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Most photographers end up owning several camera bags. This is because a camera bag is not an all-purpose holdall for containing ones entire collection of equipment, but a transport medium for the equipment necessary for a particular shoot, and the requirements vary from shoot to shoot.
In essence, a bag must:
- Contain all the equipment you need for the shoot
- Protect the equipment against the likely shocks travel and shooting will generate
- Protect the equipment against likely weather conditions
- Be carryable with the equipment required over distance to be walked
- Be stowable in whatever transport is to be used
- Allow for easy identification and retrieval of components needed
- Deter thieves
There are four basic types of camera bags and cases:
- Single camera bags, often shaped like the camera and lens
- Shoulder-type bags
- Camera rucksacks
- Flight cases, either metal (typically aluminium) or synthetic, such as Pelicases
With the exception of single camera bags, which are generally bought with the camera/lens combination, these types come in a variety of sizes, from a bag which can hold a camera, one lens and a flashgun, to a bag which can hold two deep 'Pro' bodies and a variety of pro lenses. Bags of this kind quickly become too heavy to carry any distance, and may cause back problems.
- Camera rucksacks are the easiest way of carrying substantial loads over distance, but are the least convenient for accessing equipment.
- Single camera bags are the most convenient for accessing the camera, but attract thieves and have no flexibility for different equipment combinations.
- Flight cases are the most convenient for accessing equipment, but the most difficult to carry over any distance. They are the only type suitable for stowage in an aircraft hold
- Shoulder-type bags are the most convenient for small systems, such as a camera and two lenses, but heavy shoulder-type bags are the most damaging to the carrier's musculo-skeletal system
Lowepro and others manufacture bags which are a hybrid between rucksack and shoulder bag.
Other issues to consider when choosing a bag:
- No camera bag is waterproof, although some flight cases are. Some types of bag have a nylon cover which can be deployed in heavy rain.
- Yellow or other brightly coloured fabric makes it easier to locate small components
- Some types of bag can be combined with other containers in the same system
- Some types of bag also accommodate a laptop — but this increases weight further
- Most bags are designed to be carry-on luggage on planes, but actual requirements vary from airline to airline
- Bags and cases may come with movable or fixed dividers, or none at all
Photographic equipment can also be carried in coats and jackets, such as a Barbour jacket. Although less common than they once were, many photographers prefer a photovest, which has many pockets suitable for lenses. Photovests offer little direct protection to equipment, but rely on the mobility of the user for protection. Photovests offer the greatest level of access to equipment, but are the least discrete.
- This page was last modified on 13 February 2009, at 00:07.
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