The holiday season is fast approaching, so now is the time to start shopping for your friends and family, (or dropping hints to them about gifts you want to receive). If you or someone you know has a compact mirrorless camera like the popular Sony NEX, Olympus PEN, or Fujifilm X-series camera, why not get a camera bag to go with it? Here are a few bags that not only look great, but also offer protection and functionality.
The StreamLine 100 Shoulder Bag from Lowepro comes in either black or red, and is loaded with nice features. Its sleek design looks less like a camera bag than a lot of other bags, making this a good choice if you’re traveling where theft might be an issue. The exterior is made from water-resistant nylon and polyester to help protect your gear from dirt, dust, and rain. The inside of the bag is soft orange tricot that not only protects your gear from scratches, but also makes it easy to find things like lens caps and memory cards that might be floating around at the bottom of your bag. Inside the main compartment is a movable divider to help keep your camera from being scratched by other gear such as an extra lens in the bag. There are two exterior pockets, one on the front and one on the back, to hold any extra camera gear, a wallet, or a cell phone. A fully adjustable wide shoulder strap makes carrying the bag a comfortable experience. (1)
The next line of great bags for your mirrorless camera is the Ruggard Streak series, which comes in 2 sizes, the 15 and the slightly larger 25. These bags have a flannelette interior with a movable divider, a large zippered pocket on the front and back, and a side mesh pocket. One feature of the Streak bags is that they have gripping rubber feet on the bottom that will help protect the contents of your bag when you put it down. (2)
Next, we have something a little different, the MarvelX 20 and 40 from Kata. These are holster-style bags, so unlike the square shape of the previous bags, they are shaped more like the camera, not as discreet, but they do have their benefits. The bags open from the top with the camera facing lens down, so you can reach in, grab the mirrorless camera, shoot, and quickly place it back in the bag. Both bags have a yellow interior, and a small pocket for accessories. The MarvelX 40 has an additional zippered compartment on the bottom for an extra lens. These are great choices for traveling, since they give you quick access to your camera so you won't miss that one fleeting image. (3)
Another great option is the 3440 Rally bag from Tamrac. This bag comes in three colors: black, brown/tan, and black/red. These bags are a little bit bigger and they can hold a camera with a lens attached and an extra lens in the main compartment. A zippered front compartment has two small pockets that can hold a small flash and extra accessories. The top flap is held in place with a buckle, so you can open it and access your camera quickly. Additionally, there are side mesh pockets that are ideal for a bottle of water, phone, or MP3 player, and a back pocket for slim things like a passport or map. (4)
The Mirrorless Mover bags from Think Tank come in a wide range of sizes, from the minimalist Mover 5 to the large Mover 30i. All of the bags in this line are black and charcoal colored, and can be used as a shoulder bag or worn around your waist like a fanny pack. They also have magnetic closures on the top flap, circumventing the startling noise that comes with the oft-used hook-and-loop closures. The 5 is a great bag if you want a very small bag simply to carry and protect your camera with its lens attached. The 10 and 20 bags allow for added accessories, and the large 30i has a separate pocket for an iPad. All of the bags come with a seam-sealed rain cover, an indispensible accessory if you shoot outdoors often. (5)
If you’re looking for a truly stylish bag, the Think Tank Retrospective 5 might be the bag for you. In either Pinestone Gray, Black, or Blue Slate, these shoulder bags will protect your gear without advertising that there’s a camera inside. The bags' interior has two customizable dividers and an organizer pocket. On the outside are front and rear pockets, as well as two side pockets. A rain cover is also included with the Retrospective 5. This is the perfect bag if you have a lot of accessories or extra lenses, or you just want some more space to store your everyday items.
Billingham has a great reputation for high-quality bags, and the Digital Hadley bags are no exception. You can choose between sage, khaki, and black, all with tan leather trim, or black with black leather trim. These bags are made from dual-laminate waterproof canvas, so you can travel in the rain knowing your gear will stay dry. A large pocket on the front of the bag is secured by a brass snap, and is covered by the top flap with its quick-closure system. Inside the bag is a large padded compartment with two movable dividers so you can customize the interior to best fit your mirrorless system. (6)
The most luxurious bag in this list is the Ona Bowery. The Bowery bag comes in black, field tan, and smoke colors in canvas, as well as brown and black leather options called Antique Cognac and Dark Truffle. The exterior of the Bowery bags is accented with antique-brass fittings, and they have two pockets on the front, one on each side, and one on the back, giving you plenty of storage space. The padded interior has a removable divider, so these beautiful bags can be used as a stylish side bag even when you’re not carrying around camera gear. (7)
Adhering to the theme of luxury, next we have the Kelly Moore Riva shoulder bag. It has a wallet-like pocket on the back of the bag that holds credit cards, a phone, keys, and other small accessories. The front flap is held closed with a push lock disguised as a strap and buckle. The water-resistant polyurethane exterior resembles a leather finish, and this bag could easily be mistaken for a nice purse rather than a camera bag. In fact, the Riva can double as a purse when the padded interior is removed from the bag, making this the perfect bag for photography use during the day, and then a night on the town. (8)
Now that you have a list of amazing bags for your mirrorless camera, choose the one that best fits your needs and esthetic style. There are bags for every taste and requirement that allow you to carry your gear with grace and elegance.