review: epiphanie camera bag “catalina”

epiphanie "catalina" camera bag

When Butthead McStealy ripped us off back in July, one of the things he took was my beloved, battered Epiphanie Sydney camera bag. (Along with all my collected press passes, a brand new box of business cards, all my spare memory cards, my emergency kazoo, my 50mm lens … I kept a lot of stuff in my camera bag. And I’m still mad about it.) So for a while, I was hauling my camera in my everyday work tote bag, and a old shoulder bag for shoot-specific outings. It works, but it’s not ideal. So spent a lot of time on Epiphanie’s site while we were waiting for the insurance check to come, waffling on what I wanted to replace the Sydney with — one of Epiphanie’s new convertible-to-backpack styles, or the Catalina or Florence, both of which I loved for how much space they had. I was still, even with the Sydney, struggling to find a camera bag that isn’t too heavy for a job but that can double easily for a carry-on personal item when I travel.

epiphanie "catalina" camera bag

I ended up going with the Catalina; as much as I adored the backpack convertible-ness of the Sydney, none of the styles of the backpack bags that Epiphanie has right now really worked for me. And, frankly, I’m in just as much love as I was with my Sydney.

Epiphanie has switched from high quality synthetic leather to real leather, and I honestly think that’s one of my favorite things about my Catalina — it smells great. (If leather is not your thing, carry on here.) It also feels even a little more sturdy than my Sydney, despite having a narrower and not-doubled-over shoulder strap. And oh, God, this bag is enormous. In footprint, yes, it’s bigger than my previous bag, but not much, and the inside space compared to what it looks like it should hold … it’s like that great bag that Hermoine had in Deathly Hallows. I can put all the books and camera lenses in this bag!

I can’t say enough about how much I love Epiphanie — beautiful bags that genuinely take the functionality needed by photographers not just into account but into maximum account. The current line of designs are a little more streamlined than some of the previous designs — not quite so many zipper pockets tucked into every piece of available space — but they’re still absolutely the best combination of function and loveliness out there.

epiphanie "catalina" camera bag

What’s in my bag? Well …

  • Etta, my new Nikon D7000 with a Tamron 28-75mm/f2.8 lens attached
  • Nikon 50mm/f1.4 lens
  • Sigma 70-300/f4-5.6 lens
  • Moleskin day planner
  • Makeup bag that Allison made me for Christmas
  • Pen / pencil case
  • Wallet
  • iPhone and earbuds
  • Weekly pill case
  • Earplugs
  • Sunglasses
  • Various cleaning tools

Usually there’d also be a box of business cards, a portable phone charger, a small LED flashlight (for peeing in Port-a-potties after dark while shooting music festivals), and a handful of SD cards and rolls of film, but since Butthead McStealy also walked off with my Pentax K1000, film seems less necessary at the moment. (It had half a roll of film in it! I was taking glorious artistic macro shots of shattered glass and bottle caps on the railroad tracks by my house! I was gonna make a million dollars from that art! Gah. I’ve mostly recovered from the anxiety-inducing parts of the violation of having a break-in at my house, but the more I remember what was in that camera bag, I just get angry all over again. YOU DIDN’T NEED MY COLLECTION OF GASLIGHT ANTHEM PRESS PASSES, BUTTHEAD MCSTEALY.) (And, you know, I haven’t replaced the rest of that stuff yet.)

I’d recommend Epiphanie to anyone who wants both a functional and good looking camera bag. Some people don’t care about looks, and function is the most important. But I want both, and I am thrilled with my newest purchase for both those reasons.

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