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View Full Version : Camera Bag Brands: What do You Like Best?



Drew Bedo
16-Nov-2015, 11:42
Who is the best at designing and making camera bags?

I tend to favor LowePro myself, mostly because these are the bags that some of my gear came in when it was bought at a camera show. Right now I have a LowePro Photo Trekker AW (or maybe its an old Super Trekker?) and a Magnum 35. both are maybe 1980s vintage.

So my experience base is limited. I have owned LowePro and carious no-name bags from pawn shops.

What do you-all like and why?

Bob Salomon
16-Nov-2015, 11:47
Take a look at Billinham and Fogg for some high end bags.

BarryS
16-Nov-2015, 11:53
I own a ton of bags. My favorite shoulder bags are the classic Domke waxed canvas--minimalist and fairly weatherproof. Best backpack+accessories is Photobackpacker by a mile--the suspension on everything else is awful. Best storage cases are Pelican cases with wheels and padded fabric inserts (no foam).

DrTang
16-Nov-2015, 12:03
Domke and Lowepro.. Tenba makes a good bag too

Bob Salomon
16-Nov-2015, 12:21
Thinktank are very good also.

Kirk Gittings
16-Nov-2015, 13:05
Photobackpacker lets me basically design my own bag for my unique methods.

dave_whatever
16-Nov-2015, 13:19
Lowepro for most things, because they come with a lifetime warranty, and there's generally a lot of them around secondhand so if you need something specific, even if it was discontinued years ago you can generally get it.

My current main bag for 5x4 landscapes though is a Dakine Sequence.

I have got a small ThinkTank bag for my Xpan. It's good and happens to be exactly the right size, but I'm not convinced its significantly better in either design or build than Lowepro to make pursuing ThinkTank bags in the larger more expensive sizes worth it.

Ari
16-Nov-2015, 13:34
I have a camera bag fetish, and have bought a lot of different kinds of bags and cases over the years.
For lots of gear in the city, a Lowepro roller case (X300, X200, etc) is great; for hiking/walking, I was turned on to a German backpack maker called EVOC.
They are in the mountaineering business, but have a few models made specifically for photography.
Yesterday, I bought a Brenthaven bag off B&H because it was 50% off: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/888835-REG/Brenthaven_1705_BX_178_Shoulder_Bag_Charcoal.html
I know...I need help.

Bill_1856
16-Nov-2015, 13:48
Smith.

Bob Salomon
16-Nov-2015, 13:53
I have a camera bag fetish, and have bought a lot of different kinds of bags and cases over the years.
For lots of gear in the city, a Lowepro roller case (X300, X200, etc) is great; for hiking/walking, I was turned on to a German backpack maker called EVOC.
They are in the mountaineering business, but have a few models made specifically for photography.
Yesterday, I bought a Brenthaven bag off B&H because it was 50% off: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/888835-REG/Brenthaven_1705_BX_178_Shoulder_Bag_Charcoal.html
I know...I need help.

Ari, you are just starting! Besides Billingham and Fogg I also have Domke, Tamarac, Lowe Pro, Rimowa and a Boblbee for starters. I have two of some of the brands. There is always something newer or better!

Bob Salomon
16-Nov-2015, 13:54
I have a camera bag fetish, and have bought a lot of different kinds of bags and cases over the years.
For lots of gear in the city, a Lowepro roller case (X300, X200, etc) is great; for hiking/walking, I was turned on to a German backpack maker called EVOC.
They are in the mountaineering business, but have a few models made specifically for photography.
Yesterday, I bought a Brenthaven bag off B&H because it was 50% off: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/888835-REG/Brenthaven_1705_BX_178_Shoulder_Bag_Charcoal.html
I know...I need help.

Ari, you are just starting! Besides Billingham and Fogg I also have Domke, Tamarac, Lowe Pro, Rimowa and a Boblbee for starters. I have two of some of the brands. There is always something newer or better! And, oh yes, I also have a WWII canvas ammo case that is just too nice to use.

