A few days ago I got an early Christmas present from my husband: A new camera bag. Wait, what? I already have six camera-related bags? Plus a couple of large purses dedicated to sneaking my camera around inconspicuously? Well, yes, that’s true. But if you do photography for a living it seems you’re always running into situations that need a special bag, and that is how the Epiphanie “Ginger” bag came to be on my Christmas list.
My search for a camera bag started when I realized that throwing my D3s and a lens or two into a giant purse was probably not the safest way to transport my gear in a casual manner, no matter how padded in foam I tried to make the purse. I have three camera bags I already use quite often: the Airport Security 2.0 from Think Tank (a giant rolling bag that I use at weddings), a Think Tank lens bag (which does not hold a camera body), and a large messenger bag from Tenba that I use on portrait shoots. So I have nothing that will fit a large camera body w/ lens attached, two more lenses, and maybe a flash. And, although I tend to prefer black, professional-looking camera bags (I know, I know, I don’t usually spring for photography products marketed to women, I’m weird like that), I really needed something that I could sneak in somewhere without anyone really thinking, “Stop that woman! She has a camera!”
I was looking for a bag with dimensions similar to my lens bag so that I know it wouldn’t be too bulky, but still big enough for everything I wanted to carry. Very few bags actually fit that description, but I finally settled on the “Ginger” bag by Epiphanie. Locally, Arlington Camera carries some Epiphanie products, so I drove over one day to see them in person. They only had the brown one, but I liked the feel and the size, so I made up my mind.
The Ginger bag comes in four colors (brown, grey, cream, and black), but I didn’t love the contrasting, white stitching on the darker bags because I felt it looked cheap and too casual, so I went with the cream color. Although be forewarned: The colors on the Epiphanie website are definitely not true to the actual color of the bags. The brown on their website looks very rich, dark, and beautifully worn-in, while in person it was quite a normal, plain, medium brown. My bag in “bisque” was shown as a slightly off-white, barely cream on their site, while another blogger showed it as a not-very-attractive tan (my bag actually turned out to be a color somewhere between the two).
Although Ginger is created from man-made materials, the fabric doesn’t feel or look cheap. And one other thing I really love is that it comes with a detachable, padded shoulder strap (a must for someone carrying around 11+ pounds of gear). After about four hours of this thing on my shoulder, it definitely wasn’t exactly comfortable, but it was way better than a regular purse, and not as awkward as a giant messenger bag. Plus, there are enough pockets in this thing that I had plenty of room for my wallet, phone, and small make-up bag inside.
It’s got two thin pockets on both sides of the front– just the perfect size for a phone or memory card wallet– and a large pocket on the front. I threw my keys and phone in the front and still had room for business cards and such. My only concern is that the white lining for the insides of the side pockets is just one layer, which means that, depending on how tightly you pack things, eventually you could wear down a hole between that small pocket and the inside compartment.
Inside the main compartment are six velcro’ed dividers that you can re-arrange however you’d like. Every time I get a new bag I rip all those things out and rearrange them however it suits me. This means most of my bags are set up really strange, but it works for my purposes. In fact, you can see how I used two of the padded dividers to reinforce the side and bottom of the bag where I put my camera body. Because, why not?
I think the most amazing thing to me was the sheer amount of stuff I could fit in there. It’s a bit difficult to see from the photo, but inside is: a Nikon D3s w/ 50mm lens attached, an SB-910 flash, a giant camera battery, and 24mm, 85mm, and 135mm lenses. Plus, of course, the aforementioned wallet, phone, business card holder, and small makeup bag. And there was still room for more. If I wanted, I could probably have detached the 50mm from the camera and put two bodies in there, along with another flash, and thrown in a couple of Pocket Wizards. Of course, that would make it even heavier and I’m not sure Ginger was made to deal with that kind of weight. Not that I won’t try one day . . .
Being a prime user, the ability to carry more than two lenses was kind of a must. But it also helps that most primes aren’t very big (you can see the 135mm is the exception here– about the size of a 24-70mm 2.8 zoom). If I were a zoom user, this bag would be WAY big enough, maybe a bit too big. But my initial impression is that I will be very happy with this bag– it holds enough that I can take it on day trips, or road trips (where I refuse to leave camera gear in my car), and yet it’s not painfully obvious that I’m carrying around so much equipment.
So if you’re in the market for a bag, maybe take a look at these. Epiphanie’s got quite a few other styles, so if you’re not as minimalist in purse taste as myself, I’m sure they probably have another that you’d like better.