I've had a few camera bags over the years, but not one that I loved or found terribly useful. Up until now that is!
I'm not really a girly-girl, but I wanted something different from the norm. When it comes to camera bags, that's black and square-ish. I wanted something that looked more like a purse. Also, there's nothing like carrying around a big black camera bag with the red blaze of Canon that screams "I've got an expense camera/equipment here. Any takers?" Maybe not, but it could happen.
I looked online first and had been eyeing the gorgeous ones at Kelly Moore Bags. They are a bit pricey and I really wanted one, but I also wanted to see the bag in person before shelling out that amount. Not that I wouldn't pay that price if I absolutely loved the bag, but I really wanted to get just the right one. Because no one in my area carried them, I decided to see if I could find something in a local store first.
I looked at a few places before stumbling upon at a few at a local big box electronics store. Even though I'm really happy with the bag, their service is sometimes suspect and I'd rather not give them any publicity. They shall remain nameless.
Anyway, the bag I bought in that store is from Jo Totes, who specialize in "camera bags for ladies". I'm pretty sure mine's the "Betsy" in Chocolate, however the one I got didn't come with the laptop divider. That's just as well, because I would have just removed it.
It looks more like a purse, doesn't have any camera maker logo on it and fits most of my gear, the pieces that I use most often. I do have a few peripheral items that don't fit, but I probably wouldn't carry them around anyway.
The bag comes with a few adjustable padded dividers so that it can be configured in a number of ways. I also borrowed a small one from my old bag, so that I can stack the shorter lenses and have more room. The bag is heavily padded and seems to protect my stuff really well, although, it hasn't really had any hard knocks yet. I generally try to avoid those. ;)
The best part is that if I remove a few items (that I'm not going to use that day), the bag can be used as a shooting bag. If I wear it as a messenger bag (across my body), I can flip open the flap and grab my camera without having to set it down. I can also just leave the flap open to grab another lens or what have you. If I do set it down, it stays up-right because of it's flat bottom.
Here are some shots of it. I took these with my smart phone, so I'm not that pleased with them, but they show what they are supposed to.
Front view: The two front pockets are good for small items, like spare memory cards, spare lens caps, remote trigger, cell phone, keys, etc. The flap features a zippered pocket that I've been using to store my manual and other papers. Here, I have the messenger bag handle attached here. However, it also comes with a shorter handle and a shoulder protector.
Back view: The back features a large pocket big enough for a tablet.
Inside view: All my gear inside. It's hard to see here, but there's a little room to spare. It's also deep enough, that I can throw my wallet or other stuff on top providing I cover up the back of the camera first. I'm not sure if this is the best way to store the camera, with the lens facing down, but so far it's been working for me. I usually tuck in the blue camera strap beside the camera, but here I moved it out of the way to see the inside better.
Bag and gear: Just so you can see what was inside, here's a shot of the empty bag and all of the gear in front: Canon 40D camera body with a 17-85mm lens attached, 55-250mm lens, 60mm macro lens, 50mm lens, battery charger, battery pack, spare card, spare lens/body cap, remote, and manual. Like I said above, I could probably fit a little more in.
I could go on and on. I just love this bag. I only wish I'd found it sooner.