Five Camera Bags for the Discerning Film Photographer

If you’re a film photographer, then chances are that you’re very particular about your camera bags. You probably don’t need to tote along a laptop with you but you need film, a camera or two, lenses, filters, flashes, light meters, etc. You surely do need different things and often in a smaller package.

So after going through our archives, we found a few bags that you’re bound to really like.

Tenba Cooper 13″ Slim

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Tenba Cooper bag review images (3 of 13)ISO 4001-160 sec at f - 3.5

Why this rocks: The Tenba Cooper lineup are camera bags with a very low profile design to them. Even the logo is built so that it’s very subtle. On top of that, the functionality is just good enough. You can easily stuff an SLR, and few prime lenses and rolls of film in here on top of filters, a light meter, a flash, etc.

In our review, we state:

“A heck of a lot of work went into the construction of these bags, and it clearly shows. It’s got leather trim, weather sealing inside, a soft to the touch feel, and can accommodate lots of mirrorless camera gear. I honestly don’t have a single complaint about this bag’s build quality as not a single piece of it feels cheaply built.

What I should also mention is that Tenba is also integrating something else into this bag: it’s called Quiet Velcro. While it isn’t completely silent, it’s quieter than normal velcro.”

Buy now $229.95: Amazon

Cub and Co Shooter Camera Bag

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Cub and Co Shooter Camera Bag product images (2 of 12)ISO 1001-1600 sec at f - 2.8

Why this rocks: The Cub and Co Shooter Camera bag can carry a full 67 system camera with a lens attached, a tripod, light meter, film, filters and a lot more stuff while remaining very compact.

In our review, we state:

“When slung around your back, the bag tends to hang off a bit instead of on its side. This translates into a more comfortable experience overall. Believe it or not, it’s still pretty simple for my to go into the bag and grab what I need.

Theoretically, I can go in, undo a strap look and grab my gear if I need to. But it’s easiest when I swing the bag around to my front, go in, get what I need, close up and swing it back out of the way. Due to the design, it really does tend to stay out of the way.”

Buy now $350: Cub and Co

Oberwerth Freiburg Mini Messenger

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Oberwerth Freiburg camera bag (9 of 9)ISO 8001-25 sec at f - 2.8

Why this rocks: The Oberwerth isn’t really for the photographer that wants to tote around a laptop, but it’s great for something like a rangefinder, a lens or two and film. Oh yeah, and you can stuff a book in there too!

In our review, we state:

“Despite how pint sized and murse-like the Oberwerth Freiburg is, we have to admit that it is built very solidly. Not only does it feel nice and the stitching feels super tight but the extra large side flaps on the inside are a nice addition that keeps others and the weather out of your camera bag and off of your gear. And for 499 Euro and German manufacturing, we really hope that it would.

The strap for the bag is also incredibly well built though it doesn’t exactly let your clothing breathe when walking around NYC on a hot day. The only thing that could change this is a change in material.”

Buy now: Oberwerth

ONA Prince Street

Why this rocks: The ONA Prince Street bags are very nice overall. They’re a smaller version of the company’s larger bags and are designed to last. It’s a nice bag for 35mm SLR and rangefinder cameras though you can still a medium format camera body system into here with some work.

In our review, we state:

“In our two weeks of testing, we found the bag to be sturdy and resilient to the elements. It was bumped around the NYC subway system by commuters while attached to my body, and protected the gear thanks to the padding that ONA supplies in the dividers. Where I believe that ONA could have improved is in the strap adjustment. As you adjust the strap, the padded area isn’t able to move to the section that you may want it at. And for that reason, we often had to keep the bag in a single position–which was usually slung around and with the bag behind us. For the extra paranoid shooter, you may want to be aware of this since the bag won’t always be in your peripheral line of sight.”

Buy now (varies in price): Amazon

Billingham F-Stop F1.4 Camera Bag

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Billingham f1.4 camera bag review (12 of 14)

Why this rocks: Pretty much anything and everything made by Billingham has been touted by film photographers for years. There aren’t many reasons to not get one except for the prices.

In our review, we state:

“This is a beautiful, stealthy looking bag with a simple, timeless appeal. I could see a Leica shooter following the Leica philosophy as a perfect person who might enjoy this bag.

While it won’t hold a ton of things like other bags, this one is meant to carry a small amount of things to keep the weight down.

One thing I do wish had come with the bag instead of being an accessory was a leather shoulder pad for the bag strap. You might want to consider it if you need a little extra support if you are carrying some heavier items.”

Buy now: Amazon

Bonus: DIY Your Own!

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Modification of a camera bag (1 of 11)ISO 1001-250 sec at f - 5.0

If you’re truly not happy with what’s out there, I always encourage people to go out there and get one for themselves. Then modify it.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Modification of a camera bag (6 of 11)ISO 1001-400 sec at f - 2.8

Sometimes it’s as simple as putting a little insert in there!