Which leather camera bag is best?
Some casual photo- and video-takers are satisfied with the results they get from the point-and-shoot cameras built into their smartphones, but not all. Enthusiasts and those who seek higher-quality images want the flexibility and control that comes from using real cameras with interchangeable lenses.
A good camera bag can hold your cameras, lenses, filters, tripod and more. And a leather camera bag does all this in style. If you are looking for a water-resistant canvas backpack for your camera and gear, take a look at the Tiding Vintage Leather Camera Backpack.
What to know before you buy a leather camera bag
Camera bags are functional, designed to hold digital cameras, bodies, lenses and accessories. Leather camera bags add a bit of fashion because they look great and wear well, some looking even better with age.
Types of camera bags
- Shoulder: This is the most common type, where you sling a single strap over one shoulder. Its design makes it easy to remove things quickly. Shoulder bags are also the most stylish, often looking more like large fashionable purses than utilitarian camera bags.
- Sling: These modified messenger bags are worn like holsters, with a single strap that crosses over your chest, making them a good choice for photographers who want quick access to their cameras.
- Backpack: This type of camera bag is usually the largest, has the most padding and holds the most gear. The downside is that it is not as easy to work out of, because it is made primarily for carrying your camera gear from one place to another.
- Luggage: Wheelie bags make great camera bags for air travelers who need to take their gear with them. They hold a lot but have no exterior pockets for quick access.
Types of leather
- Cowhide has the natural texture and coloring of the cow’s skin and hair. Full grain cowhide is tough and has imperfections. Top grain cowhide has those imperfections removed and is softer and more pliable.
- Suede is the inside of the leather hide and has a soft feel and slightly fuzzy look.
- Artificial leather, also known as faux leather and sometimes labeled PU leather, is manufactured with smooth consistency and is the cheapest of the leathers.
Most camera bags list their exterior dimensions. This misleads some consumers into buying a bag that doesn’t have as much interior space as they need. One reason for this is they forget they want to use some of the bag’s space for their laptop, phone, keys and wallet.
What to look for in a quality leather camera bag
- Compartments: The more compartments in your camera bag, the easier it is to keep things organized.
- Dividers: Most bags have several interior dividers, usually made of padded fabric panels that attach via nylon hook-and-loop fastening strips and can be configured however you like. Larger bags have more panels.
- Pockets: Exterior pockets are handy for keeping the gear you want to grab quickly.
Look for heavy-duty zippers that open and close from both sides for easiest access. Also look for double stitching at the stress points where straps are attached. Flaps with buckle closures are more secure than those with hook-and-loop fasteners.
Quick, easy access to your camera and gear is important when you’re busy taking action shots, so look for bags that have quick-reach pockets with simple flap openings.
The best way to keep your cameras and lenses safe is by surrounding them with padding. Look for pads you can arrange to fit your equipment so your gear is held snugly in place.
How much you can expect to spend on a leather camera bag
Small leather camera bags can be found for less than $50. Depending upon the quality of the materials and the prestige of the designer, camera bags can cost more than $2,000. Most leather camera bags cost from $50-$100.
Leather camera bag FAQ
How big a camera bag do I need?
A. Customers who leave reviews often say that the bag they bought turned out to be too small, so buy one with enough room to accommodate your personal items.
What’s the best way to store all the little things I need to carry?
A. Small items such as media cards and lens wipes are easy to find when you keep them in a small zippered pouch made of mesh or see-through plastic.
What’s the best leather camera bag to buy?
Top leather camera bag
Tiding Vintage Leather Camera Backpack
What you need to know: This backpack is made of full grain cowhide leather with premium two-way zippers and is loaded with pockets.
What you’ll love: Inside this spacious 15.7- by 12.9- by 8.2-inch bag are two main compartments with four pouches, a zip pocket and a padded laptop sleeve. In front, it has two zipper pockets and room for a tablet. In the back, there is a hidden zip pocket that keeps your valuables safely out of sight.
What you should consider: The external USB charging port does not come with a battery pack.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top leather camera bag for the money
Basic Gear Rustic Leather Camera Bag
What you need to know: This 10- by 7.25- by 4.5-inch bag holds a camera and one extra lens.
What you’ll love: It’s made of full grain buffalo leather, naturally distressed for a classic rugged look, hand-sewn and reinforced at all stress points. It has a separate pocket for your tablet, two pockets under the main flap and three outside pockets. The removable shoulder strap is lined with thick cotton padding for extra comfort and strength.
What you should consider: The Velcro closures don’t match the quality of the leather.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
Vintage Crafts Genuine Leather DSLR Camera Shoulder Bag
What you need to know: This 11- by 9- by 5-inch messenger bag is made of strong, supple goat leather and holds nearly 500 cubic inches of camera gear.
What you’ll love: The lining is made of soft velvet to protect your photographic gear and has two adjustable padded dividers so you can customize your fit. The rivets, metal zippers and buckle closures are sturdy and the three exterior pockets are roomy.
What you should consider: Some reviewers report an initial offensive smell, though they say it goes away after a few days.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Want to shop the best products at the best prices? Check out Daily Deals from BestReviews.
Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.
David Allan Van writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
Copyright 2022 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.