How Many Camera Bags Do You Own? (And Why Do You Want More???)

How Many Camera Bags Do You Own? (And Why Do You Want More???)

As with fashion, the camera bag has moved from a purely utilitarian tool to something that expresses your personality, fashion sense, and indecisiveness. The boxy camera bag of the 70s and 80s has been supplanted by sleek backpacks constructed from ballistic nylon, designs that target women, and rolling suitcases for the airborne photographer. No longer the domain of just a few bag manufacturers, the modern camera bag is as likely to be launched on Kickstarter as it is to be found in your local camera store.

In this episode of Vision Slightly Blurred, Sarah and Allen discuss the psychology of photographers and their bags. And they play show-and-tell with the bags they personally use and explain why they continue to use them.

We mention the following photographers, articles, and websites in this episode:

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This article was written by

Allen Murabayashi is the Chairman and co-founder of PhotoShelter.

There are 2 comments for this article
  1. Carl Seibert at 1:57 pm

    I don’t think the problem is fashion, but rather physics. No matter how high your hopes, dreams, and aspirations for a new bag, when you get it home and put twenty pounds of gear in it, the damned thing weighs twenty pounds! Plus the weight of the bag. They’re all failures. The successful bag, with twenty pounds of gear in it, will weigh five pounds. The NEXT one will be the answer! I’m sure.

    So OK. Eleven bags. Not counting light cases, Pelican cases, tripod and light stand bags, belt packs, and vests. Am I a bad person?

    NewsWear, with its chest bags, and the rising popularity of backpacks have been actual attempts to beat back the ergonomic beast. (Vests, too.) But still, bags are pretty much bags. None of them do what we really want.

    One thing I have recently realized: Over the years, the bags that have delivered the most utility and stayed in service for me the longest have all been Domkes. Not flashy, but they darn well work. My original 1976/77 Domke (second batch, I think) has been in continuous use to this day. Most of that time was spent in the trunk of my car, admittedly, but pretty decent value nonetheless.

  2. Janet Moore-Coll at 8:40 pm

    I listened to this episode with interest as I am a low-key collector of camera bags. My first bags in high school/college were boxy leather luggage-y things that held one SLR (think: Honeywell Pentax Spotmatic, circa 1974), an extra lens, and a half-dozen rolls of Tri-X. Next upgrade, early 1990s, was a canvas Domke F2 for a Nikon F2, and that bag still lives but just felt way too flimsy to hold digital equipment. That was when I really began what seemed like a futile hunt for a decent bag, and I never found anything I liked until several years ago when I bought an ONA bag to hold my first Fujifilm mirrorless camera. I was surprised to hear the negative comments in your podcast about the ONA bags, as I’ve had great results with mine. But I do have to confess that I now have three of them—not because they have worn out (far from it—the canvas ones, at least, are seemingly indestructible) but because I like having different sizes. Bowery for one camera and lots of walking; Union Street for traveling and carrying 2 bodies, several lenses, and a laptop; Prince Street for carrying more stuff without feeling weighed down. The Bowery seems to be made of lighter canvas than the other two, which have both required a pretty long breaking-in period, but all three are comfortable to carry cross-body, keep my cameras safe and dry, and are simple to organize (I hate having billions of random pockets and compartments). I don’t need a bag that is “pretty,” but I want to like the way it looks, and I don’t want to look like I’m going on safari or impersonating a tech bro 😉 so ONA works for me. Thanks for an interesting conversation about bags—may seem trivial but they really do make a difference!

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