Most point-and-shoot cameras are now small enough to fit in your pocket or purse without a second thought, but if you’ve wisely invested in an expensive DSLR camera or a micro-four-thirds style, you’ll want to buy some sort of bag or carrying case to protect your camera and keep all of your cords, SD cards, and other accessories neatly organized. We’ve narrowed down the pack to some of our favorites in a few categories. There are smaller bags and camera inserts available on the market or giant professional suitcases to hold 5-6 cameras, but we’ve given you our picks that fall somewhere in the middle and would appeal to your average DSLR photographer. Pick up any of these selections and we think you’ll have made a wise choice.
These bags all have a classic photographer look to them that give a sense of heritage in place of modern fabrics and design. They might not be the most high-tech or modern, but that’s kind of the point. If you have a somewhat classic sense of style or a flair for retro finds, these bags are the picks for you. We promise they’ll never go out of style.
This classic Domke F-2 Ruggedwear Shooter’s Bag ($165) is a great versatile bag made from coated canvas and designed to fit 1-2 DSLR camera kits as well as some extra lenses and accessories. Two handy outside pockets and padded interior compartments make sure that everything stays organized and in its place.
If you really want a classic camera bag to pass on to your kids, the Billingham 335 Shoulder Bag ($389) is a perfect choice. Like the classic trench coat of camera bags, this bag will not go out of style and is crafted with quality materials that will stand the test of time. The 335 is made to hold two DSLR kits and three lenses, as well as various other accessories. Made from waterproof canvas, the bag features a padded closed-cell foam interior, a double-laminated bottom, a fully waterproof top flap, and various pockets.
For something on the smaller side, we like the National Geographic Africa Shoulder Bag ($178), which has the classic photo-journalist look but was designed to carry only one DSLR kit and some other accessories. It’s got plenty of pockets inside and uses a padded removable insert to protect your camera.
These bags take things to a bit more modern place with sturdy fabrics and fun sporty designs. If you keeps things on the minimal, casual side in your everyday life, one of these bags might suit you and your photographic needs.
When it comes to great minimalist design, we haven’t seen a better camera bag than the Ari Marcopoulos bag ($200) from Incase. This sleek sling bag comes in modern gray and features enough room to store a DSLR kit with lenses, faux-fur lined pockets for a point-and-shoot camera and an iPad, and a removable rain fly.
While Crumpler makes camera-specific bags in a variety of handy sizes, we particularly like the versatile 5 Million Dollar Home ($85), which is the right size for most DSLR photographers, allowing room for a DSLR kit as well as several lenses. The bag also features velcro silencers, outer accessory loops, and durable 900D Cordura fabrication.
For women who want a simple, fun bag to protect their cameras (or guys who aren’t afraid of color), we’re a fan of the Camera Daypack ($60) from our friends over at the Photojojo store. The durably nylon bag (available in purple or blue) has padded mesh lining and just enough room for one DSLR and one lens or external flash, but has 5 other pockets for smaller essentials.
You may still consider yourself an amateur photographer, but if you’ve got more than one camera body and a handful of lenses and flashes, you’re going to need a heavy-duty camera bag with some extra room. These picks are for those of your who need more than just small shoulder bag to haul all your gear.
It may not be winning any style awards, but the Tamrac 5617 Ultra Pro 17 Bag ($170) has you covered when it comes to storing and protecting all your gear, with enough room for two DSLR kits and 5-6 lenses, as well as a 15-inch laptop. The bag features a 600D Polytek exterior, a separate back pocket for your laptop, a padded interior with a hard plastic bottom for added shock protection, and handy outside pockets for smaller gear.
For those who prefer a backpack to a shoulder bag, we like the sleek design of the Timbuk2 Snoop Camera Backpack ($149). The bag offers room for a couple camera bodies, a handful of lenses, smaller accessories, and up to a 17-inch laptop. The bag offers a padded laptop compartment, side entry for easy access to all your gear, a ventilated back panel, and adjustable padded camera inserts.
If you’re an amateur photographer who has an adventurous side, you might be in need of something like the Lowepro DryZone 200 backpack ($365), which offers plenty of storage for your gear in a fully-waterproof package. The bag (which floats) features a heavy-duty padded compartment inside to hold plenty of gear, waterproof TIZIP zippers, and a tuck-away tripod holder.