Camera bags–as photographers we have to live with them to haul our gear from shoot to shoot, or even for a simple day’s outing with a camera (or two, or five). So we have to deal with these gigantic diaper bags that proudly announce to the world that “Hey! I’m a photographer! I’ve got thousands of dollars (or whichever currency your government says you have to utilize) worth of equipment in bag, why don’t you come have a look inside?” This is something we (as photographers) have had to deal with ever since the creation of the “camera bag”. Thankfully in recent years there has been a shift in styling trends to move away from the bulky, garish and obvious designs to sleeker, no-nonsense stylish bags. Head on past the break for a look at five of my favorite low-profile camera bags.
Think Tank Retrospective Series
If you know anything about Think Tank, then you know that they put quality first and foremost when it comes to designing their bags. The Retrospective Series has been a monumental success for them as the bags are immensely popular for a number of reasons. The top three (for me) being that they are: non-descript, durable and affordable. My personal favorite is the Retro 10, but there are a whole host of choices for you when it comes to picking a size.
Incase Ari Marcopoulos Camera Bag
Incase is another brand known for using quality materials in the construction of their products, but they put a lot more emphasis on style and design as well. When I did a review of the Ari Marcopoulous Camera Bag I got the impression that this was more of a stylish sling bag than a cavernous camera bag (though it can certainly hold its share of equipment! This is a great option if you want / need to carry an iPad (or one of those OTHER tablets) or a small notebook computer up to 13″ in size as well as your camera gear. Sling bags have become increasingly popular in recent years and I enjoy them for their easy access to your stuff while it’s on your back, simply slide it around to the front and you’re in business.
Timbuk2 Snoop Messenger Bag
Timbuk2 is a company known for making their messenger bags around the cyclist / commuter lifestyle, and only recently have they started to dive into the world of making camera bags. They have a few different bags out now, including the Espionage Backpack which we reviewed recently, but the Snoop Messenger Bag is styled just like their standard messenger bags, so its incognito when you really think about it. It’ll even carry your laptop along with your camera gear, so it’s quite a practical bag to boot.
ONA bags are a relatively new brand and boy are they classy! Each one of their bags is incredibly stylish and finely crafted, they do come at a noticeably steeper cost than your average bag, but if you’re something of a fashion-concious photographer then this is something that should be on your radar. Aside from the style-aspects, you can carry a decent amount of equipment and a laptop. Stylish and practical, it’s a win-win. The Brixton is their medium-sized bag and perfect for an adequate amount of gear while out shooting on the street.
Billingham Hadley Pro
This is perhaps the grand-daddy of understated camera bags and definitely one of the best looking (in my humble opinion). Billinghams are legendary for their quality and craftsmanship as well as their timeless design. These bags are quite popular with the Leica crowd as well as street-shooters and rightfully so. I definitely hope to have one of these myself in the future. The Hadley Pro is a great sized bag for carrying a typical sized DSLR kit with a couple lenses, and their other bags are suitable for smaller cameras.
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