Isabella Ruffatti explains why the viral Uniqlo crossbody bag is the perfect choice for street photographers.
When heading to central London to photograph protests and events with a Nikon DSLR, my go-to combo in the past has been a National Geographic rain-proof camera bag and a grey knock-off Fjällräven Kånken backpack bought in Chinatown which lasted a lot longer than expected.
While I still use it, particularly when I’m bringing my Fujifilm X-T3 along, I’d argue that camera bags and backpacks are an option for photographers, not a must. The idea that ‘serious’ photographers always carry lots of kit in huge camera bags or backpacks is a stereotype. As can be seen on TikTok, even handbags can be used to carry mirrorless cameras with relatively large lenses.
And the trendy Uniqlo crossbody bag is a very good camera bag. Especially when you’re a street photographer with a compact camera or two. Like I am.
I have owned my own yellow Uniqlo crossbody bag since April and it has since accompanied me on light supermarket shopping trips, lunch-breaks at the park spent reading a book (or two), a trip to Spain and short photo walks. It is also a good accompanying bag for essentials you might want to have easy access to such as a water bottle. Or a camera.
Hear me out. This bag didn’t just go viral over the summer because it’s aesthetic. Though small they’re also flexible enough to carry a surprising number of things and have two smaller pockets inside for smaller items. It’s handy, not super expensive at around $20/£15 and aesthetic.
Which is something many camera bags or backpacks aren’t.
Camera bags and backpacks tend to be massive, which can be practical when you’re carrying a lot of gear with you but can be painful to carry around with you for long periods of time. Some of these backpacks are called ‘everyday’ but are anything but.
Many are also on the expensive side (more than $40/£40) and come with a choice of dividers you might never use.
I have fit in as many as three cameras in my Uniqlo crossbody bag at a time: an Instax Mini 8, a Fujifilm X30, and my phone. Plus a box of Instax Mini film, an external battery with a cable for my phone, a hair clip, all my cards (memory card, Oyster card, IDs, bank cards), my flat keys and a pen.
In street photography, which hinges on capturing the elusive decisive moment, the ability to always have your camera with you and not having to hastily dig it up from your bag, is an obvious pro. When you do need more storage, you can always pair it up with a backpack.
So, if you’re a street photographer who prefers to travel light and in style, this bag may just be straight up your street.
The views expressed in this column are not necessarily those of Amateur Photographer magazine or Kelsey Media Limited. If you have an opinion you’d like to share on this topic, or any other photography related subject, email:
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