As wonderful as the hobby of photography can be, it certainly has its fair share of frustrations. Purchasing the equipment is expensive, and with the massive amount of choices available on the market today, choosing the right one can get overwhelming very quickly.
But what about the camera bag? It’s just a bag at the end of the day, so it can’t be that difficult to find one, can it?
Unfortunately, choosing the right camera bag can be just as frustrating as choosing the right camera. Every photographer’s setup is completely different, and different camera bags have different features to accommodate that. So how do you know which one is the right one for you?
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Luckily, our team have been working around the clock to find the best DSLR camera bags on the market, and we have narrowed our choice down to just five. If you are struggling to choose the best camera bag for you, then here are the ones that we would recommend:
The Absolute Best DSLR Bag On The Market!
First up on our list, and possibly the best DSLR camera bag on the market, is the 450 AW from ProTactic. We have been fans of the 350 AW for a number of years, but the new and improved 450 is on a whole new level.
The three main factors that we look for when choosing a DSLR camera bag is the material it’s made from (and how comfortable they are), how much equipment it can hold, and how rugged and strong it is. The design of the bag is not a priority for us, although the 450 AW is what we would consider a good-looking bag.
In regards to the build quality and how comfortable this thing is, we can’t really express it in words. You need to try this backpack on to experience how comfortable it is. The bag is made out of Nylon, and it has been engineered to provide comfort in specific areas such as the shoulders, back and waistline. It’s also got a breathable back pad, making it perfect for both hot and cold weather.
The 450 AW is marketed as a ‘DSLR camera bag’, but it can do so much more. The inside of the bag is split into different compartments, each for a different piece of kit. This allows you to make the most of the limited space, and also stops the expensive kit from banging together while you are walking. In total, the 450 AW can hold 2 full sized DSLR cameras, up to 6 lenses, a tripod, speed lights, a 15” laptop and all of the necessary cables.
The equipment can be accessed through 4 different entry points, which make it perfect for fast-paced environments where a photo opportunity can arise at any moment. You can have access to your camera in the space of a few seconds, without having to fumble about with a bunch of zips and pockets. It also has a built in rain cover for when the heavens decide to open, which we found to be very handy.
Our Final Verdict…
The 450 AW from ProTactic really is the jack of all trades when it comes to DSLR camera bags. It’s large enough to carry everything you will ever need, but light and comfortable enough to not be a pain to carry. We would highly recommend this camera bag to working professionals, or hobbyists who are serious about photography, and want the crème de la crème of carry bags.
If the 450 AW is slightly out of your budget, or if you are a beginner photographer who still needs a high-quality camera bag, you could opt for the 350 AW which is still a fantastic bag, just a little bit cheaper.
The Second Best Camera Bag for DSLR Cameras
For those of you who require something a little bit more stylish, we have the Billingham Hadley Pro. The reason why the Billingham has made its way on to our list of the best DSLR camera bags is because it’s an extremely popular camera bag that manages to combine style and luxury, with performance and durability. Billingham bags are built to last!
The Hadley Pro is an over the shoulder bag, so we wouldn’t really recommend this one to backpackers or hikers. It’s made more for photo journalists and more urban environments. The bag is masterfully crafted using the highest quality canvas, and the straps and buckles are made of real leather. The Hadley Pro is available in a variety of different colors, too, which is always a positive. We got our hands on the black version, and we found it to be sleek, modern and surprisingly comfortable. If you want something a bit more stylish, however, we would suggest that you go with the Khaki/Tan version.
Being a canvas bag, the interior pockets are very expandable, so they can accommodate almost any size of DSLR camera, as well as additional lenses, flash lights and other small accessories. It also comes with a series of dividers, which are completely removable if you decide that you don’t need them.
Our only concern when reviewing this bag was how well it would stand up to the harsher weather conditions such as rain and snow. However, when we finally got our hands on it we were pleasantly surprised with how well covered and protected the equipment inside was. The exterior flap is long enough and broad enough to keep any unwanted elements out of it, and the interior is padded for extra protection.
Our Final Verdict…
We absolutely loved the Billingham Hadley Pro. It’s not the biggest bag in the world, but if you are looking for the best small DSLR camera bag, that also pairs as a fashion accessory, this is the bag for you. It’s cool, it’s stylish and it’s built to last a lifetime. Billingham have hit a home run with this one!
The Third Best DSLR Camera Bag For Travel
When shopping for the best DSLR bag for travel, there are a couple of extra factors that you need to take into consideration. First of all, the bag has to be spacious enough to carry all of your gear. Not just the camera and its lenses, but also the cables, the accessories and everything else that you require to do your job. Second of all, it needs to be rugged, waterproof and strong enough to protect your expensive equipment from all of the bumps and bruises that are inevitable while on the road.
One bag that covers both of those bases and more, is the Camera backpack from Evecase. Big enough to hold a camera body, up to 5 lenses, accessories, a 15” laptop and even a few items of clothing, this camera bag is more than sufficient for travel photography.
One of the best features that we found when testing this camera bag out was its ease of use. A single zip can give you access to the spacious individual compartments that hold all of your equipment. Also, the padding on the shoulder pads is another feature that we could not praise enough. If you are traveling long distances, you need a bag that is comfortable and distributes the weight evenly across your shoulders. This one ticks both of those boxes.
Straight out of the box, the Camera backpack from Evecase has its own waterproof cover to keep out any moisture, and is equipped with a travel luggage handle which will allow you to attach the bag to luggage wheels to use as a regular suitcase.
Our Final Verdict…
For less than a hundred bucks, you can grab yourself an absolute beast of a camera bag that is ideal for traveling with. It’s lightweight, can hold plenty of equipment and is small enough to qualify as carry-on luggage. If you are a travel photographer, this bag is absolutely perfect for you.
