Choosing Billingham bags for street photography is a no brainer. They have for years appealed to me and I’m really glad I could give them a test drive. Last year I reviewed a selection of the best street photography bags but didn’t have a chance at the time to include Billingham.
So here’s a separate review for all you lovers of fashionable camera bags for your mirrorless camera.
The Hadley Pro is a messenger type camera bag priced at around £170.
It is a very good size bag for the mirrorless shooter. I particularly like the fact it has a handle (which the S3 below doesn’t have) and is able to fit a 13" laptop with camera or 15" without. Generally the people at Billingham have thought it through by including as many pockets and zips as humanly possible, and as much as it seems the obvious thing to do, many camera bag manufacturers focus too much on looks and forget the essentials.
The bag we tested was the all black version which I really like and think it’ll be less likely to look dirty after many trips in the urban outdoors. Also, the fabric is synthetic, much harder wearing and colour fast.
My wife who is a food photographer thought it’s one of the most suited camera bag for female photographers in terms of good looks.
It may sound irrelevant, but it’s not the first time I hear female photographers complaining of the lack of fashionable looking camera bags.
The inside padding is dark green, of high quality and the padded insert is removable to turn it into a casual messenger bag.
I like the fact it does not scream camera bag and that’s important when carrying expensive camera gear.
I haven’t really got much to say about this bag but that’s for the right reason. It just makes perfect sense, looks good and feels like the fabric should last a very reasonable amount of years.
I would not hesitate to recommend it and find it good value for money.
Priced at £195, the S3 by Billingham is a smaller camera bag than the Hadley Pro. I personally prefer it as it is the smallest possible but at the same time has a very good amount of pockets, it does not compromise.
I would compare it with the ONA Bowery which I own and use. Both are priced almost the same..
I think the Billingham S3 is actually a better bag. OK, I do prefer the ageing leather of my ONA Bowery over fabric but at the same time the Bowery lack pockets and according to Billingham, this particular S3 I reviewed is made of canvas which is mainly cotton with a bit of polyester to help it wear better.
The S3 I used for this review had a very attractive khaki fabric with tan leather straps. It has more pockets and can fit a tablet such as an IPad. It’s really smart, yet like the Hadley Pro it does not scream camera bag. The padding is excellent once again.
The stitching on those Billingham bags is really top notch.
Looking at both Billingham camera bags in this review my recommendation is based on the fact they mix good value and quality, they will most likely last long if reasonably cared for, have plenty of extra storage and the perfect choice for urban street photographers. Both bags are available in both synthetic or canvas both lined with something called butyl rubber which is impermeable to water - so they are rainproof.
I’m not entirely sure why the Hadley Pro is cheaper than the S3 since it’s the bigger bag.
The Hadley will allow you to bring a bit more with you but at the same time it also means carrying more. I find the S3 perfect for my needs. A tablet, a camera with lens and an extra lens on the side. That’s all I need for a good day out shooting around London.
My only regret? I now reluctantly have to send the sample bags back where they belong when I could have happily kept them both!
Head to the Billingham website now and check out the full range on offer!