Whether it is for an inexpensive point and shoot camera, or a pricey digital single-lens reflex (DSLR), a camera bag can go a long way toward protecting a camera and its accessories from dings, scratches, and other damage. There are different types of camera bags ranging in size from a small case that simply covers the camera to a large bag with many pockets and compartments for a large camera and numerous accessories. Common camera accessories include lenses, flashes, filters, and straps. Other types of camera bags are designed for the way in which they will be used; for example, some are designed to be weather resistant if they will be taken on frequent trips outside.
The first major difference among types of camera bags is size. The size of the camera bag purchased depends entirely on the amount of equipment that needs to be carried in it, as well as the amount of equipment that is expected to accumulate over the years of a photography hobby. It is important that the camera and any accessories fit snugly into the bag, without having much room to slide around and bump each other in case the bag is dropped. However, it is also important to be able to open the camera bag quickly and remove the camera in case a can't-miss shot appears.
Another important difference in types of camera bags is the way in which the bag will be carried. A camera bag might be designed to be carried like a backpack, a shoulder bag, a fanny pack, or simply in the hand with a handle. Some even have a holster design, attaching to one's belt. For a camera bag that will frequently be carried while walking or hiking, one with straps that will allow it to be slung over the shoulders is generally a good bet. In contrast, smaller, lighter cameras can be slipped into a smaller case and carried in a pocket or purse.
The material of the camera bag is another important consideration. Leather, canvas, and nylon are all popular choices for camera bags. Some offer rubber handles to make them easier to grip. In addition, some camera bags are waterproof, which is a good choice for those who enjoy traveling or hiking outdoors. Others are reinforced, making them more resistant in case the bag is dropped or stepped on.
Some camera manufacturing companies sell camera bags designed to fit their proprietary cameras, but it is generally not necessary to purchase one designed specially for the camera, particularly for most DSLRs. A final important consideration among types of camera bags is weight. Many cameras are heavy enough on their own, and it is important not to add too much weight, making the bag uncomfortable to carry and less likely to be brought on trips or important events that might warrant photographs.