Really, I am shocked at how difficult it is to find an attractive camera bag. We have the INTERNET. We have amazon.com. We have etsy. We have fifty bajillion amateur photographers out there like me who want to integrate their cameras into their daily life.
So why on earth can't I find a bag that can fit this need?
What I want? I want an attractive camera bag that isn't black, have enough room for my Nikon D40 and a spare lens, and doesn't look like a camera bag.
You know what most camera bags look like? Black. Bulky. Painfully rectangular. And instantly recognizable as a camera bag. Which isn't great if it's something you want to be able to tote everywhere with you.
I've been searching high and low, and the following is the list of options I've found to be available. I'll admit it - I even looked at diaper bags as an option (although none ended up being included here).
Lowepro seems reasonably priced and gets really great reviews. Sadly (for my convenience and my walet), I just can't appreciate the aesthetics for my lifestyle.
Search hard enough for pretty camera bags, and eventually you'll stumble upon Crumpler. Think twice before you go to their website as it's terribly flash-heavy. I think the 5 Million Dollar Home would suit my purposes well and leave enough room for me to use the bag as a purse as well. This style of bag would have been a great fit for me when I was doing the academic thing and got to run around in jeans and t-shirts all the time. Unfortunately, I can't picture myself carrying this bag to work, and it's also more than I would like to pay.
Jill.e Designs comes closest to the design in my head - their bags are actually pretty. They're a little on the larger side and not exactly my sort of pretty - they vaguely remind me of big brand names like Coach or Louis Vuitton or...those are the only two I can think of right now. I'm not much for those bags. I don't think I've ever spent - or wanted to spend - more than $40 on a purse. And if I thought Crumpler was expensive, then boy did Jill.e teach me I was wrong! But still. Jill.e. Pretty AND functional.
Perhaps at this point you're wondering what I use now. I use my purse. My husband shakes his head at this because I'm not the most graceful of people and my purse is not the most padded of carriers. So when I stumbled upon Domke inserts, I thought I might have found my solution. Already have a bag? Just get a domke insert, put it in your bag, and then put your camera in the insert in the bag. Since it's just a padded insert and not an entire bag, the price is very nice.
Unfortunately, what I would really like is smaller than the smallest Domke insert for a DSLR (there are smaller inserts than the one pictured, but they are just for lenses). If they could just chop off those two slots on the right... Sigh.
As I continued exploring Domke's offerings, I found out about a more versatile product: protective wrappings. Folds down flat when not in use, and can be wrapped around your DSLR when it's in the bag of your choice. Handy! I'm concerned it will be too bulky for me to tolerate every day, but I'm hoping it will be perfect for traveling, since we've got our belated honeymoon coming up next month.
No perfect solutions here, at least not for me, but some very solid options. If you have any suggestions, please let me know!