- Do I have other lenses I want to carry with me? Many of these cases are designed for one camera and one lens only.
- Does it look like a camera bag? Especially when traveling, it is better not to draw attention to oneself with a case with a major brand logo that may be highly visible.
- Does the strap fit in the case? Do I need to put the strap in the case or can it hang on the outside of the case with the strap that’s on camera?