Bag advice

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by delkhouri, Oct 7, 2016.

  1. delkhouri

    delkhouri Mu-43 Rookie

    Jan 1, 2016
    I have a Crumpler 3 million dollar home that I got on a deal. It has worked for the past few months but there are some problems with it for me. I don't like the material, I don't like the color scheme, and its just a little small for my needs.

    So, I want to get a new bag. The leading candidates are the Billingham Hadley small (or digital) and the Ona Bowery. Both are pricey but you can occasionally find deals on the Canvas Bowery. My local camera store has the Ona bags in stock but not the Billingham. I like the Bowery but am concerned that the side flaps tend to gape open after the bag has been used.

    Anyway, I have researched these two bags quite a bit, (and the think tank retro 5) Are there any other bags you would recommend. I have the following requirements:
    - No zippered main compartment (or I would buy the Domke 5xb)
    - No Velcro
    - Less than $150-ish ( I could stretch this a bit)
    - No cheap feeling fabrics like imitation leather or nylon or polyester
    - Weather resistant
    - Smallish (like the bowery/hadley small/retro 5)

    If it helps, my current kit contains the following
    EM10II, P14 2.5, Sigma 30 2.8, Oly 14-42II, Oly 40-150, plus extra batteries, caps, cleaning cloths, etc.

  2. JNB

    JNB Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 11, 2014
    Nova Scotia, Canada
    Lots of opinions on bags, and if you look, you'll discover more than one thread on bags here on the site. I have tried way too many bags: Domke 5xb, 5xc, Various Think-Tank bags, Crumplers, a Tenba, and a Lowepro or two. I avoided the more expensive Billinghams and Onas because they aren't available locally, and I couldn't see them in person. Some of the bags I tried weren't bad, but all eventually disappointed in one way or another. Like you, I hate velcro and zippers just get in the way. Finally, I gulped and ordered a Billingham Hadley Small. I really wish I'd done this in the beginning. Tastes differ but, for me, the Hadley Small has been the very best choice. In fact, I was so impressed that I ordered a second one so that I could have two configurations ready to go.

    1. Zoom kit: E-M5 mk ii & ECG-2 Grip with Panasonic 12-35 f/2.8 mounted in the middle, 35-100 f/2.8 on one side, Oly 9-18mm f/4-5.6 and Panasonic 25mm f/1.4 stacked on the other side. In the front pockets are 3 filters, 3 batteries, a soft case of SD cards, cleaning cloth and brush, and some business cards.

    2. Prime kit: E-M5 mk ii & ECG-2 Grip with Oly 17 f/1.8 mounted in the middle. Oly 12mm f/2.0 underneath (they don't touch). Panasonic 42.5mm f/1.7 on one side. Oly 75mm f/1.8 on the other side. I could easily stack another prime above the 42.5mm. Accessories as above.

    I love the closures on the Billinghams. I love the ease of access to the equipment while working. I love the fact that I don't need a separate waterproof cover for the bag. Like the Micro-4/3 system itself, the Hadley Small seems just right for me -- not too big and not too small. If the equipment fits in my Hadley Small, I can carry it for a day. If it doesn't fit, I'm trying to take too much (and would regret it later).
    • Agree Agree x 1
  3. BigTam

    BigTam Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Mar 19, 2012
    Dortmund, Germany
    Real Name:
    I have both the Hadley Small and Digital. The Digital is great for one body (or two, if the second one is a GM5), and 2 largish or 3 small lenses. The Small holds my GX7, GM5, 2 large zooms, two or three primes, tabletop tripod, chargers, cables, filters, lens pens and a tablet.

    On travel, I take both: the small holds everything and the Digital is great for when I know I won't need low-light primes, or when I need only low-light primes.

    As JNB said, the closure is great: fast, no velcro noise, can close or open it blind.

    I got my Digital on Ebay at about half price, as new condition. Worth looking out for.
  4. LucDeSchepper

    LucDeSchepper Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 8, 2014
    Real Name:
    Luc de Schepper
    I have three Billingham bags; the Small, Pro and 307 or 306 (a large bag for dslr gear). As mentioned the closure system on Billinghams is the best, I also have several Crumplers but I'd never buy a bag with velcro closures again. The Billingham Small is great for a MFT set, the Pro is larger so offers more room for a lens like the Olympus 40-150mm and has a carrying handle which can be convenient. For the Pro I recommend the shoulder pad which is an accessory.
  5. delkhouri

    delkhouri Mu-43 Rookie

    Jan 1, 2016
    Thanks everyone for the info about Billingham. I know they are high quality bags, I just didn't know what my other options were. Unfortunately I have to continue looking on the forums (where they rarely come up for sale) Or ebay, where I somehow always get outbid in the last second. I can't afford a new one at this time.

    My Crumpler serves its purpose but it is overcrowded with my current set up. I should clarify that i have the 40-150 F4-5.6 (not the pro version that is much larger).
  6. Jonnieb

    Jonnieb Mu-43 Rookie

    Jul 10, 2014
    Ontario, Canada
    Real Name:
    Jon Barnett
    I have the Hadley Small, Pro, Large, and a 307. The small is outstanding for a small m4/3 kit. I love the fact they are totally rainproof, and a little more padded than the equivalent Domkes. Check out the 803, though, as it is very slim, light, and practical. (I have 2 of these)
  7. delkhouri

    delkhouri Mu-43 Rookie

    Jan 1, 2016
    Are there any other (not billingham or ona) options of a non-zippered main compartment bag that also does not use velcro
  8. barry13

    barry13 Super Moderator

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    Real Name:
    Looks like there are, but not sure anything in your price range, size, and materials...
    Five Camera Bags for the Discerning Film Photographer
    Find a Mirrorless Camera Bag – Our top 10 recommendations!

    Many more articles bookmarked in Flipboard:
    This one is almost all compact messenger camera bags.
    General camera bags
  9. barry13

    barry13 Super Moderator

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    Real Name:
  10. barry13

    barry13 Super Moderator

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    Real Name:
    Zkin look nice but not sure if they have anything that small.
  11. delkhouri

    delkhouri Mu-43 Rookie

    Jan 1, 2016
    I have been following that ebay seller and have almost pulled the trigger on one several times. I know its picky but the canvas bowery is a dust/lint/hair magnet. On the smoke and Field tan it isn't noticeable but on the black it just looks dirty all the time.
    • Useful Useful x 1
  12. Clint

    Clint Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 22, 2013
    San Diego area, CA
    Real Name:
    IMO, the Bellingham is worth saving for and waiting to get one. I'd suggest the Small over the Digital. And if you are in the U.S. you might considering ordering it direct from them and save some $$ buying here in the states.
  13. fortwodriver

    fortwodriver Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 15, 2013
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Real Name:
    Find any bag you like, it doesn't really have to be a camera bag, purchase or make an insert, or use lens pouches, and that can be your camera bag. I'm sure you can find a non-camera bag without a zipper up top. I think ibagbar makes a few bags in various sizes with flaps, without or with zippers up top. They even have a few which look peculiarly like a Billingham.

    I'm still using a Crumpler "Dry Red 2" as a dedicated camera bag and it works really well. Lenses sit in open Optech lens pouches which are open while in use, and closed when my camera is put away. The camera is in a "Zing" case when not in use, and sits on the Zing in the bag when carrying it around.

    The Optech lens pouches are there to both hold the lenses upright in place, and to protect them.
    They're more flexible than dividers and they tend to be lighter.
    • Like Like x 1