Leo Laksi’s Bangkok And Back

Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained

Billingham Hadley (small) camera bag in black

with 2 comments

[Note: See my newer posting comparing the size of the small Hadley with the larger Hadley Pro.]

Billingham is an UK manufacturer of camera bags that are without peer in a traditional sort of way.  Billingham bags are held in the same high esteem as other well-known British brands such as Barbour outerwear and Churchs shoes.

Although Billingham has a line of synthetic fabric bags, their bread and butter is their well-known canvas that now comes in khaki, green and black.  Their design is also old-school and has few of the features of bags from Crumpler, Lowe Pro or Kata, like net zip slit pockets, memory card slots and all weather covers.  But let there be no mistake, these bags are extremely well-made and can protect your camera equipment with their thick adjustable padding.

This particular bag is the small Hadley that I find handy for everyday use.  The bag is not huge but is suitable for carrying a camera kit plus a few extras.

Black Beauty

Black Beauty

As you can see, the bag is quite good-looking.  The exterior is comprised of an oversize top flap, two front pockets, an unpadded shoulder strap  and two leather quick fastening straps and buckles.  The bag is comfortable to carry whether on the shoulder or across the chest.  The strap is generous in length and should be suitable for most people.

Pulling the top flap back  exposes the “photo insert”.  This insert is the padded carrier for your camera equipment.  As you can see, the insert has its own padded top.

Top open

Top open

This view also exposes the two front flap pockets that are roomy although not expansive in their capacity.

Pulling the padded flap back brings your camera equipment to light. The capacity is large enough to accomodate a DSLR with two smaller lenses such as a 17-40mm and 24-105 mm zoom lenses and various small accessories.  Your 70-300mm zoom will not fit in this bag.

Gear handy

Gear handy

In my bag, there are two Leica cameras, one attached to a 35mm lens, the other to a 90mm lens.  But that’s not all.  This bag also contains a 21mm, 28mm and finally a 50mm in its two front pockets.  The bag also holds a spare battery, memory cards, a cleaning cloth and a bulb air blower.

Finally, there is room in the void between the camera bag and the photo insert for small items such as a wallet and a mobile telephone.  As you can see from the photo below, this area is roomy even for my large wallet.

There's the wallet

There's the wallet

On the down side, this bag is expensive.  In the same size category are the Crumpler “five million dollar home” and   the Lowe Pro “Inverse 100 AW” bags.  For almost the same amount of money as one Hadley, you can buy nearly three “five…” or “Inverse 100…”.  You have to ask yourself if the Billingham is worth the premium ownership requires.

I own the “seven million dollar home” and the “Inverse 200 AW” bags and they are both well-made and designed bags.  I rely on them often.  I would imagine that their smaller brothers (or sisters) are just as well-made.  However, I think that the biggest difference is that the other two bags are utilitarian in appearance while the Hadley has an understated elegance in design that the other two lack.  To be fair to the Crumpler and the Lowe Pro, in a rough and tumble environment under harsh conditions, I would be more prone to carry these brands over the Hadley.

[Note: See my newer posting comparing the size of the small Hadley with the larger Hadley Pro.]


Written by leolaksi

December 11, 2008 at 6:48 am

2 Responses

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  1. Found you on Alpha Inventions. This is a very cool blog on a subject about which I know very little. Glad I bumped into you. I do love the Internet….


    December 11, 2008 at 11:57 pm

  2. After considering for a long time and comparing this bag with for instance the Think Tank Retrospective 5 and several small Domke-bags I decided to buy it! And I don’t regret it at all! Yes, the pricetag ain’t sweet but you do get a real multi-purpose bag. With the insert in (and probably I’m not exactly the predicted customer) it accommodates a large DSLR (without batterypack) with e.g. a 24-70L and still enough space to fit in 1-2 fixed focus lenses (e.g. 1.4 24L) and a Powershot G7-G12 in one of the front pockets and cards etc. in the other pocket.
    When you take out the insert you get a small messengerbag with still a small camera in the front pocket.. AND when you take fully loaded insert and put it in a backpack or other bag the equipment is still good protected. You cannot do that with almost any other bag.
    And regarding the weather resistancy.. I used it in Iceland in the rain. No significant problem!


    November 2, 2011 at 8:56 pm

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