Home Buyer's Guide Bags & Cases 2011
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Bags & Cases

From compact slings to full-sized cases, there's an ideal carrying solution for every photographic expedition

This Article Features Photo Zoom



When taking your photography out on the road, it’s essential to have the right bag to carry the right equipment. This past year in camera bags and cases has been all about making it more convenient to transport gear, especially with the convergence of still and motion images. A variety of new models even offer multiple transport options with just a single purchase, while others have improved on their lines to offer classic designs with modern features.

BILLlINGHAM
Available in khaki FibreNyte with chocolate leather and brass fittings or black FibreNyte with black leather and nickel fittings, the stylish f/Stop Series from Billingham brings a particular elegance to satchel-style bags. Available in two sizes, the f/Stop 2.8 and the wider f/Stop 1.4, both have an interior capacity large enough for a DSLR with a lens attached, flash and small lens. Attaching available AVEA Pockets to the external leather straps can expand carrying options further, and a Front Dump Pocket and a full-width rear-zippered pocket store essential small items like memory cards, manuals and maps. Estimated Street Price: $239 (f/Stop 2.8); $260 (f/Stop 1.4).

CLIK ELITE
Optimized for fast access to a DSLR with a medium, large or telephoto lens attached, the ChestPack series from Clik Elite is built for adventure. The ChestPacks fit snugly against your body through a four-point harness that doesn’t restrict freedom of movement, ideal for active photographers who ski or hike. A molded back panel vents heat and moisture. The accessory pocket on the top keeps smaller accoutrements like batteries and memory cards organized and accessible. The ChestPack will also dock into any Clik Elite backpack via the ChestPort system for keeping your camera close, with the heavier load of extra gear comfortably on your back. Available in Clik Gray or Black. List Price: Begins at $90.

DOMKE
The Photo Courier from Domke offers photographers the easy-retrieval charm of a bike messenger-style bag. Available in cotton black canvas or the “stressed” appeal of the brown RuggedWear waxed exterior, the Photo Courier is available in three sizes—small, medium and large, all of which house a camera with lenses and accessories that can be cushioned safely with Domke inserts and adjustable dividers. The medium and large Photo Courier bags also include a sleeve in front of the bag for a laptop. A storage pocket under the flap is sized for smaller items, and the back slot allows the bags to be carried safely on luggage carts. For nature and wildlife photographers, the Velcro® panels that hold the bags shut can be silenced with added cover flaps when being quiet matters. List Price: Begins at $139.

FLASHPOINT
For long travels, the weatherproof and watertight WSA-84 hard case from Flashpoint keeps your gear from getting wet. The case is built to be unbreakable with an Ultra High Impact structural polymer exterior. Inside, high-density foam can be cut to best fit your equipment in a large 21.2x12.6x7.56-inch chamber. For traveling by air, the purge valve equalizes atmospheric pressure changes, while in-line wheels make the case easier to carry. The case can be locked via two padlock clasps, and the weight is only about 15 pounds to save on check-in costs. Estimated Street Price: $159.

KATA
Kata’s double-compartment Bumblebee series of backpacks—the Ultra-Light (UL-222), Pro-Light (PL-220) and D-Light (DL-210)—includes a lower section with room for a DSLR and lens attached or a small HDV camcorder, as well as additional lenses, flash and accessories. (The PL-220/UL-222 step it up a notch with enough room for two DSLR bodies.) There’s a laptop slot in each and camera strap hooks for keeping the weight of the camera off of your neck via compatible camera straps. The top pocket contains organization panels and pockets for stowing everyday items and accessories. Modular removable cocoon pouches are supplied for keeping more delicate gear separate and accessible. There’s also a tripod sling and a rain cover. The PL-220/UL-222 include a reversible Elements Cover for protecting against rain (black side) and direct sunlight (silver side). Estimated Street Price: Begins at $135.

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