Camera bag buying guide

Camera Bag 
Buying Guide

Whether you’re an amateur who only uses their camera while on holiday once a year or a full-time professional shooting from dawn until dusk every day, one of the first accessories you should think about buying is a good quality camera bag.

However, with a number of different bags and styles to choose from, finding the right one can be a little overwhelming at times.

In our Manfrotto Camera Bags Buying Guide, we’ll take you through all the different bags you can buy, the advantages and disadvantages of each, and discuss how to choose a camera bag according to which bag is best in certain situations. When it comes to choosing a camera bag, questions you want to ask yourself are: do I need a camera bag? What equipment I am you going to be carrying? How big a bag do I need? Do I want to carry all my gear or just a select kit? Where will I carry my bag and will it be comfortable in my environment? Finally, what is my budget?

Camera bags have the added bonus of being extremely comfortable, often more so than a regular rucksack or backpack! Each camera bag features protective internal dividersso you know exactly where each item is kept, and with the padding and dividers, you know your camera is safe from knocks and scrapes. From simple camera holster bags which just carry a single camera, to messenger bags that are perfect for urban environments, to camera backpacks that can go anywhere, and camera roller bags that can carry all your heaviest camera gear. We are sure that you don’t have to leave anything at home, in our range there’s a camera bag that’s suitable for you. Now you just need to find out how to choose a camera bag that’s perfect for your needs!

What Camera Equipment are you Carrying?

Camera bags are specifically designed to house and protect your camera, lenses, laptop, and all your other accessories such as batteries, filters and speedlights wherever you are in the world. As cameras and lenses vary in size and dimension, camera bags and backpacks are often built for the particular type of cameras they will carry. Within each Manfrotto camera bag collection you will find a range styles and of gear fits.

  • Mirrorless Camera Bags: Mirrorless cameras (also known as Compact System Cameras or CSC) are more popular every day. They are often more compact than a DSLR but they also require lots of batteries. To help you narrow down your options and select choose the right bag, try our Mirrorless Camera Bag chooser tool.

  • DSLR Camera Bags: DLSR camera bodies and lenses are a bit larger than mirrorless and may require a larger pack. DSLRs may come in a range of sizes from compact DSLR to the large portrait grip professional DSLRs

  • Video Camera Bags: Bags for Video Cameras will fit larger professional equipment and have features that support video workflow.

  • Drone Bags: Bags for aerial imaging drones may have features completely unique from other devices. Additional equipment needed to support your drone includes transmitter, batteries, spare parts and tools. Our Aerial Bags Chooser will help you select a bag that fits your drone.

  • Tripod Bags : Some tripods are compact and easy to attach to a bag while others are fairly cumbersome and can be difficult to carry around. Sometimes you need something more protective or convenient than strapping a tripod to your backpack. That’s where a tripod bag comes in.

Camera Messenger Bags

Camera Messenger bags and shoulder bags are among the most practical solutions. The Windsor Messenger M or the Noreg Messenger 30 are some of our stylish camera bags solutions to carry your camera every day around. With a number of components and zips, these messenger bags give you fast access to your camera and room to carry additional lenses. Not only that but you can also carry non-essential camera items such as laptop, lunch and a bottle of water making them fantastic multi-purpose bags.

A professional alternative to the messenger bag is the sling bag such as the ProLight FastTrack sling bag. This looks more like a backpack than a messenger bag, but they have that signature strap going across the chest making them similar to a messenger bag.

They also give you quicker access to your camera than a backpack as you can swivel the bag around your body to open up the main compartment.

Don’t forget that messenger bags are also perfect for flying too as you can easily store it under your seat or in an overhead compartment. If you’re on a bike cycling around a city, messenger bags really come into their own, but they’re also perfect for anyone walking around too.

Messenger bags are sophisticated and stylish camera bags but also very discreet making them a fantastic choice for the work place. Don't forget to check out the National Geographic collection for a range of styles.

Camera Holsters

Holster bags are unique as they’re designed for carrying just your camera with your favourite lens attached and that’s it. There’s no room for an extra lens or accessories with these bags, so what you see is what you get! Depending on the size, there are holsters for mirrorless cameras as well as holsters made to fit DSLR cameras.

