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Rant: Women and Camera Bags, specifically my 70-200 2.8

OK, photography, what the what! I am a woman first and a photographer second. And I’m pretty sure those odds are 50/50 (right??) So why do I have to move heaven and earth in my continuous search for a comfortable camera bag???

I’m not picky, I’m not even into super girly purses. In fact, before I started lugging around heavy gear, I’d be spotted with a plain tote bag or shoulder bag. The most expensive bag I ever bought myself was a nice Coach shoulder bag that was weather resistant and large enough for me to through a small notebook into. I’m not finicky.

But the day I started carrying heavier gear, I unwillingly started a seemingly endless journey- to find a suitable camera bag.

I’ve gone though something like 20 camera bags in the last three years; everything from sling bags, should bags, backpacks to toploaders. I’ve even tried a camera-purse monstrosities, and soon realized that they were extremely ill-thought out; dubbed the ‘4-inch-heels of photography.’ At one point I invested in a padded baggie for my camera and lens that I could just throw into any ol’ bag- not realizing that any ol’ bag will most likely be missing a slew of important features such as weight-balance, weatherproofing, and most importantly, PADDING.

I’m really not that picky. I just want a bag that looks semi-nice, nothing crazy or ultra girly, doesn’t scream “STEAL ME I’M WORTH GLORIA’S ENTIRE LIFE” and won’t give me premature hip injuries from my camera gear. And excuse me, but is every legit photography bag company only testing these things on men? WHERE do I fit my wallet and cellphone, and the occasional chap stick?? I don’t ever put my gigantic touch screen phone in my pants pocket and I definitely wouldn’t even try to fit a wallet in that baby. Is one or two zippered external pockets just too much to ask?

And these camera-purses. Where do I start. They market these towards the massive audience of women tired of these man-bags. They offer the exciting promise of a ‘fashionable and functional’ and ‘comfortable’ bag, made ‘by women, for women,’ Except when you actually test these bags, you realized that they are made with 95% effort towards being fashionable and 5% being functional. The amount of (or lack of) padding for your gear and the terribly cheap materials, along with the impossible to use unpadded straps make for a very cranky Gloria with blood circulation problems in her arm (WHY would you make a braided strap for a camera bag with no padding- WHY!???)

You know what? I don’t even carry that much gear with me most days. I can make do with my D7000, 50 1.8, and 70-200 2.8. I carry a small external battery for my phone, a small flashlight just because, and a lens pen. I rarely ever carry my flash or tripod unless it’s a planned shoot. I also rarely carry my fisheye or 35mm these days, not that either one takes up much room or weighs anything.

I am at a loss. I’ve finally just settled for whatever fits everything I need for the day without killing my back/shoulder, which usually ends up being my ginormous Lowepro Flipside 400. It’s a love/hate thing- I absolutely abhor backpacks, but I LOVE not having hip/back pains from carrying gear. I’d settle for my Flipside 300 except that the weight distribution just doesn’t feel nearly as good as the 400.

So in conclusion, I hate my camera bag(s), and I hate the camera bag industry. I really considered just making my own, but I’m much too lazy for that ish. :)

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