Alan Gales
16-Nov-2015, 13:57
I still own a couple Tamrac bags that I bought in the 1980's. They are both still in nice shape. I don't know if they make anything for large format. I did take the inserts out of one and used it with a Crown Graphic for awhile. I also own a couple Domke bags and they are nice too. For large format I use a Klein wheeled cordura tool bag.

John Kasaian
16-Nov-2015, 15:46
Igloo Little Playmate for the 35mm and MF (with a big US Ski Assn. sticker covering the "Igloo" writing as the Bears in Yosemite can equate "Igloo" and "Coleman" with good eats
Jan Sport Equinox for the 5x7 Speeder
U.S.Army mil-surp 5 gallon canvas cooler for the 8x10 'dorff

Jim Jones
16-Nov-2015, 22:26
The little Tamrac I bought about 30 years ago is still perfectly functional despite being carried quite a bit. It never let its Leica and five lenses down.

John Layton
17-Nov-2015, 06:55
I've owned lots of bags over the years...and right now have settled on Photobackpacker P-3 for 4x5 and 5x7 LF, largish Domke canvas for Hassy gear, Tamrack messenger-type bag for more compact Fuji/Voigtlander 6x7's, and a very compact Sony shoulder bag which I purchased for two bucks at a yard sale which is perfect for two Leica M-6 ttl's, one with 50 summi and the other with a 28 Elmarit.

Oh...and I also own a beautiful Billingham - but this is only skin deep as, while perhaps the most protective of my bags, is also the slowest and most difficult for me to work out of. Basically I need to look at this bag as I use (and endlessly fiddle with) it and this simply does not work for me when I need to move quickly and unobtrusively.

My very favorite bag for 35mm and MF was an Atan which I had years ago, and which has long since bit the dust - long after the Atan company went under also. At any rate - this bag was reasonably compact, had a nice wide strap which was sewn around the bottom of the bag (much more durable this way) - had just enough padding to protect while not hindering use, and featured fastex fasteners which I could operate smoothly/quickly while keeping my eyes on my subject.

There are so may bags out there...and quite a few seem to have been designed by folks who really have no idea what is truly important for the working photographer. Be careful of bags which feature an overabundance of movable pockets, too many velcro strips, etc. Padding is great...but only to a point. This stuff can just get in the way...and in the worst way possible. My best recommendation is that you visit a shop with your gear and spend some time with a number of bags.

Finally...how lucky I feel to have snagged a Photobackpacker P-3, with a full compliment of accessories, before they went out of business. How thankful that this system allows my own, somewhat creaky, 61 year old frame to continue to hoist my otherwise rather heavy gear in relative comfort. To the extent that some of these packs/accessories may still be available, I can truly recommend this amazing system for anyone who backpacks with a significant amount of LF gear.

Drew Bedo
17-Nov-2015, 08:13
So here is the list so far. I've left out the repurposed and surp;us bags.

Billingham
Domke
Dakine
EVOC
Fogg
LowePro
Pelican
Photobackpacker
Tamrac
Rimowa

Bob Salomon
17-Nov-2015, 08:14
So here is the list so far. I've left out the repurposed and surp;us bags.

Billingham
Domke
Dakine
EVOC
Fogg
LowePro
Pelican
Photobackpacker
Tamrac

You left out Rimowa.

Drew Bedo
17-Nov-2015, 08:16
OK—its now on the list

cowanw
17-Nov-2015, 09:21
And Think Tank

Drew Bedo
17-Nov-2015, 11:03
Anybody ever use one of these?

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Hazard-4-Photo-Recon-Tactical-MOLLE-Camera-Sling-Pack-Bag-Case-Rucksack-Black-/191739579533?hash=item2ca491cc8d:g:n4UAAOSwlV9WSc5t

It might work for a 4x5.

