Professional Photographer Magazine Web Exclusives

If Style Is Your Bag: A Roundup of Fashion Camera Bags

By Robyn L. Pollman

The rules for my bag test are simple. I select camera and electronic equipment I own and use for both personal and professional photography to put into each carrier. With the exception of laptop and iPad pockets, I don’t put other items into exterior or interior pockets. To fit all my usual gear into the bag, I may or may not use all of the removable protective padding that comes with the bag.

All the bag contents shown here fit inside each bag while still allowing the zipper or snap to be closed.

SAILING INTO COMFORT
Jo Totes; $107; jototes.com
This classically styled and comfortable Georgia Nautical satchel has plenty of pockets to keep photographic and personal gear organized. The faux leather exterior is complemented by a dark blue cotton lining.

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Best feature: Security. The antiqued metal hardware locks, and the iPad pocket zips.
In this bag:
Nikon D700 body with grip
Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G ED
Nikon SB-800
HTC Evo Shift 4G phone
Abie Designs camera strap
Wallet-size WhiBal card

 

NEW CONVERTIBLE
Epiphanie; $224.99; epiphaniebags.com
Brooklyn is that rarest of photographic accessories: a fashionable camera backpack. Load up this chic bag and you can carry it all day. It accommodates a 15-inch laptop, iPad or tablet, camera with attached lens, one long lens, one short lens, flash, battery pack, and wallet.
Best feature: Easily converts from a backpack to a messenger bag to accommodate your travel and shooting needs.

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In this bag:
Nikon D700 body with grip
Nikon 50mm f/1.4G
Nikon 85mm f/1.4D
Nikon 80-200mm f/2.8D
Lensbaby 2.0
Nikon SB-800
Apple 15-inch MacBook Pro
Speck SeeThru Case for MacBook Pro
HTC Evo Shift 4G phone
Abie Designs camera strap

 

BYE-BYE BOXY
Emera; $169; emerabags.com
Move over, boxy camera carrier, there’s a new bag in town. She’s well bred but knows how to hang. An ideal merger of function and style, the Classic Canvas bag boasts seven customizable, padded compartments for stashing, and room for a laptop and water bottle as well.

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Best feature: Looks and carries like a handbag, and you’ll love the extra protection of the metal feet on the bottom.
In this bag:
Nikon D700 body with grip
Nikon 50mm f/1.4G
Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G ED
Nikon SB-800
Apple iPad2
Speck iPad2 FitFolio Cover
Abie Designs camera strap

 

DO-GOODER
Kelly Moore; $229; kellymoorebag.com
A portion of the proceeds from the purchase of the Thirst Relief Bag will provide a lifetime of clean drinking water for up to four people through thirstrelief.org. Inside this bag you can carry a camera body, 10-inch lens, flash, phone, batteries, 17-inch laptop, and accessories. The outside back pocket can hold a 15-inch laptop or tablet.

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Best feature: The handle is exceptionally durable and secure.
In this bag:
Nikon D700 body with grip
Nikon 50mm f/1.4G
Nikon SB-800
Apple 15-inch MacBook Pro
Speck SeeThru Case for MacBook Pro
Abie Designs camera strap

 

 

CASUAL ELEGANCE
Jill-e
; $69.99 (plus $34.99 for optional camera gear insert); www.jill-e.com
Rich-looking yet casual, the Classic Collection 13-inch Laptop Backpack contains a special secure compartment for a 13-inch laptop. The optional insert holds a professional camera gear set.

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Best feature: With its removable insert, you can pack your gear carefully outside the bag before stowing it inside.
In this bag:
Nikon D700 body with grip
Nikon 50mm f/1.4G
Nikon 85mm f/1.4D
Lensbaby 2.0
Nikon SB-800
Apple iPad2
Speck iPad2 FitFolio Cover
HTC Evo Shift 4G phone
Abie Designs camera strap

 

 

DESIGNED FOR YOU
Porteen Gear
; from $101; porteengear.com
Porteen Gear puts you in charge of the bag design, with a choice of more than 100 fabrics and several leathers. The body of the bag is made of water-repellent waxed canvas that ages beautifully. The flap is made of high-quality leather and the straps of heavy-duty polypropylene webbing. Durable Rhino Twill lines the interior.

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porteen_handbags_interior.jpgBest feature: You control the look and function of the bag.
In this bag:
Nikon D700 body with grip
Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G ED
Nikon SB-800
HTC Evo Shift 4G phone
Abie Designs camera strap
Porteen credit card holder

 

 

STYLISH SURVIVOR
Stash Bags
; $159 to $199; stash-bags.com
Loaded with pockets and supported by a wide webbing shoulder strap, this Medium DSLR Messenger Bag sports black and gray herringbone wool. The removable insert for a camera and lenses has two adjustable dividers with Velcro attachments.

