Once you have the camera of your dreams (or at least the precursor to it), there are a few other things that are absolutely essential, not the least of which is a good camera bag. Camera bags come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and configurations, so choosing one may take a bit of time and research.
Type of Camera Bag Is Related to the Camera Type
Your first consideration is the type of camera you have. If you have a compact camera, you probably don't want to get the same kind of case that you would need for a digital SLR camera. But don't skip this accessory. Tossing your camera into another tote that is already full of other items is not always a wise choice. You have a substantial investment, even in a point and shoot camera, so you really need to protect that little camera to keep it from getting damaged.
Sometimes, just a small cloth or vinyl carrying case is enough, but you can also find camera cases made specifically for your brand of camera. Specialty camera cases keep your camera snug and safe, as well as providing little pockets for spare batteries and storage cards.
Camera Bags for Digital SLR Cameras
For those who shoot with a digital SLR, the situation can become much more complicated. The size and weight of your camera, as well as the number and size of the lenses has a major impact on which camera bag is right for you.
Here is a short list of questions to ask as you shop for the perfect addition to store your photography equipment.
What equipment will you be carrying?
The number of lenses is the easy part. You know you have to take those with you when you go on a photography mission. But you also need to consider whether you have an external flash unit, a battery pack, filters, a tripod, and a laptop. Each of these accessories needs its own space in your camera bag.
What kind of conditions will you encounter?
Shooting mainly indoor has very different requirements for camera bag construction than outdoor photography, especially if you are encountering rugged terrain and conditions. Some carrying cases are made to endure extreme conditions, including when you may be on a Diamond downhill ski slope and take a plunge into the snow.
What type of travel requirements do you have?
This question is important if you need to get a bag that is "airline compliant," or if you will be carrying your equipment for extended periods of time. Airlines have changed their rules recently, so make sure you know whether the bag you are considering will pass their checklist. If your situation requires extended time with the equipment in tow, you will want to make sure you have the most comfortable setup you can get. There are camera bags that will accommodate you with ergonomically designed straps and harnesses to help with comfort and weight distribution.
What about appearance?
If you want to make a fashion statement, you can do it with the right choice in camera bags. Or, if you are a large person, you may not feel comfortable with a smallish backpack-type carrier. There are numerous choices of construction material, colors, and appearance. You can even find camera bags that look like purses or briefcases.
Once you have answered these questions, it is time to make your selection. There are many companies that produce excellent camera bags, such as Lowepro and Quanteray. These producers, along with the major camera manufacturers like Canon and Nikon are always adding extra features and benefits to their products, but the good news is that you do not have to upgrade each time a new camera bag comes on the market. Make a good choice the first time, and you will be set for many years.