2011 Who’s Got Your Bag?

2011 Who’s Got Your Bag?


With the continuing popularity of digital SLRs, and the rise of HD video recording capabilities in both point and shoots and DSLRs, the number of imaging accessories available to your customers continues to increase.


Along with those new add-ons that make picture taking and moviemaking more creative and rewarding comes the simple fact that now more than ever photographers, from professionals to casual shooters, need reliable bags and cases to stow their gear and gadgets.


In this special annual section, we highlight some of the major camera bag makers and their latest products.


Manfrotto: Specific User Needs

Inspire New Line Designs


The main message Manfrotto would like to send to the imaging dealer is that their new trio of bag lines—Kata, National Geographic and Manfrotto—represents a kind of revolution within the category that speaks to a new approach that brings to market three leading yet distinctive photo bag brands to cover a wide range of users.

“The revolution is in the way we approach our customers and markets, and it is one that holds great potential for all of our businesses,” said Yuval Kemp, managing director for Manfrotto Bags.

Kata continues as the company’s leading brand for the pro market as well as hobbyists and amateurs looking for the best “working” bag for their level of photography.

Kata photo and video bags have always been about delivering more than just a bag; as the company has been quick to explain, the most important factor is the end user, not just the gear. The company designs their lines around specific users’ working scenarios and needs.

In examining this new paradigm regarding Manfrotto’s bag offerings, it’s clear each line does indeed zero in on the aforementioned “specific working scenarios and needs” of the end user.

Their newest collection, Manfrotto Stile, is aimed at what the company refers to as the “social records-taking segment—the Social Recorder,” those taking their first photographic steps. Stile bags are everyday bags for the user looking to marry form and function in a unique yet reliable way.

The Manfrotto Lino bags reach out to the higher end of the market, offering a premium Italian-designed collection for professionals. In typical fine Italian style and in keeping with traditional tailor-made practices, the highest quality materials are specifically matched to each product. Each feature is meticulously designed to correspond with straightforward, intuitive functionality and is translated into a clear, sophisticated style. The result is a fashionable “Italian” bag for both professional and personal daily needs.

And finally, who doesn’t hope to capture that “National Geographic” moment when shooting in the great outdoors? That’s the  theme behind the company’s National Geographic line, which includes a range of lifestyle bags designed, as Kemp explained, “distinctively and differently than any other photo bag on the market. This line allows us to tap into the travel and day-to-day bag market segments.”

The National Geographic brand stands for such core lifestyle beliefs as conservation, exploration and education. The spirit embodied in those beliefs, Kemp added, is the spirit of the customer that’s right for this line.

Manfrotto feels strongly that with these three distinct photo bag brands all grouped together, they are presenting the industry with “an extremely powerful offer.” Combined, the lines literally cater to every imaginable consumer segment, sales channel, design trend, price point and specific functionality.

With the trio, the company is now offering hundreds of models of bags and related apparel items that extend their reach into multiple retail channels and cover a wider range of consumer demographics. 


“Our new bag and apparel lines are designed for the 21st century digital lifestyle. They are all styled for both professional and everyday use by photographers who need to carry with them their photo gear and items such as mobile phones, laptops, GPS, iPads and the next generation of gadgets yet to be born,” Kemp concluded. manfrotto.com 


Pelican | OmegaBrandess: Protective

Bags for Professional Photographers


To photographers, the name Pelican is synonymous with indestructible, hard-sided cases. Tales of their rugged durability are legendary. But there is another side to the Pelican brand. And no one knows it better than Jeff Seidel, director of Sales and Service for OmegaBrandess Distribution, exclusive Pelican distributor to the photo channel.

OmegaBrandess Distribution is the largest source for accessories in the photo industry, offering nearly 50 different product categories and upward of 12,000 individual SKUs. Seidel got his start in the photo industry as a part-time sales associate at Ritz Camera while in college. During his 26 years at Ritz, he served as a district manager, regional manager and director of training. An active photographer himself, he knows camera bags—and how to sell them.

“It’s important to remember that all bags are different,” Seidel said. “Our PCS140, for example, was designed to fit into a watertight, dustproof Pelican 1400 rigid case.”

The PCS140 shoulder bag can carry one SLR with two lenses, a flash, accessories and a small camcorder or point-and-shoot camera. It opens from the top or side and has pockets to stow accessories. Sized to fit perfectly into a Pelican 1400 hard case, the pair makes a great travel combination. The bag includes a hideaway fanny pack belt and is FAA compliant for carry-ons. MSRP: $74.95.

OmegaBrandess also offers Pelican rolling bags in sizes to meet just about any photographer’s needs. “This collection sells better when they’re separated from the crowd of black bags most retailers carry. All are rolling bags, and it makes a nice presentation when they are assembled in a group on the sales floor.”

