DIY Street Camera Bag: Shock-absorbing, Supporting, and Stabilizing

What kind of camera bag can fit me?

Since the beginning of my photography taking years, I have got many cameras through my hands, so have countless camera bags. From shoulder bag to back back, to those claimed to have multi-function, from very sizable to camera bag inner bags, I had them all. Good looking/ easy to store/ convenient/ heavy… It seems that none of the bag would do it for me.

From the feature of shock-absorbing materials, the usual is the foams made from PE, EPE, PU, PVC…. Some smaller camera bags might use only wetsuit materials or canvas with padding to form protection. Each one has its own pros and cons. To consider a camera bag, two perspectives might come in handy: Does the camera need protections during the journey? What kinds of risks might be involved on the way?

Let’s solve the first question. My photos usually consist with street cats.

My equipments for the photo shooting:

This is my usual kit, perhaps a telephoto lens depending on what I was into that day.

SONY A7s+FE 50mm f1.8= a camera with a prime lens.
Spare battery, chager, blower, brush, lens tissue, microphone, small flash.
India made canvas bag, drink in a bottle, pen, notebook, cellular phone, wallet, keys.

The A7 comes with interchangeable lens. The camera itself was made of aluminum alloy with a paint coat. While sitting in a bag, it is quite easily being “bullied” by older lenses. The senior lenses are made with copper or iron. Anyone of them could weigh double of the modern lenses. The aluminum alloy is not tough enough to be hit by the old bones. Without any buffering material, the complete package weighs already more than a kilogram, and the hitting inside the bag is definitely suffering for the inside contents.

In order to fit them all in the bag, I used to carry a bag with inner dividers (as in the picture below):

Left: Lowepro Passport Sling original inner divider; Right:Jenova inner divider.

The inner dividers are just fine, but they do not fit in this big canvas bag. The problems of using Lowepro Passport Sling original dividers, other than not design and not fit for this bag, it is also not design for camera like A7. The A7, as part of Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Cameras (MILC) family, was not in the consideration of the designs of most bags. Most of them are designed for reflex cameras which are bigger in size. Using those bags for smaller camera could be quite wasting in the storage room.


If you use Jenova inner divider, the equipments in the bag could be tumbling around due to lack of fixation of the divider, and its weight. When a cat appears, taking out the camera quietly is a must, but the bag might just not allow it. Some might suggest, why don’t I hang the camera on my neck? In my defense, I was just strolling around, and shoot randomly. I would rather keep the camera in the bag than attract too much attention.

Anyway, I was not satisfied.

Aside from this problem, there is another one: What kinds of risks would occur during the journey?

Carrying this bag, and being on the road, many traffic situation might happen: walk, walk, walk, sometimes motorbike, bicycle, cars, and so on. (However, comparing to those journalists in Afghanistan, Iraq or Syria, what I am facing is close to none.)

The canvas bag needs to be: comfortable to carry, easy to retrieve camera, no waste of spare space.

So, I turned my head to the corner of my room, there I found some interesting treasure, the puzzle mats that survived from cats’ jaws. They were left there for a long time, and not disintegrating. They might fit for the challenge.

Drying the foam puzzle mats.

The steps are: measuring the insider of the bag, the width and length of the bottom, the height of the backside. The design should focus on the support of the base and the back.

First of all, cut the foam puzzle mats to fit the bottom of the bag, You may snuggle it into the bag, and make sure the size is right, and the length should be fine as the backboard. The backboard might need some adjustment to let the “L” structure sit at the bottom of the bag. The jigsaw edges are for the sides to stand up the sideboards.

The three-sided box might compromise some security, but the level of comfort was kicked up a big one.

Don’t ask me about the divider, I am still looking for my lens bag.

There is a inner buffer for the bag~  Cost = nothing

Super easy, super simple, super cheap camera bag inner layer. Finished!



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