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10-17-2013, 08:49 PM   #1
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Why are camera bags so expensive?

I see them costing $100, $130, or even more. They look like a fancy backpacks or day travel bags. Are they made of a fancy material that I just don't understand? I bought a big used bag off of eBay for $18 shipped with plenty of compartments and a tough exterior. Then I discovered my local shop nearly throws them away when people sell their package of film gear to them. What am I missing?

10-17-2013, 08:52 PM   #2
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10-17-2013, 09:01 PM   #3
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Oh, yes. Profit. I have to confess I honestly didn't consider that when I posted. Too obvious I guess.
10-17-2013, 09:22 PM   #4
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I think they are a little like women's handbags, you can never have too many I do think they are overpriced compared to regular backpacks, but on the other hand they are more specialized, have features that a regular backpack doesn't and take more work to design.

I have found the best source to be estate sales, there is almost always a camera bag, sometimes almost new. And the price is usually $5 or $10. I have a very nice LowePro Computrekker that I paid $5 for...........

10-17-2013, 10:06 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
I have found the best source to be estate sales, there is almost always a camera bag, sometimes almost new. And the price is usually $5 or $10.
I've noticed this, too. Nobody ever wants the camera bag.
10-17-2013, 10:08 PM   #6
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Innovation leads to profit. Saw the videos and purchased Think Tank.
10-17-2013, 11:01 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by 6BQ5 Quote
I see them costing $100, $130, or even more. They look like a fancy backpacks or day travel bags. Are they made of a fancy material that I just don't understand? I bought a big used bag off of eBay for $18 shipped with plenty of compartments and a tough exterior. Then I discovered my local shop nearly throws them away when people sell their package of film gear to them. What am I missing?
They are expensive because even more expensive things go inside them. So the consumer psychological angle ("vanity") is that surely this is the only legit bag worthy of carrying your treasured gear and maintaining that gear is a relatively small investment undoubtedly worth the price.

I've been known to fall for it once or twice, but not all the time.

M

10-18-2013, 12:22 AM   #8
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They are so expensive because they can charge that and people will pay anyway.
10-18-2013, 12:48 AM   #9
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They aren't. Buy via Amazon deals. I got a discontinued, top-line Lowepro Classified 250 AW for like 1/4 the regular price. It was outgoing, but I waited. Then I got a Manfrotto as a Warehouse Deal (Unitas V) for like less than $40 shipped. It was perfectly new.
10-18-2013, 05:18 AM   #10
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You can find some pretty inexpensive bags if you look around. However, when looking at "quality" bags, there are a few elements that can drive the price up.

1-profit of course

2-choice of materials and fabrics. To some extend, this can scale the price significantly. Waterproof, more durable, will cost more for the manufacturer to purchase.

3-design. Like in anything, a well-designed bag will take time to create, with many iterations, tests, feedback, and so forth.

4-craftsmanship. a well-made item, whatever it is, costs more (I think back on the insert I bought on eBay. The seams unravelled after 8 months. It had cost 15$ but was worth even less)

5-warranty. My Timbuk2 (best bag I ever saw) has a lifetime warranty.

So there you are. The two most variable factors are the intended profit, and the value the manufacturer places on item 3. At the end of the day, you must decide if a particular bag is worth it for you. But remember that this logic does not only apply to camera bags. Look at hiker's bag and you'll see some crazy prices there too.
10-18-2013, 05:56 AM   #11
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I've discovered the hard way that buying a more expensive quality bag is a better bet than buying cheap ones and will save you money in the long run. The cheap ones I've bought usually start falling apart pretty quickly. Usually it's the seams or the zippers that fail. That said, I now buy all my bags used. I've bought two f.64 backpacks that go for $200 new for $40-$50 each, and I recently picked up a nifty little LowePro mini bag for my Q for $5.
10-18-2013, 10:11 AM - 1 Like   #12
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I mostly agree with the points bdery made and do not really find the mainstream bags to be out of line. they are a specialized product with limited appeal and must be of good quality in order to protect very expensive contents.

That said, I recently discovered the top compartment zipper on one of my LowePro slingshot bags was repeatedly running off the track. I contacted Lowepro and within the week they had sent me a brand new replacement bag per the terms of their lifetime warranty. Holy crap, that was phenomenal and worth paying a small premium up front for a bag that may live "forever"!
10-24-2013, 03:24 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Macario Quote
They are so expensive because they can charge that and people will pay anyway.
That's the truth, they know they can so they do.

I never buy new bags, charity / goodwill shops are full of them. And the bag is there to protect and carry the gear, so why would I want an expensive bag that's going to put down in mud, wet grass and sandy beaches and dragged through undergrowth ? . I've got a nice Kata and Lowepro that I'm using at the moment, both bought in new condition for next to nothing, but in a years time they'll look like the others, battered and mud coloured.
10-24-2013, 03:57 PM   #14
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I'd never buy a bag that costs more than the gear I'd put inside it.

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10-24-2013, 03:59 PM - 1 Like   #15
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Spend Less, Get Less?

I don't think quality is ever cheap and camera bags are no exception. Complaining about prices for a good bag is like griping that a good filter is much more expensive than a cheapie off-brand one. Go ahead and put that $8.00 eBay CPL on your prized $800 lens. Watch what happens.
Dumpster-dive or spend $3.00 at Goodwill for a bag, add some foam from a craft store. There you go!
Then put $1,000- $2,000 worth of metal and glass in it.
Sure, that makes a lot of sense. Especially in bad weather or rugged outdoor conditions.
I have a Domke F-6 that's 30 years old and looks it. But every zipper, latch, hook and strap is fully functional and has never failed. Paid $100 IIRC.
Or, I could have bought a Goodwill junker and replaced it every year for 30 years. Probably about the same price, overall.
Sure, I've bought newer ones over the years, but not because the Domke gave out, no sir! Just need different sizes for different kits.
A camera bag says a lot about how much the user values their equipment.
What does yours say?
JMO,
Ron
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