Drew Bedo
17-Nov-2015, 11:11
Ok, Revised List:

Billingham
Crumpler
Domke
Dakine
EVOC
Fogg
Hazard-4
LowePro
Pelican
Photobackpacker
Think Tank
Tamrac
Rimowa

Drew Bedo
21-Nov-2015, 07:23
Wish that everyone who voted "Other" on the Poll had spoken up here first!

LabRat
21-Nov-2015, 08:26
Yea Drew, I do like you do... What ever you find out there, is put to work... I buy any tiny or big bag anywhere I can find 'em cheeep... (Thrifts, pawns, surplus, where ever...) wash 'em, and have a large pile in a corner... I shoot different rigs on different days, so I rummage through the pile, and pull out the right sized one, and proceed to stuff it with camera wood, plastic, or metal, etc...

I have found good new bags like a Billingham at a thrift (new, with tags for a few bucks), but most of my shooting these days are long hikes in the urban jungle, and I prefer not having a bag that shouts "camera" from a half a block away, so I choose a bag that one might see a bus passenger be carrying their lunch in...

Now, I tend to grab school backpacks, non-descript black carry-on bags, gym duffles, baby bags, computer bags, etc that I can fit a camera bag inside to use it's pockets, dividers, padding, and have an outer shell that allows maybe a little extra space to squeeze in something else, and provide some dust & rain protection... And the black outer bags tend to hide in the shadows of my station wagon floor at night, as they "vanish" there, as they are hard to see... (Sometimes even for me!!!) Saves wear & tear on the inner bags, and if something falls out of a pocket, the outer bag catches it...

I stopped using "military" type bags because once during a routine traffic stop, a cop was looking into my car and saw my green army (kevlar?) shotgun bag (with my little old Ries inside) and nearly jumped out of his skin!!! (He said he was a reservist, and that was the recent issue type he had used) So I found out some people get nervous around "military" or camo stuff... (I do roll up a new style army duffle (+ lock) into my suitcase when traveling, so if I get carried away bringing home swag from far away, I have another bag to check through TSA... Strong, but weighs almost nothing)

Seems like many biz people carry a school type backpack on the train, and not so much briefcases these days...

Steve K

Drew Bedo
23-Nov-2015, 05:07
Well Steve, I too seem to have a bit of a fixation on camera bags and luggage in general. However, space and spouse Keep me from having a pile of anything in any corner. Right now, there are too many bags in the closet that do not have any dedicated contents. One is a largish Trekker of some sort from LowePro that is just too good to just get rid of. Another in that category is alarge Domke messenger style bag without deviders. I keep saying that is for the TravelWide (I don't have a TW camera). Two more are semi-hard rolling computer cases with extending handles. The handles (on both) do not extend dully. If I cant get them fixed they will likely go to Goodwill.

Last week e-Bay had a newish LowePro SuperTrekker AW II (should be a $50-$100 bag)that went off at under $30. Didn't bid, but cried a little inside as the auction ended.

Do we need a support group for bag collectors/hoarders?

LabRat
23-Nov-2015, 06:36
Well Steve, I too seem to have a bit of a fixation on camera bags and luggage in general. However, space and spouse Keep me from having a pile of anything in any corner. Right now, there are too many bags in the closet that do not have any dedicated contents. One is a largish Trekker of some sort from LowePro that is just too good to just get rid of. Another in that category is alarge Domke messenger style bag without deviders. I keep saying that is for the TravelWide (I don't have a TW camera). Two more are semi-hard rolling computer cases with extending handles. The handles (on both) do not extend dully. If I cant get them fixed they will likely go to Goodwill.

Last week e-Bay had a newish LowePro SuperTrekker AW II (should be a $50-$100 bag)that went off at under $30. Didn't bid, but cried a little inside as the auction ended.

Do we need a support group for bag collectors/hoarders?

Ahhh, could be worse... Imagine if you had a fetish for Halliburton or Anvil road cases... People would think you were a roadie for The Who (or some group on tour)... Don't forget the 18 wheeler... And Teamsters...

You are OK in my book!!! CARRY on!!!!!

