With great joy I am happy to report that I’ve said goodbye to my ‘man bag’ and hello to the stylish Epiphanie ‘Belle’ camera bag developed exclusively for women.
In recent weeks, I have searched online for a new camera bag that would meet my technical and style aspirations The search lead me to Epiphanie — a website dedicated to the camera bag creations of Maile Wilson. Maile, a talented photographer in her own right, liberates women from the ‘man bag’ epidemic with her line of camera bags that are technically superb and oh so very stylish.
As more women enter into photography either as a hobby or a business, the need for camera bags that can securely hold equipment while maintaining a feminine look has grown tremendously. Maile’s creations have answered this need. The typical camera bag found in a camera store is designed strictly for functionality, with a bewildering choice of colors — black or dark grey. Most are designed to fit a man’s’ frame and style sensibilities. For example, my Lowepro Slingshot, while very functional, became annoyingly uncomfortable during long photo shoots. It truly became a pain in the neck.
After comparing the the camera bags on offer at Epiphanie, I chose the ‘Belle’ model in pink with a lime green interior. The website provides a detailed description of Belle:
Dimensions (LxWxH) 14x8x8inches. Exterior is water-resistant, high quality synthetic leather. Interior crafted with extra padding for maximum equipment protection. Velcro panels can be adjusted & moved to any position for maximum customization & flexibility. Removable cross-body strap with padding for extra support. Two exterior pockets. One interior pocket with zipper. Light colored interior so items can easily be found.
Ordering through the website, the bag arrived at my doorstep earlier than expected. As I unwrapped the new camera bag, a thank you card attached to the packing caught my eye. The camera bag itself is packaged within a custom-sized dust bag suitable to store the camera bag when not in use. Business cards with inspirational quotes inscribed on them were tucked into the three zippered pockets. I have give the designer an A plus for excellent positive marketing technique.
How does this bag stack up to my current photo bag, a Lowepro Slingshot? On a recent field trip to Winterthur Estate and Garden, I quickly appreciated how well this bag fit my frame. I spent less time readjusting the camera bag and more time was focusing on the landscape.
An immediate difference was realized in the increased amount of equipment stored in the Belle photo bag versus the Lowepro SlingShot. I was able to load the Belle camera bag holds the following items:
- One Canon Camera body with lens
- Two additional lenses
- External flash plus snoot
- Two point and shoot cameras
- Cocoon organizer
- Coin purse
- One coveted tripod pass
Below is a photo of the equipment I was able to pack into the Belle camera bag:
I have compiled a list of pros and cons based upon my personal use of the Belle camera bag.
- Weatherproof material. This is a deal breaker for any camera bag, if the bag is not weatherproof than I am not buying it.
- Padded customizable dividers. The dividers are of a good sized thickness with velcro tabs allowing customization within the interior of the bag.
- Small details, like the metallic camera charm attached to camera bag handle make a big impact.
- Padded shoulder strap. My neck is thanking me profusely.
- Stylish design that disappears when you are working on a photo shoot and is eye-catching when you are not.
- The design doesn’t project to the world “Hey, I have expensive photo equipment in here, come steal me.”
- The price. The camera bags range in price from US $154.99 through $184.99. Belle retails at US$164.99. You certainly can find camera bags that are less expensive, but I find the combination of style and function of these bags to be worth the extra dollars.
Overall, I am extremely impressed with the quality and functionality of this camera bag. I would highly recommend this camera bag to women who have graduated from a point and shoot camera into dSLR photography or a professional photographer looking for a bag she can carry on to the shoot then out on the town.