Searching for a Camera Bag

For Christmas, Matt got me a beautiful digital SLR (Canon Digital Rebel XT). It’s really nice, but now I need to get a case for it to keep it safe. Obviously it’s not going to fit in my old camera case – the old Powershot A610 just barely fit in there. I have the case from my old film SLR, but that is still occupied by the Minolta, and it’s not the greatest of cases anyway. I bought that case over 8 years ago, and at the time all I knew was that it had to hold my SLR. Experience has given me a better idea of what to look for in a bag.

For starters, I need a camera bag that is comfortable. The bag for my old film SLR is basically a big, unwieldy box on a strap. Functional, but not terribly comfortable. Also, I’d like to be able to to get the camera out without having to set the bag down to unload it. For that, I’m going to need a sling/messenger style camera bag. Something that I can carry the weight of on my back, but slide around to the front to access the camera.

Second, I want a bag that has a little room to grow. At the moment, I only have the kit lens for my DSLR, but hope to get another lens or two in the future. I don’t want to get a camera bag that is fitted to just the DSLR, because once I get more lenses or an external flash, I’ll have no where to put them. On the flip side, I don’t want to get a massive backpack style bag that I will never fill, as I’m trying to keep the camera bag mostly streamlined.

Those are the two most important criteria. Some of the other things I’m looking for seem fairly standard. For instance, I want the camera bag to be at least vaguely weatherproofed. It doesn’t have to survive a drop in a lake, but if I transport the bag of gear in a mist or light snow, I want the camera to stay dry. I also want a nice little pocket to store my spare memory card and battery pack. Space to stuff a little notepad might be convenient, in case there is anything important I need to remember about photos or locations.

I’ve been checking out some camera bags online, and the two bags that top my list right now are Adorama’s Slinger, and Tamrac’s Velocity series. Lee has a Slinger bag, and it seems to be quite nice – I’ve obviously not pawed through it, but he recommends it highly, and it meets all my criteria. I checked out the Velocity series online, and it looks like it meets all my criteria, but I would obviously want to check one out in person before I made my decision. I had at first considered Crumpler as I had heard that they were nice bags, but they look to be online only, and I find their website to be painfully obnoxious and unhelpful.

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