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HOW TO: Comfort and Flexibility In The Field

Imagine how annoying our lives would be without camera bags and camera straps. Our pockets would be bulging and spilling over with lenses, filters, cable releases, batteries and all sorts of other paraphernalia. We would be spending most of our time picking stuff up off the ground rather than shooting.

I have been through a whole gamut of camera bags, from the small square shoulder bags to a photographer’s vest, all the way up to a large photo backpack. Each one has served me well over the years and I have kept them around to store older camera gear. Last year I was in the market for a new bag. I wanted an option that was smaller in size, would hold all the gear I use now, and could be carried comfortably.

The go-to bag I am using now is a crossover of two styles. It is not a large backpack nor is it a small shoulder bag. It is worn like a backpack, but with only one strap crossing over your chest, rather than the two shoulder straps of a traditional backpack. When you need something from the bag, you sling it around front to access the main compartments, without having to take it off. It has the easy access of a small shoulder bag, but stays securely on, leaving your hands free. I can also carry it as a bag with a handle if I want to, so it provides me with the flexibility of use I need.

Some folks like to take every piece of gear with them at all times, and options are available if you need a bag designed to hold gobs of equipment. Other folks carry just enough for what they are anticipating to need on their shoot, and options are available if you want to take your camera and a few small items. I fall somewhere in-between, so my crossover bag fits my current needs perfectly.

If your old bag is on it’s last legs, or you just feel the need to upgrade, there are more choices available now than ever before. Over the years, manufacturers have developed designs to fit anyone’s requirements. There are shoulder bags, backpacks, pouches, waist packs, holsters and vests, just to name a few. Many of them are customizable with removable inserts, multiple pockets with several different ways to access compartments. Most are made with modern materials that are weather-resistant, durable and lightweight. Others are still made with classic materials, such as canvas and have an aged appearance.

Camera straps are another item I have changed out over the years. Straps that come packaged with most cameras are typically a one-size-fits-all. Aftermarket straps can be found in many configurations, styles and colors. And most are designed with a higher level of comfort and ease of use. Long straps, short straps, wrist straps, and heavily padded straps are just a few of the choices.

The strap I am using now is super comfortable and easy to attach to the camera. It can be made into a small handle by removing the shoulder pad and reattaching the quick disconnects. So I actually get two straps in one.

When you need to take your equipment in the field, comfort and flexibility will make your outings more productive and enjoyable.

  1. October 8, 2011 at 9:39 pm

    I’ve been thinking of a small backpack type made specifically for camera gear. Seems like that would work out well. Thanks for the info.

  2. October 9, 2011 at 10:14 am

    Definitely check them out. There are many to choose from and I bet you will find one that suits your needs. I am using a Tenba medium sling bag. Check out their website when you get a chance.

    • October 9, 2011 at 1:34 pm

      Thanks for mentioning that. I was going to ask exactly what bag you were using. I’ve just gotten my first DSLR and am trying to figure out what I want to carry it in.

      • October 10, 2011 at 8:32 am

        You bet!! After looking at several options, I found this to be the best choice. I love it!

  3. October 11, 2011 at 6:21 am

    Oh, this is a wonderful sharing, I haven’t a bag yet, and it’s been difficult to carry these things. Actually I don’t have so many things but even it is like that, being problem. Thank you dear David, you made such a nice and good point for this. But I would like to see your bag too, I hope I can find in here one of them, or maybe from Amazon. On the other hand, dear David could you advice about lens… I have Canon 500D and its original lens is 18-55mm and another one Sigma 70-300mm… Especially for far distance and to take all the area… What would you advice, and also I should add this too, I don’t want my camera to be heavy… Thank you, with my love, nia

  4. October 11, 2011 at 8:45 am

    Hi Nia, here is a link from Amazon to the bag I have…It would fit everything you have quite nicely.
    Tamron and Lowepro are other options along with Kata and a bunch of other companies.

    • October 11, 2011 at 10:34 am

      Thank you so much dear David, I noted now. With my love, nia

  5. October 13, 2011 at 9:12 am

    Bags are one of my weaknesses. But after trying a variety, I always return to the same one. Unfortunately, I have to carry a lot of equipment and large lenses in my travels due to my subject matter.

    The sling bag option sounds great for personal shooting, though. Thank you for providing the link above. Looks like another Amazon purchase 🙂 might be in order. At least it’s a business expense!

  6. October 13, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    Definitely check out the sling bags…you get the best of both worlds. Check out adorama.com for stuff also. I have had great success with them.

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