Each bag we test must meet certain requirements: we literally study under a microscope its ability to withstand several liters of rain simulating rain, drops from a height and tear resistance of fabric. The reasons for choosing such a rigorous testing methodology are quite understandable: according to the results of testing, the camera bag must protect its valuable contents.
Along with a camera with a standard zoom lens, the photographer often needs additional wide-angle and telephoto lenses, an external flash helps him cope with problematic lighting, and a laptop or tablet allows him to immediately check the received photos. In this case, a small simple photo bag will not be enough. For our testing, we selected 10 current models from various manufacturers and carefully analyzed their strength, equipment and wearing comfort.
Photo bag test: more expensive doesn’t necessarily mean better
Each of the photo bags we tested has enough space to accommodate the equipment listed above and is in the price range from 4,500 to 10,000 rubles. But some models during test trials managed to stand out from others due to greater flexibility in operation. For example, the Lowepro ProTactic SH 200 AW can be extended with straps and small accessory pouches. One pouch and two straps are included.
Also very useful is the ability to quickly and easily remove the main compartment with the camera lined with soft material in almost all bags. During the test, we considered this a serious advantage, since thanks to this possibility, such bags can be used as ordinary shoulder bags without laying out all the photo accessories separately.
Waterproof and thick padding
When shooting landscapes, when you have to drive around despite the wind and precipitation, photographers should pay special attention to the protective properties of their camera bag. For example, the Kalahari Okavango W-37 can be waterproofed with a protective case. Thus, even a sudden downpour will not be able to damage your equipment. The Cullmann XCU outdoor Maxima 530+ also comes with a waterproof cover and additionally reinforced bottom.
The models we tested with sewn-in zippers, although they can protect against a few drops that have fallen from the sky, require the use of a special rain cape in heavy rain. In the following, we will present you with two of the best bags we have tested, and you can find all the detailed information about other models in the photo gallery.
Photo bag in 1 place and purchase recommendation: Cullmanns XCU outdoor Maxima 530+
The Cullmanns XCU outdoor Maxima 530+ gets the title of the leader of the rating and recommendations for purchase. The visually appealing bag, at 85 euros (5100 rubles), is not only among the most affordable models we tested, it is also extremely stable, partially waterproof and can hold a large amount of equipment. A DSLR with one or two lenses, an external system flash, and a 10-inch tablet can easily find room in the main photo compartment, which is upholstered in soft fabric.
Anyone who wants to pack a fast 70-200 mm telezoom here will also have no problems. Like all previous models of the XCU-series, the outdoor Maxima 530+ is also equipped with a separate waterproof bag that protects against moisture, dust and sand. The bottom of the bag is also extremely stable and reliably absorbs vibrations. With the included Velcro straps, you can attach even a small tripod to the bag.
Photo bag for 2nd place: Hama Multitrans 170
Multitrans 170 turned out to be a small miracle in terms of interior organization. It can be described as something like a classic doctor’s suitcase, the sides of which open in different directions from each other, providing convenient access to the spacious main compartment. Even if at first glance this bag seems too small, it still holds a Nikon D800 with an attached 70-200mm telezoom. In addition, there is still enough space to accommodate one or two additional lenses.
If you don’t need your camera on a trip, you can quickly pull out the photo tray and use the bag for other purposes. In addition to a 10-inch tablet, memory cards and batteries, thanks to the two straps, you can even carry a small tripod with you. The large zipper keeps water out so well that it only let 4.3 ml through during a 60-second shower. However, for those who want to achieve complete security in this regard, it is better to use the included waterproof case.
You will find all the photo bags we tested with additional information about them, sorted according to their position in the rating, in a special photo gallery. If you are interested in photo backpacks, see the article with a report on the results of their testing.