Whether you buy a point-and-shoot or a top-of-the-line DSLR, some kind of camera bag or case is a must. A good bag offers protection against scratches, dust, moisture and (in some cases) thieves.
Camera bags range greatly, from weatherproof packs fit for hiking the Himalayas to more urban-friendly shoulder bags that could pass as handbags or laptop satchels. The best type of camera bag for you will depend on the nature and volume of gear you have to carry, where you need to carry it, and how often you need to access it.
A small case, pouch or insert will generally suffice for small cameras or individual components, e.g. lenses. They’re designed to fit inside a larger, more protective bag. Sling or messenger bags cater well for those who need quick access to their gear, as do waist bag and belt systems. If you’re carrying a larger load and/or need to travel long distances, backpacks or even roller bags are usually the best way to go.
A camera bag’s size, weight, capacity and comfort are obvious things to consider. But it’s also worth paying careful attention to the bag’s construction, design, and suitability for future gear. Before buying a camera bag, ask:
- Is there sufficient padding?
- How durable or weatherproof is the material?
- Can the interior be reconfigured for different gear combinations or shooting scenarios?
- How easy is it to open/close and access the contents?
- Do you need something that’s discreet or thief deterrent?