The PCS182 ($389.95) is a high-capacity, carry-on roller with room to carry a complete pro DSLR outfit, and it comes with a bonus—a removable daypack small enough to carry on a plane but big enough to pack a 14.5-inch laptop. The daypack has backpack straps and includes an earphone port. Other features include a removable tray with movable dividers, in-line skate wheels and cushioned backpack straps with waist-belt support.

Designed with award-winning wildlife photographer Todd Gustafson, the Pelican PCS383 Photo Safari rolling camera and computer case is perfect for long hauls and huge assignments. Despite the voluminous capacity, it meets carry-on requirements. The PCS383 includes a unique zip-off computer case that can be removed before boarding. “Once at the gate,” Seidel said, “simply unzip the laptop case from the main roller, and they become the ‘one piece of luggage plus one personal item’ that the airlines typically allow.” The Photo Safari bag can be used as conventional luggage by removing the interior dividers. $389.95.

The line also includes the Pelican PCS247, a perfectly sized roller to replace a heavy shoulder bag—and it accommodates a 15-inch laptop. Ideal for wedding photographers, the low-profile PCS247 is designed for midsize DSLRs. It comes with adjustable dividers, a padded computer pocket and several pockets that allow users to keep small accessories organized. Available in black or green, the PCS247 features full-grain leather trim, molded protective corners in high wear areas, and a nylon storm cover. The PCS247 meets airline carry-on regulations for domestic and international travel. $286.95.


OmegaBrandess is the photo trade distributor of: Alta Zonal Pro, APE Case, B.D.itigal, Berg Color Tone, Blue Crane Digital, Cloud Dome, Cokin, Datacolor, Delta, Dust-Aid, Flash Frame, FLM Ballheads, Focal Press, Forte, Gary Fong, GoldX, Hove Books, J. Wiley Publishing, JOBO, Krusell, LensPen, Little, Brown and Company, Norazza, Novatron, Omega, Omega/LPL, Omega MediaCut, Peachpit, Pearson Education, Phoenix, Polaris, Sharpics, Tetenal, Transcend, Tundra, Wein and more. OmegaBrandess also manufacturers Omega enlargers, Novatron lighting systems, Berg Color Toners and Flash Frame camera brackets. omegabrandess.com


Domke: The Shooter’s Bag Continues

Its Evolution and Innovation


When you’ve earned the respect and trust of photojournalists the world over, it’s safe to say you’ve clearly established yourself as one of the leading manufacturers of high-quality camera bags.

Such is the reputation of the Tiffen Company’s Domke camera bag collection more than three decades into their successful history. A line that was originally designed to meet the rigorous demands of photojournalists in the field, Domke has evolved the line into a series of rugged, practical, durable bags that offer more than just a great way to protect and organize photo equipment.

“Their extraordinary accessibility transforms them from being mere cases into active photo accessories that actually help you take better pictures more conveniently,” said Andrea Rauch, product manager for Domke.

Rauch added that the key to this extremely successful run for Domke lies in the fact that Domke bags combine all the right qualities for a serious photographer. “They’re comfortable to carry, offer easy, quick access to camera gear, are safe for traveling as they do not look like camera bags, have plenty of pockets for everything you need to carry, and are made with rugged, durable construction,” she explained, “and they are still made in the U.S.”

Not unlike the busy photographers that are using their bags, Domke certainly isn’t sitting still as the company continues to expand their lines. The Rolling ProPack 217 and 220 bring two bags into the fold that are perfect travel companions, allowing users to carry their gear as well as a weekend’s worth of clothing. Both have plenty of space for the camera, lenses, accessories and laptops, with an expandable area for either clothing or perhaps another Domke shoulder bag for some flexibility once the travelers have reached their destination.

For those who prefer a little adventure when they hit the road, Domke’s immensely popular RuggedWear line is the perfect fit. Released in 2008 and growing each year since, this line combines original styles with some newer twists and adds a waxed canvas fabric that gives the bags a unique distressed and weathered look, all the while retaining their staple durability.

And with an eye on the future, as the convergence of the still and video worlds continues, Domke has added a new line of video bags that offer a water-resistant design and feature a set of hook-and-loop dividers and cushions that allow the user to create a custom-shaped interior to more securely carry newer cameras and accessories.

More innovation is expected later this year, as the company is planning two new bag styles in the months ahead. Look for the Domke Sling that will enable users to carry the bag on their back while on the move but switch it to a shoulder bag when they are ready to shoot, allowing fast and easy access to camera gear. Domke will also release a soft-sided canvas bag mounted on wheels, permitting users to travel more comfortably when traveling light simply isn’t an option.

In reviewing the Domke legacy, one thing that will apparently never change is the underlying concept that every bag the company designs is designed as a shooter’s bag, as founder Jim Domke once explained, “as a dynamic tool for the photographer working in the field. Ultimately that’s why every bag that bears my name is supremely practical, durable, lightweight and environmentally friendly—a camera bag that plays a crucial supporting role in helping you capture the action.” tiffen.com