In a house full of boys, I rarely indulge in items specifically for myself. When I do, they have to be durable and practical. I am a photographer, my camera bag is always stuffed to the gills with camera bodies, lenses, filters, flashes, reflectors, my laptop, and various other things. Up till now I have been happily using a Tamrac Adventure 9 Photo/Computer Backpack. As you might imagine, the backpack had gotten extremely heavy to carry all of my gear when I headed out to a shoot. I was on the look out for a smaller bag that could hold my camera, an extra lens, my phone, and wallet; the bare essentials for a shoot. When I received my Dre Hartmann Cameron Hobo DSLR Camera Bag in the mail, I was impressed but intimidated. It’s white, it’s trendy, and it’s designer. I’ve never been a designer handbag carrier, as a mom I’ve always been terrified of carrying a bag that my kids could ruin by spilling juice on or dragging through the grass. I’m proud to admit that I am a complete convert; seriously I’ll never go back. I absolutely adore this bag.
The first lesson that every serious photographer learns is to keep your camera near you at all times; memorable moments occur when you least expect them. When I agreed to review this bag, I promised myself that I would really put the bag through its paces; luckily it’s been a busy summer! The first weekend I had my Cameron bag, I was headed to Utah for a friend’s wedding. I packed my bags, picked the absolute minimum amount of camera gear, and headed for the airport. My Cameron bag contained my Canon Digital Rebel XTi, Tamron AF 28-75mm f/2.8 lens, Canon 430EX Flash, extra compact flash cards, Kindle Touch, hard case wallet, iPhone, car keys, and a few extra random things. Everything fit beautifully and my camera was safely protected in its padded walls. The dividers inside the bag are completely customizable with Velcro, so you can make your bag work for you. There are a couple very small pockets on the inside that are the perfect size for business cards or keys, and a larger zippered pocket on the back side that is large enough for my large wallet or a smaller wallet and phone. The bag comes with a matching shoulder strap, so there were no worries about getting annoyed lugging it all over the airport, I just threw it across my body and didn’t think twice. The bag is compact enough to fit under the airplane seat in front of me, while still leaving me enough foot room for the long flights ahead.
This bag looked downright stylish at the wedding I attended (and ended up shooting). Few people even guessed that it was a camera bag. Sure it was bigger than a normal purse (at least for me), but it was safely holding so much more than my regular purse. The external fabric is off-white, but cleverly is a heavy canvas material that doesn’t stain easily–it was pulled through the grass during the reception. The leather handle and accents are perfectly placed to make the bag extra durable to wear and tear, yet incredibly attractive. I wanted to carry this bag around with me everywhere. Since returning home from my trip, I’ve been surprised just how often I use this bag. The Cameron Hobo bag has become my purse, diaper bag, and camera bag, all at the same time! (Keep in mind both of my kids are nearly out of diapers so there is much less to carry around.)
After doing a little research to see if I was the only person who adores this bag, I found that Dre Hartmann Camera Bags is a fairly new company run by Andrea Hartmann. Andrea says she founded the company on the principle that “women shouldn’t have to settle for large, bulky SLR camera bags or giant backpacks whenever they want to hit the town or travel with their camera gear.” Andrea designed the current three bags out of genuine leather, 100% cotton luggage weight canvas, and heavy duty zippers. Her designs could easily pass for any designer bag in a department store, and that in itself is one of the best bits of security that you can have with this bag. If people don’t know you are carrying $2ooo+ worth of camera gear in your purse, they are a lot less likely to steal it. She is expecting to release at least one additional bag this fall that she said was specifically designed to be a bit larger.
I’ve been trying to think whether or not there is anything that this bag could improve on, and the best that I could come up with is that it is compact and it would never fit all of my gear, not that I need/want it to. It is a camera bag for the woman that wants to look stylish while carrying just her DSLR, an extra lens, and maybe a flash. It makes for the perfect mom camera bag because it passes for a designer purse, is padded to protect the camera, and still has room to put some of the kids extras in as well. Andrea Hartmann you have converted me, I thank you.
For purposes of this review, Dre Hartmann Camera Bags provided a free Cameron Hobo bag, as always my opinions are my own. Dre Hartmann camera bags sell retail for $150-$200 each.