My favorite camera bags and what's inside

13 July 2019

My best camera bags for weddings and street photography | An honest look inside my DUSTY favorite bags: Think Tank | Hprc | Lowepro | Tenba | Photographer gear 2019 |

If I could carry a whole day, exclusively a single camera, with only one lens, already with a battery and its card/s (that is, ready to shoot), with absolutely nothing else, I would be thrilled. To be completely free, without carrying anything extra, except your faithful camera!? Oh yeah ;-)

But the reality is that, before starting shooting, during and after, we all need a bag or any container to carry everything we need besides the camera. Extra cards, batteries, something to clean the lenses, probably one or two additional lenses (depending on the mood of the shooting), jacket, sunglasses, telephone, tripod, notebook, pen, bottle of water, or whatever we usually take with us.

The thing is, we photographers almost always carry our mythical cameras inside something

And depending what we are going to occupy, be it for a job, an event, a wedding, a project, or just to shoot some street photography pictures for a few hours, we will surely use different types of bags, either backpack, shoulder bag, hard case or something else.

From the moment I decided that photography would be part of my life, I also began to understand that it was not only about shooting photos, but also the post process, deciding what kind of film to use, how to archive your work, and even how to carry your camera by everywhere.

But, how to choose a camera bag?

It had happened to me at the beginning, when I was very inexperienced, to put my camera inside backpacks that had nothing to do with photography, haha. But when the time comes to making your first investment in the ideal bag for your gear, is when things get serious. It is when you have more strategy and organization to be more efficient at the time of the shooting, carrying the weight in a more balanced and distributed way, and having access to a specific compartment of each bag without having to take things out, open more or scramble all around.

  • So, finding your ideal camera bag is about all this:

-Comfort
-Durability
-Functionality -Materials -Handle and Belts -Zippers, Buttons & Straps -Internal and External Dimensions -Inside Pockets and Pouches (my weakness!) -External Pockets -Back and/or Shoulder Support -Eventual Clever Features And more …

This time I share my five favorite, dusty, and most used camera bags! Each of them is perfect for one or more occasions. Very different between them, but each one perfect for what I need!

Oh, apologies in advance for the lack of production for the photographs, and for the dust in the bags. LOL. Honestly, I do not usually clean the outside of my bags, and I do not spend much time on this type of photographs since they are only for a quick reference (and you can always find a good product photo on the websites of each brand, right?). I like the photos being authentic, a real-world review about my dusty and very used bags!

1 - Think Tank Airport Commuter

This is my reference backpack by default, I use it for large jobs with all day coverage or more (for example, shooting a wedding). Absolutely everything I need I can keep in this backpack. Not only all my gear but also personal things.

  • For this case, I usually pack:

·Two cameras: Nikon D5 (main camera) + Nikon D810 (backup camera) ·Three lenses: 35mm + 58mm + 28mm ·Two Flashes (1+1 backup) + One transmitter ·Two flash modifiers sticked together: Magsphere and Maggrid, both first edition ·Two small Led lights: Manfrotto Lumimuse Light 3 led’s + 8 led’s version ·Pouch with camera batteries ·Cards: all SanDisk Extreme Pro 128gb ·One monopod: Slik Monopod 350 ·One small clamp: Manfrotto ·Cleaning kit ·One extra Polo shirt + sueter | Personal stuffs

  • If I need to take a flight abroad, I will bring the same from above plus:

·G-Technology G-Drive Portable External SSD ·Dual Card reader ·MacBook Air (13-inch Mid 2013) ·Laptop charger ·D5 Camera battery charger

Think Tank Airport Commuter
Inside my Think Tank

Why do I love this bag?

  • For many reasons!...

Starting with the handles, which are very thick (and cushioned). It has two, one for vertical transport and one for horizontal, which is very appreciated when necessary. The zippers are all hard-wearing and seal the bag perfectly. It's a carry on bag, so you can take it with you up on the plane without any problem.

It has many pockets to store many things. You can carry a computer, an iPad, and a sweater in three different bags vertically, and everything fits perfectly without the bag increasing its volume. This is something that bothers me about bags: when something does not fit well or generates a lot of pressure, causing it to get fat. Not good, and a lot of stress! Hahaha.