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stash_medium_messenger_interior.jpg Best feature: The incredible interior padding looks durable enough to survive whatever you might throw at it.
In this bag:
Nikon D700 body with grip
Nikon 50mm f/1.4G
Nikon SB-800
Abie Designs camera strap

 

 

CRAFTED BY HAND
Ona
; $269; www.onabags.com
Handcrafted of water-resistant waxed canvas and detailed with full-grain leather, the Brixton camera bag is a compact solution for carrying a DSLR, two to three lenses, and a 13-inch laptop. It has four removable dividers, two front pockets, and a back pocket with enough room for an iPad or Moleskine.

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Best feature: The waxed canvas makes this an ideal outdoor bag, especially for early morning dew-drenched shoots.
In this bag:
Nikon D700 body with grip
Nikon 85mm f/1.4D
Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G ED
Apple iPad2
Speck iPad2 FitFolio Cover
HTC Evo Shift 4G phone
Abie Designs camera strap

 

 

CASUAL TOTE
Ketti Handbags
; $210; kettihandbags.com
Designed for casual use, the Chevron holds all your photo gear securely with room enough for the everyday things you can’t do without. The linen-textured bag has an inside zippered pocket, two adjustable dividers, rigid bottom, zipper closure, antiqued brass hardware, and removable cross-body strap.

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Best feature: Looks like a handbag but is roomy and well padded.
In this bag:
Nikon D700 body with grip
Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G ED
Nikon SB-800
HTC Evo Shift 4G phone
Abie Designs camera strap
Wallet-size WhiBal card

 

 

ON SAFARI
Shutter Bag
; $299.95; shutterbagusa.com
You don’t have to take it to the jungle to appreciate how the Safari is more than a beautiful bag. Made of durable leather and lined in soft cotton, it can hold your camera with attached lens, extra lenses, 15-inch laptop, and life’s extra necessities. Remove the inserts and use it as a handbag.

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Best feature: The lens cap holder keeps your cap where it belongs and always within reach.
In this bag:
Nikon D700 body with grip
Nikon 85mm f/1.4D
Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G ED
Nikon SB-800 Apple iPad2
Speck iPad2 FitFolio Cover
HTC Evo Shift 4G phone
Abie Designs camera strap

 

 

GOING TO THE CHAPEL
Kelly Moore
; $229; kellymoorebag.com
The charming Chapel Convertible Backpack holds a camera body with grip, 9-inch lens, flash, phone, batteries, accessories, and an iPad.

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Best feature: The back zipper pocket has slots for compact flash cards and credit cards so photo gear stays safely stowed inside when you grab your keys and whatnots.
In this bag:
Nikon D700 body with grip
Nikon 80-200mm f/2.8D
Nikon SB-800
Apple iPad2
Speck iPad2 FitFolio Cover
HTC Evo Shift 4G phone
Abie Designs camera strap
Wallet-size WhiBal card

 

 

FORM IS FUNCTIONAL
Pompidoo
; $323; pompidoo.com
Pompidoo is a new brand that uses natural leather and well planned form in a combination of contemporary design and functionality. The interior of the Cologne Bag has two compartments: one for photo equipment with three removable padded dividers, the other for personal items and accessories. There’s an interior zippered pocket for mobile phones.

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Best feature: The choice of colors in the Cologne Bag line—virtually every hue in the rainbow.
In this bag:
Nikon D700 body with grip
Nikon 85mm f/1.4D
Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G ED
Nikon SB-600
Abie Designs camera strap

 

 

POCKET PROTECTOR
Shootsac
; $229; shootsac.com
The Tote & Shoot is fully padded. The accessible outside, side-loading pocket holds a camera with a full-size lens attached so you’re ready to shoot. This leaves the main compartment available for an extra lens, a Shootsac lens bag, or other personal items.

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Best feature: It would be hard to choose between using the unique camera pocket or the back zippered pocket, which can hold an iPad or be unzipped from the bottom to slip over the handle of a roller carry-on.
In this bag:
Nikon D700 body with grip
Nikon 50mm f/1.4G
Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G ED
Nikon 80-200mm f/2.8D
Nikon SB-600
Apple 15-inch MacBook Pro
Speck SeeThru Case for MacBook Pro
Abie Designs camera strap

 

 

VINTAGE-INSPIRED
drop it Modern
; $147; dropitmodern.com
The vintage-inspired Modern Hard Case was thoughtfully engineered to provide a perfect combination of quality and security for your camera. The exterior is constructed of leather, and the interior is lined in rich corduroy to protect your gear. Its other well-designed features include an adjustable waist strap and customizable pockets.

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Best feature: No more digging around for extra batteries, flash cards, and lens caps. This bag has secure slots for each of these in the top flap.
In this bag:
Nikon D700 body with grip
Nikon 50mm f/1.4G
Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G ED
Nikon SB-800
Apple iPad2
Speck iPad2 FitFolio Cover
HTC Evo Shift 4G phone
Abie Designs camera strap
Wallet-size WhiBal card
CompactFlash Cards

 

 

SPACIOUS SATCHEL
Epiphanie
; $194.99; epiphaniebags.com
The Austin camera bag is one of Epiphanie's newest designs for men and women. This spacious satchel holds camera gear and a laptop, and can be carried by the top handle or worn as a messenger bag. It’s constructed of durable, water-resistant synthetic material.

