When I got my Canon Rebel T3i at the beginning of June, it came packaged with a LowePro Camera bag. A functional, good quality camera bag, but bulky and awkward to carry around. Remembering that Jaime had found a pretty camera bag for her Rebel, I started hunting around on the internet to see what I could find. I was pleasantly surprised at the number of options out there.
I spent about 3 weeks searching. comparing my top choices and just generally obsessing. I wanted something that would look nice and double as a purse so I would not have to carry more than one bag, I also wanted something that was not obviously a camera bag. I’m not a photographer, I’m just a girl who likes to play with cameras; I wanted to be able to carry my camera around and not feel self-conscious about it. I was also concerned about size – I wanted it big enough to do what I needed, but not so big that it would be awkward to carry.
I was seriously considering 3 options, but leaning towards a Kelly Moore Bag. Kelly Moore provides the largest number of choices in terms of style and colour, her website offers a lot of detail – photos and video demos by Kelly – to give you a feel for the size and functionality of each bag. I watched videos. I measured two of my favourite purses (much to Husband’s confusion) and compared to the dimensions on Kelly Moore’s site.
Two things finally decided me.
First, I found this video review on vimeo.com. When looking at the styles available, I had originally passed right over the B-Hobo. It wasn’t really a style that jumped out at me (I was initially drawn to The Classic, but was concerned it might be too big). But watching this video, and then watching Kelly’s demo changed my mind.
Second, I found a Canadian retailer, Love Those Bags that carries Kelly Moore bags.
A couple of weeks later, I was the proud owner of a Kelly Moore B-Hobo bag in Walnut.
It has taken me a while to get around to posting this review because I wanted to wait until our trip to NS so that I could actually travel with it. Then while we were away, one of my lenses broke. I sent it away to be fixed the day after we returned home, so then I was waiting to get it back so I could show exactly what I carried in the camera bag while away. There have been a few cameo appearances on the garden blog though, because this bag is where my camera has lived since the bag arrived.
Kelly Moore bags have a flat, reinforced bottom so that it will stand up when you set it down. Inside, there are dividers that can be moved around to find the best configuration to accommodate your gear.
I carried my Canon Rebel camera body and 3 lenses – one lens on the camera in the center, and each of the other two lenses in a side compartment.
I have a fixed 50 mm, an 18 – 55 mm, and a 55 to 250 mm. They will all fit when attached to the camera body, even the 250.
In addition to the camera body and lenses, I carried:
Tissues, wallet, small flashlight, camera remote, Hello Kitty band-aids, spare lens caps, lip balm, keys, lip gloss and iPhone. I also had a pen (not pictured). There are pockets front, back and on each end of the bag (see the Kelly Moore site for demos), so you can stash quite a bit in the bag.
How did it travel? I carried it during the whole trip. It can get a bit heavy, carrying all that stuff around, but I think that would be the case with any bag considering what I was carrying. The only thing I wished I had space for in the bag and didn’t was my Kindle, so I can see myself getting a slightly larger bag at some point for travelling (I love the Libby and the 2 Sues which is new and was not available when I purchased my B-Hobo). But for day to day carrying around, this bag is great.
I carried it around for two days at my parents place before someone – either my Mom or my friend who was visiting – said “Is that your camera bag? I thought it was your purse!” My mom commented on the pretty purple lining.
When I’m wearing the bag, I do sometimes find it a bit awkward to get the camera out, especially if I’m rushing. That may have something to do with the fact that I have the neck strap attached to my camera (Husband calls me Miss Butterfingers. Neck strap just seems smart), and I think it is getting easier as I get more used to it.
These are not inexpensive bags, but the quality is good so my camera bag should last a good long time, even with me carrying it out to the garden several times a week.
The LowePro bag that came with my camera, which now gets used to store extra bits and pieces like camera chargers, my SD700, the shorter shoulder strap for my Kelly Moore bag, etc.
The Kelly Moore bag, sitting between my two most-used purses.
It is a little bigger, but still a manageable size for me. Kelly Moore bags come with two straps – a shorter shoulder strap (on the bag in this photo) and a longer cross-body strap, which is what I normally use. (Unrelated – that green bag is my newest and current favourite purse, it’s by Matt & Nat and I love it.)
And here is my 5-foot undertall self with my Kelly Moore bag.
For anyone else on a similar camera bag hunt, I highly recommend Kelly Moore bags, I can’t imagine that you would be disappointed.
My other two top choices were Jo Totes and Epiphanie. though Cheeky Lime bags are also cute. This blog post at blog.veralana.com (and the commets) lists an impressive number of options.
I wanted to write this review because when I am shopping around online for something I always look for reviews to read. I was happy to find so many options when I started searching for a camera bag, but it was also a little overwhelming. There were more choices than I expected. There are lots of reviews out there, but most are from professional photographers. I wanted to add my 2 cents as a hobbyist. If you are searching for a camera bag, I hope you find this post helpful. To everyone else, thanks for reading!