Best Camera Bags for Photographers

man taking photo using dslr camera

Last Updated on October 1, 2022 by seanmichaelpritchard

If you’re out shooting regularly, investing in one of these best camera bags for photographers is a no-brainer to make your life easier.

Picture this, you’re an enthusiastic photographer heading out for the day to capture some snaps of a local event, your friend’s wedding or the city sights. You throw your gear into your trusty everyday bag and go, rattling as you walk.

If this sounds familiar it might be time to invest in one of these best camera bags designed specifically for photographers, rather than using a backpack or tote bag.

Many high street camera bags for photographers get a bad rap for being bulky, ugly or impractical.

However, there are companies out there who are on a mission to change this narrative, designing bags that are both stylish and practical for the everyday photographer who not only needs space for their camera, lenses and accessories, but also clothing, a laptop and other day-to-day essentials.

Best camera bags for photographers at a glance:


These bags are designed with compartments that snugly fit your camera and lenses, making sure they’re padded and secure, as well as easily accessible.


leather camera bag

The Billingham Hadley Pro is one of the rare leather camera bags on the market that is designed with both practicality and stylishness in mind.

It comes in a range of lovely colours, both bold for those using it as an accessory and understated if you’re looking for more camouflage.

On to the actual specs, it can hold most high end DSLRs including new mirrorless cameras plus 2-3 medium lenses.

Also, a big positive is that it’s waterproof and has expandable front pockets for storing all your bits and bobs – particularly good for hard drives and batteries.

While it probably isn’t a super convenient leather camera bag for taking away with you, given the lack of a laptop sleeve, it does have a comfy crossbody shoulder and luggage strap for a day trip.

Although there are four outside pockets, they’re mainly designed with photo accessories in mind rather than small items like phones or wallets, so it doesn’t stand up as an all-purpose bag.

As a well-designed, ergonomic leather camera bag aimed specifically at carrying camera gear however, it lives up to its best-selling reputation and is comparable to many of the far less stylish, bulkier and more expensive bags on the market.

Pros:

  • Waterproof
  • Spacious – it can carry at least one camera and 2-3 lenses
  • Attractive, ergonomic and decent storage space

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • No space for a laptop

BEST CAMERA BAGS FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS

For photographers, messenger bags specifically designed to hold gear are a very useful option because they are generally refined, with no bells and whistles, are a reasonable size and don’t advertise that you’re carrying expensive equipment.

The Peak Design Everyday Messenger embodies all of this and more. From the outside, it looks like a fairly run of the mill messenger bag, if somewhat sleeker and more stylish.

On the inside you can fit one high end DSLR with lens attached, plus 1-2 mid-sized lenses to boot.

A feature that really sets this apart is that it also has space for a drone, which can really round out your kits and means photo and video is safely all in one bag.

There’s a separate sleeve for a 13” laptop or tablet as well as the normally elusive smaller inside pockets to hold everything from SD cards and batteries to your wallet.

Overall, it’s an excellent, spacious and versatile bag suitable for all photographers.

Pros:

  • Waterproof, including outside pockets
  • Spacious with room for camera, lenses and drone
  • Space for laptop and small items
  • Peak Design make multiple best camera bags for photographers

Cons:

  • Fairly expensive but a good investment

small camera bag

Tenba are renowned among photographers and backpackers for providing some of the best quality luggage around and their uncomplicated yet practical Skyline 13 matches up to their reputation.

It’s a very spacious backpack, fitting a DSLR or mirrorless camera and between 3-5 lenses.

There is also a laptop and tablet sleeve on the front, as well as daytime storage – enough to fit a light jacket, snacks or anything else you might be carrying.

This spaciousness takes the bag from basic camera bag to all-round useful backpack for any occasion.

It’s best use would be as a daypack for travelling or shooting during the day, ensuring you’ll have everything you need with you at all times.

The camera bag’s outside fabric is water resistant, its crossbody straps are comfortable and there’s even water bottle holsters on each side.

Although the inside dividers can’t be changed around too much, which is a downside for flexibility, it is quite reasonably priced given that Tenba produces the best bags out there.

Pros:

  • Lightweight, stylish and waterproof
  • Space for camera, lenses, laptop and your own storage
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • Interior can’t be configured
  • Doesn’t have a rain cover, which would be useful in particularly bad weather

camera bag crossbody

Wraith hails itself as selling camera bags that stand out from the usual ones you’ll find on the market, and in appearance you’ll certainly agree it’s an acquired taste.

