Is a good bag important? You bet your sweet camcorder it is!
Consider the humble camcorder bag. It works everyday, whether your camcorder does or not. It houses and protects your pricey video camera, and often takes a beating in the process. This article will help you choose the right bag for your needs.
Today's camcorders are smaller than ever. A current upright Mini DV camcorder is scarcely larger than a point-and-shoot still camera. For the shooter on the go who can operate with a bare minimum of additional gear, a belt loop-mounted (fanny) bag could be a fine choice. However, if your camcorder is medium or large in size, or if you'll carry extra batteries, blank tape or an external microphone your bag will need to be larger. Carefully consider the size of your camcorder and accessories before investing in a camera bag.
Get a Grip
You can carry a bag in several different ways. While the presence of a handle and shoulder strap is the most common arrangement, several bags attach at the waist, either with the bag's own strap and buckle, or through belt loops. There are a number of backpacks designed specifically for videographers, and they're able to store pretty much anything that the biggest video packrat may want to carry.
The most common materials for the exterior of a camcorder bag are nylon, PVC and leather. Many bags utilize leather or rubberized bottoms, which add stability to the bag. Aluminum and vinyl hard cases are great for those needing strength or needing a lock. Whether you need the protection for trans-Pacific flights or in the back of your minivan, hard cases are the way to go.
Some like to just toss everything in the bag, in no particular order, and run out the door. Others like a semblance of order in their bags. The way you operate most effectively will dictate the configuration of your ideal bag.
Most bags offer multiple compartments, nooks, crannies and caches for everything camcorder-related. Others have a bewildering multitudes of zippers and sewn-in netting to accommodate even the most arcane accessory. It's common to find bags that have hook-and-loop fasteners that will allow you to move the compartments around. Now just where did I put that circular polarizing filter?
Let's Go Shopping
When it comes time to get your new bag, bring your camcorder with you to see how it fits into its new digs. Your camcorder should fit snugly enough so that it doesn't bounce around. Many bags include information on the types of camcorders that they can accommodate.
Be sure to check out the manufacturer's listing sidebar and visit the Web sites for more information. It's a win-win situation: your camcorder gets a stylin' new home and you get a handy place to stash your arsenal of gear.