Lets face it we all have way too many camera bags and the search for that elusive “perfect” bag still goes on. My latest edition on the camera toting front is the Billingham Hadley Pro. I just bought this bag recently after several failed attempts and the return of other bags from manufacturers such as Lowepro, Tenba and Think Tank. During my search I was frustrated that most manufacturers appear to think that a bag needs to hold Pro sized bodies and 70-200 f2.8s or if you use a mirrorless system you will only have a couple of small lenses. I needed a bag that would hold more, a bag that could hold my Fuji X-Pro1, X100s, 10-24mm, 18-55mm, 55-200mm, 18mm & 35mm. In addition I have a Lee Polariser, Big Stopper, 3 stop ND and a set of three ND grads with the holders and adapters. Add in three spare batteries for the X-Pro1 and three for the X100s, memory cards, cleaning kit and a few other bits and pieces and you can see how a small bag is not going to do it. Of course I do have a bag that this all fits into, it’s a Think Tank Street Walker back pack.
This is a great bag but completely misnamed in my opinion. Taking a bag like this into the street is not very practical as you are constantly taking it off to access the contents and it is definitely not crowd friendly. Of course you don’t always need to take every bit of kit with you. Indeed on some occasions I will take the X100s in its leather case with just a few bits and pieces in my pocket, see my post on traveling light with the X100s. For those occasions when I want a camera and a couple of lenses I also have a Billingham Hadley Small, which comfortably holds everything in the picture below.
But I wanted a shoulder bag that was big enough to travel with, could be easily accessed when on the go and hold the majority of my kit. So to that end I visited my local Calumet, having ordered online and returned two previous bags, I thought that I really needed the hands on approach and after much deliberation I ended up with a Lowepro Pro Messenger! This lasted at least one day until I went back and exchanged it for the Billingham Hadley Pro. Now that I’ve had it for a week I wonder why I ever tried anything else, particularly since I was so happy with the Hadley Small. It appears t0 be just perfect for my needs. In a couple of weeks, once I’ve had a chance to use it in anger, I will do a complete review of the bag. In the meantime here a a coupe of photos of it loaded and ready to go.
Bags are such a personal choice and it fascinates me to know what other photographers use. If you’d like to share your own thoughts or posts on your bag please feel free to comment below: