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While specific bags are a matter of taste, you don't have to sacrifice style for solid protection of your camera gear. If you are looking for a fashionable camera bag as a gift for yourself or your favorite photographer, here are some camera bags that allow for practical protection of expensive gear and don't detract from your expression of personality.
The Billingham Hadley Small Shoulder Bag, available in four colors, can be used as a well-equipped camera bag or as a regular day bag when you remove the photo insert. The exterior is waterproof canvas, and the interior’s padded photo insert of closed-cell foam keeps your equipment safe. The photo insert has Superflex partition dividers that you can adjust to accommodate two camera bodies and one lens or one camera body and two lenses. Two front pockets can extend as needed with buckle adjustments. The Quick Release System consists of a teardrop-shaped hole on each front buckle strap that slips over a brass stud for very easy access to the interior, and the shoulder strap is adjustable. Slightly larger than the small is the Billingham Hadley Pro Shoulder Bag, with the same qualities as the small shoulder bag, but also with a weatherproof zippered back pocket that will accommodate documents or a small tablet or laptop.
The Billingham 555 Shoulder Bag, available in four colors, has an exterior of waterproof canvas with leather trim. A TukTop allows the top unzipped panel to tuck behind inside pockets, keeping the panel out of your way for easy access while in use, but protecting your gear. The front of the bag has a Quick Release System with leather straps and studs. An adjustable Delta shoulder sling strap is attached and comes with an SP20 shoulder pad. Two carry handles also provide a hand-carrying option. Superflex dividers are included for the interior, which can hold three DSLR camera bodies, three lenses, and accessories. There are four full-depth pockets on the interior, while the front of the bag sports two large pockets inside a larger zippered pocket along with two pen pockets for photographers who prefer making notes in longhand. On the back is a full-width zippered pocket. A tripod or backpack harness can be attached.
The Grafea England Leather Camera Bag, available in two colors, has vintage flair with an exterior of full-grain, 2.5-millimeter leather. A strong top handle provides easy transport, and an adjustable shoulder strap with a wide shoulder pad supports a comfortable messenger-style carry. On the front of this classic bag is a wide buckle closure, which holds the cover flap securely to the body. In the main compartment is a removable, fitted, padded nylon insert, trisected by two dividers, which can be configured to accommodate your DSLR system with a lens and a flash. Without the insert, the entire main compartment is open for ample storage space. A large front pocket provides easy access to personal items or additional camera accessories. On the back of the bag are two pockets—one envelope and one zippered. There are two more buckled pockets, one on each side of the bag, for personal items such as your cell phone, wallet, keys, or extra batteries.
If you need a bit more space, consider the large Grafea England Leather Camera Photo Bag, which also comes in two colors. The large bag is crafted of durable and beautiful full-grain, 2.5-millimeter leather. The buckle closure on the front appears to be the same as the one on the regular-size bag, as do the top carry handle and the adjustable shoulder strap with shoulder pad. The large size also has ample pockets for storage, with the pocket on the front of the main compartment, the two pockets on the back (one zippered and one envelope pocket), and then the one buckled pocket on each side. The larger bag offers a more spacious main compartment than the regular size. A removable, zippered nylon insert with two configurable dividers can hold your DSLR system with two lenses and a flash. Remove the insert and you have a large storage space for anything.
A durable yet comfortable camera bag is a necessity for photographers like the renowned Ari Marcopoulos. The Incase Designs Corp Ari Marcopoulos Bag was created to meet the photographer's standards. The result is a bag that is weather resistant, comfortable for long wear, has a low profile, offers excellent protection and features that allow quick access to gear. The bag is made of heavy-duty canvas with a reversible, ergonomic, padded cross-body shoulder strap. In the adjustable, padded camera compartment with a zippered closure, the bag can fit a DSLR with an attached lens and 1-2 additional lenses. There are two pockets with faux-fur interior—one gives you quick access to a point-and-shoot camera and the other is a slip pocket for a tablet. Inside, there are also pockets for documents, a zippered pocket and two side stash pockets. Custom Ari Marcopoulos branding elements, exterior cargo straps, a padded haul handle, and a removable rain cover are additional features.
A classic messenger bag, the Jill-E Designs Jack Messenger Camera Bag is made of top-quality, weather-resistant Colombian leather with a padded exterior and a configurable interior. The bag will hold one to two DSLR camera bodies and three to four moderately sized lenses. Interior and exterior pockets afford room for extra batteries, memory cards, accessories, and personal items. A 15" laptop will fit into the padded interior sleeve, while a full-length back pocket can hold files or folders. The fold-over flap features push-button closure and a buckle design that adds security and style. An adjustable, removable shoulder strap and a top carry handle provide carry options, and a handy zippered trolley pocket lets you carry it easily atop any rolling bag.
The Jo Totes Betsy Camera Bag is a slim shoulder bag designed to carry your DSLR, two to three lenses, and your 13" laptop, nestled securely within padded dividers. You can use this bag as a day bag by simply removing the dividers to carry non-photographic essentials. Smaller accessories can be stored in the zippered pocket located inside the front zippered pocket, and your tablet can slip into the rear zippered pocket. Protective foam sewn into the lining provides additional protection and form for your bag.
The Missy Camera Bag, available in Black, Brown, or Mint, is a dual-handled shoulder bag designed to carry your DSLR body, several lenses, and a 13" laptop or tablet. Five removable dividers allow you to configure the interior to your specific needs, while foam sewn into the lining aids in protecting your equipment. Brushed antique-gold hardware, decorative stitching, and four metal feet contribute to the bag’s style and function. The non-removable shoulder straps with 9" drop are complemented by the removable and adjustable cross-body strap.
The Kelly Moore Kate Messenger Bag with Removable Basket features a removable shoulder strap with pad and a 63" cross-body strap. This messenger is designed to hold a DSLR camera with one to two lenses, flash, additional accessories, up to a 13" laptop or tablet. Three touch-fastening dividers within the “basket” allow you to organize the gear in your bag, and can be removed altogether to accommodate other everyday essentials for the times you’re not taking pictures. An organizational panel holds memory cards, pens, and additional accessories while front and rear zippered pockets provide even more storage options.
For additional fashionable camera bags, check out the Kelly Moore Libby Bag, which is perfect for travel. The bag comes with two shoulder handles and one removable, padded messenger strap. You can carry a laptop—a Mac up to 15 inches can fit, but the bag may be snug for a larger, thicker PC laptop. You can fit a camera body with grip, a 70-200mm lens (up to 10 inches long), plus three additional lenses, and a flash.
Manfrotto’s Street lineup is specifically designed for photographers who want a fashionable, durable bag in which they can haul their gear around town. The smallest option, the Street Holster, fits a DSLR with an attached standard zoom and comes with a detachable, adjustable shoulder strap. The Street Shoulder Bag carries a little more than the holster, allowing you to carry a DSLR with two lenses, and offers small slip pockets on either side for a spare battery or memory card. It, too, comes with an adjustable, detachable shoulder strap.
The Street Messenger Bag holds a DSLR, two lenses, and accessories in a removable camera compartment, while a 13" laptop can be housed in an interior rear slip pocket and small accessories are organized in a front zippered compartment with dedicated slip pockets for sunglasses, pens, and small notebooks. For quick access to your gear, the messenger has a built-in zippered top opening that precludes having to flip the protective flap open.
The Street Medium Backpack holds a DSLR, three lenses, a 15" laptop and a plethora of accessories in the multiple interior and exterior zippered pockets and compartments. Two separate compartments allow you to separate your camera gear, in the bottom padded section with removable dividers, from your personal items in the top compartment. A compact tripod can be tucked into the exterior side pocket and secured by the exterior side strap.
The lightweight ONA Bowery Shoulder Bag/Insert, available in Black and Field Tan, can be used as a small camera bag with the strap attached or as a camera insert/organizer for any larger bag when you detach the strap. The dual-function design is padded with closed-cell foam to keep all of your gear safe. The bag can hold a mirrorless camera, an extra lens, and accessories. The Bowery is handcrafted with top-quality, water-resistant Waxwear canvas. The details are manufactured with full-grain leather, and the hardware is antique brass. To make sure everything is safe, there is one easy, yet secure, tuck-clasp buckle on the front of the bag, and side weather flaps for extra protection from the elements.
For those who travel by bike or by foot and need to carry a lot of camera equipment, there is the quality-made ONA Nylon Camps Bay Backpack, equipped with a breathable padded air mesh back panel. The bag's main material is ballistic nylon with leather details, including two leather buckles down the front that lead to secure tuck-clasp closures. The backpack's lower, larger zippered compartment has interior dividers that you can remove and reposition any way you like. This backpack can hold a DSLR with a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens attached, up to seven additional lenses, and a laptop up to 17 inches. A zipper at the top of the bag opens into a special space that can be made larger or smaller in height with an adjustable divider. The leather base is durable and stable; the leather top grab handle is also very accommodating.
The ONA Nylon Brixton Camera/Laptop Messenger Bag has a ballistic nylon exterior and full-grain leather details. The material is weather resistant, with weather flaps on either side to cover any gaps on the top when the flap is closed. The leather details include the top grab handle and two strips that lead down the flap to the brass tuck-clasp buckles. In addition to the top handle, there is a small pocket on each side and an adjustable shoulder strap with a wide shoulder pad. On the front of the bag, there are two ample envelope pockets. Within the walls of the bag are three small adjustable dividers can be configured to hold a DSLR and two to three lenses. Additionally, a large divider can be used to create a protected space for a laptop up to 13 inches.
The ONA Prince Street Camera Messenger Bag, available in handcrafted Italian leather or waxed canvas, is designed to hold a DSLR, one to two lenses, and an 11" laptop or tablet. The fold-over messenger flap, whose two straps are secured by antique brass buckles, covers two exterior slip pockets. Customize the interior with the removable padded interior dividers, and easily adjust the length of the messenger strap to suit your needs.
Peak Design’s recently released Everyday Messenger, in Charcoal or Heritage Tan, was designed for the photographer and traveler alike. This innovative messenger features origami-inspired touch-fastening dividers, as well as a MagLatch adjustable ladder latching system, allowing your bag to expand and contract without losing shape. The messenger holds a full-frame DSLR, up to three lenses, a 15" laptop, while small accessories can be tucked in exterior pockets or the front compartment. Additional features include colored stitching for an organized workflow, a stabilizer strap that converts into a rear trolley strap, and a weatherproof shell to better prepare you for inclement weather.
The Tenba DNA Messenger series is available in four different sizes, and for the fashion forward, four different colors. The smallest, DNA 8, holds a mirrorless camera with two to three lenses and an 8" tablet, while the largest, DNA 15, holds a DSLR camera with 170-200mm attached, two to three additional lenses, tablet, and a 15" laptop. The DNA series features a tapered flap that covers the main compartment, padded insert dividers to protect your gear, and multiple interior and exterior pockets for additional organization. Gear will be kept dry within the water-repellent, coated-exterior 600 denier helix that can be protected one step further with the included removable and reversible WeatherWrap cover. Each bag can be worn as a messenger or carried like a briefcase by the top handle.
The Cooper Luxury Canvas Slim Camera Bag is a functional, urban bag, designed to store and protect your camera gear and 13" laptop, among other accessories and personal items. The Cooper Luxury bag features quieter-than-normal touch-fastening fabric, perfect for shoots requiring the utmost discretion. Winning details of this bag include leather zipper pulls, waxed cotton canvas, leather accents, a silicone-coated water-resistant interior, a bottom exterior trimmed in leather, and a reversible silver/black rain cover for added protection.
The Think Tank Photo Retrospective Shoulder Bag series is for those who want an inconspicuous shooter's bag with a classic design and modern improvements. Various sizes and a few colors in each size are available. The sizes include the 5, 7, 10, 20, 30, 40, and 50 and, as the number gets larger, so does the bag. To represent the line here, we'll look at the Think Tank Retrospective 30 Shoulder Bag. The lightweight, soft-sided shoulder bag is designed ergonomically to conform to your body, providing flexible comfort and quick access to your gear. The exterior fabric is 1100D poly-spun polyester. Removable, adjustable dividers can be configured in the bag's main compartment to hold one pro DSLR with an attached 70-200mm f/2.8 lens sideways or one pro DSLR body and two to four lenses. Two expandable front pockets can fit pro-size DSLRs (bodies only) or extra lenses. An inside organizer pocket is perfect for additional accessories. The hook-and-loop fastener on the front can be "silenced" with Sound Silencers, for quiet work. The non-slip shoulder strap is cushioned and padded, and a removable short carrying handle is convenient for grab-and-go. A seam-sealed rain cover is also included.