Steve K

mdarnton
23-Nov-2015, 07:11
I have "camera" bags, but what I mostly end up using are undifferentiated Timbuk2 bags; I like having the raw space. In my largest one I can fit a 5x7 camera, six holders and an extra lens, or a bunch of Leica or Nikon gear and a sweater, or even pack for a weekend trip with camera and lenses stuffed in, too. On normal days it's a smaller Timbuk2, a Leica and a couple of lenses, a book, lunch, some mail, maybe a computer. Small format things ride in heavy freezer ziplock bags so that I can see what I have, and large format, even film holders, in lens wraps. The bags that have compartments don't really work for what I normally want to do.

I have a little mountain of bags in the hall closet, but fortunately my wife's mountain, elsewhere, is larger, so I don't get complaints. :-)

vdonovan2000
23-Nov-2015, 10:12
I've got an ONA bag that I really like. Very good looking, good protection, well made, versatile.
http://www.onabags.com/

Drew Bedo
23-Nov-2015, 10:43
I've got an ONA bag that I really like. Very good looking, good protection, well made, versatile.
http://www.onabags.com/


Very nice. What Large format gear do you put into it?

jeroldharter
23-Nov-2015, 20:33
Not necessarily for LF gear (although 4x5 should work), GuraGear is hard to beat. You can find their backpacks at deep discounts briefly because GuraGear just became Tamrac and they are coming out with new models.

Bob Salomon
24-Nov-2015, 01:59
Not necessarily for LF gear (although 4x5 should work), GuraGear is hard to beat. You can find their backpacks at deep discounts briefly because GuraGear just became Tamrac and they are coming out with new models.

Not quite. Tamarac was liquidated and the assets were bought at the auction by GuraGear. GuraGear just this last week announced that they will discontinue the GuraGear brand name and continue with the Tamarac name. They are closing out the remaining GuraGear branded bags.

Greg
24-Nov-2015, 07:41
My past and present experiences by film format and brand:

35mm & FX: Covered events of Riverfront Recapture from 1988 till 3 years ago. Events took place in all kinds of weather. Started out with the largest Domke with a side waist belt attached. Worked great for years but always seemed to get into the way when trying to weave through a crowd. Replaced it with a large Australian made Crumpler backpack. To access the interior you had to take it off and unzip it on the side that had rested on your back. Great security feature (no one can unzip you bag from behind) but a pain to use. Last was a Lowe Sling backpack. Worked absolutely great. Access to interior without taking the bag off my back by slinging the bag to be in front of you. Zipper broke after a few years of hard use... one phone call to Lowe and they replaced the bag with a new one for free.

Crumpler: had and sold 3 of them. I just love their concepts of bag design, but just never seemed to work for me. The bags are superbly made though. Found that pricing in the USA was all over the board, and by looking around I got some great bargains on new Crumpler bags.

6x7: Large Lowe backpack. Holds a ton of stuff including a 500mm optic.

Domke Outback (backpack): No longer made but available on EBay. Excellent bags for certain uses. When on a college teaching trip to Ireland, used one as a carry-on. It held a 35mm Nikon system with 3 lenses and a Bronica 6x7 with 3 lenses... all in that one carry-on backpack. Came in 2 sizes. Seemed like either of these 2 models of the Outback either worked amazingly well (6x7 Pentax system) or not (4x5 Chamonix system).

4x5 Chamonix: Think Tank Airport. Simply efficiently just holds my total system (camera, reflex finder, 5-6 lenses, dark cloth, film holders, meter, and more). I think it's the ideal backpack for a 4x5 flatbed view system.

4x5 Sinar Norma: Sinar's rather large OEM gray case made to carry their 4x5 Norma Expert system in. Easily holds a extensive complete system. Case probably dates back to the 1960s.

