Messenger-style camera bags are one of the most stylish and safest ways to carry your gear around. Just sling one of these photo bags over your shoulder and you’ll look like a classic street photographer while protecting your gear from bumps, scrapes and prying hands that might want to snatch your pricey camera and lens out from under you. Though they take their visual cues from the bags bike messengers use, these shoulder satchels are designed specifically with photographers in mind.
In this gear guide, we pick our three favorite camera messenger bags in 2022 in our popular Good, Better, Best format. Check out our picks below and on the following pages and find a cool new bag to help keep your photo gear safe and protected at your side. You can see our three favorite camera backpacks here.
Editor’s Note: Good, Better, Best is a product guide series on Digital Photo where we suggest three buying options for our favorite photo gear. A product qualifies as “Good,” if it’s affordable yet still offers decent quality for the price. “Better” means it’s a solid medium-tier choice that we think will appeal to most photographers both on features and price. “Best” are top-tier photography products that offer the pinnacle in quality but also the highest price. See our Good Better Best guides to the best printers here, DSLRs here, the best cameras for beginners here, the best macro lenses here, the top camera backpacks here, the top superzoom cameras here, the top budget flashes here, and the top ring lights here.
GOOD: Domke F-5XB
Domke is a storied name in camera bags with a reputation for making tough, understated messenger-style photo bags that will last a lifetime. The Domke F-5XB is no exception; it’s crafted from weather resistant canvas with a weatherized flap on the front to protect your gear from the elements. For such a high quality product, the F-5XB is reasonability priced. Though it’s on the smaller side – 10 x 7.2 x 4.5 inches – there’s enough room to hold a DSLR or mirrorless camera, a couple of lenses and small accessories. The F-5XB consists of a zippered, padded main compartment lined with soft, Velcro-type material and a removable divider. There’s also a long, thin compartment on the front of the bag and a U-shaped, exterior pouch for documents such as camera manuals. Along with using the F-5XB as traditional, shoulder-style camera bag, you can also remove the strap and thread it through a belt loop to create a waist/hip pack. The bag comes in several colors but we like the military-style camouflage version the best.