Digital Photography Bags & Vests
Keep Digital Photography Accessories Handy And Safe
By Damien Andrews
I started taking photographs long before digital photography came into being. My first camera was a Kodak Brownie Box Camera, followed by another hand-me-down Kodak, The Kodak 35 Rangefinder. That heavy gem had metal cog wheels on the outside of the lens, and sliding steel tabs used to make the necessary adjustments. Back then, I really only needed two accessories for my 35mm cameras: a tripod and a light meter.
In 1971, I purchased my first camera: a brand new Canon F1 SLR 35mm. I still needed my tripod and light meter, but I also found that I needed to carry more accessories on my shoots. The Canon F1 allowed changing lenses, and could host a whole gaggle of new and interesting photography accessories – accessories that could improve the results of my picture-taking events. As the years passed by, more lenses and accessories became available for the F1, and my stockpile of photography equipment grew.
Mistakes I Made
I don’t recall what year I purchased my first camera bag, but I do remember that it was leather and quickly became too small. The leather was heavy and required regular care and maintenance. Buying leather was mistake #1. When I bought it, I bought it slightly larger than what I needed to hold all of my equipment, but in less than two years it was way too small. That was mistake #2. Then I bought a really big bag made of heavy canvass. It would hold everything except my largest tripod. That was mistake #3. When filled, that bag weighed more than my German shepherd – hardly useful for my wildlife photography treks in the hills and mountains.
What I Learned
When I started into digital photography, I had learned that 1) I would be purchasing (slowly) all new digital photography accessories and lenses. And in digital photography, there are many more available than in the old world of film photography. 2) One single camera bag was not the answer to my needs. 3) Function must come above fashion.
Bags For Transporting Digital Photography Equipment
There are two types of bags you should consider when buying a camera bag for transporting your digital photography equipment from Point A to Point B: hard bags (or cases) and soft bags (or cases). If you are going to personally transport your digital photography equipment and accessories, such as in your automobile, a soft case will likely serve you well – and save you some money. If you must hand your precious digital photography equipment and accessories over to someone to transport, such as an airline, bus or rail line, then a hard case is worth the investment.
Today's soft cases for digital photography equipment are tough and usually very well padded. Most, especially the larger bags, even allow you to simply adjust internal parts to better fit your digital photography equipment and accessories. Don't go too lowball on this bag as it protects your digital photography investment. Make sure it has plenty of padding – especially around the outside of the bag. Also make sure it closes securely, but opens quickly and easily.
Hard cases are available in plastic and metal. I much prefer the plastic ones: they are lighter, don't get marred as much and are significantly cheaper. I have three hard cases by Pelican that I use when flying, and they have repeatedly impressed me with their strength and durability. These cases accept padlocks. I prefer combination padlocks – just in case the keys are misplaced on the way to a shoot.