You may be interested in purchasing a camera bag or carry case so you are asking your self “How much do these things cost!?!” Well lets start off by saying we are not writing this article to convince you to purchase one camera bag over another but rather to give you some insight into our experience and then back off and let you make the decision.
We see a few main factors that drive the price up or drive the price down of a camera bag / carry case. These factors are:
- Material used to construct the bag / carry case
- Size and protection of the camera bag / carry case
- How the bag was made (handmade, mass produced ect)
- Where the bag was made
- What brand the bag is
Lets jump in!
The material of the bag has a huge impact on cost. The reason for this is that there is a large range of materials, which results in a large range of qualities, hence a large range of costs. If you are looking at a camera bag and it is genuine leather with big grand buckles on it that is hand made, your cost can range from $50 – 250 + depending on the size and pockets ect. If you are looking at a bag that is fairly small and has one pocket, is made of a fairly rough and not very bendy fabric you could be looking as low as $10.00. In this simple example you can see the vast difference in price just based on materials used in the main bag.
Zipper’s, oh yes zippers and buckles! These babies can impact the price as well. When you are looking at a bag, as a rule of thumb, metal is better quality and higher price then plastic – generally speaking. A metal zipper is going to outlast a plastic zipper time and time again. Metal buckles are generally better quality then plastic but we have seen the opposite. It may be more convenient for you to purchase a bag with a plastic buckle as they are faster to un-buckle and if purchased on a higher quality bag the quality of plastic is generally pretty good.
The stitching used to hold everything together. It is common to find on cheaper bags that before you even start to use the bag the stitching is starting to skag or tear a little. This is due to the fact that the stitching is using very thin thread which is faster and easier to work with when manufacturing but not necessarily the best option for longevity. A tell tail sign of the quality of the bag is looking at the hand holds or handles. If the handle is held on by a very small amount of thread around 2 maybe 3 sides of the connection point with no cross threading through the center of the connection point it may be a weak point.
Moving onto the size of the bag / carry case for your camera.
As we have already gone over materials and their impact. You can well imagine that the more materials you use the more the bag is going to cost. Correct! Whether you are using cheap materials or expensive materials generally speaking the bigger the bag the higher the cost. When you are looking at a bag with a single space for one camera and maybe a pocket for an SD card you can be as low as $10.00. Now as soon as you add a second pocket or area of storage you can see things start to jump from the $10.00 mark up to the $20.00-$30.00 mark. Along with this, generally speaking the more you spend the better protection for your equipment you can expect. Usually, protection comes in the form of a foam or thick fabric to give you DSLR camera and equipment a bit of a buffer if dropped, bumped, banged, ect. In cheap bags you can expect a very low-quality foam that will do little to nothing if the bag is dropped. Higher end bags you can expect thicker and higher quality foam to offer more protection. There is a downside to more protection and that is that you often are left with a bulkier and heavier bag then one that has less protection.
We are going to touch lightly on how the bag was made. Be careful when things say hand made and the price is extravagant! There is a trend in the market at the moment of things being “hand-made” and all that happens is that machines produce 99% of the camera bag and one component is done by hand which gives them the right to say its ‘hand-made” and charging double what another company can charge. Be careful! We cannot paint the whole industry with that brush as there are some genuine hand made products, we would suggest sticking to something made locally if this is the route you are wanting to take. Most popular form of fabrication for bags is mass production. This means they are produced using an assembly line or a series of machines to do different tasks creating the final camera bag. This type of manufacturing typically drives the costs down significantly as they can product many more bags per “man hour” then a truly hand made camera bag.
Location of manufacturer does play a part in the cost of the camera bag. For instance if the bag was made 5 minutes from your house and you are purchasing it at a local photography shop. There would be very minimal delivery charges (bringing cost down), but most likely they would be paying a premium for labor and their building space (driving costs up). On the flip side look at manufacturing over seas. Shipping is high (driving costs up) but labor and building costs are low (bringing costs down). Often the labor and the building costs are low enough in other countries it is cheaper to purchase product that is manufactured overseas even though it has to travel a much further distance then a locally made camera bag.
Brand…oh yes the brand how this can impact our cost. Isn’t so much cooler to walk around with the camera bag that everyone just saw or heard about on TV the night before during a foot ball game? Speaking from experience most of us can say yes! Even if we bought it 5 years before we still have that Brand Recognition hanging on our shoulder or back. This costs huge $$$ for the manufacturer to get this brand recognition. Who is paying for their advertising spend? You are. You the consumer are. Every time you purchase a name brand camera bag whether its for quality, or the brand, or the status. Whatever it may be, if you are purchasing brand name camera bags you are going to pay more. The benefits to this is the brand has a standard it must hold its self to resulting in higher quality control therefore you will receive a decent quality product (most of the time)! If you are trying to save a few coins and purchase a non-brand camera bag, yes you will most likely purchase it for cheaper but is there the consistency and quality these large brands have to uphold…that’s for you to decide. We are not talking knock off brands or copies, we are talking about brands that are less known. Please do not support the knock off brands…many of these are manufactured in places that have horrendous working conditions and you would be supporting a company that is essentially stealing another brands product.
Now we will back away and let you make your decision. 😊