The messenger bags have a dappled, alligator skin style outer material which comes in black blue and green. From its appearance the bag looks quite bulky, but this is due to its high practicality.

Although it’s a crossbody messenger camera bag, its designed similar to a barrel bag.

It has a top flap and deep side pocket where you can store a lightweight jumper or jacket, which is also waterproof meaning it won’t leak into your valuables.

Inside you can easily fit a large camera and up to four lenses, as well as 13” laptop. The inside is spacious and customisable, allowing you to snugly pack not just your camera but accessories like a flashgun, mic or filters.

On the topic of weather, it comes with a storm cover, which is always handy when you get unexpectedly stuck in a downpour and need some extra coverage.

The Wraith, while its appearance might only cater to certain tastes, is almost faultless from a practicality perspective, with customisable compartments and space for every accessory a photographer could need.

Pros:

  • Spacious, variety of customisable compartments and pockets
  • Waterproof and secure
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • Inside can be fiddly if you need quick access
  • Colourful pattern might not be to everyone’s taste

peak design sling bag

Like the previously mentioned Messenger Bag, Peak Design’s Everyday Sling camera bag is sleek and useful and an all-round great accessory.

It comes in 3L, 6L and 10L sizing’s, so it’s really up to you to decide what you’ll use it for and how much space you might need.

No matter which you choose, it’s an extremely lightweight and versatile back ideal for, wait for it – everyday use.

The inside compartments perfectly fit a large camera body and two large lenses in the 10L, a DLSR with lens attached (6L) or single mirrorless camera (3L).

If you have a mirrorless camera, its likely you’ll also be able to fit a small drone, lightweight clothing and other small items into the bag.

One of the camera bags best features, given that it is designed to sit crossbody across your back is that the strap has an easy release clip, allowing you to quickly loosen it for easy access to your equipment.

All three sizes have perfect use cases and are excellent options for safely transporting all your camera gear.

Pros:

  • Three sizes, 3L, 6L, 10L
  • A variety of customisable, spacious organisation compartments
  • Minimalistic stylish design, comfortable plus hand quick release strap
  • Very affordable, lowest price starting from the 3L
  • Also a great gift for photographers!

Cons:

  • No space for a water bottle
  • 10L camera sling bag can be heavy when fully packed

practical photography gear storage

Looking at the Think Tank Retrospective, you’ll be hit with the image of old-timey photographers for National Geographic out in the bush with their khaki-coloured sling camera bag.

Although there is no denying it looks like this, you have to question why the pros use bags just like this one.

The bag comes in a range of sizes as well as backpack form, but for a standard example we can look at the Retrospective 7.

It’s a super light, comfortable crossbody shoulder camera bag that can easily fit a standard DSLR, tablet or laptop, two lenses, flash plus drone with controller and accessories.

Now that the space has impressed you, wait for the other features which include a collapsible water bottle pocket, extra dividers for customisation, a multitude of pockets and removable padded carry strap.

The retrospective in all sizes is a hard-wearing bag that will see you through years of carrying and protecting your camera equipment – particularly if you’re a lover of outdoor activities or adventure travel, the larger bag or backpack is perfect for these types of trips.

Pros:

  • Durable and sturdy, good for protecting your gear
  • Reasonable prices
  • Extremely spacious and practical

Cons:

  • Not for you if you’re after a ‘pretty’ bag
  • Can be unbalanced when full meaning you can’t set it down

Conclusion

Finding the best camera bag largely depends on what you plan to do with it, you may require it to be bigger or smaller, weatherproof for trips abroad or simply have an under-the-radar design so no one knows you’re a photographer.

Messenger crossbody bags are without a doubt the most useful style of camera bag for day-to-day use and can even be adapted for more active pursuits as the shown by Peak Design’s Everyday Sling.

However, if you’re working further afield or spending time away you probably want a camera bag with more room for personal items and something that will be sturdy and hard-wearing, in which case both the Think Tank and the leather Hadley Pro will fit the bill.

Now you just need a shiny new camera to go with the bag!

Happy shooting!

DISCLOSURE: I may earn a small commission from some of the links above. For the benefit of the doubt, please assume all links might be affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

leather photography satchel

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