Each one of us who is into photography is looking for a camera bag, be it a small one, or a large one. I got my first bag about 22 years ago and I still have it, though all I use it for these days is to store things. Still the decision about what to buy and what you need to put in it is still a big thing. Since buying that first one I’ve had a number of bags, all good in different ways. So today I thought I would go through what bags I have purchased and why I got the ones I did.
The first bag was a Lowepro and not a bad buy, but it was a normal bag and I realised fairly quickly that I wanted something else.
Lowepro Mini Trekker
At least I think that is what it was. I got it about 18 or 19 years ago. I really wanted a backpack, something I thought would be easy to carry around. I have to say after going the backpack route, I’ve never looked back. I loved this bag and I used it up until a couple of years ago and the only reason I replaced it was because I wore it out.
When I was photographing the cycling I was carrying a lot of gear in it. Two camera bodies, two lens, two flash units and all the stuff that goes with it. No wonder it started to fall apart.
I decided I needed a new bag and I thought I needed one that I could carry everything in.
Tamrac Expedition 7x
What a bag, it was big, actually it still is. I can fit almost everything in it, though I have a few too many lenses now, but still, it carries a lot. The biggest issue is can I carry it all and my knees find it hard to cope with the weight. It is a backpack and incredibly well made, a solid bag.
I can fit a lot of stuff in it and one thing I really wanted was to be able to carry my tripod on it, and it does fit, though I find it very top heavy when the tripod is attached and I have to be careful bending over or getting up when I’ve knelt down or I almost lose my balance.
One issue I have, and I will mention this again later, is the lack of room or consideration given to women using the bag and having to carry wallets/purses and mobile phones. I don’t tend to have pockets that will fit those things, so I need to carry them in my bag and there is no where for them. Obviously designed for men to use.
Tamrac AERO SPEED PACK™ 75
A few months after getting the Expedition 7x I decided it was too big for many of my outings, especially if I was just going to be walking around and didn’t need to take too much gear with me.
It is a split bag, so there is space at the top for whatever you want to put into it, and the bottom half for your photography gear. It is nice that I could carry my wallet, phone and sunglasses in it
The amount of space at the bottom meant I could only carry the camera with a lens on it and one other lens. I think you are meant to be able to carry at least one more, but the camera I have is large and my lenses are too, so I couldn’t take anymore with me than one spare lens.
One other thing was a problem and that was no way to carry my tripod, so if I was doing some photography in the city where I needed a tripod, then I had to carry it the whole time.
Finally I decided I needed another bag, something in the middle of the two. I asked a person at Maxwell International Australia if he could recommend a bag. His recommendation was this bag, but the 10L one. I decided that I wanted something slightly larger and went for the 15L.
I have to say I love this bag, I am so happy with it. I can carry my camera with a lens on it, and two to three other lenses. The Tamron 150-600mm fits in it as well. There is space for a spare battery and extra memory cards. I have room in it for ND filters when I am taking them with me also.
There is space on the side to carry my tripod and my big one at that. When it is on I don’t feel off balance and I forget it is there until I go to sit down. It is easy to get on and off, so I use it, and I am happy to take it with me.
There is a spot in the side where you can put a bladder for water, this was especially appealing to me. I got a Camelbak to fit in it for when I am going to be hiking or walking a lot.
Again, my biggest disappointment with the bag is the lack of consideration given to women who want to use it and there is nowhere for my wallet, phone or sunglasses. When I aren’t using the bladder I use that pocket for those things.
One of the things that I thought would be annoying is the flipside aspect of it. You basically need to take it off to get access to the inside. Putting it on the ground can be annoying, but since you put the side that faces out on the ground, it is fantastic, whatever is on the ground doesn’t go on your back when you put the bag back on. I dump it all over the place now.
It is, I think the best bag I’ve bought so far and I am so happy with it. Besides that other thing, everything about the bag is great.
So what do you look for in a camera bag? If you were helping someone to choose one what sort of advice would you give them? What is the best bag you have purchased?