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Best feature: A double zippered pocket allows you to slide your rolling-suitcase handle right through.
In this bag:
Nikon D700 body with grip
Nikon 50mm f/1.4G
Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G ED
Nikon SB-800
Apple 15-inch MacBook Pro
Speck SeeThru Case for MacBook
Pro Abie Designs camera strap

 

 

BRILL POSH 
Epiphanie; $224.99; epiphaniebags.com
The London backpack camera bag protects gear without compromising style. Designed for women and men, London is constructed with a durable, water-resistant synthetic material and features removable straps so you can convert it into a cross-body bag.

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Best feature: When you close the bag, its twist locking mechanism ensures it’ll stay closed.
In this bag:
Nikon D700 body with grip
Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G ED
Nikon 80-200mm f/2.8D
Nikon SB-800
Apple 15" MacBook Pro
Speck SeeThru Case for MacBook Pro
Abie Designs camera strap

 

 

STYLISH PROTECTION
Epiphanie; $154.99; www.epiphaniebags.com
Designed for women on the go, Charlotte is made of a super-soft, durable, water-resistant synthetic material. It can be worn on the shoulder or cross-body. It features a zipper pocket on the front flap.

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Best feature: This may be the perfect shoulder bag when you don’t need a lot of gear and want to look stylish yet protect what’s inside.
In this bag:
Nikon D700 body with grip
Nikon 85mm f/1.4D
Nikon SB-800
Abie Designs camera strap

 

 

HANDSOME JACK
Jill-e; $79.99 (optional camera gear insert, $39.99); www.jill-e.com
The handsome new Jack 15-inch laptop backpack is tough, versatile, and perfect for the tech-savvy. A quality-crafted, high-function ballistic nylon bag with ample padding, it contains a special secure compartment for a 15-inch laptop, and accommodates an optional insert for a pro-level camera gear setup. Additional easy-access interior and exterior pockets put all of your personal items and lifestyle essentials at your fingertips.

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Best feature: The removable camera bag insert lets you pack gear outside of the bag and then zip it up and insert it in the backpack.
In this bag:
Nikon D700 body with grip
Nikon 85mm f/1.4D
Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G ED
Nikon 80-200mm f/2.8D
Nikon SB-800
Apple iPad2
Speck iPad2 FitFolio Cover
HTC Evo Shift 4G phone
Abie Designs camera strap

 

 

PRETTY PETITE
Jo Totes
; $89; jototes.com
Allison is pretty and petite but can carry everything you need for a day out with your camera. Five roomy pockets provide lots of space for keys, a wallet, sunglasses, phone, iPad or tablet. The exterior material is a soft, water-resistant, faux leather.

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Best feature: The strap switches from over-the-shoulder to cross-body toting quickly and easily.
In this bag:
Nikon D700 body with grip
Nikon 50mm f/1.4G
Nikon SB-800
Abie Designs camera strap

 

 

ADAPTABLE COMPANION
Jo Totes
; $119; jototes.com
With a slim design, numerous pockets, and your choice of cross-body or shoulder strap, Betsy works great for both photo shoots and day trips. Exterior features include a zippered front flap with hidden pocket, a large zippered back pocket, and two front pockets with hidden magnetic closure.

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Best feature: This bag makes great use of the storage space in the flap, which frees up interior space.
In this bag:
Nikon D700 body with grip
Nikon 85mm f/1.4D
Nikon SB-800
Apple iPad2
Speck iPad2 FitFolio Cover
Abie Designs camera strap

 

 

BODY HUGGER
Jo Totes
; $109; jototes.com
With seven spacious pockets, a body hugging shape, and space for a camera body, multiple lenses, and an iPad, the Gracie is both practical and pretty. Exterior features include two front pockets with magnetic button closure, one large front pocket with a zippered closure, one back pocket that includes a zippered compartment, and a quick-access, non-zippered compartment.

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Best feature: The exterior pockets are so large and roomy that they almost double the bag’s storage capacity.
In this bag:
Nikon D700 body with grip
Nikon 85mm f/1.4D N
ikon 24-70mm f/2.8G ED
Nikon SB-800
Nexus 7 Tablet
Abie Designs camera strap

 

 

MODERN RETRO
Jo Totes
; $119; jototes.com
Missy is a modern camera bag with a retro twist. It features two large exterior pockets with magnetic closure and retro details, including a durable main zipper, gorgeous colors, and a decoratively stitched belt.

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Best feature: The handles are long enough to carry to carry the bag over your shoulder without the strap, or you can use the strap to shoot from the hip.
In this bag:
Nikon D700 body with grip
Nikon 85mm f/1.4D
Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G ED
Nikon SB-800
Apple iPad2
Speck iPad2 FitFolio Cover
Abie Designs camera strap