What Is Your Favorite Camera Bag?

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The camera bag starts as an afterthought—something you get after you buy a camera and/or lenses, and for many, just about any camera bag will do the trick for them. But, when you get deeper into photography and expand your kit, the camera bag becomes an essential part of your everyday carry. There are many parallels between shopping for a camera bag and shopping for something like a pair of shoes—hundreds (maybe thousands?) of options, different sizes, different styles, and sometimes the ones that look the best don’t fit best. This makes camera bag shopping, especially for a veteran photographer, a very personal quest.

We asked some B&H staff, B&H Creative partners, and B&H affiliates what their favorite camera bag is and why. This is a sampling of some of their responses.

Allan Weitz, B&H — @allanweitz

“I picked up a Lowepro Flipside Sport 10L AW a few years back as a lightweight, back-friendly alternative to a shoulder or sling bag. Since then the bag has traveled to Israel, China, and some of the prettiest vistas along the Pacific Coast. The Lowepro Flipside Sport 10L AW is compact yet can easily swallow up a mirrorless camera with a 150-500mm zoom or a pair of bodies with three or four lenses. It's extremely light, shows little sign of wear after several years of regular use, and the orange color is perfect for road biking, which is something my wife and I do when the weather is agreeable.”

Autumn Schrock, B&H Creative — @autpops

“My favorite bag is the Shimoda Action X series. I have both the 30L and the 50L and switch them out depending on how much gear I need to bring. I love how carefully thought-out the details are: quick side access, tons of small pockets for organization, removable and swappable core units that come with protective covers if you need to gate-check your bag at the airport, side tripod and water bottle pockets that can stow away if not needed, to name a few. It instantly feels like a quality bag.

“One of my favorite features is the adjustable and interchangeable shoulder straps, depending on your torso height. They also make women’s-specific straps, which fit me way better than any other camera bag straps. The technical straps that come standard on the bag have two chest pockets that allow you to carry all sorts of gear like extra batteries, lens cap, water bottle, cheeseburger, pet hedgehog, y’know, the essentials.

“Overall, it’s the best bag that I’ve found for landscape photography thus far and highly recommend it!”

Bjorn Peterson, B&H

“I am one of those few lucky people who has found the perfect camera bag. And beyond it being just the perfect camera bag, it’s also the perfect bag for so much more than just carrying my camera. This miracle bag, this thing that I love, is the Domke F-802 Reporter’s Satchel. Minimal, lo-fi, bare-bones, plain, humble… however you want to emphasize its simplicity, this has been my bag of choice for many, many years.

“I’m partial to Domke bags to begin with, but I like the F-802 satchel the most because of its versatility. It can accommodate camera systems of so many different shapes and sizes, as well as other items completely unrelated to photography. Compared to more traditional shoulder bag designs, this bag is more of a messenger bag; it has a large flap to cover the tall interior. It’s a strange shape to get used to at first, but once you do, it’s hard to go back to shallower, wider designs. Another reason I like the shape of this bag so much is that it fits the kind of gear I work with—medium and large format cameras.”

Brent Eysler, B&H — @brent_eysler

"In 2014, I had just been informed by a well-known and rather expensive camera bag company that, despite being under 2 years old, that the amount of wear and tear on the bag was considered excessive and would not be covered by the ‘Lifetime’ Warranty. So, I found myself once again in the market for a new camera bag.

“When I’m looking at camera bags, there are a few things that I’ve always looked for: 1) I want something that’s discreet. I need a bag that doesn't scream ‘CAMERA!’ Not only because of the risk of theft, but also in order to help me blend into my environment. If I'm on assignment or just shooting street I don't want a big giant camera bag that’s going to make me stand out from the crowd. 2) It’s gotta have easy access, a lot of pockets, and be comfortable to carry for extended periods of time. 3) Most importantly, because any gear I buy is going to be ridden hard and put away wet, it’s gotta be easy to repair and have a darn good warranty, and a company that will stand by it.

“When I heard that the legendary outfitter Filson was teaming up with Magnum to create a camera bag, I was pretty interested, I went into B&H, picked one up, and since then it’s been over my shoulder nearly every day for the last 7 years. It’s gotten its fair share of patina, more than a couple of holes, and at one point I had managed to completely rip out the entire rear laptop sleeve, and the team at Filson’s restoration services have patched it up better than new, no questions asked. Filson did a great job building the padding into the bag itself, but because of that, it doesn’t fold up very well, which is a problem when traveling. For that reason I also love my Domke F-2.

“The Domke was a bag I originally picked up for lens changes at weddings, but after losing the protective insert, I realized its basically flat when there’s nothing in there. When I’m on the road for B&H and have to travel with a bigger bag full of gear, I can fold up my Domke and put it in my suitcase, so that when we get to wherever we’re going I can travel with just the essentials. My Domke has been to Iceland, the Middle East, all over the U.S., and it’s been a great companion."