Another different feature of the holster bag is many are designed to hang off your belt around your waist in addition to being carried by a strap. This is great as it takes all the weight off your shoulders and gives you extremely easy access to your camera.

Holster bags are made to really protect your camera. When you slip your camera into the bag, it sits snugly with thick padding around it, and they usually come with a built-in rain protector too which you can easily slip over the bag.

Another huge advantage of a holster bag is when you don’t want to wear it on your waist you can pack it away in a bigger bag to be kept safely stowed away. One thing to look out for when buying a holster bag is you want one to fit your camera as snuggly as possible, so choose one for your primary lens set up (the lens you use the most). That way you’re ensuring maximum protection. You can even get a holster that fits your 70-200mm lens.

If you do a lot of event photography and you want to carry around a spare camera with lens attached then a holster bag is a good alternative compared to an open harness which provides less overall protection. Either way, if you want to carry around just your camera and one lens then a holster camera bag is the one for you.

Camera Roller Bags

Camera roller bags are absolutely fantastic for transporting huge amounts of heavy camera gear without having to carry it all on your back. In fact, a camera roller bag is like having your entire home studio with you on wheels!

Our ProLight reloader collection is made of 7 carry-on solutions that look like any type of wheelie case but inside are split up into a number of protective compartments to carry multiple lenses, laptops and tablets, studio lights and flashes, gimbals, tripods, audio recorders and a whole heap of other accessories too.

In particular the new Pro Light Reloader Air-55 Roller Bag for DSLRs and camcorders is designed specifically for travelers and fits international airline carry-on sizes.

Externally, Reloader Air-55 is made of Pro-Light Rip- Stop fabric featuring upgraded corners protection and additional protection trims; internally, it features EVA molded tray to ensure lightweight and protection. Is equipped with a big easy-access front pocket for your 17’’ laptop and an additional second front pocket for documents and personal items.

If you’re doing lots of travelling, and you know you need most of your camera gear with you, then a camera roller bag really is a wise investment, see the complete range. In case you need some help in finding the right equipment to maximise your outdoor photography abroad, see our travel photography buying guide too!

Camera Backpacks

Camera backpacks are specialized backpacks often preferred by traveling photographers. When travelling, you want a comfortable camera backpack that can carry all your equipment, lenses, filters, tripod etc, as well as having enough room for things like water, food, a jacket or an extra change of clothes.

Like for our messengers, also in this case you can choose between a stylish solution or a more professional one depending on your equipment’s dimension.

Camera Backpacks can be compact and simple like those in the NX Collection, or stylish like the Noreg Backpack or Manatthan. All these stylish solutions allow you to bring not only your camera equipment but your personal items such as a bottle of water or a laptop.

If you carry a professional kit – we’re talking about two camera bodies, a few lenses, laptop, filters, and all other accessories too-, then you might be more interested in our Advanced and Pro Light collection Another type of camera backpack to keep an eye out for is a drone backpack like Pro Light 3N1-36 or Aviator drone backpack. These are made specifically for drones such as the DJI Phantom 4, but they can also carry a lot of other camera equipment too. You’ll be very surprised how much you can pack into a drone backpack.

Tripod Bags

Tripod bags are a comfortable carrying solution and a lot more protective of your tripod than just strapping it on to a backpack. Tripod bags may be padded or unpadded depending on weight and level of protection desired. If you want to safely transport your tripod, you can choose from a complete series of tripod bags that are specifically designed for all existing tripod models and made to hold all the different sizes and weight capacities. All you need to do is select the one that best fits your tripod.

So how to choose your bag?

With so many different photography bags to choose from it’s very easy to get overwhelmed but you just need to remember, a camera bag is there to protect all your equipment while making things easier to carry it all around.

Another thing to consider is your bag should represent you and your personality – make sure buy one that you’re going to love in years to come. Whatever your needs, there will be a bag out there with your name on it and in your budget, and having a camera bag is better than having no camera bag. Hopefully our Camera Bags Buying Guide will have helped you choose the right one for you!

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