I like that, in this ThinkTank, everything is stored independently from the main compartment of the backpack where all the gear is. So to take an Ipad, a laptop, a sweater, a wallet, etc., you never have to open the camera compartment. Great!

Because it is a backpack, it is very light, but at the same time very "thick" and resistant. It is a very discreet backpack, at the limit of looking like a regular large backpack (I mean, it is not very big, but it fits a lot).

Returning to the subject of multiple pockets and compartments, there are two that are like hidden: the two are just below the main handle so that you can keep your phone, keys, lens caps or whatever, something small for speedy access. And the smallest is ideal for business cards, the valet parking ticket, or a quick cigar kit :-)

The weight is well distributed. When you load the backpack, it feels well cushioned, and you do not feel any pressure on the shoulders or back. It has a ring and elastic bags on the sides, to put your glasses, keys, etc. Cool!

It is a great backpack, I have it for many years, and I do not plan to change it

2 - HPRC 2550W

With this hard case, we change frequency completely, because the priority here is not to have many pockets or secret compartments for one thing or another. Here the priorities are two: the robustness of the material and better protection of the gear. With these two features, it is already worth this hard case, but there is also the fact that it has tires, so in airports, hotels, locations or paved streets, I do not have to carry the weight of all the gear.

In this resin case, there is literally no extra bag or compartments inside. You have to open the case to be able to access anything, which could be unfavorable in some conditions, but for what I use this bag is better. When I change locations, I am moving between rooms or traveling in different transports, I feel more confident because I know that everything is always wholly protected, without exception. When it is easy to move between places or locations, the tires and the case protection help a lot. If I have to move a lot, for example on the beach on the sand, the tires do not work, and there is only one way to carry the case, which is uncomfortable in the long run.

HPRC 2550W
Inside my HPRC 2550W

Why do I love this bag?

  • This case is perfect for me...

When I know that I will move a lot because I can always take advantage of the tires, or if I want maximum protection for my gear. It is ideal for international trips, where I know that my gear will be all together and without "danger" of external access to the equipment (for example, in an airplane you can sleep peacefully and leave the bag tightly closed wherever you want).

Another interesting aspect of the HPRC case is that it is so solid and reliable that I had even used it many times to sit on top of it (lying or standing) and to climb on top of it when I needed more height for shots. And I must say that the case supports me without a problem.

The case has the highest standards, with certifications against bumps, water, humidity, etc.

They say that literally, you can submerge it up to a meter, and the water does not reach the interior. The truth is that I have no interest in confirming this theory, but I do trust the brand!

For my wedding coverage, I alternately use the ThinkTank backpack and the HPRC hard case, depending on the conditions expected. Practically both have the same capacity, and they fit the same, although the backpack has extra pockets, which does not have the case. But putting things right, it fits a lot. So everything depends on where I go to shoot photos, how many hours, how much "danger" or "risk" is expected, how much I will have to walk, the type of terrain, etc. I choose which of the two is more appropriate for the day.

3 - Lowepro Flipside 300 DSLR

Lowepro Flipside 300 DSLR
Back side of my Lowepro Flipside 300 DSLR

This little backpack is great. It does not have many points of strength or incredible features, but I really like two things about it: the fact that the access to gear is possible only by removing the backpacks from your shoulders because this backpack does not open from the front but from the back. So, when you walk, travel or just move with your bag, the gear is not accessible, so everything is safer, and I do not have to worry about anything or anyone.

The second favorable point is that this backpack is very light, narrow, and long. You can put in the necessary gear for a session, a small shooting or a few hours work, without needing to carry a lot.

  • I usually use it for:

·One or two cameras, two lenses, battery, and cards (And it works perfectly!).

—Note: this model is currently out of production, replaced by the FLIPSIDE 300 AW II.

4 - Lowepro DSLR Video Fastpack 250 AW (Black)

This backpack is a hybrid, it is as if it were divided into two parts: the bottom side for the gear, and the top part for personal things. Regularly, I do not use it for work (and if I use it, it's because I need to carry more items, so it goes with one of the two main bags). Most of the time, I use it for trips or some personal project. For example, if you take a lot of photos when you travel and also like to carry many things, this is an interesting backpack.

