I must have spent at least five hundred dollars in the past five years, purchasing camera bags and cases. As it stands now, I have two aluminum cases. One for two of my favorite camera bodies (K20D & K200D) and one for my most precious lenses (my DA & DA* lenses). I also have a Lowepro Trekker, a Lowepro Mini Trekker, one medium sized National Geographic bag and one small, one Tamrac Sling bag and a small Pentax sling bag. They are all full of camera gear, from flashes and new DA's & "A" lenses, to filters, bellows and other stuff I picked up along the way. I rarely get rid of anything photographic.
Then I have cardboard boxes filled with my old 35mm and medium format cameras, lenses and more stuff. My spouse will not let me display these beautiful engineering marvels. Every now-and-then, I spend a full day looking at them and cleaning them, but I don't use any of them anymore. Digital is so much easier! I have two Large Format cameras, that I don't plan to ever use again, but it was okay to display them on tripods in my computer room/office. One was actually built by me.
Now you'd think that I should have enough bags and cases, but every time I go shooting I never know what to bring. Of course I would like to have all of my digital camera gear with me just in case of...but that would be impractical. Now, when I go for a day of shooting, I bring one body only. The K20D for landscape or the K200D if I'm going to do some travelling or street shooting. Then I decide on three (3) lenses only, maybe a flash and of course a tripod.
I was going to purchase another smaller bag, big enough to carry the above and small enough to carry around all day. They're pretty expensive at $45.00 to $90.00. And then, by luck, I walked in a sport shop and saw this water carrier for $20.00. I thought I could use that for my camera gear needs and I purchased it. This is the cheapest bag I have ever purchased, and with a little imagination, I turned it into the most accessible and lightweight case that my money could buy. I tell you, it's the most practical bag I have and it wasn't even designed for camera gear afterall. I bring the camera around my neck, I have room for one bottle of water, three lenses (one on the camera and two in the bag. With smaller lenses, I can carry more.), a flash, and some small accessories. I carry my tripod on my shoulder with the bag supplied with the Giotto GB 1140 (small and lightweight). I can turn the bag around my waist and pick a lens, then swing it back behind me.
$20.00 is all I paid for this double water bottle carrier with multi pockets.
This is an example of what I would need for one photo shoot. One lens on the camera and two other lenses, flash, filters, remote, and other small accessories. I even included the DA* 200mm and the DA 10-17mm above and I still had room for more stuff. The DA 16-45 was mounted on the camera. Let's not forget the water bottle. (Other liquid optional!)
It straps around your waist and also has a shoulder strap. It's positioned on my back for walking.
When a lens or accessory is needed, I just swing the whole thing around my waist and take what I want.
This is the small Giotto tripod I carry with me... small and lightweight.
The lesson...It's not how much money you spend, it's how smart you spend it. I 'm happy as a lark with this set-up.
Thanks for reading,