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Camera Bags: The Motherload

 

 

I don’t buy shoes, I don’t buy purses. Apparently, I buy camera bags. And alright, I admit, I am a camera bag junkie. I’m always on the prowl for THE bag. But just like with lenses, they all have their applications and it’s really hard to get that perfect one size fits all bag. A couple things to preface. I have a hefty lens collection, seen here: The Ultimate Lens Post, and secondly, I like to be prepared for it all. If I’m going to the zoo, I want portraits of my kids and portraits of the animals. If I’m going to the aquarium I want macros and wide angles. I like options. That’s how I ended up with a large lens collection, so finding the right bag for size, comfort, and content is hard.

 

Esther (Kelly Moore)

This is my everyday bag. It’s my diaper/kid bag, it’s my purse, it’s my throw the camera in it bag. I love it. It’s adorable, it’s a nice size. It is however, a little heavy. At 4.5 pounds before gear it can get pretty weighed down. But the straps make it so that it’s not really a wear all day and shoot bag. It’s made very well and has held up with quite a bit of abuse.

Holds: Laptop or iPad, Camera body with a lens attached plus two other lenses. If you add in a second divider (not included with purchase), you can squeeze an extra lens in.

Pros: Great quality, sturdy, Super Cute, holds a lot of extras on top of your lenses

Cons: Does not hold a much gear, gets weighed down, and not the easiest to wear and shoot with. After 9 months of use the clasp fell off.

Two Sues (Kelly Moore)

This is a great every day bag as well. It’s cute, functional. It comes in all sorts of colors. For me this bag is a little small. It holds a camera with lens attached and two other lenses, not much else. If I’m out on client shoots I can get by with 3 lenses, but sometimes on our family adventures I like to bring that extra lens, either a zoom or a macro depending on where we are going… but I love this bag. It’s a great shoot bag. It’s a little deep and has a softer top so you may have to fish for your smaller lenses a minute getting in and out of it, but it clings to the body well and is comfortable to wear.

Holds: I’ve never put a laptop in it, but it might fit. It would definitely hold an iPad. Fits a camera with lens attached and two lenses. Again, you could use an additional divider and squeeze a small 50mm prime in, but that’s pushing it.

Pros: Great quality, super Cute, comfortable, a wear and shoot bag, lots of color choices.

Cons: Does not hold a much gear, has a loose soft top side of bag that folds on itself a little making it take just a moment more to get in and out. Is that a deal breaker, no, but I would prefer a bag that stayed open better if I was shooting a wedding where changing lenses was more essential. The material peels easily.

Libby (Kelly Moore)

This is my travel bag. I use it every time I fly or go out of town. I can fit my laptop, all my gear, cleaning kit, etc. It’s got great pockets all over it for extras, wallet, tickets, etc. This bag has also taken a beating and is still holding up well. It is a little heavy, I would have a hard time carrying it fully loaded, if I were shooting for an extended period of time this might be a bag I set down  while I shoot and then pick it up again. It could be good at a wedding if you can keep it stashed in a central location.

Holds: The whole kit and caboodle. The question is, would you want to wear that after you’ve put it all in?

Pros: Great quality, sturdy, lots of room, plenty of dividers, extra pockets, and still really cute colors.

Cons: It will be heavy, it’s a little clunky to wear while shooting.

Kate (Kelly Moore)

This shouldn’t count on my tally since I bought it for my husband, but meh, it’s here. I bought this as a high quality, nice looking camera bag for my husband. It’s unisex, comfortable, and the right size for a laptop and some books. It’s not as large as I think it looks online, but that is both a positive and negative. If you have a larger laptop, it will reduce how much will fit in this bag tremendously, I think this bag is much more suited to MacBooks or much thinner laptops.

Holds: Laptop or iPad, Camera body with a lens attached plus two other lenses. There is still room for some extras, but not much, maybe a flash if the lenses are small.

Pros: Great quality, sleek, manly, makes a great book bag

Cons: If you’re a looking to cart some textbooks in here, you won’t get too far, especially with a laptop. This bag got daily use, however, both strap buckles broke after 6 months of use and the fabric on the back started to wear from being rubbed against the body.

Stella (Epiphanie)

This little bag was a surprise! I bought it on clearance with an additional savings from Black Friday and I am so glad I did. While it is no longer on their site I see this style bag for sale on several of the used gear forums.

Holds: A camera with lens attached and several other lenses depending on how you configure the bag, the larger the lenses the less you can fit, but I just took this bag to the wildlife park filled with 4-5 lenses included my 70-200. I haven’t had it long enough to test quality, but it seems good!

Pros: It’s cute and holds a lot without being super bulky!

Cons: I don’t feel the zipper is tall enough to cover all the gear easily, or maybe I shouldn’t pack it so full, haha.

Florence (Epiphanie)

I finally had it with the faux leather bags and wanted a real leather one. This one had a great sale and I knew it was similar in shape to the Stella and could hold a lot. It appears they no longer have it in white, but they have a few colors available. The leather is really soft, it’s not a hard or stiff leather.

