When it involves camera luggage, you’ve numerous alternatives. Over the shoulder or backpack? Designer or practical? Showy or understated? And, of path, then there’s the query of ways lots to spend. There’s no factor in paying for expandability and functions you don’t want, but in time your aims would possibly outgrow a smaller bag.
Fortunately, the Expert Reviews office is full of photographers of all stripes, from power-zoom users to ridiculously over-prepared DSLR fans, so we’ve masses of bag tips. Here, we’ve broken them down for you, detailing which baggage are excellent for which kind of photographer, and what greater features they offer.
How to buy the satisfactory digicam bag for you
What length of bag ought to I be searching out?
If you’re seeking out a digital camera bag that’s precisely massive enough to house your current photographic gadget, you are doing it incorrect. Instead, do this notion exercising: think of your dream photographic excursion, and purchase a bag for that. That method you’ll need area for the biggest lens you’re ever probable to apply, your dream digicam frame, a handful of wider lenses and, of path, a laptop and a handful of tough disks for backup. Now we’re talking.
So my bag ought to have area for non-images items too?
Even if you’re not a lower back-up-each-day sort of photographer, a separate area for a pill or pc will paintings wonders with regards to maintaining you moving. With some ancillary wallet for tough disks, notebooks, pens and your passport, your digicam bag can be the handiest issue you need to carry.
Ok, I’ve located one with enough area. Now what?
Flexibility is the whole thing. A proper digital camera bag have to have adjustable, ideally removable dividers, so you can tuck up the whole lot high-quality and tight whether you’re wearing one lens or 5. You clearly don’t need your equipment to get bashed round in transit. Also reflect onconsideration on how your bag opens: bags that best open from the top are vulnerable to collecting forgotten odds and ends at the lowest; ones that unzip all the way make it smooth to access all of your tools.
Which sort of bags are exceptional for extraordinary digicam types: DSLR, Mirrorless, Compact and so forth?
If you operate on the whole light tools, inclusive of mirrorless cameras and pancake lenses, a fashionable messenger-style bag must do you nice. But for heavier kit – which include complete-frame cameras and seasoned lenses – it’s in all likelihood to fast get uncomfortable. Consider a backpack with double shoulder straps – and, for delivered comfort (and nerd) points, a hip strap as nicely to stability the burden and ease the stress on your shoulders.
What should you do before splashing out?
Bad information, internet customers: you without a doubt, actually need to try out a digicam bag in individual earlier than you commit to it. That’s real of even cheapo, sub-£30 bags; it’s maximum clearly the case with £2 hundred-and-up seasoned models. What does it feel like to your again? Is it easy to adjust, even when it’s heavy with package? Is your tools accessible whilst it’s in there?
If you insist on buying on-line then UK distance-promoting legal guidelines come up with 14 days to return it. Try it out as quickly as it arrives, and ship it lower back if it’s no longer ideal. You – and your returned – will remorse it if you don’t.
READ NEXT: Chosen the perfect bag? Then perhaps it’s time for a new digital camera, too. Our roundup of the nice cameras of 2017 ought to provide you with lots of meals for thought
The best digital camera luggage from £20
1. AmazonBasics DSLR Gadget Messenger Bag Large with Orange Interior: The excellent reasonably-priced digicam bag
Price whilst reviewed: £20
Cool brand? No. Snappy name? No. Top-notch design credentials? Not in particular. But even as Amazon’s own-logo camera provider may additionally lack the cachet of, say, National Geographic’s, there’s plenty to be said for a nicely-made shoulder bag that slightly scrapes the twenty quid mark.
It won’t suit photographers who mechanically take the kitchen sink with them: a complete-body camera and more than one lenses will fill this bag more or much less to the brim. But in case you’re rocking a mirrorless camera, this may be all of the camera bag you ever want. It has sufficient area for a crop-frame body with a lens connected, plus one or other smallish lenses, and there’s a pouch at the again for a tablet. Extra wallet permit you to hold some spare memory cards or a (very) slender external difficult disk with you too.
Key specs – Type: Shoulder-style bag; Tablet/laptop compartment: Yes/No; Internal dimensions: 254 x 127 x 178mm (WDH); External dimensions: 130 x two hundred x 300mm (WDH); Empty weight: zero.73kg
2. Billingham Hadley Pro Canvas Camera Bag With Tan Leather Trim: The quality digital camera bag for traditional fashion
Price whilst reviewed: £189
Tipping up at a shade under £200, this canvas and leather khaki number is all class. With stitched leather straps and brass fittings, its classic look is underpinned by modern camera-bag trappings. The leather straps have a quick release strap so you don’t need to fiddle with them to get your gear out, and there’s room enough for a big DSLR and a few lenses. Velcro dividers inside let you customise the size and layout of the bag’s compartment – or you can pop the padded lining out entirely, allowing the Hadley Pro to double as a good-looking, practical weekend bag when it’s not on photography duties. Meanwhile, a pair of decent-sized pockets, with poppers to keep them shut, give you options for carrying hard disks, filters or memory cards.
It’s not huge: only the very smallest laptops will fit, and photographers with more than one camera should probably look elsewhere. It’s also a little disappointing that the shoulder strap – the obvious way to carry the bag when you’re out shooting – doesn’t have a pad to ease the wear on your shoulder and clothes. Instead, it’s a £30 option.
Still, when it comes to combining practicality and style the Hadley Pro is a winner. If you’re looking for a medium-sized camera bag while the rest of your stuff chills at your hotel, it’s hard to find a better-looking option.
