The Best Camera Shoulder Bags for Photographers


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There’s a reason conflict photographers, urban press photographers, and casual shooters alike often seek out a shoulder bag for their camera bodies, lenses, and accessories. A sling bag or camera sling bag gives you easy access to your gear without having to remove it, and provides a convenient mobile office in a busy environment. Shoulder bags can also be easier to secure than backpacks in a busy urban environment; simply toss the bag forward to monitor its contents.

Browse the images of war photographers over the years and you will see many camera shoulder bags. Walk around any city and you’ll see portrait and street photographers using them. Indiana Jones even favored a well-worn canvas shoulder bag, and although we never see him using a camera; it’s not far to guess that there might have been a few rolls of film scrambling in there.

Camera shoulder bags are a time-tested favorite. Here are some of our in-market favorites from brands like PeakDesign, Bellroy, Domke and more.

A Old fashioned classic

Domke camera shoulder bag

Photo by B&H

This classic camera shoulder bag is loved by White House photographers and war reporters. The F-2 was manufactured in 1976 and was designed for professional photographers. It has instant access for up to two pro DSLRs, four to six lenses, flash and accessories. The adjustable, non-slip Gripper strap really stays in place, while twelve internal compartments and pockets organize memory cards, batteries, and more. The bag has a bottom reinforcement to give it shape and it comes with four compartment padded photo inserts. It also features water-resistant cotton canvas and the brand’s signature steel carabiners for a look that’s been classic for over 45 years.

For tech enthusiasts

The PeakDesign messenger bag on a white background

PeakDesign Messenger Bag

State-of-the-art design

Designed with acclaimed photographer Trey Ratcliff, Peak’s Everyday Messenger offers form and function in a compact package. Easily accessible via a secure one-handed closure, the bag has an internal volume of 6 litres. Customizable FlexFold dividers organize camera cases, lenses, drones, and more, and a dedicated sleeve can protect a 13-inch laptop. Recycled weatherproof fabric protects against rain and a stowable strap system increases external load capacity.

For the minimalists

A Bellroy Sling bag on a gray background

Bellroy shoulder bag

Amazon

Slim and minimalist, this sling from Bellroy offers one-handed access and self-compressing gussets to accommodate a variety of camera setups while keeping the bag slim. A double-ended zipper creates a super-wide opening and padded dividers can be adjusted to user preference. Removable tripod carrying straps with built-in anchor loops make it easy to transport a small, lightweight tripod.

For street photographers

The F-stop Florentin shoulder bag on a white background

Florentin F-stop shoulder bag

Photo by B&H

Designed to blend in with a trendy urban area like the Florentine neighborhood of Tel Aviv, this bag is designed to hold a compact camera kit and a few other essentials. It’s also incredibly durable thanks to water-resistant 420D nylon ripstop with a TPU laminate. There is also a large front zipped pocket with internal organizers and a removable, padded camera compartment. You can also hold a tablet up to 12 inches behind the camera insert.

A light and durable bag

The Think Tank shoulder bag on a white background

Think Tank Shoulder Bag

Amazon

The first iteration of ThinkTank’s Retrospective series proved to be a workhorse. The second version builds on this foundation, with a lightweight, form-fitting design that hugs the user’s body. A new secure zip opening under the main flap stows away when not in use. Otherwise, it retains many of the classic’s features, including a 15-inch laptop slot, hook-and-loop “sound mufflers” for silent opening when needed, and a generously padded shoulder strap. The Retrospective series is available in six different sizes, depending on both user preference and the type of camera gear being carried.

The basic shoulder bag

The Luke Case camera shoulder bag on a white background

Luke Case Camera Shoulder Bag

Case Luke

This waxed canvas bag can be used with or without the padded camera inserts, providing versatility on the go. It looks like a traditional, basic shoulder bag, so you won’t have to worry about publicity if there’s an expensive camera inside. The insert fits a DSLR camera with one or two additional lenses, and the custom-designed padded insert offers removable dividers that can be folded away when not in use.

The premium shoulder bag

The Indy Observer Collection bag on a white background

Indy Collection Observer

Observer collection

Described as “a camera bag for the photographer who knows the best place for a camera is in their hands”, the Indy’s 2.8-liter capacity can hold small to medium-sized DSLRs and rangefinders. Crafted in the USA from vegetable-tanned Italian leather and lined with Italian suede, the bag will acquire a patina with use. An expandable internal pocket can hold a lens or bottle, and the concealed zippered side access allows for easy access on the go.

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