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FAQ About DSLR Cases and Bags

It's one thing to dream about submitting a Your Shot photo to National Geographic. It's another to choose to carry your digital SLR, hefty lenses and all, through mountain trails and unfamiliar urban terrain. The right DSLR camera bag can be the deciding factor on whether you'll take your camera along for the ride. Ask yourself the following questions, so you can hone in on what you really need from a DSLR bag.

What type of case is good for packing lots of camera gear?

A backpack is hands down the most comfortable when carrying large lenses and other cumbersome gear over extended periods. Besides the support, many backpacks provide access from the top turret, the side, or both, which is useful when you need to pull out your camera in a jiffy. A messenger bag, with its top-load opening, lets you quickly reach for your gear without taking the bag off. Both bags may also come with lots of cubby holes and pockets for accessories.

What bag can protect both my camera gear and tech gadgets?

You'll likely appreciate a backpack, daypack or shoulder bag with a dedicated compartment for your digital devices. You wouldn't want to take any chances with pricey digital equipment so it's best to stash them in a separate padded area.

What's a case or bag that's discreetly styled for city travel?

Urban-inspired shoulder, sling or messenger bags can pass for an everyday bag. They don't scream camera bag so you feel more secure toting your camera in crowed and tight spaces. Besides looking fashionable, some feature a removable camera compartment so you can transform the bag into an everyday tote. The removable insert keeps your camera protected, while freeing up space inside the bag for personal items.

What kind of bag can comfortably and reliably carry both my camera and outdoor equipment?

Put weather resistance and loads of room near the top of the list for must-have features. Whether you're shooting adventure sports or traipsing through remote locations in search of that money shot, you need a bag that can withstand rough treatment. A built-in rain cover or waterproof exterior is a plus. Look for adjustable features, like in the harness or waist belt, so you can walk or hike comfortably for hours. Besides capacity, check out exterior features such as clips or the ability to carry a tripod.

What's a no-fuss carrying option?

If you just want to carry your DSLR, a toploader case is all you need. Throw it over your shoulder and enjoy full and easy access to your gear without putting the bag down. Some are designed to also fit a kit lens, flash, memory cards, and other accessories.