We've covered most camera bag types and by now you already know there are plenty of designs to choose from. Regardless of what your needs are, what camera you use and how many lenses you have, there is always going to be a bag tailored to your needs.
Shoulder bags, backpacks, holsters and rollers are all popular among amateur and pro photographers. But I wanted to shine a light on a different kind of product and a different way of carrying your gear: the waist belt.
I've spoken to a few photographers in the past about what they look for in a bag, what they expect for their money. I found out that an advanced design and overall complexity were among top priorities for those searching for a bag. So that got me wondering, whatever happened to good, old fashioned simplicity? Because that's what you get when you buy a waist belt, simplicity. The variables are very limited and you can basically pick between a fixed storage capacity and modular arrangements.
Who wears waist belts and who fits the profile of the photographer who ears these rather ugly things? First of all, photographers who buy waist belts and straps value free hands. No matter what kind of bag you have on you, the mobility of your arms and hands will be affected. Wearing a waist belt removes that issue.
Harnesses are often combined with the belt to increase load capacity and to keep all the weight from being distributed to the waist. Speaking of weigh distribution, placing the weight of your gear on your hips will allow you to rest your shoulders. There is a lot of strength and carrying ability around your waist line and shooting a full day with gear on is a lot less tiring than it is to carry it on your back or shoulders. This too is a powerful argument in favor of waist belts and straps.
But let's have a detailed look at the good and the bad.
- Free hands, incredible mobility
-excellent weight distribution allows you to carry heavy items easily
-speed of operation, everything is within reach
- less than ideal gear protection
-limited capacity compared to a backpack
-visible gear makes you a target to thieves and makes it difficult to take candid photos.