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The perfect camera bag

Posted on 13th July, in Articles. Comments Off on The perfect camera bag

The perfect camera bag

Finding thé best camera bag.
Next to making the best picture, it must be one of those things almost every photographer is obsessed with.
Me included…

Because, well, just because.
A camera is a heavy object that sometimes weighs a ton. Especially when carrying it around for more than 4 hours. Having a good bag that makes life a little bit more comfortable is well worth the search and the price.

Back in 2002, I met this genius photographer in Iraq, who was working with Contax material. He swore by it. (Oh if only they would make these in 2012, in a digital version… Oh wait, that must be an X-1 Pro or so…)
And he had these gorgeous bags for it. Domke, the label said.
2002. The internet was pretty basic back then. He bought them in NY, he told me. (Remember those days… when a city was big and unknown, and you needed a guide to find stuff.)
Nearly 2 years later, I bought one at the B&H store in NY, when I visited the city for the first time.
(It felt like Christmas, entering the huge B&H store, with these funny jews and the superb trolley system. Visiting B&H should be a holiday on itself…)

I bought myself the F-5XB Medium in canvas. And to this day, it still is my favorite bag.
Small but easy. The perfect day bag, the perfect work bag for someone just carrying a camera and a fix lens or 2. At $80, the cheapest bag I ever bought.

Maybe important to mention: before stumbling on that perfect bag, I must have had 6 others that always had something ‘wrong’ with them: ugly material, not that comfy as initially thought, bulky. After this F-5XB, I also bought the Domke F-5XC bag in waxed canvas. For one reason or another, I barely touched it (The GF makes still good use of it). It wasn’t as easy to handle, and the size wasn’t as ‘perfect’ as the other one.

Recently I started using more material, and I need flashes on location.
Frankly, that’s when the small bag is just a little bit too small to be comfy.
So a new quest started…

What are the features I am looking for in my new bag?
-enough space for a camera, some lenses, and a flash
-be comfortable and small.
-an ipad compartment (you laugh, most of these bags can’t!)
-space for my macbook air when needed (this turned out to be the hardest feature. really.)
-not too bulky.
-stylish and not look like an camera bag

I saw them all… And I let them all pass by…
The Ari bag by Incase “too bulky”
The other camera bags by Incase “nice but not my style”
The Domke Courier bag “doesn’t fit a computer”
The Retrospective ThinkThank bags a lot of complaints about camera’s falling out of the bag. I really liked the canvas look.
The Domke Satchel (the photographer in 2002 was carrying this one, notice the phone on the product picture!) “hmmm, that design could get an update”
-Yes, my standards are high. But check with every other photographer, and they’ll all agree ;)-

Ok, so back to square one.
Or not?
I stumbled on Ona bags.
While their bags turned out very stylish, they were too small or too big.
But then I started chatting with them on Facebook: Would they release a new bag? Would it be smaller? Would it fit a macbook air?
Some of the ‘fans’ started noting down their perfect bag in a facebook post.
And Ona listened.
I have been waiting for 6 months, but last month it was released:The Brixton.

-Fits and protects a macbook air. (and thus also an ipad if needed)
-Holds a camera and some lenses
-Looks damn sexy
-Does not seem as bulky as its larger brother The Union Street
-Can be used for other stuff too
-Hefty price tag, yet not that much more expensive than some other photo bags I own, which that were barely used.

The bag got ordered and has to arrive in one of these coming days.
And honestly: I can’t wait to work with it.

Make sure to check Ona’s other bags. Especially their range for women is superb, or the small insert: genius!

This article was written by Ine Dehandschutter.
She's a freelance photographer & webdesigner, based in Ghent, working worldwide.
Check out her portfolio.
Ine is available for cool projects, so get in touch via twitter or through the contact form.

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