A bag is just a bag, right? Well, no, there’s quite a lot to consider when picking a bag. Find one that’s right for you in our group test of eight models from leading brands
ASHOULDER BAG is an essential purchase. Every photographer needs one – or three! Some collect even more, in an endless quest to find the ultimate solution. The unfortunate truth is that no such bag exists, not for every outfit in all situations, and we all have different preferences. But some bags get a lot closer than others and a really good bag, carefully considered and selected, is well worth the effort and investment.
' Shoulder bag' is a bit of a catchall description and covers a wide range of types and styles. For this review, we've excluded particular designs like messenger bags ( reviewed February 2017, issue 123), sling- bags ( a cross between a shoulder bag and a backpack) and waist- cum- shoulder bags. This selection contains a wide variety of styles, shapes and sizes, mostly offering tremendous value in the sub-£ 100 bracket, some of which don't really fit any other category and therefore tend to get missed out.
For example, the bargain- priced Case Logic Reflexion has a couple of great features that shouldn't be overlooked – notably a Gladstonetype top that opens wide and away from your body, and a pull- out equipment compartment. The Cullmann Amsterdam ' doctor's bag' is unusual, also with a Gladstonestyle opening that reveals the entire contents, and is excellent at lugging large amounts of gear. Then there's Lowepro's Protactic that offers a modular solution to accommodate just about any accessory. We've also included the Billingham 207, a bit of a luxury choice ( and yet still some way short of perfection!) but a bag that for some enthusiasts is Nirvana in canvas and leather.
There's a wide range of sizes here, and several of these bags will be available in both larger and smaller versions. Almost regardless of size though, the temptation is to cram everything in and fill every corner, but that often means making things harder to get at. A better idea is to go a size larger and keep all items accessible. An extra inch inside can make all the difference, yet the bag will only be a few grams heavier and no more difficult to carry.