Bryan Carnathan@bryancarnathan

“One cannot have too many camera cases, and I have many favorites, making it challenging to call just one case my favorite. That said, I’ll go with the MindShift Gear FirstLight 40L. Most often, when I pull this case out, I’m going somewhere fun to pursue wildlife and landscape photography. The FirstLight 40L is well within domestic flight carry-on size restrictions and fits under regional jet seats, avoiding the dreaded slide down the checked bag ramp at departure. This lightweight backpack features excellent quality and a design that accommodates a significant quantity of gear within moderate dimensions. While Think Tank Photo does not rate the FirstLight 40L backpack to hold a 600mm f/4 lens with a camera mounted, I make that combination work, slightly pushing the bag’s dimensions. In the field (or airport), this case’s well-padded, adjustable harness makes a heavy load comfortable. If 40 liters is too much volume, MindShift Gear covers your back with the smaller FirstLight 20L and 30L.”

Chuck Capriola, B&H — @chuckxphotographs

“I have had this Domke F-8 Small Canvas Shoulder Bag for over 25 years and it has traveled with me to many places. It's like an old pair of jeans that are broken in perfectly. My camera and lenses fit in perfectly and I feel when I do not have it with me, I have the sense something is missing.”

Corey Lynn Tucker, B&H Creative — @coreylynntucker

“As an adventurous elopement photographer, my Peak Design Everyday Backpack 30L is not only comfortable, it's fantastic for hiking and has quick and easy access points to get my cameras out quickly when I need them. It houses both of my Canon mirrorless EOS R and EOS R6 cameras, up to five lenses, and light reflectors. There is tons of storage space for batteries, memory cards, snacks, emergency kit, rain gear, and all my essentials. Black is my favorite color; I can put it down anywhere and easily dust off my bag, so it doesn't show the wear and tear. It's also a great travel bag for flying and has a sleek, minimal design that doesn't scream 'photographer.' It can easily fit under the seat or in an overhead compartment for carry-on. I never check my camera gear. Ten years as a photographer and I've gone through my fair share of camera bags... from Think Tank rolling bag to Ona shoulder bag and now returning to my favorite Peak Design backpack for ultimate comfort and ease of use throughout a long day. If I'm photographing a wedding, I pack an extra backpack for four of my Canon EXII flashes.”

David Brommer, B&H — @suspectphotography

“My favorite bag is the Billingham Hadley in the small size. It was originally designed for rangefinders, so it’s perfect for compact mirrorless cameras like the FUJIFILM XPro series or Olympus cameras. It’s a simple design that is made with the highest quality materials. It’s a very classy bag and doesn’t look like a modern camera bag, but don’t let its ‘Prada’ or ‘Gucci’ look fool you—it’s super-functional, in a minimalist sense. I’ve had mine for over 20 years and while the outside has aged very well, the inside did get pretty rough, and the Velcro dividers lost their grip; no problem though—the bag is designed so a replacement insert is available. I recently ordered a new insert, and the bag is essentially new again. It may very well be the longest-lasting bag and you can easily justify the relatively high price because you won’t be throwing the bag away after 5 years.”

Billingham Hadley Small Pro Shoulder Bag
Billingham Hadley Small Pro Shoulder Bag

David Wilder, B&H Creative — @davidwilderphoto

“Finding the right camera bag is like finding Cinderella’s slipper. It fits just right and makes you feel like anything is possible. Seriously, though, when I found the Atlas Pack I knew this was the slipper… I mean camera pack for me. I picked up an ‘Adventure’ pack from Atlas about three years ago and could not be happier. They thought of everything, from various waistband and frame sizes to meet your body type, to the origami fold inside the shell to convert the pack to fit more camera gear vs. more hiking gear. This bag is big, I mean BIG. The phrase ‘everything but the kitchen sink’ comes to mind, but it magically feels light.”

Jason Tables, B&H — @jaytablez

​“I love my Lowepro ProTactic BP 450 AW II camera and laptop backpack. It's super weather resistant. I've been caught in a torrential downpour several times and never had a problem. Never even used the rain cover.”

Lowepro ProTactic BP 450 AW II Camera and Laptop Backpack
Lowepro ProTactic BP 450 AW II Camera and Laptop Backpack

Jay Cassario@jaycassario

“After almost a decade has passed since I first picked up a camera, I think it's safe to say that I've owned or tested more camera bags than most photographers. I've used everything from backpack-style bags, to messenger bags, to those smaller sling bags that go across your chest. The majority have found themselves living a life of early retirement where they'll live out the rest of their days wondering what went wrong.

“I personally like to shoot with a camera bag most of the time rather than using a strap or holster system, but it took me a long time to get there, and finding the right one can, without a doubt, seem like the most frustrating challenge that you'll ever face in life. I think it's the fact that many come close, but as the saying goes, close only counts in horseshoes, right? Right.

“Some bags are durable and do a great job of protecting my gear but fall short in the comfort department. Others are comfortable yet lack the durability to take the beating that I put them through and don't do that great of a job keeping everything inside safe and sound. Just like with the cameras I shoot with; I simply need one that does everything I need it to do while also not getting in my way. I don't know who needs 100 pockets but if I can lose my car keys or my wallet (or both) at least once a day, chances are pretty good that more pockets mean more time digging around to find what I need.

