You need to carry more than just your smartphone if your company's business requires high-resolution images from various perspectives. If you're packing a DSLR or mirrorless compact camera – maybe with an extra lens or two, a flash and a small tripod – you don't want to walk around with one of those old-fashioned camera bags with the nameplate on the front that scream, "Steal Me." Instead, you need a discreet bag that carries all your gear, hopefully with a stylish flair that speaks not only to your business acumen but also to your stellar taste.
Of the thousands of camera bags on the market – their numbers rival laptop bags and smartphone cases – we chose 15 favorites that span the range of urban outfitter to global road warrior. We concentrated on attractive, businesslike, compact, reasonably priced bags that offer easy camera access, sufficient padding and protection, and organizational details to hold accessories, extra lenses, and for some, even a laptop or tablet. These bags move easily from the office and business meetings, and sometimes an evening out.
Even though a camera and gear are not the main part of your business, make sure the camera bag you buy – whether it's a messenger, shoulder bag, pouch or knapsack – is exactly what you need and is comfortable and easy to carry. Here are some considerations:
- Size: Assuming you have a modest kit with just a few items, your camera bag should be large enough to accommodate everything you need, and anticipate additions for the future. If you are carrying a laptop or tablet and other non-photo gear, consider purchasing a bag large enough to hold everything.
- Protection: Cameras and lenses are finely calibrated equipment and any damage to them can affect their function and cost you money. Camera bags should have adequate padding both inside and out. Many come with Velcro strips or built-in compartments to safely store your camera's body, lenses and other necessities.
- Fabric: Camera bags typically range in materials, but are generally constructed with nylon, canvas, cotton or leather. These fabrics offer varying degrees of water and snag resistance. At the very least, they should provide protection against rain and wind. Choose which one works best for you depending on your climate and shooting conditions. Pay attention to closures, pockets, latches and buckles to make sure they are strong enough to hold the bag together to protect your gear, and yet are easy to use so you can grab your camera quickly.
- Comfort: Do not overlook how comfortable a bag is while you are carrying it. Any bag that is uncomfortable will discourage you from carrying your camera at all.
While there are many elaborate camera bags marketed to professional photographers, this collection targets businesspeople carrying a streamlined kit, and who use their cameras as part of their routine professional activities.
1. Tenba Cooper 8 Gray (starts at $169.95)Credit: Tenba
An admittedly luxurious, high-end choice for a camera bag, the Tenba Cooper 8, is a stylish way to tote your compact or DLSR to your job. Leather trimmed with a removable hand strap, the Cooper 8 holds a camera with two or three lenses, flash and accessories. A rear padded sleeve secures a small tablet. Its peach wax cotton canvas exterior and silicone-coated, water repellant rip-stop nylon soft fabric interior work together to protect your equipment. You can reposition the bag's protective foam dividers in any configuration, or remove them altogether. A top zipper allows access to cameras and lenses without opening the front flap. The Cooper 8 comes in several sizes ranging from $169.95 to $268.88.
2. Peak Design Everyday Messenger 13 (starts at $219.93)Credit: Peak Design
Famed travel photographer Trey Ratcliff helped to create Peak Design's Everyday Messenger 13 for creative folk, travelers and commuters. This messenger bag is as sleek and cool looking as they come – with a MagLatch multi-point closure, flexible FlexFold dividers, weatherproof 400D nylon canvas protective shell, and padded seatbelt strap to safely stow your precious cargo. A front panel allows for quick gear access while a tripod carry feature welcomes nearly all tripods. It holds not only your camera kit but also your 13-inch laptop. The bag comes in tan, charcoal and ash in two sizes ranging from $219.95 to $249.95.
3. Ona The Bond Street Canvas Messenger Bag ($139)
Handcrafted with water-resistant waxed canvas exterior and solid brass hardware, The Bond Street is a compact camera carrier designed specifically for mirrorless or compact cameras, and accommodates two lenses and a small tablet. The Bond Street features a closed-cell foam padded interior, four exterior pockets, a removable padded divider and a zippered back pocket designed to fit your smartphone, batteries or other sundries. It comes in black, field tan, oxford blue and smoke gray. Ona also offers leather version in black, cognac or dark truffle for $219.
4. Domke F-5XA Small Shoulder and Belt Bag ($62.95)Credit: Domke
Sometimes all you need to carry your cameras, lenses, phone and accessories is a simple, durable cotton canvas shoulder or belt bag. With the water-resistant and lightweight Domke F-5XA, you get a padded, lined main compartment with two removable padded divider walls for a custom fit. With a minimalist design that doesn't get in your way – the outer fabric has a distressed and weathered look – it is ideal for business and travel, with five handy compartments, tough hardware and a grippy strap. It comes in sand, olive or black.
5. Vanguard OSLO 12Z ($29.99)Credit: Vanguard
If you're in the market for something a bit more streamlined, consider the Vanguard OSLO 12Z, a compact case that fits a small compact system camera with a kit lens attached, as well as other accessories. Carry it across your chest or over your shoulder using a grippy padded shoulder strap or grab onto the top handles. Generously padded with dedicated pockets, it keeps your gear clean and dry and even has feet on the bottom to avoid street dirt or spills. Available in glossy black, burgundy red or silvery grey, OSLO 12Z gives you just enough room for your camera and lens with convenient immediate access to your equipment when you need it.