The Fourth Best DSLR Camera Bag For Hiking
Another camera bag that pairs as a day pack is the Chrome Niko Pack. This one can basically be seen as two bags in one, with the top compartment primarily used for day-to-day items and bits of clothing, and the bottom compartment for camera equipment. There is also a thin compartment along the back of the bag which is designed for a 15” laptop. The laptop compartment is discreet and doesn’t take up much room at all.
Chrome is well-known for manufacturing hard, rugged bags that are weather proof and the Niko is no exception. The bag is made from a high-quality nylon and the zips are strong and completely airtight to prevent any moisture from entering your bag. If you need something that is resilient for your hiking trips, you will struggle to find one as hardy as this one.
In terms of comfort, we have no complaints whatsoever. The back panel is sweat-resistant, the chest straps are strong and the shoulder panels are soft and easy to adjust. It’s a 10/10 for comfort.
The camera gear compartment can hold a large DSLR, a few lenses, a tripod and a few other small accessories, and they all can be accessed via the main zip that runs around the entire shell of the bag. Although the access points are limited on this camera bag, they aren’t as much of a nuisance as we would have thought. It can be cumbersome at times, when trying to reach the very bottom of the bag, but other than that, it’s pretty easy to get in and out of.
The Niko Pack is also equipped with several different pockets which are perfect for memory cards, cables, books and any other tidbits you need to keep on you during your hikes.
Our Final Verdict…
Before we even chose Niko Pack as the best camera bag for hiking, we knew we would ultimately end up with a Chrome bag. The guys at Chrome do a fantastic job at creating tough, resilient bags which is crucial for protecting your fragile equipment when you are out enjoying mother nature.
The bag is comfortable, it has plenty of storage and it’s waterproof. If that’s what you are looking for in a camera bag, then we recommend that you check this one out. You won’t be disappointed with it.
The Best Cheap DSLR Camera Bag
For the budget-conscious photographers, we have the DCB-304 from Case Logic. This bag is extremely small, and can only just squeeze a decent sized DSLR camera into its cushioned inner compartment; however, if you need something to keep your camera safe while walking around town, this bag is ideal.
What makes this camera bag ideal, besides its incredibly low price is the fact that your camera is instantly accessible. Because the bag only carries your camera and nothing else, it’s just a case of unzipping the top zipper and grabbing your camera whenever you need it. If you are out taking pictures, and don’t want to travel with the camera around your neck, this camera bag is the perfect substitute.
It comes with a shoulder strap, as well as a carry handle. The side pockets are perfect for stashing your memory cards and other small bits and bobs. We wouldn’t recommend this camera bag for long journeys, or for traveling any long distances, but for when you are out in the field taking photographs, this bag is the perfect companion.
Our Final Verdict…
The only thing smaller than the DCB-304 is the price tag that’s attached to it. It’s never going to compare to the other camera bags on this list in regards to features and accessories, but that’s not what it’s built for. If you need something cheap that gets the job done, this is the camera bag for you.
If you have made it to this point in the article, you are probably still scratching your head, wondering if you will ever find a camera bag that suits all of your needs. We know it can be extremely frustrating, and that’s the reason we put this review article together, to save you the time and the headaches of having to find all of this information for yourself.
If you are still struggling to find the perfect camera bag, here is a quick buyers guide that might help clear the fog, and make the choice a little easier for you.
How to Choose the Best DSLR Camera Bag
When choosing the best camera bag that is suitable for your specific needs, there are a few questions you need to ask yourself, and a few considerations you must keep in mind when comparing your choices.
First of all, you need to decide what type of bag you are interested in. This is the most important factor in our opinion, so it’s the one which we recommend spending the most time thinking about. There are several different types of bags that are suitable for cameras, and each of them have their own pros and cons. The key is to understand which type of bag will best suit your own requirements.
For example, if you find that you are traveling for long distances, and you carry a lot of camera equipment, you will probably be more suited with a backpack. On the other hand, if you only need something small and mobile enough to protect your camera while you are out taking pictures of your local neighbourhood, a backpack would probably be overkill – you will be better suited to a handheld case or a pouch in this case. If you need something that is fashionable, yet practical at the same time, a shoulder bag would probably be the best choice for you.
Another factor that you need to consider is where you will be taking your camera bag. For example, city commuters won’t require a bag that is built for hiking and backpacking. They will need something smaller, more functional and easier on the eyes. A backpacker, on the other hand, will need a bag that is big, rugged and weatherproof. A fabric shoulder bag just wouldn’t cut it.
With all of that being said, let’s take a look at some of the specific factors that will influence your final decision:
How comfortable does the camera bag need to be? For hiking, backpacking or long-distance traveling, you may want to choose a bag with superior levels of padding and cushioning. If comfort isn’t a deal-breaker for you, then you could save a lot of money by choosing something a little bit less expensive.
When looking at the material of a camera bag, we generally categorize them into two different categories: Fashionable and high-performance. “Fashionable” bags tend to made from soft, fibrous materials such as canvas and cotton, whereas the “high-performance” bags tend to be made from stronger materials like nylon. These “high-performance” bags are typically more rugged, have better water resistance and are built for adventure, whereas the “fashionable” bags are made for everyday use and light commuting.
This one is pretty self-explanatory. If you have a lot of camera gear, or if you need a lot of gear to fulfil the needs of your specific discipline of photography, you will need a bag with a higher capacity. For a leisurely stroll around the local park – not so much.
Another important factor when purchasing a DSLR camera bag is how much you can afford to spend. Prices can range from less than $20, all the way up to several hundreds of dollars. The three aforementioned factors will have a huge influence on the final price of a camera bag, so keep that in mind. More space, along with better quality materials and superior comfort will cost you considerably more than a small, cotton pouch with a flimsy strap.
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