Monday, 15 November 2010

In Search of the Perfect Camera Bag

Every photographer has a different set of kit.

This is the key problem when looking for a camera bag, no two photographers have the same requirements.  So how do you find a bag that suits the needs of every photographer? Well the short answer is that you don't. The long answer is that you get a bag to suit your own individual needs.

For a lot of photographers though, this means they end up having a whole series of bags and use a different one on each outing depending on the needs of that particular event.

I don't really buy into that though, I don't think you need to have a gizillion lenses, 4 bodies, 3 flash guns, 25 filters, etc etc etc. My current kit consists of 1 body, 2 lenses, a flashgun, a tripod and some other gubbins (some batteries, a remote trigger, remote flash cord etc), and some cleaning products. I can see the sense in having two bodies, in case one fails and you really need to finish a shoot, and there are two more lenses that I really want to get (the Canon 24-70mm L and the 70-200mm L), but other than that, I don't think you really need endless amounts of kit to get 99% of your photos.

Assuming I get these two new lenses and maybe one more body, that means I need a bag to fit:

2 bodies
4 lenses
1 flash gun
1 tripod
Other gubbins
So, bags. From what I can see, there are three basic types of bags. There is the individual bag, which will hold a camera on its own, or a lens on its own and then these go into a larger bag with other stuff. These tend to be used if you're just taking a camera on its own somewhere, or you have a compact camera, or you're travelling somewhere and need to store things in the hold of a plane for example. Then there is the satchel bag. These do vary in size from simple Messenger type bags, which are designed to fit something around the size of an A4 ring binder, to a larger bag that is bigger than the size of a laptop and much deeper than a messenger bag. Then we move up to backpacks, these range from a small single strap bag to a large hiking backpack. The largest type of bag is the holdall style, these are generally all about the same size and can carry virtually anything you can think of.

I think my style is quite photo-journalistic; not necessary my photos, by the style in which I shoot. I like to get our and about, walk around, shoot what I see, take shots on location and be quite spontaneous. This means I need to take all my equipment with me, have it very easily accessible all the time, and be able to walk around without 'looking like a photographer'. I don't particularly want to walk around with a big bag either on my back or by my side with "Canon" written on it in big letters advertising the fact I've got a few grands worth of camera equipment in it.

As a side note, I'd quite like to be able to carry my 15" Mac with me as well.

To that end, I've shortlisted a few bags. 

I will go into detail about them next time. Stay tuned for Part II

Take care All,

Will x

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