National Geographic MC 2350
With a stylish but relaxed design, the National Geographic bag looks just like a normal shoulder bag (and can in fact be used as one if the insert is removed) which is ideal if you prefer not to advertise the fact that you're carrying expensive gear. Unfortunately the top handle is situated towards the back, meaning the whole bag tilts awkwardly forward when you hold it and while the softness and flexibility of the bag makes it pretty comfortable to wear, it's not sturdy enough to protect any gear outside of the small removable insert.
This insert holds a DSLR camera with a lens attached and one extra lens or flash, making it ideal for situations where you want your DSLR but aren't inclined to bring lots of heavy gear. The insert has a rain cover but anything outside of this will probably get wet fairly quickly in a downpour. The bag also features a padded pocket for a tablet and a magnetic clasp for quick, easy access to your camera.
This will suit those wanting a camera bag which can also just be a plain messenger, too.
iDeer Vinta 370
If you don't have hundreds of pounds to spend, the Vinta 370 offers lovely design which is both vintage but also current. It doesn't shout 'I'm a camera bag' which we think is a good thing. It's both compact and comfortable and there are magnetic fastenings for quick access.
The iDeer is sturdy in its build quality which is good when a floppy bag just isn't good enough. At this price the material isn't real leather but it feels far from cheap. The compact size means that there's no room for a laptop but you will be able to fit a camera with a lens attached with room for another couple of lenses and a flash.
This is a great option for those wanting style and build quality without a cost similar to that of a decent lens.
The large range of Ona bags is stunningly gorgeous and you can opt for real leather designs if that's your cup of tea. Like the iDeer, it doesn't have the typical appearance of a camera bag which is great for those not wanting to advertise what's inside. It costs a lot but you get a sturdy but flexible design which is comfortable to wear.
Ona offers a range of sizes but the Brixton is a happy medium giving you space for a DSLR with a lens attached, 2-3 additional lenses and a 13in laptop. The bag is nicely padded for protection and the front pockets are roomy for any extra bits and pieces you have. Small quibbles include non-leather material showing up marks, the handle making the bag tilt forwards and front buckles which do not release quickly.
The Ona Brixton is the choice for anyone looking for out and out style combined with high quality materials and space.
The Domke Chronicle from the Journalist range is a pretty sturdy and well-padded bag and is quite roomy although the padded pocket only fits a tablet and not a laptop. It is, however, a little boxy and inflexible which makes it slightly awkward to wear despite a comfortable shoulder strap. The design is more functional than stylish but has a touch of smartness which helps it to stand apart from more utilitarian bags.
Roomy side pockets can be unzipped to extend for even more room and front pockets are expandable by poppers. Velcro fastenings on the flap allow for quick access but there's also the option of using metal fasteners for extra security. There's space for one or two DSLRs with a zoom lens and 2-3 additional lenses plus a flash and accessories. Futhermore, you can fit a tablet up to 9.7in.
A solid choice for those wanting a practical and sturdy bag without the need for flashy design.
Booq Python Catch
The main attraction of the Booq camera bag is the 'Terralinq' tracking, which allows you to find and track down your bag if you lose it and someone reports finding it. It's very sturdy and well-padded (including a padded laptop pocket) but a little bulky and uncomfortable to wear if you're on the smaller side. A pocket in the top holds an excellent rain cover which stretches over the whole bag, providing protection from the rain for all your gear.
The design is quite plain and utilitarian – ok if that's your kind of thing but not if you're looking for something that looks like a nice shoulder bag rather than a functional camera bag. The opening is not very intuitive and quite awkward which isn't ideal if you want quick access. It's very roomy, though, with space for 1-2 DSLRs, up to four lenses or flash units and a 15in slim laptop.
The Booq is suited to those wanting to protect their equipment.