“Over the years, I've found that a messenger-style bag is what simply works the best for me, and the Oberwerth line of messenger bags has quickly become my go-to. Particularly the Porto, which can carry my Leica SL2 plus two lenses or two camera/lens combos. Aside from their stylish look, Oberwerth bags have proven themselves to be built to last. I have beaten them up pretty good and they only come out looking better with age. There are just enough (easy-to-access) pockets, and the top flap is easy to open and ‘securely’ close with the style of buttons they use. One of my favorite features that the Porto bag offers, as well as some of the others made by Oberwerth, is the padded insert that you can take out, which comes in handy when packing my gear for travel.

“If you're a fan of messenger-style bags, I highly suggest giving the Oberwerth line a look, especially the Porto or the Boulevard. Yes, I'm extremely picky when it comes to camera bags, but if you're going to invest in the best camera gear, then you should be making sure the bag you put it in not only looks good but also keeps it safe. I've learned my lesson the hard way on how quickly you can damage your gear by using a poorly or cheaply made camera bag. Please, don't skimp on your camera bag.”

Jill Waterman, B&H — @nightpix

“Several years ago, I bought a slightly used Keen daypack at a yard sale. It had a rubberized bottom, a roomy top pocket, and a long zipper along the side to access the main storage compartment and laptop/document sleeves. I’ve amassed a wide range of camera bags and backpacks from popular brands like Think Tank Photo and Tenba over the years, but this unassuming little bag quickly became my favorite everyday carry for basic camera and computer gear. As the orange and grey exterior aged like fine wine, I found it to be the perfect foil for the valuables hidden inside, and while it didn’t have much built-in padding, I could add my own when needed. But my favorite part of this bag was the easy access the side zipper provided whenever I needed to swap out a lens or retrieve a fresh battery when shooting.

“My Keen bag has been through a lot since I’ve owned it, yet nothing could quite match my desire for a replacement—until I discovered the WANDRD Duo Day Pack. Instead of a single side opening, WANDRD’s infinite zipper allows top to bottom access of interior contents and lets me open it flat. Inside, there are pockets galore, five along the side panels, a big mesh pocket inside the front flap, plus two padded pockets and a zippered sleeve against the back. However, the Duo’s most innovative feature is the fold-out ‘pop camera cube’ built into the bottom, which offers fully encased padded storage when needed, and folds away to nothing if not. Holding up the rear, padded sleeves for a tablet and laptop can accommodate up to a 15" MacBook Pro, slipped in from the top. The Duo Day Pack’s durable nylon exterior gives it a much cleaner look than my old bag, yet its matte-black finish helps it remain inconspicuous. And, when closed, WANDRD’s weather-resistant YKK zippers provide a tight barrier to ensure that your gear stays dry inside.​”

WANDRD Duo Day Pack
WANDRD Duo Day Pack

John Harris, B&H — @jrockfoto

“My favorite bag ever was not even a camera bag. It was made by The North Face and was a backpack called simply 'Trashcan.' I don’t think it’s made anymore, but I do see some remnants on Japanese retail websites. It was a normal-size backpack but because it had only one compartment, you could fit everything in there and I would use lens wraps to protect the gear and have it at hand. Comfortable, adaptable, at times frustrating to get items at the bottom, but otherwise my go-to for 20 years. I still have it and use it for softball stuff.

“Trying to recreate the experience in a more ‘professional’ manner, and one better suited to plane travel and multiple camera bodies, I used the Lowepro Fastback 350 for many overseas and local jobs. The equivalent from Lowepro today would probably be the Fastpack Pro BP 250 AW III, and it’s a great bag with room for a body or two and several lenses, including telephoto. It also has space for a laptop and accessories and, with side access, it is a photographer’s friend. However, for me, it was great for hauling stuff to the job but not on the job and I would hunt the many compartments and zippered pockets all day long. It was too big to work with all day and I supplemented it with a hip bag or even that old 'Trashcan' for essential gear and left it behind in locations, often worried it might get stolen. (It never did.)

“Eventually, I settled on using the Lowepro backpack for long trips only and a Tenba messenger bag like the DNA 11 Messenger Bag as my 'working' bag. Over the years, it became more of a briefcase and everyday bag, without the inserts. Finally, about five years ago, it all came together. The marriage of size, comfort, protection, adaptability, usability, and one big ol’ singular inside vessel to hold all of my stuff. The Think Tank City Walker 30 is my main bag and still going strong. Founded by photographers, Think Tank makes great products, but it seems its messenger style bags are a bit fancier than before. I’m sure they are as sturdy as can be, but I’ll be using this City Walker 30 for a long time. It is my favorite camera bag.”

Lowepro Fastpack Pro BP 250 AW III
Lowepro Fastpack Pro BP 250 AW III
Tenba DNA 11 Messenger Bag
Tenba DNA 11 Messenger Bag
Lowepro Fastpack Pro BP 250 AW III (left) and Tenba DNA 11 Messenger Bag (right)

John Kingston, B&H Creative — @roaminglost

Pelican 1535AirTP Wheeled Carry-On Hard Case. Sorry but it’s not a bag.... It's a bad [CENSORED] case that you can drop in the ocean and water won’t get to it (don't try this at home). But really, it’s pretty rugged and rolls along just fine for most shoots. Although you can’t sling it on your back, it fits our needs and gets gear safely from point A to B. The TrekPak is super key because you can customize and pack in a lot of gear in a pretty small case, and note it’s also carry-on ready. But overall, it does the job and keeps gear tidy and safe.”

