The camera bag is an important accessory for the photographer. This is also often the first thing you want to buy after the camera. It has an important role, because it ensures the transportation of your equipment, but also their protection.
Choosing a good photo backpack is by no means a trivial exercise. You must take into account the size and weight of the accessories worn, but also the purpose and frequency of use to which the bag will be subjected. Each accessory has its advantages and disadvantages and there is no question of replacing one with the other.
What do you intend to take with you?
First you should decide what you want to fit in your bag. Are you going to take a small hybrid camera with you, with one or two lenses for a photo afternoon in the city? Or are you going to take all the camera with you on a trip?
Obviously, the answers to these questions will condition the size of the bag you need. Think about what is really needed. Do you really need to take lenses with 3 fixed focal lengths in addition to the 2 with zoom? Will these extra elements really help you take better pictures?
On the other hand, it is predictable that your equipment will multiply at some point, and that you may want to anticipate this. But don't forget that the bigger a photo bag, the heavier it will be, even if it's empty.
Again, it all depends on how you use the camera bag and therefore you will have to make some compromises.
Choose a bag that best suits the size of your room, thus having the advantage of a light configuration. Or choose to carry the material you use most often (a device with one or two devices, possibly a flash), but you will need to systematically assess your needs before each outing. Or choose a photo bag that fits all or most of your equipment.
What else do you want to carry besides the photo equipment
That being said, you should still avoid buying a bag that is too small. This can happen if you provide space only for the equipment, without planning the rest.
You should also consider extra batteries and memory cards, but they take up little space. But, if you want to use filters, if you need a laptop or tablet to download and / or edit photos, and if you consider everything you should have with you for a whole day: a bottle with water, sunscreen, a rain jacket, etc., then you need more space.
Don't panic, there are solutions that allow you to optimize storage in backpacks. Some photo bags dedicate up to half of their capacity to personal items, such as wallet, phone, laptop, but also a bottle of water.
Also consider carrying a photo tripod, for which there are external pockets or some mounting systems.
What will be the conditions of use of the bag
In a number of situations, for example when you want to get some snapshots unnoticed or you do not want to attract attention, it is useful to have a very discreet photo bag, because a too typical container can attract various individuals not necessarily benevolent.
Regarding the weather conditions, it is advisable to aim at the impermeability of the bag, by buying a rain cover or choosing a waterproof material with a thick lining.
If you have to carry the camera bag for long hours, it is important to evaluate the comfort of transport. For this aspect, take into account the width of the straps, the presence of the harness, the anti-perspirant material for the back.
You are preparing for daily, occasional, regular use
If the camera bag is intended for heavy use, in addition to materials that must be durable, it is necessary to check the locking systems, which is important to be secure, as well as the quality of the straps (the wider the weight distribution. photo bags on the shoulders will be better).
What type of photo bag do you prefer
You will have to choose, depending on your needs, abilities and budget, the bag that best suits you from the following product ranges: shoulder bag, backpack, slingbag or suitcase, each with its advantages and disadvantages.
The photo backpack (here is our list of compared models ) is the most common type of bag for cameras, being the model that is most often found in stores or on the internet. It is a popular product and can be adapted to every budget.
Allows a higher load; for example, some models may host multiple cameras with different lenses, as well as a laptop and a tripod. It is often comparable to a hiking bag, ideal for long walks.
The disadvantage is the access to the equipment, which is much less easy, often being necessary to take the bag off your shoulders to take the equipment.
If you like nature and hiking, so you have to carry the equipment for a long time, the photo backpack is the ideal choice for you. It will be the most comfortable in time and will allow you to have a lot of equipment.
The shoulder bag is the quintessential reporter's bag. Its great advantage is a very easy access to the equipment; on the other hand, it quickly becomes uncomfortable and deteriorates during long-term use or for relatively heavy equipment.
This type of bag is preferred for small to medium equipment or short or car trips.
Its main advantage remains the accessibility of the equipment, so the model will be perfect for the photographer who needs promptness. It is also perfect for urban filming, when it comes to discretion.
The backpack with strap, also called "slingbag ", can be considered a hybrid between the two types analyzed above. It is practical and comfortable, but has a limited capacity, remaining relatively comfortable over time.
Having a single strap, the advantage over the backpack is that it allows it to rotate to gain easy access to the equipment. Instead, the weight distribution and the amount of equipment transported will be less tender than in the case of a backpack.
Its main argument remains utility, so it will be perfect for the photographer who needs space and quick access.