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Bags of Space - part 1 of 1 2 3 4 5 6

by Mike McNamee Published 01/04/2012


The dog can walk but how much space do you need for everything else?

Bags - General

For the photographer, picking a camera bag is a little like a lady picking a handbag - you invariably need more than one because no single bag fulfils the need! This is one reason why the bag manufacturers have such big stands at trade shows, it is just about the only way to make a best, first guess at what you need - there is nothing like trying a bag on and nothing beats a trained sales person fitting one to you. Before you start the quest for your camera bag you need a realistic list of what you NEED to carry. Note the capitalisation, it's what you need to carry, not what you think you might like to carry from the comfort of your living room. The list must include consideration of the following:

Camera Bodies
Computer Gear
How many?
What size format?
Power Pack
Is the lens to be attached?
Mobile Phone
How many?
How big are they?
Living & Survival
Do you want lens hoods on or off?
Tripod, Monopod?
On the top of the bag?
On the back of the bag?
In a separate bag?
First Aid
Flash Guns
Flash Modifiers
Cable Release
Batteries (flash and camera)
Storage media
GPS Devices


Once you have written your list out (and it may, by now, contain everything you own in the photographic line!) it is time to start weighing things, deleting things and questioning how much you really want to take them. Again, what seems like a worthwhile 'just in case' item in your lounge will not be regarded in the same way half way up Snowdon. That 3kg panoramic-head is of no use if you turn back before the summit because your shoulders cannot take any more! Note also that the list will change in accord with the likely terrain; you can comfortably carry much more on the flat than going upwards. In taking advice you also need to consider your strength, size and fitness. Your pack needs to be in proportion to your body size.

Booq bags

This feature sprang to life at Focus, when Gallagher and McNamee were standing idly by the Colour Confidence stand. "Have you seen our new bags?" they said. "No," we said, "send them to us for a look."

And so it was that a rather large box containing the Python range of bags arrived at Editor Towers. There are four 'Python' bags comprising the Booq range (although they make lots of other bags for laptops). Leaving the small Toploader aside for the moment, the other three will hold and iPad, or MacBook as indicated in the table. All bags have a metal tag riveted to them, with details of the lost&found which enables the company to contact the owner of the lost property and put them in touch with the finder. It will at least recover the bag from an honest finder.

All the bags are sturdily made, using ballistic nylon material. The zips are quite small and we did note some trouble opening them once the bags had become distorted with heavy, awkward-shaped loads. They use large plastic fastening clips where appropriate and glove-friendly zip pulls. They are all discretely labelled and neat in appearance (eg not festooned in straps, clips and 'rob me I am a photographer' logos!).

The Python TopLoader

This is more of a secure pouch than a carry bag. The top loading leaves the camera and (usually) attached lens ready for rapid extraction and use. The bag is slightly bigger than others we have seen but does not quite extend to a full-size, pro-DSLR and a 70-200 f2.8. However,, the body can be placed on the adjustable top shelf and a lens stored below. For an afternoon stroll with a DSLR and a short zoom it is ideal. It is equipped with a shoulder strap but not belt attachments. There are two side pockets for slim items such as a phone, filters or storage cards.

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1st Published 01/04/2012
last update 25/03/2020 12:33:21

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Updated 25/03/2020 12:33:21 Last Modified: Wednesday, 25 March 2020