Last week we asked readers to tell us about the digital camera bags that they use – today Peter Carey gives some tips on how to select the right camera bag for you.
In this post I’ll take a look at smaller day trip camera bags. In a future post I’ll include the larger, multi-day or multiple camera bags but for now, let’s keep it small and simple. Rather than tell you which kind of bag to pick (as that would be nearly impossible with as many readers of this blog as there are), I’ll ask some useful questions and point out helpful features to help narrow the very wide field of possibilities. And let me state for the record I enjoy having a bag for different uses, be it a long trip, weekend outing or just walking around town.
Backpack or front pack?
Let’s start off with where you will be carrying the bag. I’d put forth that the comfort of a camera bag is paramount and thus, where you carry it is equally important. Some people prefer the backpack only, some like something that can clip on a belt and others prefer something in between, like a messenger bag over one shoulder. If you’re not sure, find a friend or two with the different bags and try them out. Load them down with about 4lbs of weight to get a realistic idea. Another option is an over the shoulder bag, meant to be worn on one side or the other. An example would be the Crumpler bag pictured to the right, with enough room for camera, one lens and a flash.
Is speed of access important to you?
This question points to how you plan to use your camera. Will you be making a lot of birding trips where quick access while hiking long distances is important? Do you take it a bit slower and shoot a lot of scenics where stopping often and removing a pack is likely? If the former, a front pack is probably your best bet. A lot of people don’t like to wear their camera around their neck for long periods of time due to strain. This is where the front pack comes in handy. And yet, it may be a bit bulky on your waist so try many different styles on before deciding. Many, like the Lowe Pro bag pictured here, which comes with a shoulder strap as an alternate option to the waist belt. Make sure the strap is comfortable and adjusts to your proper height.
Also, if you get a front pack, it is very handy to have the lid open AWAY from your body. If the lid opens towards you, it tends to get in the way of removing the camera as the lid can not open fully. (more…)