Posts Tagged ‘Hadley’
I’ve had a Panasonic Lumix G1 since January and I’ve discovered that its a very handy piece of gear that easy to carry, especially when traveling. On a recent trip I relied on my Leica M8 for the majority of my photos but the longest lens in my traveling M8 kit is the Summilux 75mm f/1.4 lens which with the M8’s crop factor of 1.3 is equivalent to 100mm in 35mm format.
On this particular day I also carried the G1 with its optional image stabilized 45-200mm f/4-5.6 zoom lens which has an effective range of 90-400mm. Not only is the G1 a tiny DSLR, this lens is very compact, so much so that I was able to carry both the M8 with a Carl Zeiss Biogon 21mm f/2.8 lens and the G1 and lens in the same bag, the small Billingham Hadley.
The G1 saved the day as there was no way I could get close to the show to take closeups of the action. The show photos ranged from 107 -334mm effective range. Although the lens isn’t that fast the image stabilization managed even to steady the lens extended to 334mm. (And as I noted in other recent postings, some photos to 422mm.)
The show photos in this posting were all shot in jpeg. Handheld. No tripod.
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?
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.
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.
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.
Recently I was asked about the size difference between these two Billingham bags. The tan Hadley Pro is large enough to hold a Canon 5D with 17-40mm f/4 L and a 70-200mm f/2.8 L lenses. As the 70-200mm is a large lens, both length and diameter, it consumes all the extra room. Optionally, the bag will hold a Canon 5D with attached 17-40mm f/4 lens, as well as two other lenses, a 24-105mm f/4 L and an 85mm f/1.8 lens. The two front pockets will also hold your accessories. See my two previous postings on this subject. Here or here.
The small Hadley will hold a DLSR with attached lens and one other small to medium sized lens, like the 24-105mm f/4 L lens. And if you DSLR is on the small side like a Canon 450D, you have a little more room. See my other posting about the small Hadley.
Comfortwise, I find the small Hadley one of the most comfortable bags I have. I can carry this bag all day and never notice any discomfort. On the other hand, I don’t find the Hadley Pro comfortable at all. Perhaps it had to do with the overall stiffness of the bag with insert in place. It’s not one of my favorite bags and I usually use the Crumpler “seven million dollar home” or the Lowe Pro Inverse 200 AW if there’s a need to carry a larger bag. The Hadley Pro stays at home.
Both Hadleys are versatile. Their inserts remove and you can use the bags in other ways. The Hadley Pro can be used as a daily work bag and will hold an A4 sheet of paper, even with the insert in place, you can place A4 size docs in the space behind the insert. Also, the snap shown in the above photo creates a divided area in the space in front of the insert.
Quality-wise, both bags are extremely well-made and can be expected to last a lifetime. The leather trim also adds to the appearance of the beautiful canvas material.
I was recently asked by a reader if the Hadley Pro will hold the 5D and a second lens without any problem, given that the depth of the bag is relatively narrow. The photos show that this bag is capable of holding two or maybe three lens depending on the size of the lenses. The lenses in the photos are a Canon 17-40mm f/4 L and 70-200mm f/2.8 L zoom lenses. The 17-40mm has the lens hood attached in reverse position. The 70-200mm is without hood although the bag will easily hold that lens with the reversed hood. Neither hood can be fitted in its “ready” position and be kept in the bag.
As you can see, the 5D is a tight fit as placed in the bag. One could also place the camera in the bag with the attached lens horizontal. There is still room for a second lens. Suffice to say that if you use the optional battery grip, there is a problem fitting the camera in the bag. Check out my other posting for more information.
[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.
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.
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.
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.
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.]