Kendrin Franklin — @924photography

“The Nomatic McKinnon 35L Camera Backpack is my favorite bag so far, but I rock with the Think Tank Photo Logistics Manager 30 V2 Rolling Gear Case that I own now.”

Nomatic McKinnon 35L Camera Backpack
Nomatic McKinnon 35L Camera Backpack
Think Tank Photo Logistics Manager 30 V2 Rolling Gear Case
Think Tank Photo Logistics Manager 30 V2 Rolling Gear Case
Nomatic McKinnon 35L Camera Backpack (left) and Think Tank Photo Logistics Manager 30 V2 Rolling Gear Case (right)

Levi Tenenbaum, B&H — @ibelevi

“Ooooooooooooooooooooohhhhh, ummmm all of them—I’m such a sucker for a nice bag! Over the years I have become more and more simple in how I travel, and many times my camera ends up in my regular carry-on, just packed and padded well—I know, GASP! This from a guy who used to go with a backpack carrying two bodies, three to four lenses, two to three flashes, and every battery or cable I thought I might need. I’m so much simpler now….

“Ok, the two I’ve been having a great time with lately are the Domke F-5XB and Nikon DSLR Value Pack Travel Case. The Domke looks great, is well priced, has a tough and masculine/military feel, and is super compact, perfect for a mirrorless camera with all-around zoom (24-105mm) and a second prime. The Nikon bag is my all-around bag. It is like a minivan, more spacious than you first give it credit for being, has room for a small laptop or tablet and, if I get creative, I can have two to three lenses plus flash and chargers. The top zip opening provides for ease of access while on the move and the bag is uber functional for the ‘no-ego on looks’ shooter.”

Domke F-5XB RuggedWear Shoulder and Belt Bag
Domke F-5XB RuggedWear Shoulder and Belt Bag
Nikon DSLR Value Pack Travel Case
Nikon DSLR Value Pack Travel Case
Domke F-5XB RuggedWear Shoulder and Belt Bag (left) and Nikon DSLR Value Pack Travel Case (right)

Lindsay Taylor Jackson@ltj_film

“I often shoot run-and-gun-style documentaries and have braved several elements during filming. I feel equally split on my favorite bags, both of which I purchased at B&H. My fellow cinematographer friend, David Quateman, suggested I get the Tenba Cinelux Roller 21 bag and the miggo Agua Versa Backpack 90. Now, I never travel to any film shoots without these bags. My Tenba Cinelux Roller 21 bag fits in airplane overhead compartments so I feel confident keeping my expensive camera package close and in sight. Its side pockets are also perfect for four large batteries. I constantly travel for film shoots, so the rolling wheels and extendable handle were a no-brainer for me. The miggo Agua Versa Backpack 90 is water resistant, spacious, comes with a cushioned lens bag, and looks sleek. Over the past two years, I have been filming for A Good Wolf (Dir. Ramey Newell), a feature documentary film about the 40-year conflict over wolf trapping at the boundary of Denali National Park in Alaska. The conditions have been challenging in many ways; filming in the rugged taiga backcountry, in temperatures well below zero, while strapped into a dogsled, and amid whipping blizzard winds. But I have always been confident my gear is safe and dry in my backpack.”

Louis Ferreira@louiswferreira

“In 2018, when I had to find a quality bag to fit all of my gear for the Falcon Heavy launch I attended with my kids, I purchased a WANDRD PRVKE 31L to carry all of my equipment from my car to the launch site. This took about 7 hours due to the number of people who were there. On top of the long trek, which started first thing in the morning, I also have a bad back, so evenly distributing the weight of equipment is crucial to help alleviate pain, and the WANDRD PRVKE 31L did not fail me.

“The WANDRD PRVKE is great for hiking and it’s the bag I use to walk down to the beach at night when I want to photograph lightning. The bag does a good job of protecting my cameras and lenses during the walk back if it is raining, and I find that I’m not in pain the next day from lugging around too much weight. I don’t quite pack it to the extent above, but you can comfortably get a substantial amount of equipment in the WANDRD PRVKE 31L, which is the most important thing to me since my back can put me out of commission for months if I overdo it. In 2018 I was carrying around two kids in addition to all of the above equipment, so I can definitely say that purchasing this bag made it possible to securely pack and carry my gear and saved me from having a miserable month full of back pain more than once.”

Mark Condon@shotkit

“I consider myself something of a camera bag ‘expert,’ having handled so many over the years!! And, after reviewing over 100 camera backpacks on Shotkit, the Peak Design Everyday Backpack is my all-time favorite camera bag.

“Although I think there are brands that produce better-looking options, Peak Design has always been at the forefront of innovative design, and this really comes through with its Everyday Backpack, despite its age. Standout features for photographers requiring quick access are the zippers, which glide around the bag smoother than anything else on the market, multiple access points, expandable capacity, and the number one feature: Flexfold dividers, which provide multiple options for efficient organization.”