6. Manfrotto MB MS-M-GR Street Camera Shoulder Bag for CSC ($54.99)Credit: Manfrotto
Do you need enough room to fit cameras like the Sony A7 or a Fujifilm X-T series with a couple of lenses, or even a DJI Mavic Pro Combo drone? Consider the versatile, durable, weatherproof Manfrotto Street camera shoulder bag to protect your gear while you're traveling. This attractive, functional bag features a large top opening for quick access and padded main compartment while an elastic side pocket holds your keys and other incidentals. A rear external zip pocket holds additional personal items. You can even store your smartphone and a larger iPhone in the hood zipper. This bag is made from water-repellent material to keep your gear safe in all weather conditions, while a padded shoulder strap sits comfortably as you travel.
7. National Geographic Africa Camera Pouch ($20.50)Credit: National Geographic
Low cost meets rugged design with this compact system camera pouch. Despite being designed specifically for traveling photo pros, this compact, reliable, ergonomically-designed camera case is great for users navigating the urban jungle. You can wear the pouch around your belt or across your body as its secure belt connection and removable strap let you adapt it to your needs. A top flap opening lets you set up and stow your gear. The padded interior keeps everything safe while allowing you to store and transport additional items in the extra pockets.
8. AmazonBasics DSLR and Laptop Backpack ($39.99)Credit: Amazon
In the market for hands-free mobility? If you tend to travel with a full load, the AmazonBasics DSLR and Laptop Backpack offers plenty of protection and space to fit up to two DSLR cameras and multiple lenses – and a 17-inch laptop. A customizable padded interior and adjustable dividers maximize interior storage space and let you stuff in all your gear including your tripod, secured by straps. You can carry a lot in this backpack, but its adjustable, heavily-padded shoulder straps and wide, adjustable waist and chest straps will keep you in the comfort zone.
9. Think Tank Photo TurnStyle 5 Sling Camera Bag ($54.99)Credit: Think Thank Photo
Backpacks free up both your hands, but so do sling backs. If you seek the look and feel of a backpack but want the weight only on one shoulder, the Think Tank may be just the ticket. The Think Tank is generous enough to fit a mirrorless camera, up to four lenses, and even a tablet. Designed for urban shooters, it's a stylish way to tote your cameras around town to meetings or job sites. The slim, contoured, design has a wide shoulder strap for a comfortable fit and converts from a sling bag to a belt pack for further versatility. A customizable interior with designated pockets holds all your gear, while its water-resistant fabric is supplemented with a rain cover. The front organizer pocket holds chargers, memory cards and other accessories.
10. DRF Canvas DSLR Camera Case Backpack ($39.99)Credit: DRF
If you're into that casual rucksack look, check out the DRF Canvas camera case. Made from high-density canvas with metal fastenings, leather trim and a water-repellant cover, it can fit a DSLR camera, two lenses, and a 16-inch laptop. A drawstring seals the main compartment securely while a durable, soft cotton inner material insert absorbs shock and vibration to protect your camera. Without the liner, you can use the bag, which comes in dark gray, green or khaki, as a regular backpack.
11. Beaspire Camera Laptop Backpack ($59.99)Credit: Beaspire
If you're toting around a large load of photo gear, you might as well travel in style. With its high-density, durable, waterproof nylon all-weather cover, the Beaspire dual use camera bag features a customizable protective insert at the bottom of the main compartment to hold a DSLR and up to three lenses alongside additional necessities – including a 14-inch laptop. The side straps and flexible bottom cord can secure your tripod. Remove the inner shell, and you can use the Beaspire as a regular outdoor travel bag. It comes in dark and light gray, black, blue and red.
12. Kelly Moore Augusta Camera/Tablet Bag ($149.99)
Credit: Kelly Moore
This somewhat unusual camera bag combines a rose-red dressy purse with a camera kit to help keep your camera clean and in shape. Designed especially for women, the dual purpose bag can function as a regular purse or a camera bag with the two open pockets in the front and two zipper pockets and two open pockets on the side. The bag holds your camera and attached lens alongside accessories, a couple of lenses, a flash unit and a tablet. It comes with a six-piece cleaning kit and Joby UltraFit sling camera strap. A large zipper pocket on the back holds larger items while your gear goes in a padded basket with three adjustable dividers. Remove the basket to transform the Augusta into an everyday bag.
13. Jo Totes Gracie Camera Bag ($119)Credit: Jo Totes
With soft, leather-like materials and a cross body strap with shoulder pad, the Gracie Camera Bag is designed for professional women on-the-go. With seven spacious pockets, there's plenty of space for a camera, multiple lenses and an iPad. The Gracie is a stylish handbag presentable for both photo shoots and carrying around town to business meetings. A gray silky cotton interior fabric covers the protective foam that lines the bag to shield your camera equipment, while metal feet protect the camera and lenses from impact when you set the bag down on hard surfaces. It comes in Marsala, Butterscotch and Mint.
14. Evecase Digital SLR/DSLR Professional Camera Shoulder Holster Bag ($19.99)Credit: Evecase
The sleek nylon Evecase holster bag carries your compact system, hybrid, mirrorless and many other cameras in style, providing top-notch protection for your equipment. The padded top handle makes it easy to remove your camera. In addition to a water-resistant exterior, the bag is generously padded with dense foam for shock-proof safety. A comfy, adjustable shoulder strap with a wide non-slip pad keeps the weight distributed. A customizable inner divider keeps your camera and lens securely arranged. Other pockets provide additional storage for accessories and your smartphone.
15. AlturaPhoto Camera Sling Backpack ($27.99)Credit: AlturaPhoto
The sling backpack style may not be for everyone, but for those seeking a comfortable, stylish, lightweight design to fling over one shoulder, the durable Altura is a great fit. The bag's side entry has ample space for safe, convenient access to your gear, and features customizable padded divider compartments for DSLR and mirrorless or compact cameras, lenses, and accessories, and a separate tripod holder. The comfortable broad sling design allows for quick rotation from the back to the front of your body, for flexible access.