Saturday, 15 November 2008

A nice little bag

Billingham Small Hadley, with the padded insert removed

For my city visits I've been looking for a small bag to carry my stuff in for a while. Typically it's something I need in the winter, when I carry not only the camera gear but hat, gloves, jacket etc. I was after something light, low key, easy to get into. I've got a large size courier bag but it's way too much for a day about town.

I finally bought a Billingham Small Hadley, after putting my hands on one in a camera store. I've bought the black nylon (FibreNyte) version, which is much lower key than the traditional canvas models (I've always thought the canvas bags scream "I'm a camera bag"). This is my mini-review.

The all important question - what does it carry? Well, I packed it into my carry-on holding my 40D plus 17-55 f/2.8 & 50 f/1.8, my Zeiss Ikon with the CV 28 f/2.0 & CV 40 f/1.4 and my Lumix LX3. I packed batteries and film separate for travelling. I'd stripped out the padding, which I always thing is superfluous in such a bag.

The kit as used in Berlin: Zeiss Ikon, 2 lenses, Lumix LX3, jacket, wooly hat (blue in the bottom)
Plenty of room for a water bottle or a pile of film (few rolls in front pocket)

Around Berlin I was carrying just the Zeiss and LX3, foregoing the DSLR. I had both cameras and the spare RF lens, a lightweight jacket, hat, gloves & a bottle of water. Front pockets carried the film (about 4 rolls) and batteries. It was easy to carry, I got no aches or pains and barely noticed I had it on. I carry it slung across the shoulder & chest like a courier bag which is more stable and more comfortable. It then sits nicely in the small of my back.

If I was going with the SLR, the bag could carry that, a small spare lens, jacket, hat gloves. If I decided to hand-carry the camera or put it around my neck, I could easily carry a 70-200 plus the other stuff.

It takes a bit of practice to work the quick release straps. Once I got the buckles set right (a bit looser than I might otherwise do) it became straight forward. I though the fixed strap would be a problem for packing but it is quite flexible and folds under the main flap for packing which is nice. The size is just right to drop in the bottom of a carry-on packed with gear so it doesn't really take up room.

All in all, highly recommended for the photog-about-town.

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