Neil van Niekerk@neilvn

“My favorite camera bag is the Think Tank Logistics Manager 30. It’s a spacious bag in which I can load five Sony A9 II cameras and various lenses, and a Profoto B10 flash, and another three Profoto A1 flashes. And various accessories."

Rachel Klein, B&H Creative — @rachelkleinvisuals

“My tried and trusted camera bag is the National Geographic NG A5270 Africa Series bag. Oddly enough, one of my first trips with it was to Africa for a doc film project. It’s my ‘run bag’ for doc shoots both here and abroad, with customizable slots for lenses and camera bodies at the bottom, a laptop sleeve, top compartment for accessories and a rain fly. The wax canvas finish has held up beautifully over the 7+ years of use. It’s been the perfect blend of style and comfort.”

Sapna Reddy, B&H Creative — @sapnareddy

“Having used a variety of camera bags for over a decade now, I can say the Gura Gear Kiboko has become my all-time favorite camera bag. The unique ergonomic dual compartments’ design, combined with incredible durability, makes this my go-to choice. I have used the same bag for several years now and, despite all the abuse it has taken, not a single stitch has come undone. The exterior is ultra-durable sailcloth fabric. The air-flow channels on the back prevent sweat accumulation on long hikes. The straps are padded and placed in such a way that even when the bag is loaded to capacity the straps feel very comfortable. The bag can hold two DSLRs and up to seven lenses, including the extra-long 400mm. It comes with a rain cover, dual front accessory pockets for filters/jackets etc., top-notch zipper quality, reinforced water bottle and tripod pocket, plus room for a full-sized laptop. Needless to say, I never undertake an outdoor adventure without my trusted bag.”

The Blumes @theblumes

“We love the Peak Design Travel Backpack. We lived/worked out of it for 2 months in China/Philippines and it was perfect!”

Peak Design Travel Backpack
Peak Design Travel Backpack

Thomas Simms, B&H

“I know my least-favorite bag was the Billingham Rucksack 25 backpack, thankfully discontinued. The design had an extra-wide rain flap over the main zipper, making it hard to see if it was zipped up or not. One day, I swung it on my back, and, almost instantly, it felt substantially lighter; I turned around in time to see all my photo gear flying through the air. So now, I use a Tenba Air Case. It has a handle with attachment points to the lid and to the base of the bag—a very important feature to reduce what I call ‘dump-ability.’ Anyone old enough to remember those kids' metal lunch boxes from the ’70s and ’80s knows what that is—if you forgot to latch the lid, there went your Star Wars thermos, apple, and PB&J sandwich. So, keep that in mind when buying any bag.”

Todd Vorenkamp, B&H — @trvphoto

“I guess you can tell how long you have been a photographer by how many camera bags you wear out. My first ‘serious’ camera bag was the Domke J-3 (ballistic nylon version). I wore it out and started carrying more gear. I needed a bigger bag, so then I wore out a Domke J-1 Journalist shoulder bag (in ballistic nylon) and embarked on a search for a replacement. I chose the J-series over the F, mostly because the end pockets were padded.

“Working at B&H, I have the rare ability to touch and try on dozens and dozens of camera bags. I didn’t feel any brand loyalty to Domke, and was open-minded in my search, but came back to Domke with the F-1X Little Bit Bigger shoulder bag that is working perfectly for me thus far. And, to solve the end-pocket padding issue, I took the pads out of my retired J-bag and put them in the F-1X. The F-series bags aren’t as tall as the J-series, but now that I am shooting FUJIFILM mirrorless, I have smaller (and shorter) lenses, so it all works out.

“I prefer the ballistic versions to the canvas for the feel and the fact that the Domke branding on the side pockets is subdued on the ballistic nylon versions. When I wear them out, it is 99% me wearing out the shoulder strap and, although I have bought aftermarket replacement straps, I then wear out the webbing that holds the strap secure.

“I have owned camera backpacks, but when I am out shooting, I prefer the accessibility of a shoulder bag for my gear. One thing I love about the Domke bags is that you can attach a ‘backpack strap’ to your bag and spread the weight over both shoulders—shifting back to a single-shoulder strap instantly, when needed.”

Domke J-3 Journalist Shoulder Bag
Domke J-3 Journalist Shoulder Bag
Domke J-1 Journalist Shoulder Bag
Domke J-1 Journalist Shoulder Bag
Domke F 1X Little Bit Bigger Ballistic Series Shoulder Bag
Domke F 1X Little Bit Bigger Ballistic Series Shoulder Bag
Domke J-3 Journalist Shoulder Bag, Domke J-1 Journalist Shoulder Bag, and Domke F 1X Little Bit Bigger Ballistic Series Shoulder Bag

Yana Karin, B&H — @yanakarin

“My ONA and I have been through thick and thin: traveling to faraway places and getting constantly, and proudly, stuffed under airplane seats every single time. I wonder if most people feel the same way about their camera bags as I do—that I have found my bag-mate and we're pretty happy together because we get each other. I demand to always be light on my feet—I'm fairly minimalist in my adventures, by design. Happily, my ONA manages to act as a camera bag, a phone and wallet holder, ticket, and passport holder—and with its countless pockets—everything else in-between. It is the most versatile and stylish little camera bag I have ever had—so much so that I have two of the same: one in full leather for lengthy trips, and one in a denim fabric for street photography/videography where I know I'll be on my feet a whole lot. I manage to fit in it, impressively, one mirrorless Sony camera, two prime lenses (wide and portrait), all lens and body caps, batteries, a spare SD card, phone/wallet, and most importantly—my trusty Giottos Rocket. Rarely, if ever, do I wonder about other camera bags, and perhaps that is an attestation to how well made ONAs are—because once I bought mine, I never really ever had to wonder about them again.”

