- Impressive load capacity and plenty of size options
- Easy access to contents
- Easy to carry on flights
- Excellent for urban photographers
- The weight is distributed unequally, which can lead to shoulder problems
- Less than ideal when good mobility is required because it dangles
- Easy to recognize, virtually everybody knows what you have inside it
As we go deeper into our camera bag buying guide, we want to give you a good look at the main types of bags. The market is pretty diverse, so your best way to be protected from wrong purchases is to be informed.
One of the most widely used camera bags is the shoulder bag. It's also known as the messenger bag and it has a rich history behind it. It is probably the first shape camera bags came in. Shoulder bags have been used by war correspondents in the Vietnam War, and they are still a hugely popular choice today.
The variations are numerous. If the first shoulder bags were made using natural materials like cotton, canvas and leather, today's bags have high performance artificial materials inside them. Ballistic nylon is one of them and its performance is far better than that of classic materials. Lowerpro is one of the manufacturers that uses such materials in many of its models. However, in all fairness, those natural materials could withstand the harsh treatments war correspondents subjected them to.
Shoulder bags come in all sizes. Some are designed to carry a single body with a standard lens plus a few accessories, others have enough room for two professional bodies plus a variety of pro lenses and tons of other small accessories. Some of them have special straps for carrying a tripod.
One of the main reasons for the huge popularity of shoulder bags is that everything is in sight and easily accessible. These bags have different ways of opening them. The classic and most used design involves a large flap that covers the bag. The flap itself often has compartments for memory cards and other small stuff. Underneath the flap, there is usually a zipper for opening the main compartment. Some shoulder bags have a quick access feature, which is basically an extra zipper located on the flap that allows direct access to the main compartment. Bags that offer such a feature are ideal for a quick change of lenses.
The interior of shoulder bags is fully customizable in almost all models. You can split the storage space any way you want, depending on your gear.
While it is a timeless design, the shoulder bag does have its weak spots. Bellow you can see the goods and bads.
Now that you know the details about shoulder bags, it's up to you to decide if this is the type of bag for you.