Wednesday, March 3

the camera bag dilemma

This is going to be a little long, so if you have no interest in cameras, or camera bags, come back tomorrow and I’ll try to post something more to your liking. 

If you’ve been hanging around here a bit, you know a thing or two about me.  One, I love taking photos.  I am so far from being the best, but I so love doing it and learning more and improving that I don’t care.  Two, I am a complete and utter bag snob.  I have a collection of bags that would pair very nicely with Imelda Marco’s shoes.  To paraphrase Apple, “There’s a bag for that.”   Three, I haven’t been happy with my camera bag situation for a while.

I love bags.  I change mine all the time.  I have been known to change outfits because I really want to carry a particular bag.  (I did it last night.)   So the camera bags available to women have been a little disappointing to me. 

I have a regular camera bag.  Over it.  And the big Canon backpack.  Which definitely works, but it’s bulky and I sometimes feel I have a sign on on my bag that says – hey, this is the bag you want to steal.   Also, I don’t always want to bring everything with me.   And sometimes, you want to bring your camera, but also need the rest of life’s stuff and don’t want to carry two bags.  You know the stuff: keys, wallet, phone, etc.  I found too, that it can be a nuisance to stop, lay down the backpack, open it up, change lenses, zip it back up … etc.  And sometimes, you’re wearing a cute outfit, and don’t want to wreck it with large, manly looking backpacks.

I looked at several new lines of women’s bags.  And they come in every style from cute to chic.  But to a one, they are all made of synthetic materials.  What is a bag snob to do?  (Also, I completely balk at the idea of spending $150-$250 for synthetic leather.  I do.)    (Disclaimer: I may still get one.  Some of them really look good.)

So I got to thinking.  As a consummate bag snob, my children’s diaper bags were Kate Spade and Coach.  (I know I have issues, work with me here.)   They were pretty much languishing away in the closet.   And then I heard about these lens inserts from Domke.  They come in different configurations, so I was able to work it out.  I haven’t used them in practice yet – I just got them yesterday.  But here is how it looks.  (I realize in the photos the bag is a little wonky looking – I had to hold the strap out of the way with my toe. Everything, including the inserts, lay straight.)   

March 2010 002 March 2010 005 March 2010 004

So far I am pretty happy with the result.  I can reach right in to grab a lens, the top zips shut, and it holds all my every day things too.  The bag is a little cushy, as most diaper bags are, and the lens insert is also cushioned.  Now I just need to go somewhere to try it out.  I may try the Kate Spade one first – it is all fabric (much lighter than a Coach leather bag – they can be a little heavy empty), and the top zips closed all the way across the top. 

The best part is, I can pull these inserts out and use them in another bag if that works for me.  All for under $40 at Amazon.  (I do love my Amazon.)  If you decide to try this, I would just remind you to check the dimensions of the bag and the inserts before you order them to make sure they will fit. 




  1. I have been looking for something like this. I have the big ol' honkin' Canon bag and you are screams to be stolen! Right now I have an LL Bean tote, monogrammed(yes, I am a bag snob), if I carry a canvas tote, it must be monogrammed,LOL! Anyhoo...the tote holds the smaller camera and things, but not the Canon. I'll have to look for your bag on Amazon.

  2. What a great idea! I may have to copy you. :o)

  3. Ohhh I'm glad you shared this! I don't have nearly as much equipment as you, but I did just get my first digital SLR and was wondering if there wasn't a chicer way of carrying it! Brilliant! XO

  4. I change outfits because I want to wear a certain bag too. Haha. By the way, great idea for a camera bag.

  5. Stephanie, you read my mind. I am hoping to get into the city tomorrow and always the same questions pops up, little camera because it is easy or the Canon because I can take a better range. But then...which bag? I was thinking of the backpack which is handy for the camera but not a good look with a black cashmere coat. I sometimes stuff the Canon into a soft covered bag and pop it in my handbag.... Longchamps, over the shoulder soft roll up travel you see..same problem here. Love your solution. Must check that one out...yours looks great. Thanks for the suggestions.

    Jeanne :)

  6. Looks good to me! But I am not a bag snob..or any kind of snob..well, I can't stand paper plates and styrofoam cups :)

  7. Very clever. I use a Longchamps bag for my Canon but a bit awkward with different lenses rolling around so you (again) answered my question. Thank You.

  8. look at how nicely those fit in that bag. i love bags and purses and all that stuff. nothing makes me happier that a new purse in spring and fall. i have tons.

  9. This is such a great idea Stephanie! It makes perfect sense. I had a Kate Spade diaper bag(actually 2) and kind of missed it once I was done with needing one. It was so practical. I hate taking a camera bag and a purse...too much, but this takes care of that. Currently I risk putting my camera in my bag with no protection and have already dropped my bag...and yes broke my camera. Luckily I had the insurance from Best Buy. You should think about posting this again...this is a great post! and funny too!

    Oh...and I sent my friend Lorna a card a few years ago that you would love. On the front it said, "That's a lot of money to spend on a bag, she said." and on the inside...."I knew right then we could not be friends." Of course Lorna and I had a few good laughs knowing that we both spend way too much on bags...and shoes...etc.