Your Turn

Tell us what your favorite all-time camera bag is in the Comments section, below. Or, if you have a question about what bag to buy next, leave us a comment down there, as well! And, let us know if there are other questions you have for B&H photographers, our affiliates, or our Creative partners. Click these links to read about our favorite camera/film combinations and “desert island” lenses!

For more information on the B&H Creative Partnerships Team, subscribe to the Creatively Yours newsletter here or email us at [email protected].

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28 Comments

I went through so many different (less expensive) bags before I finally bit the bullet and purchased a Billingham Hadley Small. While no bag is perfect, my search for bags stopped there. If my gear doesn't fit in this bag, I know I'm taking too much. I find it to be a great bag to "work out of". Just flip the top and access your gear (in my case either Micro-4/3 or full-frame mirrorless). No noisy velcro or cumbersome zippers. Superb weather protection without the need for an additional rain cover on the bag. Snow or rain? No problem. With the closures fastened, I've taken a tumble down a steep embankment with no damage to the bag or it's contents.
When the gear I'm packing is a bit heavier, I use a Domke Postal shoulder pad - it fits the Hadley strap perfectly. If I were to purchase again, the "pro" version of the Hadley Small (with the top handle) looks like a great improvement. 

Hi John,

When I wore out my last Domke, I went on an open-minded search for another camera bag. Working at B&H, I was able to try on a lot of different bags. The search brought me back to Domke and a different version that I modified (see above).

I share your sense of relief in finding a bag that works! ...I just wish the Domke shoulder strap would live as long as the bag! :)

Best,

Todd

Years ago, I read a "reader tip" letter in Popular Photography magazine that recommended we all use diaper bags for our camera gear. The reasoning was that diaper bags were water proof (leak proof), had multiple padded compartments, and didn't look like camera bags. "A bag branded Nikon or Domke tells people that expensive gadgets are inside. Nobody is going to steal a bag branded Huggies or Pampers"

Hi Artie,

That sounds like awesome advice from a PopPhoto reader!

I will say that the diaper bag(s) that my wife bought look way more expensive and chic than my dirty Domke with the subdued branding on it, but I am sure there are some diaper branded bags that she did not want to be seen in public with!

I guess I should have put it in the article, but, if you use padded lens wraps to protect your camera and lenses, you can turn almost any bag into a camera bag.

Thanks for the food for thought!

Best,

Todd

My favorite camera bags are the Manfrotto NX in blue (small shoulder holster for Micro 4/3 or Olympus XZ-1) and a medium-sized Tamrac DSLR backpack in red from what I'll call the "classic era" of Tamrac design. (I remember a guest on the podcast two years ago was very diplomatic in how he described recent changes in Tamrac design sensibilities.)
I know it's sad, but for me the color of a camera bag might be the most important characteristic. I am dreadfully absent-minded particularly when I travel. I need an eye-catching bag or I'll leave it behind in a restaurant, train, or taxi. Not 24 hours ago, I was glumly telling an airline gate agent "it's a white Olympus camera in a blue bag with red zippers" …and I got it back!
Allan's orange backpack won't win any beauty contests, but it keeps him safe when he bikes. The designers at Manfrotto would be aghast at the red nail polish I've applied to their zipper pulls, but I'll take an garish bag I'll remember over a dignified bag I'll forget.

Hey Artie,

First, thanks for reading Explora and being a B&H Photo podcast listener!

Secondly, thanks for sharing your experiences! It sounds like you represent a small minority of photographers looking for colorful bags. Let your voices be heard!

Meanwhile, I'll keep hoping that black-on-black or gray is in my camera bag future while telling Allan that he should go with neon yellow instead of orange—especially in the fall! :)

Thanks again!

Best,

Todd

I have good memories of using Tenba's first designs back in the 1970s. What I liked best about them is that they shed water easily and had a soft padded hard bottom that helped keep its shape. While I like the idea of some shoulder bags sold today, I find that they tend to "grip" equipment as they collapse from the weight, making it harder to extract gear while still wearing the bag. Fast forward to today, and I'm no longer lugging gear on my shoulders. Cross body straps sometimes work better for me, and some sling bags do the trick but only as day packs since they aren't very large. For important jobs where I need a wide range of lenses, I'll use the Think Tank Roller Derby. That bag has great mobility and eliminates any stress on the body. It is super stable and rolls very easily, which can also be a downside. Keep your hand on the bag because it can roll away from you, even on the slightest slope. I've used it with gripped Nikon DSLRs, and now I use it with mirrorless bodies. When I know ahead of time that surfaces won't be smooth enough, I use a backpack. My favorite continues to be the Think Tank StreetWalker V1.0. It has a narrower frame that fits my body better than other chunky packs. Consider the narrow passages and places with limited turnaround space and you'll then appreciate those backpacks that reduce the likelihood of banging into things. Not every backpack wearer is trekking up the mountainside.

