IN THE BAG
Like most photographers, there is an unending pursuit to find the perfect camera bag! Often this takes years, decades and lots of money for bags that never get used beyond their honeymoon period!
In this post I focus on three of my favourite bags – bags I use all the time and for which there are particular circumstances for their use. I will give brand names, bag models and an idea of price. I hope this may save you a lot of time and yes, money wasted!
BUT FIRST... My first serious bag was a large photo backpack from Lowepro. It was big, black, beautifully made and shouted, "Hey! Look, I have lots of expensive gear in here"!
Since the days of my Lowepro, my camera system switched from DSLRs with large white lenses to the more diminutive Fujifilm X-System of mirrorless cameras. The move away from DSLRs to a mirrorless system meant less weight and smaller bags and gear. The Lowepro served me well but I just did not need such a large bag any longer, as well, I wanted a bag that did not advertise itself as a camera bag.
After a few purchases that did not live up to my needs, I have settled on three perfect bags:
1. THE LEATHER BOWERY
This is a small leather bag that slings over a shoulder with beautiful leather that looks better and better with each use for a rich distressed look. Solid brass fittings and buckles complete the bag, making it look more like a small satchel than a camera bag. The interior is well padded and soft to protect your camera and lenses. This is a small bag, perfect for a casual outing where you just need a camera and a lens. With my Fuji X100 cameras, there is a ton of space left over in the bag for other things. This is a luxury bag (it also comes in a less expensive canvas version) which comes in at around $249 US. Yes, it is steep, but believe me, it is an heirloom purchase which came with no buyer's remorse at all! I love it!
2. DOMKE F-803
Dome has been in the camera bag business for a long time and they know a thing or two about building a sturdy clear bag. This bag has well designed, secure pockets, is made of canvas and is quiet in its appearance. Large enough for an iPad, a couple of lenses, a camera body and other accessories, this is a fantastic bag for a longer photo trip where you want to keep your gear safe, discrete and minimal. The F-803 is $141.95 US. The version I have is the result of a collaboration between Dome and Fuji. Like the Bowery, it looks better with age. The one I own can be found here and lists for $229 US. This is a fantastic bag and was the bag I took for a 10-day trip through Turkey. I never felt I needed anything more as I was only traveling with my Fujifilm X100F and accessories. This bag was plenty large enough for and extra flash, trigger, accessories and a medium size Gorillapod tripod from Joby.
3. TENBA DNA15
This is the messenger bag I have been searching for, for... ever! This is my go-to bag for longer trips where I need room to add extra camera bodies, lenses, flash, triggers, cables, laptop, iPad... well, you get the idea. It is light as a feather, beautifully designed with multiple pockets, a rain gusset, a protective base, external mesh pockets for water bottle or other items. This bag, in slate grey is handsome and again, does not draw attention to itself. It is big enough to hold a camera, a few lenses, a t-shirt & shorts for a quick weekend trip. It is also small enough... and this is gold... to easily slip under the seat in front of you in an airplane. Coming in at $169 US, it is also the cheapest of the three bags! I recently had a quick 3-day trip to Prague and in this bag I had the larger Fujifilm GFX medium format camera, two lenses, X100F, iPad, Laptop and still had room for cables, extra batteries and space for papers within quick & easy reach without having to open the front of the bag.