Whole Plate Chamonix: Initially wanted to adapt a backpack to carry the system. A large Lowe backpack did work out but space usage with this camera seemed to be less than ideal. Ended up using a Pelican hard case with moveable dividers. Am seriously thinking about getting a F.64 Extra Large 8x10 Backpack from the ViewCamera store in the near future.

8x10 Sinar Norma: Got an older used Sinar OEM case for their 8x10 Norma but never could figure out how to fold up the camera to fit neatly inside the case. In any case adapted the case for my 11x14.

11x14 Chamonix: completely gutted an older large Sinar case except for the right side where there is a row of slots to fit lenses mounted on Sinar boards. Above the lenses a pad then misc. stuff (meter, notebook, magnifier, etc.) To the left side, completely gutted it and padded the sides and top and bottom with cut workshop high density floor pads from LOWES... camera fits like a glove and is super protected by the high density floor pads. Sheet of padding on top of camera and hold several film holders and the dark cloth.

Greg

Jim Noel
24-Nov-2015, 12:19
I believe all camera bages are severely over-priced. I buy my "bags" at camping stores.

Drew Bedo
24-Nov-2015, 13:07
Nice Jim; How do you pack the gear inside the camping store bag?

I can think of ways . . .how do you do it?

You may be ight about prices. I don't think I have a bag that was bought new. Most were full of photo gear that I bought. In the old days (the 1980s and '90s) I used to see nice bags in pawn shops. They practically gave them away if you bought something. Sometimes I'd buy a ratty looking bag for a few dollars just for the padded dividers.

fuegocito
24-Nov-2015, 22:16
Who is the best at designing and making camera bags?
What do you-all like and why?

I think this is too vague a question, since there are different camera types, applications and users, there can not be any consensus as to the the one/best designer of camera carrying systems. For example; if you need indestructible you have your Pelicans, if you want cheap you have your camping/army surplus varieties, if you want cuteness or being all swanky you might want a Crumpler/Thinktank, if you going to be a mountaineer you might seek a F-stop. Even the big boy like Lowepro is trying to diversify...so at the end of the day, unless you only have one camera (system) you most likely end up with many different camera bags.

Drew Bedo
25-Nov-2015, 08:34
The pool of experience and knowledge on this forum is deep and wide.

What I was trying for in the OP was to see what folks felt about the overall quality and design coming from various brands of bag makers/sellers.

For Instance, I do like Pelocan hard cases, but not Pelican soft bags. As it turns out, they are made by different companies. I also like LowePro bags, They have worked well and stood up well in hard usage. Yet I have not sought out, selected and bought any of these bags. They all came to me as a side-bar to other purchases.

In this thread and the poll,I was looking to access the experience and preference of the membership here on LFP.info. That folks strongly recommend this or that for 35mm/DSLE and MF equipment was an unintended surprise.

That many members did not respond here but did vote "Other" in the related poll was also a surprise.

I will give this a rest for a while and re-visite the topic again in a year or so, with a better crafted pair of thread questions.

12pmc
29-Nov-2015, 12:36
This is all good information and is most helpful. I use a Swiss made skiing backpack by Ortovox (20 litre) and have fashioned a foam insert to hold the gear - 4x5, couple lens, meter, filters, film-holders etc from moving around. The small loops on the side of the pack (designed for carrying skis) allow you to carry a tripod without trouble.

But I would like to know, if anyone knows, a manufacture of camera backpacks which have re-movable shoulder straps and a normal carry handle.

Thanks
Peter

scheinfluger_77
30-Nov-2015, 09:02
Though I haven't been out in the field yet, I just purchased a Tamrac Anvil 27 bag new (not cheap). With a little creative rearrangement of the big dividers I have my 2D 5x7, 6 film holders, slots for three lenses and a light meter all in the main compartment; not counting the lid and the external pockets. The camera sits crosswise in the bottom and the whole set up is about 20 lbs w/o tripod. With that big wide waist strap the bag rides like it's no weight at all, and I'm 63, 50-60 lbs overweight. If I stick to one lens (no fun in that) I could probably add another 4 film holders in the main compartment.