Do You Need a Camera Bag?

When it comes to obvious accessories for your photography, a camera bag is probably one of the first things that come to mind. However, do you really need one?

In his latest video, James Popsys discusses whether you need a camera bag or not. With his underplayed English humor, he makes several points about camera bags and goes through the ones he has owned. It, of course, comes down to what you actually need, and there is no definite answer that covers all photographers. An important point Popsys emphasizes is that you do not need a bag that is specifically designed to carry a camera. If you do not carry 20 pounds of camera gear into the wild, a regular bag might even be the better solution, as it does not draw too much attention to itself.

If you do go for a dedicated camera bag, there are many, many things to consider, and the market is saturated with bags in all forms and shapes. Popsys’ bag of choice is the MindShift Backlight 26L, because it is very practical to him. He compares the MindShift with the Lowepro ProTactic 450, which is a bag I personally own. I agree with him that it is not as practical as you would like it to be, as it mainly only holds camera gear. If you do not have much camera gear, you can of course always put in a sandwich or a bottle of water, but it fills up rather fast. If might be just perfect for you, though. You can, of course, just go big and get a 50 liter or bigger that can hold your entire arsenal of lenses, drones, clothing, and whatever else you need. That, however, comes with the caveat of becoming very heavy, very fast. In the end, it comes down to what is practical for you, and you might even need different bags for different purposes. I personally own five different camera bags, and I definitely do not use my 50-liter bag unless I absolutely have to. Check out the video above and let me hear your thoughts down in the comments. What is your experience with camera bags?

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14 Comments

Peter Gargiulo's picture

Of course you need one! Just a matter of what do you want and need in a bag? For me, it's a backpack I can put a DSLR, with a 72-200 lens attached, a 15" laptop, and a bunch of other stuff (camera related and not). I also want waist straps. I've gone through a few kinds of bags, packs, and have settled on the Lowepro Fastpack BP 250 AW II. This is my second one, and I plan on getting another, if they are still around and there's nothing similar. Can't beat the price, either.

Deleted Account's picture

I’m loving the depth of the questioning in the recent articles.
Next up, lens hoods, backwards or forwards?

Dana Goldstein's picture

You made my morning. 😂

Robert Montgomery's picture

Up there with what les cap makes the best coasters

Julian Baird's picture

I bought a F-Stop Tilopa 4 years ago and haven't bought another camera bag since. Just before that I bought a F-Stop Guru which is a smaller bag but because I can also take the ICU out it often get used as a regular day backpack as well. I need my camera bags but I think he makes an excellent point for when you don't need one. Good share Mads. :-)

Leigh Miller's picture

From FS....who frequently reviews this and that bag :-)

Jan Klíma's picture

It's not a necessity, but it's definitely useful. Especially for those of us who photograph landscapes. Protection and quick access to everything you need is always in the first place. Of course, the question is ... If you need to buy Peakdesign and similar brands, haha ... 😀

Tony Clark's picture

Camera bags can easily get out of control, I currently own three for various uses. For small jobs, I love the Timbuk2 Snoop insert in a messenger bag. My main bag is an old Tenba backpack with wheels and it holds my DSLR kit. Lastly, I've flown to a few destinations for jobs, so I have the LowePro 450AWII which is that largest allowed in an overhead bin. All three bags will allow me to carry a MBP 15" which goes to every paid shoot, so I can tether or import images.

No camera bag is the right size...
Or?

If you carry only the few lenses you think you want,
the one you want always turns out to be missing.
And if you carry more, the motif is gone once you found and mounted the “right” lens.
And if you go with the all-round zoom, then it turns out you want extra short DOF!

Ergo: All camera bags are the wrong size!
🙂

[ Me?
Once I found the bag I like - quick & silent access, inconspicuous, bigger on the inside than it looks - I tend to limit what I take along (up to one body and 1+4 lenses) to that bag, as it happens it's a Peak Design Sling 5L.
( The new version is just slightly larger, 6L.)
If I include the 70-300mm only 2 other lenses fit, so the Think Tank TurnStyle 10 v.2 is my second favourite with room for that +.4 lenses.]

THE NEXT FSTOPPER DVD: "FSTOPPER GUIDE TO SHOOTING BAGLESS, STRAPLESS, SHOELESS, LENS CAP ON JPEGS!"

Stuart Carver's picture

Does a normal bag with a padded insert placed inside count as a camera bag?

David Boyars's picture

does a nylon cooler with bubble wrap between the layers count?

Ethan May's picture

I just finished 90 days with 1,000+ miles hiked.
https://www.cilogear.com/30gusewo.html

Yes you need a bag! You need as many bags as you can get! Well, I need as many bags as I can get lol. I love bags and i have a lot! You need at least one bag. A good bag. make sure it's made of long lasting sturdy materials with solid stitching. Don't skimp on yer bags people! i have 2 Tenba messenger bags an ape case pro 2000( a great bag for any one looking to hold a bunch of stuff for not a lot of money), a lowepro pro trekker 450AW. i have a target́ messenger bag, two swiss gear back packs( one being over 10 years old) I have a barton back pack, a teton hiking bag, two military duffle bags and a couple more i cant remember. so yeah i really dig a good bag.