Leo Laksi’s Bangkok And Back

Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained

Posts Tagged ‘camera bag

Billingham Hadley v. L2 (Alice) camera bags, which one for you?

with 23 comments

L2 on left, small Hadley on right.

L2 on left, small Hadley on right.

Ok, so in terms of appearance, the small Hadley has it hands-down over the sturdy but plain looking Billingham L2.  The Hadley has two buckles and exterior pockets and the Billingham logo to attract your attention.  Let’s face it, the Hadley is a great looking bag.

But as they say, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” and  “beauty is only skin-deep”.   Beneath the plain exterior L2 is a GREAT bag for someone looking for a compact design.  Where do I start in describing the superlatives of the L2.  How about the leather reinforced bottom panels with feet?

L2 on bottom, small Hadley on top

L2 on bottom, small Hadley on top

Or a slight larger main compartment that makes the L2 roomier for your cameras and your accessories.  This difference can be seen in all the photos. From the “face” in the first photo to its bottom panel in the second to its end view below.

L2 on left, small Hadley on right

L2 on left, small Hadley on right

And the L2 is also expandable by attaching the optional AVEA pockets to the leather loops that comprise the shoulder strap anchor on each side of the bag.  The small Hadley does not have this advantage.

Inside the bag, one can notice other differences between the two. Whereas the Hadley has a removable padded insert, the L2 does not.  In addition, the Hadley has narrow spaces between the insert and the interior front and back of the bag for additional storage, while the L2 has a sizable storage area in front of the main compartment that is capable of holding additional gear to include smaller Leica “size” lenses.  The narrow space behind the main compartment is large enough for flat accessories like filters, etc.

In addition, the main compartment of the L2 is slight larger than the Hadley as the below photos show.

Contained in the bags are a Leica M8 with Carl Zeiss Biogon 21mm f/2.8 AND a Panasonic Lumix G1 with 45-200 f/4-5.6 zoom lens.  Both bags are roomy enough for a DSLR, like the Canon 5D lens.  But an additional lens may be difficult to carry.  A smaller DSLR like the 450D may be a better choice for this bag as the smaller body will give you more room.

Small Hadley with Leica M8 and Panasonic G1

Small Hadley with Leica M8 and Panasonic G1

L2 with same Leica and Panasonic cameras

L2 with same Leica and Panasonic cameras

Note the size of the compartment in front of the main compartment of the L2 (but remember that the Hadley has two exterior pockets the L2 does not have).  Finally, the L2 has additional weatherproofing in the form of an extra layer of waterproof canvas on interior side of the top flap (and both side gussets to protect the sides of the top flap).

Bottom line?  I think the L2 is a very practical bag to shoot from.  There are no exterior or zippered pockets to contend with.  You just open the flap and get to shooting.  However, if you’re going by looks, the Hadley is the way to go.

One small problem. I can’t find the L2 listed on the Billingham website.  Maybe it’s not being made any more.  (However the L2 is available at various photographic equipment websites.)

Final thought.  I find both of these bags easy to carry.  They are lightweight and comfortable.  I do not find my Hadley Pro or my 555 to be “easy to wear” bags.  The Pro’s insert stiffens the bag to the point I don’t find it to be very comfortable.  The 555 because of the sheer weight of the bag.  For me, there are better choices in that size of bag.  But for looks and detailing,  they are good-looking bags.

Advertisements

Written by leolaksi

March 20, 2009 at 6:54 am

Lowepro Inverse 200 AW camera beltpack as shoulder bag

leave a comment »

Comes in three colors

Comes in three colors

The Lowepro Inverse 200AW beltpack is a versatile bag that is a very comfortable belt or waist pack.  Its easy to position the bag in front of you for use as a platform to change lens.  And because the interior of the bag is roomy for its size, you don’t have to worry about dropping  your lens on the ground as you go through the manuever of changing lenses.

But for me, its real attraction is its comfort as a shoulder bag irrespective of whether you wear the shoulder strap on your shoulder or across your chest. You simply tuck the waist belt in its slot and out of the way.  Irregardless of how you wear the shoulder strap,  the bag is comfortable  and easy to shift from your rear or side to your front for access.

Paddes waistbelt tucked in

Padded waistbelt tucked in

The bag is well-made with several nice touches including slots for memory cards, a zippered slit pocket that runs almost the length of the front, a slightly expandable pocket that can be cinched tight adjacent to the zippered pocket and a built in rain cover (hence the AW for “all weather”) that is not waterproof but adds an additional layer of water resistance.

The bag can hold a larger DLSR such as a Canon 5D attached to a 24-105mm f/4 L lens with room for another smaller zoom lens and some accessories.  If your lens of choice is a 70-200mm f/2.8, it may be a tight fit unless you strip the padded dividers out.

