Though women have the same range of camera bags available to them as any other photographer, often there is a need for something more stylish. This is the niche filled by camera bags that look like purses. Created to look like any other woman’s purse, the difference lies within the interior, which is often split into compartments with additional padding.
Although this is almost always going to mean accepting a reduced capacity when compared to traditional camera backpacks, they are still great products to own, as they prevent the need to carry a full set of equipment when only a DSLR and single lens is required for casual use.
See Also: Camera Bags & Backpacks
It’s important to remember that these products are providing style over functionality to a certain extent. Whilst camera bags styled like purses do provide interior padding for DSLRs and the corresponding equipment, they are typically built from less durable and weatherproof materials as traditional camera backpacks or shoulder bags. However, that is not to say that they don’t offer adequate protection against damages to the camera, and the trade-off is that they are much more fashionable.
Navigating the stores for a good quality camera bag can be tricky, so here are our top picks of the camera bags that look like purses, as currently available on the market.
Best Camera Bags that Look Like Purses: Top Picks
Purple Relic DSLR Camera Bag
The Purple Relic DSLR Camera Bag is constructed from high quality faux leather and looks just like any other designer handbag that could be picked up on the high street. A removable insert converts it from a regular handbag into a camera-carrying purse, with a number of compartments that can be resized and adjusted, owing to the female Velcro attachments inside. The bag also has a shoulder strap that is both adjustable and detachable.
This bag is chosen for its high-quality design and the ability to convert it into a regular handbag in one easy step, thus doubling its usefulness and fulfilling the role of 2 bags. Once removed, the internal compartments could even be used for other storage purposes within the home. Though some padding on the shoulder strap would be appreciated, the fact that it has an adjustable length and can be removed goes some way to making up for it.
The exterior is crafted from synthetic faux leather, creating an appearance of luxury, while the interior is padded, silken cotton, providing a smooth surface that won’t lead to abrasions on the body of expensive DSLR cameras. The interior print also lends itself to the notion that this is a high-quality handbag.
Jo Totes Gracie Camera Bag, Mint
For those with a higher budget, the Jo Totes Gracie Camera Bag costs a little more, but also offers more storage space. The interior compartment is less of a squeeze and the bag boasts 3 external compartments that are well suited to carrying batteries, SD cards, user manuals and other small bits of equipment; one of these will also fit a tablet. This frees up more room in the main compartment for the DSLR and its accompanying lenses.
One would expect to see side pouches and additional storage compartments in a traditional camera bag, as is the norm for these kinds of products, however that’s not necessarily the case with camera bags that look like purses. Thus, it’s great to see that these form part of the product design for the Jo Totes Gracie bag, especially when one of these is designed to fit a tablet.
Though the bag is pricier than the Purple Relic bag, it may be worth paying a little extra to get access to additional side compartments and pouches, particular when taking into consideration smaller, fiddlier items such as SD cards and batteries that are likely to get lost under everything else within the main compartment.
Both of these camera bags would be a good option for a woman who does not want to carry around a plain black or grey shoulder bag or rucksack, as is typically the design for most regular camera bags. They are both constructed from high-quality materials, with a design that fits in with any regular purse one would expect to find in a designer store or high-street retailer.
The Purple Relic camera bag is a good choice if on a budget, and the ability to remove the camera padding from the bag, thereby turning it into a traditional handbag in every respect, is a great addition. Conversely, the Jo Totes Gracie Camera Bag has something better than the Purple Relic, in that it has several exterior pockets that are useful for carrying smaller pieces of equipment.
Generally speaking, camera backpacks are better suited for hardcore or professional use, when on-shoot. However, for casual use or fashionableness, camera bags that look like purses can be a better and more convenient choice.