Hi Gary,

Great stuff! Thanks for sharing your experiences!

When I ride the subways, I wish more folks would be conscious of the depth of their backpacks and, more importantly, do the courteous thing and remove them as they travel by subway to the mountains!

Thanks for reading!

Best,

Todd

Strange to have a promotional article which includes discontinued items and items for which no dimensions are given under the product's spec tab, but then I have had this experience before, specifically when looking for a sock to fit a mic and being told in great detail the size of its box and the shipping weight but nothing that would help determine if the sock would fit my mic.  So, interesting article introducing great product but not enough detail on B&H's site to make a sale.

Hi John,

Your point is valid, and I appreciate the feedback.

When I asked these photographers what their favorite camera bag was, I did so knowing that I would get a handful of submissions of classic bags that are no longer produced and I did not want to limit the scope of the article to only current products. (With the ever-changing market, even those bags could be discontinued in short order.)

So, yes, there are some discontinued products here, but those looking for a new bag might be inspired by the testimonials of these photographers to find a current bag with a similar design and that was a goal of the piece in regards to the classic bags.

Regarding your experience with the mic sock: Sometimes we sell products and we are not given complete information from the manufacturer. As I used to do product write-ups for B&H, I can tell you I spent hours on the phone with various manufacturers pleading for, what I thought was, basic information. Also, myself, and many other writers literally had rulers in our desk drawers and would sometimes head to the Superstore to physically measure a product by hand to complete the spec sheets. When an item is special order or not in stock, this is, obviously, a challenge.

In the future, don't be afraid to hit us up on chat, phone, or email and we might be able to flesh out specs for you, or recommend an alternative product.

Thanks for reading!

Best,

Todd

I have a Domke F-2 (in brown canvas) that is almost 40 years old and a Domke F-10 JD (in green) that's only about 10.  The latter carries everything I need with Olympus OM-D equipment.  BUT I'm not so much commenting to say that as, first, to note how many of the bags mentioned in the article are no longer available, even some to which there are B&H links in the article.  (Has anything outlasted the Domke F-2 design?  Is it like with cameras, new models are constantly needed to keep customers?  Or are there comparable technological advances?)  And, second, if you offered me any of the bags mentioned and shown above, I'd take one like the lead-off model, Allan Weitz's orange LowePro (which naturally is no longer made).  Why are are camera bags so overwhelmingly black?  Is it important to build up heat inside to keep the equipment warm?  (Grumpy moment.  Sorry.)

Thanks for the article.  The diversity of choice, with the accompanying explanations, was very interesting.

Hi Walter,

Thanks for sharing your experiences!

The half-life of most of our camera bags is very short for some reason. It is rare that a camera bag manufacturer keeps a bag on the market as long as, as you pointed out, Domke has. When Domke rolled out their new bag line, I was glad they said they would still manufacture their older designs as I am a fan of them!

Technological advances in fabric certainly exist and are showing up in camera bags, but it is a different type of advancement than megapixels, ISO, and battery tech.

Grumpy is fine!

Thanks for reading and thanks for the kind words!

Best,

Todd

Can you tell me what the name of the bag is that's at the top of the story right after the headline and author?  The tan double buckled bag.  Could not find it in the body of the article. Thank you.

Hi Dean,

Although I am under the belief that B&H carries every camera bag on the planet, a search of our collection of brown and tan bags came up blank when compared to the one photographed in the heading image.

Unfortunately (for you and I), that attractive bag was captured in a stock photo, so it might not even be a camera bag at all!

I will keep searching, but let us know if you find it. It is a good looking bag!

Best,

Todd

I think I found it.  Does B&H have this? [Link removed.]

Hey Dean,

That looks pretty close to the one in the photo, but, honestly, the COURSER better in the stock image than it does on the other e-commerce site. I am not familiar with that brand.

Here are some similar ones I found here at B&H:

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1483280-REG/vanguard_veo_range21m_bg_veo_range_21m_shoulder.html

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/15981-REG/Domke_700_02S_F_2_Original_Shoulder_Bag.html

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/84390-REG/Domke_700_70S_F_7_Double_AF_Bag.html

Let me know if you need some more help! Nice detective work finding that bag!

Best,

Todd

I started out with Domke bags in the 90's (news photo days, gotta roll with Domke haha), and eventually moved on to LowePro backpacks. Currently using a Fastpack BP 250 AWIII for day trips, it's such a versatile bag. My "kitchen sink" bag is the ProTactic 450 AWII - it's ready for anything and hold everything. My super light carry is the Peak Design Everyday Sling 5L, I was surprised how much that little bag carries.

All that said - my latest bag endeavor is Nomatic's Peter McKinnon 25L Backpack & 8L Sling. Super excited for these, they start shipping in October. They'll replace the Fastpack and PD sling above (the 450 isn't goin' anywhere). :)

I might be jealous of your bags, Craig!

Thanks for sharing your experience and reading Explora!

