I’ve been reading a lot about types of camera bags lately. It’s a little overwhelming because there are just too many options in the market.
And I figured if I feel this way, then chances are my readers feel this way too, considering I’ve been in the business for decades.
So, I decided to create this camera bag guide to walk you through 3 of the most popular types of camera bags: the camera backpack, the leather camera bag, and the camera shoulder bag.
If you have friends who need a camera bag buyer’s guide, send it to them!
For the purposes of this camera bag guide, I’m going to be using Holdfast products. I personally use quite a few Holdfast products and have gotten a feel for all three types of these camera bags from them. It’s also, frankly, easier to compare three types of bags from one company as opposed to three types of bags from hundreds of companies.
A Stand-Alone Shoulder Bag
The first bag in our camera bag guide is a stand-alone shoulder bag: the Holdfast + Fundy Streetwise Bag.
If you’re reading this camera bag guide looking for a bag for really short shoots, or if you’re a brand new photographer without a lot of expensive gear, then this is the bag for you.
This bag allows you to remain unencumbered while you’re shooting, which is an excellent benefit if you’re a travel photographer who is going to be crammed onto crowded airplanes, subways or buses. It’s also an excellent benefit if you’re a more hands-on type of photographer.
It’s made of Sheepskin on the inside and waxed canvas on the outside, so your equipment is going to be protected from the rain and from your other equipment, i.e. no banging around in the bag.
This bag is naturally water-resistant and flame-retardant and comes in black, navy/chestnut, or olive/brown.
It comes with a shoulder strap with an attached camera slider. This is one benefit of Holdfast’s stand-alone shoulder bag, over a stand-alone shoulder bag from another company. The camera slider ensures that your camera is always within reach, so you will never have to frantically dig through your bag in an effort to find your camera in time to grab the perfect shot ever again. It also comes with a removable insert, which makes for easy clean up should a spill occur, and a removable false bottom divider.
You can purchase the Holdfast + Fundy Streetwise Bag for $450. One of the biggest benefits of each of the Holdfast products in this camera bag guide is that they all come with a lifetime guarantee. It will cost you a bit more upfront, but will save you hundreds in the long run.
Another benefit of shopping with Holdfast is that you can use their Afterpay program, which will allow you to make 4 interest-free payments over 4 months. This means you can get your bag now without needing to save up for it.
Next up in our camera bag guide is a camera backpack.
The Sightseer Backpack System is the backpack that I use. It is made of waxed canvas, like the stand-alone shoulder bag above, as well as American bison leather. When you open it up, you’ll find it lined with Aztec flannel fleece.
Obviously, this means that the backpack is also water-resistant and will keep your gear protected. The zipper on the Sightseer Backpack System is also water-proof, which is a little detail I’ve seen a lot of companies leave out before.
The Sightseer Backpack System comes in black, navy, or olive and is much larger than the stand-alone shoulder bag.
This backpack can fit a 15” laptop, a tripod (which gets carried on the outside of the backpack), all of your DSLR or mirrorless gear, and personal belongings like notebooks or a change of clothes.
The exterior of the backpack measures 18” x 14” x 7.5” and weighs 5.5 lbs. I like using a backpack, as opposed to a stand-alone shoulder bag, because it simply provides me more room. I have more camera gear, so I need a larger bag.
I also like using a backpack because it allows me to blend into a crowd. I do a lot of traveling, and like the stand-alone shoulder bag, a backpack stays out of your way and it stays out of everyone else’s way as well.
You can purchase the Sightseer Backpack System for $795, or 4 payments of $198.75. In the larger scheme of our camera bag guide, this camera bag is more expensive upfront, but if you’re serious about photography, it’s a bag you can grow into.
The weekender bag is one of the most popular camera bags for most photographers, so it obviously needed to be included in this camera bag guide.
The Roamographer is Holdfast’s version of a weekender bag. It’s the largest bag in this camera bag guide, although it does come in a smaller size for photographers who don’t need all of the room it provides.
The regular sized Roamographer is 18” x 14” x 10”, while the small Roamographer is 14.5” x 9” x 8”.
The regular Roamographer comes with 8 different pockets, 3 dividers and 1 lens chassis, while the small Roamographer comes with 6 pockets, 2 dividers, and 1 lens chassis. The regular Roamographer is best suited for photographers with a DSLR kit, while the small Roamographer is best suited for photographers with a mirrorless kit.
This bag is made out of American bison leather and comes in brown or dark chocolate, and the included divider has become so popular that Holdfast started selling it individually.
Out of all the bags in this camera bag guide, the Roamographer is best for photographers who travel frequently for long, exhaustive shoots or who need to carry a lot of equipment with them for their shoots. I promise you that once you use a Roamographer for a plane ride once, you’ll never be able to use any other bag again.
I hope this camera bag guide helped you to understand some of the differences between these three types of camera bags. If you’re interested to find out more about Holdfast, you can do so here.