Do You Place Your Camera in Your Backpack With or Without a Lens Attached?

You probably have one or more camera bags to carry your camera gear. A shoulder bag, a backpack, maybe a trolley. Do you put your camera in your bag with or without a lens attached? Or does it depend on how you use your camera bag?

There are many ways to pack your camera bag. Everyone has their favorite way to place their gear in the main compartment. It also depends on the type of bag you use. A shoulder bag will have a completely different way of placing equipment.

Different types of bags are for different types of photography, I think. A backpack is perfect for carrying your gear on hikes. It allows you to carry a lot of weight without too much difficulty. Unless you have a poorly designed backpack, of course.

A shoulder bag provides better on-site access. You can easily grab a lens or camera because you don’t have to take a backpack off your back. There are backpacks that allow you to rotate them in front of you. But often it’s not that convenient, especially when it’s got a lot of heavy equipment.

I also use a cart, which can be very handy at weddings. It offers the ability to take extra gear with you, without it being slung over one shoulder or packed on your back without easy access.

I wrote an article about camera bags and their purpose a while back. But whatever bag you use, how do you place your camera in that bag? Do you have it with or without a lens attached?

How do you store your camera in your backpack?

I believe the most common camera bag is a backpack. It’s understandable because it can carry a lot of gear while the weight isn’t much of an issue when carrying it on your back. Handling a heavy backpack can get a little more difficult when you take it off and put it back on your back. But in general, it’s the most convenient way to take camera gear with you.

But how do you store your camera in a backpack? Do you have it with a lens attached? Do you have the lenses separately next to the camera body? I think the best way is to put the camera in a backpack without a lens.

To understand why you need to think about why you would use a backpack. It is for transporting material from one place to another. A good backpack is not designed to be quickly accessible. After all, if you want to take your camera, you’ll have to take the backpack off your back, put it in a safe place, unzip it, and take it out.

If you stored your camera with a lens attached, is that the lens you want to use for a specific time? Probably not, which means you need to change lenses. Once you’ve taken the shot and want to put the camera back in the backpack, you’ll need to replace the lens again as it won’t fit otherwise.

One of the reasons many pack their camera with a lens attached is the fear of getting dust or particles on the sensor due to the lens change. If you already have a goal set, it seems like you are reducing the risk. But unfortunately, this will force you to change lenses more often. Not only because you have to attach another lens for your shot, but also to attach the previous lens again because it will not fit otherwise.

My advice is to store the camera in a backpack with no lens attached

If you use a backpack a lot, make sure provision is made for a camera body with no lens attached. This way you can grab the lens you need and attach it directly, instead of removing a lens first.

There are also shoulder bags that allow you to rotate the bag for quick access to the camera compartment. These bags are often designed to carry the camera with a lens attached. But again, how do you know you need that particular lens? In the worst case, you will also have to exchange lenses with such a bag.

I believe these shoulder bags are often the best choice for the photographer who has only used one camera and one lens. This is the only good reason to put a camera with a lens attached inside a backpack. After all, if you only have one lens, there’s absolutely no reason to take it out.

What about shoulder bags and trolleys?

Do not take a shoulder bag when you carry a lot of equipment with you. A heavy shoulder bag is something you should avoid at all times. It’s good for a light setup, maybe with just one extra lens. And it offers some advantages over a backpack.

When I use a shoulder bag, it holds a camera and one or two lenses. Maybe three, as I should have done with the first three in the French Tarn. Changing lenses is easy, you don’t have to put the bag on the floor. I also prefer to have a camera without lenses inside the bag, but not always. It depends on how many lenses I carry with me and what situation I’m shooting in. If I have a second lens just for a particular situation, I keep the other lens attached to the camera

The dolly I use for my wedding photos has a few extra lenses and a pair of flashes. I use a harness to carry the cameras for direct access and change lenses from time to time. Since I have two cameras, each with a different lens, it’s easier to store the camera there and attach a lens. But if I’m ready to shoot the wedding, the lenses are taken out of the camera before putting them in the bag.

Store your camera in the most convenient way

I don’t want to tell you how you should put your camera in a backpack. Never. You have to make your own decision and choose the way you prefer. But I want you to think about it and carefully consider the pros and cons. I think it’s best to make a layout of your main backpack compartment with lenses separate from your camera body.

If you use a backpack to carry your camera gear, do you have your camera with or without a lens inside? Please share the reason in the comment below why you chose this method and how it benefits your photography.

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