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It doesn't seem fair that incredibly expensive equipment should be so delicate, but such is the life for a photographer. Whether you're a hobbyist or a full-time professional, you've likely dropped hundreds or thousands of dollars on cameras and lenses. You owe it to yourself to protect your investment with a high quality shoulder bag, backpack, or other case for your camera kit. There are as many different camera bags on the market as there are lenses, and if you've ever spent time trying to choose the right lens for your camera, you know that means there's a ton of options. I've taken the liberty of searching through some of the best camera bags on the market today ranging from lightweight, quick access sling bags to heavy duty airplane cases. Whatever your wants and needs may be, there's a camera case on this list for you.
Onyx 45 Shoulder Bag by Ruggard
The first offering on this list is also the most economical. While more expensive camera bags are often worth the extra money with the protection they provide, the most premium camera backpacks and sling bags are simply out of the budget for hobbyist photographers. Luckily, there are still some absolutely serviceable options in an affordable price range. Ruggard's Onyx 45 is basic, but it has all the features you need for basic protection and simple functionality.
Airport Accelerator Backpack by Think Tank
The Think Tank Photo Airport Accelerator Backpack is one of my personal favorite options because it combines the best aspects of a lot of other styles of camera bag. As the name suggests, this camera backpack is optimized for traveling, securely fitting up to two cameras and eight lenses. There are several organizational pockets inside as well as a padded pocket for your tablet or a laptop. It's not the most convenient for everyday use, but its comprehensive features make it one of the best camera bags for traveling. As an extra security feature, there is a combination lock keeping the zipper closed.
Air 1535 by Pelican
If your number one priority in finding a new camera case is security, then this is the option for you. The Pelican Air 1535 protects your gear like none other with patented TrekPak foam dividers and its hard polymer exterior designed to be crushproof, dustproof, and watertight. This model is also up to 40% lighter than similar polymer cases, making travel a breeze. Speaking of travel, the Pelican Air 1535 was made to be just at the size limit for standard airplane carryon allowances, so you won't have to check your bag. Inside, the foam lining (there are a few options) provides maximum protection for your camera equipment while taking full advantage of the interior space.
Camera Messenger Bag by Union Street Leather
Just because you need to carry around your camera equipment, it doesn't mean that you can't do it in style. This camera messenger bag by Union Street Leather is made of high quality walnut leather with brass buckle closures. The simple design of this shoulder bag gives you quick access to your camera and three lenses (or two lenses and a flash). To top it off, this messenger bag includes a laptop compartment as well as pockets for small items like pens, pencils, and your keys. It's one of the best camera bags on Amazon by a long shot.
Everyday Messenger by Peak Design
If the Union Street Leather camera bag represents the pinnacle of form in messenger bags, then this offering from Peak Design represents the pinnacle of function. The innovative origami-inspired interior design provides simple but effective protection for your camera equipment, and the exterior is surrounded by a weatherproof shell. The main compartment holds a DSLR camera and two standard lenses, which is ideal for day-to-day use. Additional pockets include dual side pockets, a document sleeve, several accessory pockets, and a dedicated 13-inch laptop compartment. This makes it one of the best camera bags for traveling, since you can hold everything you need for a long trip.
Retrospective 5 by Think Tank
This Retrospective 5 camera bag represents the happy middle ground between the other messenger bags on this list. Providing the perfect balance of form and function, this bag features a sturdy leather construction while providing multiple internal features. It's big enough to fit a medium sized DSLR camera along with up to three lenses and accessories. There are no laptop compartments, but there's enough room for an eight-inch tablet. To top it all off, this bag comes in a variety of color options, so you can pick the color that best complements your tastes.
Outrigger Backpack by Ruggard
Camera backpacks don't offer the same sort of quick access as most messenger bags or sling bags, but they are still portable and comfortable. Most notably, camera backpacks are one of your only options if you need to carry around a lens with a high focal length. If your camera kit includes lenses upward of 400mm or 600mm, they simply won't fit in a smaller shoulder bag. Luckily, some backpacks, like the Ruggard Outrigger, are still compact and light enough to not weigh you down during a long day of shooting. The Outrigger can also fit a 9.7" tablet as well as several additional accessories.
F-2B Original Ballistic Shoulder Bag by Domke
This shoulder bag is all function, representing the high volume option for everyday use. The Domke F-2B is surprisingly spacious, capable of holding up to two film or DSLR cameras along with several lenses and accessories. The exterior construction is ballistic nylon, with an adjustable padded interior. If you want to have quick access to more than one camera and a variety of lenses, the Domke F-2B is the choice for you.
Herald Camera Bag by Domke
I'll admit I'm quite a fan of Domke as a company. Their durable, US-made products are some of the best camera bags money can buy. They also offer bags filling a wide variety of needs. For example, the F-2B is for professionals and other advanced photographers who need quick access to multiple cameras and lenses. This model, the Herald, is much simpler for those of us with a less complex camera kit. There's room in the Herald for a DSLR camera and two lenses: one attached to the camera plus an additional lens. This Herald also fits a good-sized tablet and has a few expandable accessory pockets, giving you everything you need for a full day of shooting.
Hunter 35 Holster Bag by Ruggard
Most of the messenger bags and camera backpacks I've shared so far are intended for use over a whole day or even several days, providing a variety of lenses and accessories to facilitate any photographic needs that may need to be filled. The Hunter 35 holster bag by Ruggard subscribes to the opposite philosophy.
There are times when you don't have any reason to carry around additional lenses, let alone a tablet or a 15-inch laptop. For those days, the Hunter 35 gives you super convenient and quick access to a single semi-pro DSLR camera. The design is streamlined with the only additional pockets being a small exterior pocket for essential accessories and two interior pouches for extra memory cards. This holster works great on its own for simple photographs or in conjunction with a backpack to hold the rest of your camera equipment.