Selecting a Camera Bag

Last week was the adventure of finding the perfect tripod, now comes something even harder, picking the right camera bag.

The past few weeks I have been traveling with my camera and its accessories spread across 3 bags. The camera and a single lens is in my SLR holster, everything else is in a separate bag, and of course, the tripod stands alone. I have also added my Dell Mini 9 to this mix once and found that to be even harder, since it gets placed in an  old laptop bag and also tossed on to my shoulder. That is 4 bags for what should be a fairly simple thing, traveling with my camera.

The holster has its place, primarily as a super mobile way for me to take the SLR with me (hiking and such), but have it protected (and not have it dangling from my neck like a tourist). Today I was on the UNC-Charlotte campus with the camera, and the holster was extremely useful for keeping the camera dry (light rain) as well as giving me a way to “store” the camera when I was not actively photographing anything. The biggest problem with it on the campus is it does not hold anything extra and it is a long walk back to the car if I decide I want to change lenses.

I am looking for a bag that will hold the D60, the Mini 9, all three lenses, all filters and a few cleaning supplies (I do not need the rocket in the bag). It is probably a lot to carry, but it is what I am likely to need during a photography expedition, given my enjoyment of both the very close up and the very far away, oh and my new interest in wide angle photography. I have to be able to get to my supplies primarily from the top. I change lenses while standing, and not always with a table around, so one of the back-opening shelved bags will not work for me at all. I have to go for a bag that is spacious, comfortable to carry and will leave me with a little room for expansion. It would be great if could hold by tripod on the side, but that is not a requirement.

A lot of “camera bags” are not camera bags at all, they are “gadget bags”, which hold lenses and some other supplies, but never usually the camera (unless it is a compact or bridge design).  This is the category of the bag for my Fuji’s bag. It holds the camera and accessories with reasonable comfort, but would never work for an SLR. The “camera bag” that came with my D60 kit is merely a gadget bag, and even with the camera is not in the bag, there is not enough space.

I was before leaning towards a Lowepro bag, but too many of them are rear open and seem like they  would be  cramped for space, and for the expense, cramped isn’t what I am going for. I have been looking at Case Logic lately. I have had a CD player bag, several CD cases and a phone holster by them, and loved them all, so they are getting serious attention in this particular issue (the SLRC-5 is my current bag of interest).