In My Bag - Camera Bags

Part 4 of a series (Part 1 Part 2 Part 3)

Camera bags are one of those items which are guaranteed to evoke strong reactions amongst photographers - everyone has their favourite brand and bag, or bags. I have yet to come across one bag that suits every scenario and don't know of another photographer who has, so you can easily end up with a collection. It is also quite difficult to choose a camera bag unlees you can see it for yourself and ideally, try it out with your own equipment but that is not always possible so you have to order online. Wex Photographic are good in that respect as they let you send it back and change it for another if you are not happy.

A recent purchase is the little Lowepro Reporter which I bought to hold the Hasselblad plus a few accessories along with my iPad. It makes a nice small bag easy to carry about.

My favourite is the Lowepro Stealth Reporter 550 AW shoulder bag, which I've had for years and is my 'working bag', holding two cameras and a variety of lenses and accessories as well as a 15" MacBook Pro. It will even hold the MF kit comfortably. When used with a Lowepro Street & Field belt, pouch and various lens cases, this makes a very portable system which is ideal for working out of the car, providing a comfortable "walk around" set up for anywhere within a relatively short walking distance, or for working on location. 

I have used the Stealth Reporter whilst doing sports, event and other assignments as the zipped top makes for quick and easy lens changing and being able to hold the laptop is very useful indeed. Front pockets hold phone, business cards, batteries etc and the entire bag can be protected by an all weather cover stored away discretely. It also makes a good 'permanent' home for keeping everything for carrying back and forth to a studio.

For long hikes, field trips, crawling around in the undergrowth or when the longer lens is needed, a different approach is needed as a shoulder bag quickly become uncomfortable and muddy. A Lowepro Mini Trekker Classic backpack did the job admirably for a while but was replaced with a LowePro Photo Trekker, until that became too bulky and too heavy with two Pro DSLR bodies and everything else so I was soon back to looking for another solution.

I used a Lowepro Fastpack 250 for a while, quite a neat bag, not as bulky as the trekkers yet quite roomy inside and I liked the side access which was very useful. As it was smaller, I had to think a bit more about what gear I was likely to use so only carried what I needed(!). It was better for when doing a lot of walking or when out for the day as it will hold a flask and sandwiches and a lightweight jacket but it is still quite heavy to wear for any length of time - such is the nature of the beast.

Whilst on a hike in Scotland, sweltering in the heat and struggling under the weight of the backpack, I suffered a shoulder injury which severly affected my ability to carry much equipment for quite a while. It was an ephiphany, as I suddenly realised that I was mostly carrying a lot of equipment and accessories never used and often haul about lenses that rarely come out of the bag. I stopped using the backpack completely and went back to using my old Lowepro Street & Field belt and pouches, thinking much more about what I actually needed to take. Wearing is much better than carrying!

This also provided the impetus to downsize some of my equipment and go back to enjoying photography again.

Part 5 in My Bag - Support