It took me a while until I pulled the trigger after endless readings, touching and testing.. Oh no a bag isn’t just a tool, it’s like the Fuji-X cameras something to enjoy and use. I was looking for a small bag to comfortably take a cam and 1-2 lenses if at all. Just before I decided for the Ona bowery I had purchased a Kata DR-467 a big backpack for travelling.
The majority of the people seem to like and recommend and praise the Billinghams either small or big but I just don’t like the looks of them though they look practical with decent and comfortable space. Or the Domkes and I read a lot “I’m using the Domke for the last 20 years and it still goes strong”…well I plan to keep my wife for so long and longer but a bag ? I like to enjoy life like I enjoy great shots, yes it should last me a while but those statements weren’t an argument, for me at least.
In one of the shops in Singapore I saw a Wotancraft Messenger, now that was a nice, cool, little bag – but expensive. Do check out their collection if you have the money. The first look is different but once you try it actually feels comfortable (and dang it suited me well).
Quite popular is also the Thinktank Retrospective series where the 5 would have fit the bill. Thinktank and Billingham had for me 2 annoyances: Thinktank with the velcro even in “silent mode” was loud and the pseudo buckles with Billingham. Both require rather two hands to open and close. I sometimes go to classical concerts and had a big messenger bag with me, X-T1, 3 lenses and never take out the accessories. I only needed one, the tele. The velcro was just annoying, whenever someone was passing I had to haul that thing up into the air. Here is where the Ona shines – one buckle, no noise and easy one hand operation and just cute. What I wished in the next iteration of the Ona’s is more material so the side and front pockets can be used more efficiently and maybe 1/2 cm higher and wider (I know we can’t just get enough). The leather version in Antique Cognac is even hotter but couldn’t justify the money (and the pockets are even tighter). Let’s see some pics with the X-T1 (taken with X100 and pls forgive some unsharpness due to my shaky hand).
This is the smoke version, there is also black and field tan. It’s made of waxed canvas and brass hardware.
My Ipad mini at the back pocket, not ideal but it works and I never felt uncomfortable carrying this way. I guess they saved some material to keep the cost down (?) which wasn’t apparent to me from the price tag…so a tad higher wouldn’t have hurt.
Loaded with X-T1, one lens attached plus 2 additional. This is how I usually carry it but sometimes I take one divider out and have the camera on the side up the lens facing to the other side.
Attached is the 18-55, on the left the 10-24mm and on the right XC 55-230. Surprisingly it doesn’t feel heavy to carry in this bag. One disappointment for this price tag is that they include only one divider so that nice yellow one is taken from the backpack (see below). I read that some placed a divider to the back inside to put the ipad mini but haven’t seen any photos.
The left front pocket with X-T1 flash.
The right front pocket with a spare battery.
The left side pocket with the X-T1 flash, tight but it works. Could have been done better that’s where they also went a bit cheap with the material.
In comparison to the Kata DR-467, cute right ? And no it’s not a purse…
The Kata is by the way a great versatile backpack with a lot of space in the top compartment and in the bottom half for the camera. This yellow piece by the way can be removed and I actually am able to fit the Ona Bowery inside 😉