Key specs – Type: Shoulder-style bag; Tablet/laptop compartment: No/No; Internal dimensions: 340 x 80 x 230mm (WDH); External dimensions: 350 x 120 x 280mm (WDH); Empty weight: 1kg
3. LowePro Pro Runner BP 350 AW II: The best all-round camera bag under £150
Price when reviewed: £139
After a go-anywhere camera bag, but don’t want to shell out for a high-end beast? The LowePro Pro Runner could be for you. It’s a compact little number – just 40cm tall – but it will take a full-frame DSLR (or two) plus a decent assortment of lenses. You might need to steer clear of enormous ultra-telephotos, but a decent 70-300mm should be fine. Owners of either full-height DSLRs, or DSLRs with battery grips, should try before they buy, as there’s a chance the extra height will pose a problem.
The thick front pocket can fit a tablet, and there’s a CradleFit pocket as well – a suspended compartment within the bag designed to shield a laptop from shocks and jostles. In this model it will only take a laptop up to 13in, but laptops up to 15in can be carried in the pocket at the front of the bag.
A decent handful of additional pockets means you should be able to get everything bar chargers and power cables into a single bag. It’s not as capacious as pricier bags, but for under £150 this bag holds a lot of gear for the money. Perfect for gap-year photographers.
Key specs – Type: Backpack-style bag; Tablet/laptop compartment: No/Yes; Internal dimensions: 290 x 115 x 395mm (WDH); External dimensions: 315 x 140 x 460mm (WDH); Empty weight: 2.4kg
4. National Geographic Earth Explorer camera holster S: A classic choice for old-school explorers
Price when reviewed: £30
Who knew National Geographic made camera bags? Well, technically they don’t – the bag itself is made by tripod giant Manfrotto, and branded up for stylish, adventurous types.
Stylish it certainly is. Finished in khaki green and made from cotton and canvas, this is a bag for travellers who yearn for the days when a trip to Africa involved a float plane and pith helmet. It’s a modern piece of kit, though: the zip on the main compartment has a clever seal that gives the bag – and its occupants – a little waterproofing.
You can’t keep loads in it. The “S” stands for “small”, and DSLR photographers – particularly aspirational types with full-frame cameras, battery grips and pro lenses – probably shouldn’t apply. But if you’ve got a mirrorless camera with maybe one or two lenses, bags don’t come much better looking than this.
Storage for accessories is minimal. There are no external straps to connect even a small tripod, and the pocket on the front is good for a USB cable and perhaps a lens cleaning cloth and not much else. Next to the AmazonBasics bag it’s comparatively limited, and it’s a tenner more expensive to boot. But which is going to look better on your Instagram feed?
Buy the National Geographic Earth Explorer now
Key specs – Type: Shoulder-style bag; Tablet/laptop compartment: No/No; Internal dimensions: 90 x 111 x 130mm (WDH); External dimensions: 125 x 125 x 165mm (WDH); Empty weight: 0.32kg
5. ThinkTank Airport International V3.0: The best for big budgets and bigger lenses
Price when reviewed: £359
American firm ThinkTank’s flagship camera-carrier isn’t cheap, but then a bag suitable for carrying five figures’ worth of kit probably shouldn’t be. You want capacity? You’ve got it. It’ll take two full-height DSLRs (or regular DSLRs with battery grips) with lenses, plus another two to four spare lenses, plus a laptop up to 15in AND a tablet – while a bunch of other pockets provide storage for notebooks, memory cards, cables, hard disks and so on.
ThinkTank’s build quality is legendary among professional photographers: watch any gaggle of paparazzi and you’re bound to spot a few ThinkTanks in there. Top-notch materials including ballistic nylon, abrasion-resistant zips and a water-repellent coating on the outside mean this bag should comfortably survive downpours and disasters. When the weather really comes in, an included blue rain cover with internal seams allow you to bolster the bag’s waterproofing even more.
The Airport International V3.0 is designed to accommodate a whopping 500mm f/4 lens – with a few others alongside – yet will still fit in the overhead locker of all but the smallest domestic jets. So if you’re hiring the lens of a lifetime for a safari, the Airport International V3.0 should see your kit there safe and sound.
Key specs – Type: Backpack-style bag; Tablet/laptop compartment: Yes/Yes; Internal dimensions: 33 x 16.5–19.1 x 47mm (WDH); External dimensions: 356 x 203 x 533mm (WDH); Empty weight: 4.4kg
6. ThinkTank Glass Taxi: The best pick for long-lens luggers
Price when reviewed: £129
The ThinkTank Glass Taxi occupies a slightly odd photographic niche: it’s ideal for photographers with one big telephoto lens, and not a lot else. It’ll hold a 500mm f/4 super telephoto, as long as it doesn’t have a camera attached, or a 300mm f/2.8 if you insist on putting both your lens and your camera in your bag.
To be fair, if your equipment is more normally-sized equipment it’s much more useful: the adjustable foam dividers allow you to fit a couple of big camera bodies and a series of normal zoom lenses, but you can forget about stuffing a laptop or even a tablet inside.
It feels supremely well-made, and the included waterproof cover is another plus. And where the Glass Taxi really excels is its expandability. The thick band on the front allows you to attach accessories from Think Tank’s Modulus range, which runs from small bags to separate DSLR holster pouches and lens holders. So if the Glass Taxi won’t hold everything you want right now, you can probably expand it to do the job.
For the price it’s a very appealing bag – although photographers with big dreams might find themselves updating sooner rather than later.
Key specs – Type: Backpack/shoulder-style bag; Tablet/laptop compartment: No/No; Internal dimensions: 211 x 203 x 414mm (WDH); External dimensions: 216 x 241 x 432mm (WDH); Empty weight: 2kg