Lowepro DSLR Video Fastpack 250 AW

At its top there is a lot of space, you can keep there from a folded sweater to a bag with food, or just hard drives, large headphones, notebooks, wallet, etc. This division is brilliant, and I like the idea that everything that is not photography gear is in one place, besides its great capacity.

Likewise, you can easily access the equipment even laterally (on the side), and it has a computer space, a side pocket for a bottle of water (for example), and a small bag in front, for coins, tickets, keys or something for quick access.

  • You can carry on it:

·The same, two cameras with two lenses, or a camera, with two lenses and many accessories (to say the least).

If I were to shoot a wedding as a second photographer for example, and if I had a place to leave the backup body safe, I would take this bag with a single camera and two lenses, plus some accessories and that's it (and all this gear would easily enter the lower compartment). So, the top part is free for what I fancy to carry :-) In that case, it could also be a primary work backpack, obviously with less gear.

Finally, I like that it is very discreet. It is entirely matte black on all sides, without colors or striking labels. A very discrete bag, indeed!

5 - Tenba The DNA 8 Messenger (special edition)

It's a gem, this bag is fantastic. This is my daily shoulder bag, in it I always carry my Leica M10 with a 35mm Zeiss (the lens is permanently attached and ready to play). When I feel like taking pictures, I just grab the bag and go shooting, so this bag is always prepared, and the camera with charged batteries.

Inside the bag comes a removable padded camera insert, divided into three zones. I have arranged mine to put the camera in the middle section (I'll tell you later why), to my left all the camera accessories like an extra battery, cleaning cloths and papers, additional card, and the lens cap. And on the other side, free space to use it depending on my activities that day.

Tenba The DNA 8 Messenger

Why do I love this bag?

  • Uff!

The Tenba DNA 8 Messenger is the perfect bag for street photography. Among all the incredible features of this shoulder bag, there are about three, at least for me, that are really powerful, useful, and quite clever characteristics.

First of all, once I have my shoulder bag on, I can easily access the camera using the quick access top zipper without opening the front flap.

This is basic —and superb for my storytelling

It gives me a quickness that is very important when it comes time to shoot a photograph, especially if it's an unscripted, unexpected moment!

The second characteristic aspect of this bag is the material with which it is made. Wow. It uses the finest materials, the feeling and the durability of it is excellent. It is water repellent, and it has waterproof material on the bottom of the bag, to avoid water spreading. The camera, we know that it has a zipped top for easy access to the camera, right? But also, if you want to open the whole bag, it has some magnetic clips that have a fantastic design, plus the possibility (depending on your technique) to open the bag without making noise, with its striking velcro technology. Can you believe it? Impressive, in indeed!

It has many internal, lateral, and frontal pockets! Many :-) Some of them open, some hidden, and/or with zipper. And last but not least, the entire interior of the bag (the paddle camera insert) can be removed. This is as if it were a 2 in 1. If I already have the bag with me, and for one reason or another I want to stop shooting photos, I can leave the gear inside the blue case and use only the bag (now soft and much smaller ). This is practical and smart.

I quite like this bag, for daily, for street photography, to shoot photos when I want. I already told you: my Leica not only travels or moves in it but lives in it permanently! —when we are not playing :-)

Honestly, if I consider all the materials used, technology, innovation, functionality, comfort, and aesthetics, I could tell you that this Tenba bag is my favorite, and it does have high standards.

Conclusion:

Choosing a camera bag is very easy, although there are too many options out there, there is always one that combines better with your way of being, shooting, and moving things from one place to another.

The only drawback is that it is complicated to buy a backpack without having seen it physically. In an ideal world, you go to a specialized store, full of bags, and do your tests, open and close, calculate measurements, lifting, loads, etc. Anyway, you do all your proofing and testing bag, and the choice would then be straightforward!... Or, you can always trust the recommendations of Dennis Berti ;-)

Di Lusso

See you around folks. Thanks for tuning. Sharing is caring! D.

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