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Can anyone recommend a DSLR camera case?

I'm going to Scotland in a few months and I'd really like to bring my DSLR camera with me. Plus maybe an additional lens.

I've never traveled with it before so the only case I have is the one it came with, which is pretty big. I've googled cases a few times but they all seem to be aimed at professionals and are still quite large. I'd like something that's maybe small enough to put in my carryon bag or day bag.

Any recommend something?

Posted by
2261 posts

Sarah, personally I've haven't had a need for a case when it comes to traveling with luggage. I remove the lens from the body and wrap it/bury it all in my clothing in my luggage. I normally carry a daypack as well, and if I like it can go there, but I feel it has enough protection either way. I typically carry two lenses, a 16-85 zoom, and a 35. When cameras stopped coming with cases, I stopped using them.
Also, I think my favorite accessory is my Black Rapid strap which allows me to carry my DSLR cross-body, camera at my hip and always ready, and it takes the weight off the neck and puts it on your shoulder.
Good luck with your photos!

Posted by
32247 posts

Sarah,

There are all kinds of possibilities, depending on what type, size and format you're looking for. Have a look at some of these websites to see if anything appeals to you.....

http://www.thinktankphoto.com/default.aspx

http://www.lowepro.com/

http://www.crumpler.com/au/camera-bags-straps

http://www.tombihn.com/ (not specifically for cameras, but with an insert they can be used for that)

http://www.kata-bags.ca/

http://www.tamrac.com/

Which dSLR model are you using? For a smaller dSLR with Lens plus an additional Lens, a smaller bag should work fine. A bag having a few accessory pockets for spare batteries or memory cards is useful. It's difficult to suggest a camera bag that could be placed inside your carry-on bag, without having some idea of what type of carry-on bag you're using.

Posted by
726 posts

Ken gave a great list of the main brands of camera bags.

Here are a couple of other considerations:

  • Weatherproofing -- if you are going to Scotland, you might need a bag will keep your camera dry in the rain.

  • Are you carrying any other electronics on the plane? Often I find that a bag that works well for carrying my camera and electronics on the plane is not a bag that works well for walking around all day. You may have to balance competing needs.

I usually travel with a pretty full micro 4/3 outfit and either an iPad or a MacBook Air. The 4/3 system is a bit smaller that a minimal dSLR setup, but it's still pretty close in size. Chargers, cables and such always go in my carry-on.

Here are a few bags you might want to take a look at:

  • LowePro Passport Sling --- it's very lightweight and should work great for a dSLR with an extra lens, with room to spare for daily necessities. The newer models can hold an iPad as well (I think). The only drawback is that it has absolutely no weatherproofing. I would definitely keep some big ziploc bags around to protect your gear in the rain.

  • ThinkTank Retrospective 5 (or maybe the Retrospective 7, depending on the size of your gear). I used the Retrospective 5 on my last trip an absolutely loved it. It a bit heavy and not cheap, but it was amazingly comfortable to carry all day, every day for a three week trip. On the plane, I stuffed my MacBook Air and the Retrospective 5 into a lightweight collapsible tote bag, which all fit under the seat.

Backpacks are out of the question for me, in part because my main luggage is a backpack and in part because I find them very awkward for shooting.

Posted by
3941 posts

I will second Dave's recommendation of a cross body strap. I hate having my camera dangling around my neck and bouncing on my chest. I got one from Joby -

http://joby.com/camera-straps/ultrafit-sling-strap-for-women

  • and so easy to attach and detach the strap if you wanted to put it on a tripod. I got it as a birthday gift from hubby and it is one of the most useful and favourite things I got for awhile!

And my camera isn't an SLR - well, not a 'true' big one - I got one of the mirrorless ones (Canon EOS M) - much smaller - and had 3 lenses - the kit 18-55, a 55-250 and a 22.

I bought a bag on etsy from Darby Mack. It was pricey - but I love how it looked more like a regular bag than a camera bag, and I could wear it cross body as well...and she has other bags that are a bit cheaper - but I wanted the linen one :)
https://www.etsy.com/ca/listing/192175502/french-linen-waterproof-canvas-camera?ref=sr_gallery_21&ga_search_query=darby+mack+camera+bag&ga_ref=auto3&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery

Posted by
2081 posts

Sarah,

It will depend on how you want to travel and only you will know.

Think about what you NEED to take vs what you WANT to take and go from there.

Put all the stuff you NEED to take and lay it out. if you dont, you will probably end up getting a bag too small for your NEEDs and end up looking/buying all over again.

then go looking for a bag.

gather up all of the stuff you want to bring and take all that to your local photo shop and look for bags. Note that you may find something at your local goodwill or 2nd hand store or Target or places like that. I noticed that at a couple of our local shops they had some used cases along with many film SLRs. Im sure the film camera market has dropped out where you live too, so you may find something used in your area. I would also go to luggage stores too since they will carry not just luggage, but also bags.

This is how i did things when i had 2 SLRs hanging off my neck when i was into photography many years ago.

i made/modified some hard cases to clip onto a belt. I made a heavy duty (1.5" wide) leather belt and put some spring clips on each side near my right and left hands. The clips are like the ones on a dog leash. The cases, usually come with "d" rings on them, if not, i attached some to the cases. I could then clip the cases onto the belt and my hands were free since i had the cameras around my neck. If i didnt want both, i didnt have to bring both, but just bring the ones i wanted.

Since you have time, i would do some dry runs with what you can find locally but gather what you want to bring so you dont have to find a larger/smaller case if you forget or add something. If you can find one that collapses, i would opt for that unless you dont mind it taking up space in your carryon.

happy trails.

Posted by
5837 posts

Ray makes a good point about your choice being dependent on how you want to travel. It's also dependent on how you value protecting equipment vs capturing the fleeting photographic image.

In the 70s amateur photographers used "eveready" camera cases that some called "neveready" cases. Having lived in Berkeley in the late 60s, I saw how pros carried multiple cameras while running from exploding CN/CS gas granades. Pros never used camera cases. But pros can expense damaged gear.

Posted by
221 posts

I bought an Ape Case(holster style) from Amazon that I used for my trip to Europe in Sept. I was able to carry my DSLR with an extra zoom lens, memory cards, cleaner, etc. It has a "bonnet" that you pull out of a pocket to cover it with when it rains. The strap is adjustable, and I was able to wear it cross body. It really wasn't that heavy to carry. I used a carry on and a personal bag for my travel. I was able to stow the camera in its case in the personal bag, and still have space for meds and various other items.

Posted by
40 posts

Thanks everyone!

I'm thinking that I will maybe just keep it in my luggage and then keep it in my day pack. But I will get a case for the lens. I think it'll be ok in my day bag. I'll just be careful.

Posted by
32247 posts

Sarah,

Are you planning to check your luggage during the flight, or will you be going with carry-on only? Packing a dSLR in checked luggage is often a bit "risky" as it's more likely to be stolen or damaged. I always take my camera as carry-on. Another point to consider is that spare Lithium-Ion batteries can not be carried in checked luggage.

Posted by
16894 posts

When I used to carry my film SLR, I also only carried it in my regular, cross-body day bag and regular luggage, with whatever dual-purpose padding seemed appropriate (scarf, gloves, socks, etc.) When you don't have the camera out for use, there may be some benefit in not carrying a bag that broadcasts "expensive camera."

Posted by
40 posts

It'll be in a carry on bag. I don't trust baggage handlers. I'm going to get one of those padded inserts for my bag as well. I have a bag I've taken to Europe before and I'm certain it'll fit, but I'll test it before I go and if it's cumbersome I might just forgo my SLR altogether.

I was thinking about it and I didn't like the idea of carrying a big camera case with me. It's heavy, takes up lots of room and I think it looks attractive to thieves.

Posted by
32247 posts

Sarah,

"I was thinking about it and I didn't like the idea of carrying a big camera case with me. It's heavy, takes up lots of room and I think it looks attractive to thieves."

I've been travelling with a LowePro Nova 4AW for several years, but it stays in the hotel most of the time, so it's not visible to thieves. When I'm out sightseeing, I just take the Camera and one extra Lens and have never had any problems with that method.

I do agree that it's heavy, and I'm considering other "lighter" options for future trips.

Posted by
3243 posts

Hi Sarah,

The last time I traveled I took 2 lenses, but I picked one lens for the day. I have a Canon T2i Rebel. I don't like camera bags. I carried a Pacsafe Metro 200 and the camera with the lens chosen for the day fit in the main part of the bag. I could also carry all my other purse items; i.e., many glasses(age appropriate), iPod, nook, money, etc. When in transport I had the extra lens in my carryon. This last trip I took my normal lens, 40 mm, and a 18-55 mm lens, so both were pretty light and small. I ended up never using anything but the normal lens and my pictures were great. I also have a 15-85 millimeter lens, which I opted not to take because I hate the weight and I wouldn't be able to use this purse. In other words, if you stay relatively small on the lens, this purse works great!

Wray

Posted by
16 posts

Hi Sarah

I used a pacsafe v8 bag for two weeks in Europe. It could hold my dlsr and an additional lens in the main compartment and another lens and the flash in the side pocket. At that point it is kind of heavy, most of the time I left one lens back at the hotel room. I liked it since it wasn't too bulky to carry around.

Posted by
6 posts

Sarah-- I had the same desire before we went to Germany and Italy in September and found just what i needed on Amazon for $25. VG Mithra. I got the blue and it doesn't look like a camera bag. It's small, but carried my Canon 50D with a 17-50 lens, 3 batteries and charger, several cards, my manual, split neutral density filters and polarizer, as well as carrying misc small things. I was able to carry a bottle of water inside as well when needed (could also probably carry another short lens instead) . It has a small pocket on the outside in which I stored my RS guidebook and a small journal and pencil. Looks feminine also. I exchanged out the strap for one a little sturdier that i had from another bag. We also did some extra padding inside with foam which partitioned and protected the lens. I used this as my carry on, but didn't have any chance to check with rain issues. I did carry shower caps (from hotels) in case. Will carry a white kitchen trash bag which compacts up to a small square when we go to Scotland. Best of luck.

Posted by
210 posts

I am done with camera cases when traveling......not that they offend me or anything. They just broadcast what I am packing. I put my Canon 50D in my day pack......wrapped in a small towel for some padding. I toss in a large Baggie for rain protection. Same thing with my other lens.....if I forsee a need. I include batteries, disks, guide book, maps, iPhone, ipad, P&S,...............and a water bottle in an outside pouch. I do use a RS Civita backpack. I am good to go. Hope this helps!

Posted by
337 posts

HI, I'm another for no extra bag, carry it in a daypack , extra lens gets put in a pair of thick socks, also overshoulder straps,
Black rapid have a number securing in the tripod screw.

Posted by
2 posts

Hi, I know this post is a little late and I'm not sure if this has been mentioned before....
If you're looking for something to put a camera inside another bag an option is a padded insert. I've seen a number dotted around in various places which are quite cheap to give an example of a few - http://www.lovecases.co.uk/camera-cases-bags/inserts-and-dividers.html but you could also try places like ebay and amazon to see if they have stock or better pricing.

I've used one of these with a Dunlop messenger style bag and it worked fine so as long as your bag is big enough it saves you having to buy a separate bag to place inside another one which saves on space as well if you're carrying other things inside the bag aside from your camera gear.