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How to Choose the Right Camera Bag for You

Updated on August 14, 2014
That Grrl profile image

Laura has been photographing historical, abandoned, and rural ruins in Ontario since getting her first digital camera in 2006.

Keep Calm and Snap On
Keep Calm and Snap On | Source

I take my digital camera with me on the road, literally. In various weather (I especially like rainy and overcast days for taking photos) and in all seasons, I am out there with my camera. My camera case has hay, seeds and one insect wing inside of it. I'm sure there is dirt and dust and assorted other common relatives of dust and dirt too.

It's ironic that your camera lens is so exposed to so much which could mistreat it and yet I don't have of many people having their lens scratched the way I used to. Is it luck or just using better gear, including the travel case or bag for your camera?

Get the Right Camera Bag or Case for You

Start by thinking about how you use the camera and what you need from a camera bag. Take stock of your needs and then shop for the camera case or bag that meets your needs. Don't be satisfied with less than what you need. Shop online, try a few different stores and try an actual camera store too.

  • Consider whether you need a small camera case which is light and can fit into a purse or do you need something bigger to hold more.
  • Do you need to store your battery charger and your camera cord in the case with your camera? Not everyone can store them elsewhere and know they will still be found in the same place when you need them.
  • If you travel often, with your camera, you need to consider keeping your camera safe from harm and theft.
  • If you want to take professional photos you may have more gear and accessories than the amateur or home photographer.
  • You want to protect your camera from all weather: rain, heat, cold..
  • Look for a case which gives you easy access to the camera so you don't spend time fumbling with zippers and snaps when you want to catch the action. Find a case that lets you close the top with one snap - but also has a zipper and better fastenings for when you travel and want to make sure the camera stays put.
  • Bring your camera with you when you shop so you can make sure it fits in the bag. You do not want a snug fit. If you don't have the camera with you check that you can bring the bag back to exchange it for a size up.
  • Squeeze the sides of the bag, all four sides and then the top and bottom. It should be firm - to protect the camera from impacts. Make sure you open the bag and pull out any cardboard stuffing added as packaging.
  • Try to avoid a heavy camera bag. When you are carrying it around it's only going to feel heavier.
  • Check the strap and attachments on the bag for strength and durability. See how the strap fits over your shoulder make sure you can adjust it to where you want it.
  • Does the camera bag have a clutch strap so you have the option of not carrying it over your shoulder. I like to just reach down and grab mine rather than fumbling with a long shoulder strap each time.

My Experience with Camera Bags and Cases

My old digital camera came with a nice case, it fit the camera well but it was flimsy. More like a camera envelope than and camera case. The next time I bought a digital camera (actually, I was allowed to pick whatever I wanted for my birthday) I went shopping for a better case to carry it around in. That camera was still the standard digital camera size. I could slip the whole thing into my purse easily. Even when I was using my less than huge purse. But, that case was firm with some kind of hard substance in both halves of it. So it stood up to abuse very well. Which was a good thing for anything carried around in my purse. It was also red, which made it easier to find quickly. Though my wallet and change purse were matching red, of course.

This time, when I bought a new digital camera I also had to buy a new case for it to travel in. The camera did not come with a case and my old case will not fit around the bigger sized lens. I'm up into the big lens cameras now. (I really wanted the big zoom for my photos of abandoned places which I can't always access due to fences, animals and no trespassing signs). I'm also giving my in between camera to my nephew. It's a few years old but still a great camera and he will need the case. But, he does have to find a new strap for it since the old strap broke off one day when I was dragging it out of my purse.

Anyway, I did pick out a new camera bag. They seem to call the bigger size camera carryalls, bags while the smaller carryalls are cases. I guess it makes some sense.

The one downfall of the new bag is it's size, it won't fit in my purse but it does fit into my regular backpack along with my purse and my map book and whatever books I'm currently reading. Also a few shopping bags and maybe a coffee travel mug. If I were sensible I'd bring smarter shoes too but I tend to always go around in sandals even when I end up in mud or wondering if there could be a rusty nail just waiting for me under all that long grass.

The Camera Bag I Bought

This is the camera bag I choose for myself.
This is the camera bag I choose for myself. | Source
Source

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    • That Grrl profile imageAUTHOR

      Laura Brown 

      6 years ago from Barrie, Ontario, Canada

      A good point. I don't keep my camera bag with me - I just use it to hold the camera itself. I don't have extra lenses. I do have a tripod but I almost never bring it and I've never actually used it yet. For me the camera bag is mainly to keep the camera from getting banged around.

    • Darrylmdavis profile image

      Darrylmdavis 

      6 years ago from Brussels, Belgium

      Interesting hub. Camera bags are one of those things which you just cannot buy on-line (unless you are replacing one and you already know exactly what you want through experience).

      One additional tip which I think people overlook: think about the manner in which you take pictures. For example, I like to keep three common lenses on me everywhere I go and if I am about and about taking pictures for a day or a weekend, it isn't unusually for me to switch lenses fairly regularly (depends on where I am and what I am doing, naturally). For that reason, I much prefer to have a bag which rests to my side so I can get at whatever I need without having to take the bag off me. I know lots of people who have backpack-style bags but those would really drive me nuts!

    • That Grrl profile imageAUTHOR

      Laura Brown 

      6 years ago from Barrie, Ontario, Canada

      Thank you. I'm happy with the camera bag I picked but I'm finding the camera I bought to be less user friendly than I would like.

    • leakeem profile image

      leakeem 

      6 years ago from Earth

      I also bring my camera with me always so I use a small compact camera bag. Nice tips!

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