Best,

Todd

My Canon A-1 gear is carried in a LowePro Magnum 35. My Canon 5D came with a Canon bag, which I need to upsize. For The Masters Tournament practice round, I used an Igloo lunch bag (there is a size restriction for bags, etc.).

Hey Ralph! Long time, no see!

Happy 4th!

Maybe we should start selling Igloo coolers!

Thanks, as always, for reading!

Best,

Todd

Almost 40 years ago I got into 4x5 and bought a Toyo 45 F monorail camera and lenses.  All of the cases then available weighed 15 or more pounds empty and I wanted to use this camera for landscape work as well as in my studio, so I made a pattern, borrowed a sewing machine and made my own bag out of coated cordura nylon that wrapped around the camera and suspended the camera with a shoulder strap from its monorail. The bag has pockets on the outside for film holders, extra lenses on lens boards, my spot meter and works quite well. It also has a waist belt so that you don't need to put it down if you're standing in mud, etc.  I've never seen anything like it on the market, but most landscape photographers don't want the weight of a monorail camera (9 lbs.+) so I guess that isn't too surprising.  My Manfrotto 3036 tripod with ball head goes on the other shoulder for a balanced load.  For my DSLRs, I've been using a regular Tamrac shoulder bag for the last 15 years, and it has worked well for me.

Sounds awesome, Andrew! Who knows what would happen if I tried to make my own camera bag!

Thanks for reading!

Best,

Todd

None of the above, except for the  Oberwerth, Boulevard.  I would steal that one myself just for the bag at nearly $700. In my situation that bag would be worth more than what I had inside!!  But seriously, I have more bags than lenses.  No, I don't have two lenses but I do have too many bags. I break my bags up into two groups, one for the city and one for the trail. If in the City, you can't take along a backpack.  If you are on any public transportation, getting on a seat is not possible with a backpack, you end up taking it on and off and then you are likely to hit someone or worse yet, take your hands off it and have it ripped off. 

I prefer the Think Tank Urban Disguise 35 Classic.  I can put my Nikon 850 and 70-200 in the bag vertically and have room of another lens vertically.  So my bag is not wide but tall.  getting a seat on the bus is a quick sling and the bag is on my lap and still over the shoulder. It has all the padding you want, all the pockets, discrete velcro harness, forget those bulky buckles. It is waterproof, really big zippers and attachable shoulder straps. Unfortunately, they don't make this bag anymore.  I am lucky to have two, one is the super zippered black and the other is a canvas version that definitely does not look like a camera bag. To me being in any city like San Francisco the bag can not only protect your camera but your life as well.

Hi Raymond,

I, too, try to avoid camera bags that cost more than cameras!

And, yes, I am aware of the fact that this conversation could spiral downhill into a discussion about luxury handbags. :)

Too many bags? I have too many tripods.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

Best,

Todd

I like the orange and gray camera bag (second one down) because it would hold many things that I usually need like my camera of course, my 14mm Rokinon lens, my Nisi filters and a few other things (lipstick, etc.) you know, things that a girl can't live without. I enjoy looking at the really expensive camera bags because I can't afford them ("just shopping" is my favorite line, or call it eye candy) but.....then again, you usually get what you pay for ! The most expensive camera bags are the ones that don't wear out: you could drop it down a 8,000 foot cliff and your camera wouldn't even lose it's lens cap. Not that I'd ever do that. My point is this, a nice bag isn't just utilitarian but absolutely necessary when you're in the middle of the desert or on top of Mount Everest. The latter I plan on seeing probably in another lifetime.

Hi Nanette,

I'll ask Allan to send you his orange and gray bag! :)

You are correct on the "get what you pay for" approach. The unfortunate thing about most camera bags is that, being fabric, they eventually wear out. As I said in my section above, I have burned through a few top-quality Domke bags as their straps seem to wear faster than the ballistic nylon (that does wear out as well).

And you are correct that a nice bag is a necessity for any photographer in almost any environment...regardless of if you carry lipstick or lip balm. 

Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts!

Best,

Todd

I see a lot of common names mentioned by your regulars, such as Domke and LowePro.  I've had a couple of LowePro cases (sling bag and a backpack) but by far my favorite is my Tenba Messenger Camera bag (BH #TEMCBO • MFR #638-342).  Very sad to see Tenba doesn't offer this bag any more.  In short, it holds a LOT of stuff, to include a small tablet if necessary, or some smaller speedlite modifiers, without looking like it's holding a LOT of stuff.  Very configurable, as most bags are, but also plenty of smaller compartments to keep your smaller items (like remote or cable release) from disappearing into a bottomless void.  Definitely a great weekend or gig bag, so you can pack the essentials, add some 'just in case' gear, and probably still have room if you want.  Again, sorry to see this bag disappear from the line up as I don't see anything that comes close if I had to replace it. 

Hi David,

I, too, noticed that there was a little repetition in the list which is interesting in itself because the group is comprised of an incredibly diverse collection of photographers with vastly different gear and photographic styles.

Tenba does make some great bags and, yes, it always is a bummer when a favorite item (especially one with a limited lifespan) gets discontinued!

Thanks for reading!

Best,

Todd

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