In general, I believe that most things in the world of accessories are matters of personal taste, which means I'm slow to become evangelical about my belief in the goodness of any particular trend, brand, structure or look. Sure, I personally endorse bags all the time, but I realize that's just my personal opinion, which will be of varying value to those who might read it. When it comes to one type of bag, though, things go a little bit beyond that: I believe that camera bags are truly, genuinely the most useful of the widely available bag styles.
A camera bag is characterized by a collection of the following characteristics: it's petite and rectangular, with a crossbody strap, top zipper and side gussets that maintain a consistent width from top to bottom. It looks, essentially, like a little bag that would comfortably hold a digital camera from ten or so years ago, with a little extra room—hence the name of the genre.
Camera bags are so great because of how all of these features interact. The bags are lightweight, largely because they're not very big and don't have the surface area necessary for tons of extra pockets, zippers, studs, or other things that weigh a bag down. The bag's structure and zippered closure means that the bags always hold more than you'd expect they would because you can layer things into them without worrying that a flap closure won't lay correctly or things will spill out. And once loaded up, everything is secure—they always have full-width zippers that lend themselves to use during a wide range of activities. The crossbody strap keeps everything easy and hands-free.
Naturally, these little bags are widely popular with shoppers—especially in recent years—which means that most brands big and small make some version, often at an entry-level price point for their line. Below, we've selected some of our favorites, whether you want to add one to your collection for the first time or just keep your options open for additional camera bags. (I have like four, and I use them all, somehow.)