A search for the best DSLR camera bags
Are you a professional photographer or a casual Sunday shooter? Regardless of your proficiency or professional polarization, stepping outdoors with your camera is a risky affair. Sure you can insure your gear against every conceivable and insurable hazard, but nothing is going to compensate you from the loss of your business reputation when you are without a camera in the middle of an assignment.
Not to mention, the hassles of having to go through all the trouble to claim your insurance coverage.
But what makes a camera bag really good enough? What are the parameters, the compliance of which puts one ahead of the competition?
- Is it merely the composite material used to make the bag which matters the most?
- Or is it the thoughtfulness that goes into designing the interior (and the exterior) of the bag which can maximize storage space and increase safety that really counts?
- Could it be the pricing that becomes the tipping point of a decision or the fringe benefits that comes with owning one?
None of these on its own can make a bag better than the rest in the catalog. As a matter of fact there is no single bag that fits the all-purpose tag. There are some that come close but by and large it’s a classic case of horses for courses.
On this occasion we shall be looking at a few more parameters and try to figure out the best DSLR camera bags that money can buy. We shall also be looking at an option used by a top professional. But before that a quick look at some ‘other' hot sellers.
1. Lowepro Fastpack BP 250 AW II and the 150
What every photographer, regardless of their level of expertise and regardless of the genre they are shooting, wants is options when they are out on the field. This discussion on the best DSLR camera bags looks for this specific attribute in each of the entries as well for properties beyond the obvious.
The Lowepro Fastpack BP 250 AW II provides ample options for the amateur shooter or even a pro shooter on a photo tour. You can pack one pro sized DSLR attached to a mid-sized lens and up to two additional lenses under the front cover.
The horizontally opening zipper may not add too much convenience and in spite of the fact that it has been tagged as a convenience feature I don’t quite feel it to be so. After all you carry it on both shoulders and unlike sling bags this one doesn’t let you access the camera compartment while it is still on your shoulder.
But apart from that the inside compartments are well partitioned. You can change things around with the three padded dividers. There are no less than five slip-in pockets inside the top compartment. These are very handy for storing travel documents, wallets and other nick-knacks. There is also a lanyard with a swiveling clip. It’s just the thing for hanging your keys and not losing it in one of the plethora of compartments inside the bag.
Other pockets include a tall stretch-mesh, one that can hold a small water bottle, a slide-in zipped compartment, that holds a 15” laptop snugly or an iPad comfortably, and a top compartment just above the one housing the camera.
Enough space for packing all that you may need for a 3-4 days of serious shooting or even a two-week long photography tour. Oh, and did I mention that the bag also comes with a rain-jacket? At the time of writing, the Lowepro Fastpack BP 250 AW II costs just under $110.
2. The Lowepro Fastpack BP 150 AW II
The 150 is a mirror image of the 250 detailed above. The only difference being it’s smaller in dimensions. Thus, while the Lowepro Fastpack BP 250 AW II has an exterior dimension of 31 x 26 x 50 cm, the Lowepro Fastpack BP 150 AW II measures 25 x 23 x 47 cm.
Thus, although this bag has the same design and number of storage compartments everything is just a tag smaller than on the Lowepro Fastpack BP 250 AW II.
The laptop compartment of the 150 can accommodate an 11” machine compared to a 15” on the 250. The Lowepro Fastpack BP 150 AW II costs just under $80 (at the time of writing this). Check out the current price and comments here.
3. What do the pros use? – The Everyday Messenger
Imitation is the best form of flattery. If you like the gear that your role model uses and aspire to use them, what’s wrong in picking a few pointers from what they haul as well?
So, let’s find out what celebrity photographers love to check-in on a flight with; and what better than a bag that has actually been designed by a celebrity pro?
This bag has been designed keeping in mind how photographers actually use their bags. The bag we are referring to is the Everyday Messenger and without it this discussion of the best DSLR camera bags would be incomplete.
When Peak Design raised nearly 4 million on a concept bag everyone sat up and took notice. After all you don’t get such a huge crowd funding for a camera bag. The bag, to its credit, has been designed for photographers and by a photographer (Trey Ratcliff of Stuck in Customs fame) who understands as well as anybody else how camera wielding pro togs use their bags.
Let’s get started with filling the bag up. To start off, in goes a full-frame DSLR with a lens attached. Next goes two additional lenses. The bag isn’t large enough for telephoto lenses but you can safely pack in a medium tele-zoom and a prime. Next goes your cables, spare batteries, filters and external hard drive.
Oh and there is a compartment to fit in a 15” laptop too. Depending on how much you have already crammed into the bag the laptop compartment may just be a little too tight for a 15” device. But you can certainly fit in a smaller 13” device. Plus, there is a small internal compartment that can house a tablet / iPad and travel documents.
The bag has numerous clever features. Take for example the origami-inspired padded dividers. They fold in a unique way to generate more storage management options inside the bag. There is a zipped pocket under the flap. It is ideal for documents and change.
A unique adjustable mag-latch locking mechanism ensures that the bag actually expands and contracts based on how much you decide to cram in. The magnetic lock latches onto one of the four ladder-like locking levels. This is like no other bag and saves you the hassles of having to find extra carrying options when you decide to pick up a book for the airport or a souvenir for back home.
This bag can be worn around the shoulders as a sling bag thanks to the adjustable strap. An additional support strap wraps around the body of the wearer.
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Wanderlust at heart and a shutterbug who loves to document his travels via his lenses; his two passions compliment each other perfectly.
He has been writing for over 6 years now, which unsurprisingly, revolve mostly around his two favorite pursuits.