What's the safest, best camera position inside a camera bag?

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What's the safest, best camera position inside a camera bag?
Choosing the best camera position in your bag is not as simple as it sounds.

When I first got myself a bridge camera, it came along with a free camera bag. The bag is shaped in a way that I can only insert my camera with its screen facing the bottom and its lens pointing upwards. So when I have to shoot, I reach inside the bag and grab my camera in its lens, then place its bottom at the palm of my left hand, then use my right hand to grasp the main command grip.

It bugged me big time, but who gives a horsesh*t -- the bag was free.

After about 10 months, I upgraded to a DSLR. It's a bit bigger than my bridge camera so I had to get a new camera bag. I bought the quick draw system -- the one which had my DSLR pointing its lens downwards when packed. The feeling was liberating. I had such fun time pulling out and inserting my camera at great ease.

But, the "liberating" feeling didn't last long. Because months later, I bought a 50mm 1.8 lens to complement with my zoom lens and, alas, my quick-draw bag won't fit anymore. Sometimes I had to bring along my bridge camera, and that made matters worse. I decided I had to get a bigger camera bag.

I bought myself a messenger-style bag, pretty much like that of Peak Design's. The configurations are limitless and you can position your camera any which way you want. The only thing that can only get in your way when you configure the paddings is the camera safety -- one which must be impact-proof, yet quick on the draw.

Thus, the question: What's the safest, best camera position inside a camera bag?


WHAT I PREFER

I have three cameras and I configure mine similar to the photo above.

The zoom lens, a compact point-and-shoot camera and other peripherals go below my bridge camera. The bridge cam is placed on top of them (with a soft padding in between) with the screen facing upwards and its lens pointing downwards. Adjacent is my DSLR with the lens pointing sidewards. Below the DSLR is another soft padding and underneath it are sets of USB cables and a power bank for my tablet.

I prefer this configuration because it gives less impact on my cameras and it allows me easy access where I can reach both of my cameras in a fast and effortless way. Reach, grab and shoot.

Some photographers may want this arrangement and some may not.


WHAT OTHERS WANT

The safest position for your SLR is in your bank's safety deposit box.

I'm just kidding :D


From User JS: "Once you decide you want to take pictures, you must accept some non-zero risk of damage to your camera.

1. Camera in bag with lens facing up.

  • Harder/slower to remove camera from bag.
  • If bag hits ground, you must ship the body off to repair the screen

2. Camera in bag with lens facing down:

  • Big handle to grab camera with... faster to shooting position
  • If bag hits ground, you'll likely need to send that lens in for repair
  • You might have been able to avoid damaging the body's lens mount. If so, you can mount another lens and keep going.

Every increase in camera safety comes with an increase that you will miss the next shot. Everyone must decide on the balance they're comfortable with."


From User David: "The padding of even a mediocre camera bag will prevent the screen breaking or the lens cracking. The damage to a camera from dropping it a padded bag is G-force damage, not impact damage. It's essentially the equivalent of shaking the camera hard and shouldn't depend much on the orientation of the camera inside the bag. Padding also decreases the G-force damage."


From User JWenting: "I've actually had a front element of a lens chipped when it fell in its pouch and hit the ground just the wrong way (the rim hit the ground at a roughly 45 degree angle). Can it happen? yes. Is it likely to happen? hell no. Do I worry about it happening? of course not. It happened once in 30 years of lugging a camera and a couple of lenses around 100 days a year. I've had worse damage when a camera slipped to the ground when someone bumped into the bag it was sitting on, the bag was sitting on the ground on some soft grass. Lens mount cracked wide open. Freak accident too."


From User 2719: "I don't think it particularly matters. I have multiple different cases and the default configurations of the cases put the camera in different orientations in each. My shoulder bag puts the camera level with the ground with a small lens attached, just like it would be if I was about to shoot with it.

My backpack offers two different options, either the camera body oriented so that it is aiming off to the side of the bag with no lens attached and with lenses going up and down your back or it offers a slot where the camera can be stored at the top of the bag (near your head) with the lens facing down. In both of these cases, when placed flat to open the bag, the camera body would be right side up.

It is also worth noting that both of these bags are designed to be highly reconfigurable so that you can pack things however you like and pack them securely, but the configurations I use are how they come from the factory. I only update the layouts to support the size and shape of my gear snugly.

Given that there isn't any particular consistency even in the way the manufacturers themselves design their camera bags, I don't think it particularly matters how you store it so long as you ensure there is sufficient padding around it and that it is held securely. Getting it out quickly seems to be a bigger priority in bag designs."


From User NovelCause: "Lens should be facing DOWN! Because lenses breathe, pull in dirt, particles, etc. If you store lens facing up, then all these fall into the camera body, hitting mirror, and maybe jamming mechanics. This is even more true with a cheap lens: if a small rubber/plastic/etc. gets dislodged, it will fall into the camera body...

Been using a DSLR for about 2 years now. The best position for me would be with the lens up. This protects the lens from collisions."


From User Thermibled: "I like sideways mounting also. The DSLR's of today are much lighter in weight than yesterday's camera. That said, I would try a fabric store and see if you can't buy a small (probably smallest they will sell) a small 3 or 4inch "block of foam rubber" to place under the lens for support."


From User Dan Wolfgang: "The safest position for the camera to be in is almost definitely the most secure position.

If you've got a shoulder bag chances are good there's a "bottom" that always sits on the table, floor, or ground, so it's easy to argue that one position is "up." Other bags, like a messenger style or backpack are likely to be set down on the bottom or back -- so which position is "up" for those bags? If you've ever set your bag down in a bad location it's no doubt been knocked over, so does it matter if the camera is "up"? In all of these scenarios, the important thing is simply that the bag hold the camera securely so that it doesn't fall out and is adequately protected from all sides."


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