Suitable for camera with attached lens and another lens

Suitable for camera with attached lens and another lens

I would recommend the Inverse 200 AW if you are looking for this type of bag.  I would also recommend that you consider the Crumpler “Five Million Dollar Home” which is of similar dimensions.  The Crumpler does not have the dual functionality of the Inverse in that it is not a beltpack.  Also, the Inverse is a zippered toploader while the “home” is a toploader with an extended top flap that uses a fastex buckle to cover the top and entire front of the bag.

Written by leolaksi

January 3, 2009 at 7:22 am

Billingham Hadley Pro camera bag

with 5 comments

The magic is in the detailing

The magic is in the detailing

Billingham makes a great line of “old school” camera bags that are the epitome of detailing, workmanship and design.  The Hadley Pro is a handsome bag with proportions that are unmatched in overall appearance.  It will easily hold a DSLR with attached lens and one additional lens.  Even a Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 L lens as your additional lens.  Or two DSLRs with lenses attached, provided the lenses are of smaller dimensions.  But given its capacity, it can become heavy.

Handsome kit

Handsome kit

The only niggling complaint I have is the interior depth of the bag.  It’s 70mm (2 3/4 in.) (if you use the padded insert).  I wish it was 50mm (2 in.) wider.  As it is, with some lenses etc it’s a tight fit.  As you can see, the bag also has two exterior pockets that are slightly wide.  The only problem with these pockets are the exposed rear of the snap rivet in each pocket.  This metal can scratch so you’ve been warned.

I recommend you consider the optional shoulder pad as this bag is capable of holding substantial weight and the shoulder strap could become uncomfortable.   This is not an issue with the smaller Hadley bag.

Open not so wide

Two DSLR's with lenses attached

Billingham have several bags slightly larger that may give you more flexibility in arranging your gear.  The 306 is of slightly larger dimensions and comes with the Superflex partition insert.

Insert out of the bag with two cameras inside

Insert out of the bag with two cameras inside

I highly recommend this bag to anyone.  It’s hard to go wrong with this traditional design.  And it will last a long long time.  Enjoy.

Check here for my other review re this bag.

Zippered flat back pocket

Zippered flat back pocket

Written by leolaksi

January 1, 2009 at 6:43 am

Lowe Pro SlingShot 200 AW camera backpack

with 3 comments

Rear view

Rear view

First of all, Lowe Pro makes some very good gear.  I’ve had a number of different bags of all configerations over the years.  Currently, I frequently use their fanny pack quasi-shoulder bag, the Inverse 200 AW.  This particular bag is a toploader and is great to shoot out of.  From my shoulder, I can move the bag from my back or side to a front position where I can use its broad mouth to change lenses without the worry of dropping the lens or worse, the camera.

On the other hand, the SlingShot 200 AW is a single strap shoulder/backpack.  There is also a smaller secondary strap that you fasten across your chest to secure the pack squarely on your back.  This part works, but requires that you always keep this smaller strap fastened.  It is somewhat comfortable.

The main compartment is a side loader, that is, it unzips the side and the back in a u-shaped pattern that if fully opened, opens 1/2 of the pack.  There is also a smaller compartment on top that is suitable for your wallet, camera accessories and odds/ends.  the third pocket is an organizer that is on the outside of the main compartment.

The pack can hold two DSLR bodies and two lenses, possibly three.  This is shown in the photo below.  It easily swallows three Leica M-bodies and five lenses with room to spare.  And don’t forget the smaller upper compartment.  More gear can be stashed there.

Front straps

Front straps

I’ve had this pack for several months and used it regularly.  Sad to say, this bag doesn’t work for me.

First of all, without the second strap fastened across your chest, that is, just carrying the pack on your shoulder, the pack is not balanced.  It tends to hang away from your body so it is not comfortable to carry.

Second, the side entry main compartment is just a disaster waiting for happen.  The pack is easy to slide to your front sideways and open the compartment to access your camera.  You can shoot from the bag with little difficulty.  The problem lies in the lack of security this side entry provides your gear.  If you forget to completely zip the pack after use, the camera can fall out.  In the heat of street use,  some of the contents may fall out.  Instead of “focusing” on the shot itself, you have to devote some brainpower to remembering to zip up the bag.

Be careful

Be careful

Before buying this bag, I recommend that you try it out in the store.  My gear needs more of an idiot-free design and I’m afraid that this design does not work for me.   I would always worry about my gear ending up in the street, ot worse, in some river after falling out of my bag.

Wide open

Wide open

Written by leolaksi

December 28, 2008 at 6:39 am