camera bag reviews | SAN DIEGO PHOTOGRAPHER

  • all imgs on this post are straight from the manufacturer's site; I can't squeeze the time to take actual pix of them myself;
  • also, you can further find their specs (size, dimensions) from their actual manufacturer's site.
I never thought I would do a review on camera bags; but I know, before i buy anything, I ALWAYS look for reviews...

so, after collecting more camera bags than I need now (and yet to have found a perfect match), I think it's time to help out those who are in search of one, and are fluctuating amongst the sea of choices out there.

I hope my personal take and experience can shed some insight to help others avoid any pitfalls, or know what you'll be getting before getting it...

here goes...
1) 5 Million Dollar Crumpler

Got this when I had my Canon Rebel XS, kit lens, and the nifty fifty 50mm 1.8;


  • decent size, not too big, not too small
  • stylish, love the contrast colors between the inside and outside

  • once the gears are inside, it gets HEAVY
  • wearing it as a messenger style, really strains my shoulder, I had to constantly put my fingers underneath where the strap meets my shoulder to help even out the weight, always come back from a shoot with a red and sore shoulder
  • flap with valcro does not keep sand out - took it to a few beach shots, ALWAYS came home w/ sand INSIDE - freaked me out..don't want sand to get into my lens!
  • TOO SMALL for the 5D MARK II - that body simply would NOT fit into this bag!
I'll probably get rid of this bag soon as I no longer use my Rebel XS

 2) Tamarac Model 3548 Express Pack (backpack)

So, after the experience with the Crumpler 5 mil bag, I had to get a larger bag when I upgraded to the canon 5D Mark II.


  • backpack style is MUCH better than messenger style - evens out the weight on my body 
  • VERY roomy - can fit the following:
  • canon 5D Mark II with 50mm 1.8 attached AND demb flash bracket attached
  • canon 100mm 2.8 macro
  • canon 35mm 1.4L
  • canon 580ex ii flash
  • demb mega flip-it bounce card
  • still room for iphone, keys, wallet, and a sweater
  • very stylish colors - one of the reasons for my jumping on it in the first place
  • water resistant - took it to a beach shoot and while resting on my back, a wave hit me, I was all wet, but the water merely dripped off of it, so I was REALLY relief to see that!
  • unisex design - when I'm out with hubby, I always end up making him carry it after a while to leverage off the weight (and he still looks manly) =) altho, he normally doesn't mind carrying my LV speedy 30 either...haha...what a man!
  • a bit difficult to reach for lenses and cell phones while it rests on your back. would have to put it on the ground to take stuff out.

It's likely that I'll continue to carry this on actual shoots and even when I travel. It takes so much weight off of my shoulder

3) Jill-e Small red
haven't had a chance to use this yet, as it just arrived yesterday. But after admiring it, playing with it, and putting my gears in, I don't think I'm too fond of it
  • roomy - but not as roomy as the tamarac backpack
  • fits the following for me:
  • 5D Mark II with 50mm 1.8 attached and demb flash bracket attached
  • 35mm 1.4L
  • 580ex ii flash (barely fit)
  • demb mega flip-it bounce card (barely fit)
  • good size extra bag inside to hold little accessories (memory cards)
  • very well padded
  • removable velcro paddings
  • stylish color
  • too boxy - even tho it's a "small" vs the medium, it sits across my shoulder and screams "camera bag" pretty loud...I was hoping for a more understatement from this bag
  • comes with a messenger strap to go across the shoulder, but then the arm straps can't come off - looks a bit silly with wearing across the shoulder with two arm straps swinging around
  • does get to be quite heavy with the gears listed above inside it.

I'll probably carry the jill-e on short excursions...I wanted to use it for when I go out w/ DD for a short shoot...but seeing how boxy it is, it's gonna be difficult to manipulate with a kid in one arm and this thing across my body.

4) Jill-e Rolling Camera Bag - Moss Green

So, since I've tried the backpack style, messenger style, and they didn't seem to fit well, I thought I'd try the roller one, that way I can get all the weight off of me for good!

I jumped on the Jill-e rolling bag and LOVED the Moss Green one as I was browsing around...bit the bullet and dished out another $299 for yet another camera bag only to find...

that, when I received it, IT WAS REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY H-E-A-V-Y!!

 Even before ANYTHING gets put in it, it already weighs about 8 lbs!

I initially imagined that I could roll it along, then hang it on my shoulders when we get to beaches and such...but now, as it weighs 8lbs before me putting my gears in, it's just not possible for me to carry this thing!

So it's been sitting in the closet, awaiting for maybe a travelling event, then I can take it on the plane with me...otherwise, I don't see myself rolling this thing around on a normal shoot...

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