You probably have one or more camera bags to carry camera equipment. Shoulder bag, backpack, maybe a stroller. Do you put the camera in a bag with or without a lens attached? Or does it depend on how you use your camera bag?
There are many ways to pack a camera bag. Everyone has a preferred way of placing equipment in the main compartment. It also depends on the type of bag you are using. The shoulder bag will have a completely different way of placing the equipment.
I think there are different types of bags for different types of photography. The backpack is perfect for transporting your equipment while hiking. It allows you to carry a lot of weight without much difficulty. Unless you have a poorly designed backpack, of course.
The shoulder bag offers better access on the spot. You can easily grab a lens or camera because you don’t have to take your backpack off your back. There are backpacks that allow you to rotate them in front of you. But often it is not so convenient, especially when it contains a lot of heavy equipment.
I also use a stroller, which can be most convenient during the wedding. It offers the flexibility to take accessories with you, without hanging on your shoulder or packed on your back without easy access.
I wrote an article about camera bags and their purpose some time ago. But no matter what bag you use, how do you fit the camera in that bag? Do you have it with or without a lens attached?
How to pack a camera in a backpack?
I believe the most common camera bag is a backpack. This is understandable because it can carry a lot of equipment, while weight is not a big issue when you carry it on your back. Handling a heavy backpack can become a little harder when you take it off and put it on your back again. But in general, it’s the most convenient way to bring your photographic equipment with you.
But how to store the camera in a backpack? Do you have it with a lens attached? Do you have lenses separate from the camera body? I believe the best way is to put the camera in a backpack without the lens attached.
To understand the reason why you need to think about the reason why you would use a backpack. It is used to transport equipment from one place to another. A good backpack is not designed so that it can be accessed quickly. After all, if you want to grab your camera, you’ll have to remove the backpack from your back, place it in a safe place, open it, and take it out.
If you stored your camera with the lens attached, is this the lens you want to use at a particular time? Most likely not, which means you have to change lenses. Once you’ve taken a photo and want to put the camera back in your backpack, you’ll need to replace the lens again because it won’t fit any other way.
The reason why many people pack their camera with the lens attached is the fear that dust or particles will come to the sensor due to the lens change. If you already have a lens attached, it seems to reduce the risk. But unfortunately, this will force you to change your lenses more often. Not only because you need to attach another lens to your photo, but also because you need to reattach the previous lens because otherwise it won’t fit.
My advice is to store the camera in a backpack without the lenses attached
If you use the backpack often, make sure the look is made for the camera body without the lens attached. This way you can grab the required lens and attach it directly, instead of removing the lens first.
There are also strap bags that allow you to rotate the bag to quickly access the camera compartment. These bags are often designed to carry a camera with a lens attached. But again, how do you know you need just that lens? In the worst case, with such a bag you will also need to replace the lenses.
I believe these bags are often the best choice for a photographer who uses only one camera and one lens. That’s the only good reason to put a camera with a lens in your backpack. After all, if you only have one lens, there’s absolutely no reason to take it off.
What about shoulder bags and strollers?
Do not take the bag on your shoulder when you carry a lot of equipment with you. A heavy shoulder bag is something you need to avoid at all times. It’s good for easy installation, maybe with just one extra lens. And it offers some advantages over a backpack.
When I use a shoulder bag, it contains a camera and one or two lenses. Maybe three, just as I was to do with three prime numbers in Tarn, France. Replacing the lens is easy, you don’t have to put the bag on the ground. I also prefer to have a camera without a lens in my bag, but not always. It depends on how many lenses I take with me and in what situation I shoot. If I have another lens just for a special situation, I keep the other lens attached to the camera
The stroller I use for wedding photography carries a few extra lenses and a pair of flashes. I use a camera carrying belt for direct access and change lenses from time to time. Since I have two cameras, each equipped with a different lens, it is easier to store the camera in it and attach the lens. But if I’m ready to shoot a wedding, the lenses are taken off the camera before I put them in my bag.
Store your camera in the most convenient way
I don’t want to tell you how you have to put the camera in your backpack. At no cost, in any case. You have to make the decision yourself and choose the way you prefer. But I want you to think about it and carefully consider the pros and cons. I believe it is better to make the layout of the main compartment of your backpack with the lenses separate from the camera body.
If you use a backpack to carry photographic equipment, do you have a camera with or without a lens? Please share in the comment below the reason why you chose this method and what is the benefit for your photography.
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