The way I use my Billingham
Before I start talking about my experience and the quality of my Billingham bags I want to Note: This is totally my own personal experience, what I found that works the best for me and my style handling my gear in all conditions moving around day to day in and out of crowed areas wet and dry, this is only for information purposes base on my opinion(s) hopefully it will help you to choose your next bag. I’m in no way getting paid to support or to talk on behalf of Billingham products or any of the products I review below, it is just my own honest personal experience on the product(s) and what I find works for me.
I have talked about my Billingham photo bag around the time of a photo competition that was very cool on it’s own and allot of fun along the way,however this time I’m here to tell you about the bag itself and how it served me and protects my gear in ever way imaginable that I use daily. It’s so good that I even got the Billingham Eventer which is my prize bag.
I for one got tired of the rumor photo guy look and how most portray photography, this is still totally up to the individual but I decided to take on a different style and look as I move around in discretion.
I don’t like giving away that i am carrying anything containing taking pictures or have anything to do with photography, because it is much of a fresh air when there are no suspect with other people pointing you out as a photographer and here is where the Billingham shines further than any bag I have used.
Some images of how the Billingham stands up to the elements this one was extreme from a storm, and yes the storm blocker does work! better than I expected, no more worries about rainy days 🙂
Walking around in Manhattan and I walk for more than 5 miles when im on the road I do it all by foot. I have had pains in my shoulders and back from back packs such as the National Geographic NG5738 which is one of my favorite bags both medium and large I still have up to today and have no intentions of getting rid of it, the padding’s on this back is not so great especially if you have it fulling loaded, with 4 big lens, 1 body, small laptop and your batteries and power cords.
Even when the buckle is strapped around you, this can hurt as you go through the day walking up and down and taking hills, like I said the padding is not great it actually gets flat like compressed close to no padding at all, if this bad had padding like Tamrac I would still use it on a daily basis but nope it’s not, the padding gets flatten after a few runs with it about one month since i always take all my gear with me and at the time I also had a cheep tripod attached to it, the tripod it self was a Davis & Sanford alloy not carbon fiber like what I use today. The bag quality is strong and will not rip from loads, the rain coat is nice and will keep the elements out but it’s something you have to take out of the bag to put on, but as time gone on I changed bags to find more comfort and versatility.
The Natgeo Bags I still have.
Tamrac Expedition 8x was much better on the shoulders fully loaded with almost everything including a full size tripod, my shoulders was still able to go along however until some long walks I began to feel the pain seep in, also the fabric of the bag will not protect in a down pour, the rain coat is a little complicated also you have to buy it separately which was a hit since the bag is already expensive as is why didn’t the rain coat come with this bag? well we all know why.
The spacing is a plus it will hold anything you throw at it, and I can tell you for the average or even pro user this bag can handle anything you throw at it. It is very strong and have quality with loads of padding, I never experience anything ripping or breaking with it, only the rain part I really didn’t like and I testing the compartments with white book paper to see where the water got in. Use the rain coat in wet conditions, you will be happy you did.
Lowpro I used and it was great and very comfy but I never fully loaded it, I only used it as a light kit bag with one lens, it was very nice and the rain coat was built in, but I did notice with all these bags is that there fabric just isn’t for a downpour on it’s own, and I was getting tired of having to walk around with that extra piece (it may be just a rain coat but if you forget it at home or loose it that can be problematic for when you actually need it to protect and especially if bad weather hits you off guard) all the time so I began looking for bags that was straight out water resistant.
Domke F-8 is made in the USA and is strong all the way to the finish line, yes it will last you a life time as well, it is waterproof and comes with its own wax to protect give the bag the life time finish and protection it needs to keep looking great, it’s strong for what I had in it, but please do not that this bag is for very small kits it will hold a full frame body with one lens, spare battery and a charger on both sides and for the inside top pocket it can hold your filters or anything other charging cords you may have or business cards, it was a great buy at the time at J&R when they were around, one of the best places in history to buy bags, I’m happy to be a part of that history to have items today that still works from them.
I never kept the bag for very long as it was way to small for what I really was looking for but for people that like to walk around with one body and a lens that wants a peace of mind this is for you, the inside protection is great as well, not all bags are designed the same this is where the Domke stands out, there are many other sizes of Domke just like there are Billingham bags, the choice is yours.
Sean John Bag is not a camera bag but there are sleeves out there that you can use to make it one, I bin using this bag for over one year and it served me well, it don’t show any signs of camera gear or photographer at all, it is very discrete and nice, I kept it very clean and in excellent shape all the time, it held my full frame body 70-200, 50mm and 17-40mm with batteries and some accessories such at lens pen and filters. I thought this would of lasted me for a life time, the bag is not water resistant at all and I know that but the convenience of having it where it were at my side beats it, the zipper was a bit hectic to get to the gear I’d say, (but this is only after using the Billingham Hadley) but it got the job done, I never exercise getting my gear wet in any form at all and with this bag I never took chances to put my gear in danger.
I have been looking for the images and here they are, some of the images I took at the time the SeanJohn Bag got busted, I had the Billingham shoulder pad long before I had the Billingham Hadley because I know one day it would come to have that bag. It was a crazy day in and on the run needing to have a bag to put my gear in. It wasn’t hard to know what bag I was switching to, as you can see how it’s very similar aside from the Billingham style, it is a beautiful bag but it just isn’t design with high quality to be used to hold huge weight of camera gear for a long time, if the handles were stronger maybe you could.
The materials is like a canvas net plastic like, it can be cleaned easy with a tooth brush to get the dirt out the hard to reach areas, also latter on I notice that I could of still kept it, put another handle to the bag in a different way, I had this bag for many years, it just laying around, that’s when I decided to give it a try as a camera bag it was great for the time it lasted.