Holds: It’s similar to the Stella for what it can hold, it really depends on how you arrange it. I can put in one body and about 3-4 lenses, or what I have been doing more often is packing two bodies with lenses attached. It holds my F100 with the 50mm and the D750 with the 35mm no problem.

Pros: It’s probably the cutest bag I own and it holds a lot without being super bulky!

Cons: The messenger strap is WAY too thin for long term use. This bag has support on the bottom and with the dividers, but not all the way around or on top, it is not stiff.

camera bag

Valencia (Epiphanie)

This was my next purchase after the Florence. I was still looking for leather bags, but I needed something a little bigger. I was pregnant with baby #6 and needed room for a diaper bag and camera bag. Plus, I wanted it to be something I could lug around more comfortably. I loved the florence, but it is not a comfortable bag to have for hours fully loaded. I had always thought backpacks were ugly. Ohhh contraire friends.

Holds: It really depends how you configure this bag. It starts with 4 slots. But I grabbed an unused divider from another bag and turned it sideways and created two slots out of the last one. It’s tight, but it can fit my smaller lenses in those sections. I can bring one body and 3-4 additional lenses. Or two bodies with lenses attached and 1-2 additional lenses. Or, being 100% real, 8 million diapers, wipes, extra outfit, nursing cover, ring sling, and the camera with a lens, which is my go to setup these days.

Pros: It’s cute! It holds SO Much without being a LARGE bag. I have a larger bag that is just TOO big for everyday use. This is perfect. It is my goldilocks bag. It converts to a backpack for longer term wear.

Cons: Uhm… none? Okay, it is leather, so it is on the pricier side. But I have owned this bag for 3 months and I have done everything short of run it over with my car. I have not put a mark on it. It might be too big for you if you are a minimal packer. I don’t know, I’m struggling here, this bag is practically perfect.

Rose (Jo Totes)

I love this bag. It would be my favorite with the exception that it is so old and I really put this sucker through the ringer. It was my most affordable bag. It held everything I needed whenever I needed to bring more gear. It does not hold a laptop so I would not recommend it for those that need to travel with one. But for zoos, outings, photo shoots, it really does the job. I am an oddball though, I really do love bringing several lenses with me. I typically bring 2-3 primes, a macro and my zoom 70-200 2.8. Most of the smaller bags don’t accommodate that. This one does and although the gear is heavy, it really does a great job not weighing you down. I will also note, you can buy 2 of these bags for the same cost of a Kelly Moore bag.

Holds: A camera with lens attached and several other lenses. Depending how you configure you could get two bodies and some lenses in here as well.

Pros: It’s cute, several different colors to choose from, holds a lot of gear without being ridiculously heavy.

Cons: It’s not as fashionable as other bags, and the quality is a little lower, but I will reiterate, I ran this bag into the ground.

6 million dollar home (Crumpler)

[ Currently my crumpler bag is missing in action, with a camera body in it so I suppose I better find it. I will add photographs later!]

This was my first camera bag. It’s my smallest, but it does the job well. It’s great construction, a little more manly. It fits a camera with lens attached and two lenses, nothing else. It essentially fits the same gear as the two sues, but without room for a lot of extras. It’s nice when you don’t want to be loaded down.

Holds: A camera with a small to medium size lens attached, two additional lenses. Not much else!

Pros: Great quality, durable, not feminine, and it’s concise and to the point so it’s small for the gear that it holds.

Cons: Does not hold a much gear or have room for extras like your wallet. It does have pockets for cards, lens pens, etc, but I doubt I could squeeze in my cleaning kit with three lenses in there.

Sling (Lowepro) 

I have the older version from the link. They now have the slingshot series which looks almost identical on the inside. They have a few sizes of this bag too. I had intended on buying both, one for when I wanted to haul more gear and one for just client sessions, but… I just don’t use this bag often. I wanted to fall in love with this bag. I thought it would be the perfect shoot bag. It’s affordable, it’s got a great design, but I could not get into it the way I wanted. It is, however, my favorite bag for hikes. I can pack the essential gear and it is super comfortable to wear for longterm.

Holds: A camera with a lens attached and 2-3 more lenses.

Pros: Great quality, super comfortable, supposed to be easy to change out lenses while wearing, also another great choice for men. It is by far the most comfortable of all my camera bags

Cons: It’s not fun and cute? Is that really a con?

Expedition 7 Backpack  (Tamrac)

This is the gear bag for when I have to bring it all. This sucker fits two bodies, big lenses, little lenses, cleaning gear. And it is a beast. It is heavy. I don’t foresee a time when I ever have to wear all my gear and walk for long periods of time, but I did use this when I went on a photography trip to Cordova, AK. I did leave it in the car and only traveled out with what I needed at the time, but I was able to bring every lens with me and select from there.

Holds: Laptop or iPad, Camera body  or two, and several if not all of my lenses, and possibly my mother.

Pros: Great quality, sturdy, holds it all, water resistant, not feminine.

Cons: Must be in good shape to wear and carry gear!

 

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