…and why I am selling it.
I have tried to love this bag. The web is awash with write-ups and reviews about how wonderful Billingham bags are, and they are. But one of the most used lines often sound like; ‘they don’t look like camera bags or that they are holding expensive camera equipment’, the problem is THEY DO!!
They positively scream expensive camera equipment now. They didn’t, then they became popular, and now every thief in every country knows what carrying a Billingham means. It means the person has money, probably a western tourist. Why? Because they are expensive, good quality bags, that are popular with amateurs and professionals who have invested significant money in their equipment. In the UK I have been followed until I snuck into a shop where I knew the manager and hung out for a while. For a woman, alone, this is particularly worrying.
They are wonderfully water-resistant, although the newer ones are not as good as the old ones at beading the water droplets I have found. They protect and hold a good amount of gear, and provide moderate access (not as easy as many, or as conveniently as some).
The trouble is, they are now so well known, they attract their own issues and the very people we all thought they’d deter because they didn’t look like camera bags.
But there are some other issues;
I have never liked the use of leather, for ethical reasons, and also because it creases and becomes loose. I have also found that there aren’t enough pockets. Once the main compartment has your camera in it then you have just two pockets for everything else. That is everything such as filters, batteries, cards, pens, cleaning bits, etc etc, all lumped in together. This isn’t convenient. And then you put your purse/wallet and phone in one and you’ve lost another space. Perhaps men don’t, but women do. Then there is the need for somewhere to put my medication, women’s products (don’t ask if you don’t need to) and all the other things a lady carries.
I could get a bigger one. The trouble is, by the time I have put my MacBook Air in, my D7100 with its 18-300, my Tokina 12-24 and the aforementioned sundries, I can’t lift the thing anyway. Well, I can, but after around 20minutes my neck hurts, my shoulder is protesting, and the really wide strap and shoulder pad are actually making it worse (I’m only little).
The back pocket is not big enough for my laptop (and its the 11″ Air version), and because it conforms to the body, I can’t use it for notes or paper.
The central space is velcro hell, in fact anything with a slight rough edge will snag on it. If that weren’t bad enough, its not actually deep enough for my camera and lens combination that I use most. Its almost there, another cm would do. But not quite.
The poppers on the pockets are almost impossible to do up unless the item inside is flat and you can press against it. Put pens in, you’re stuffed. And don’t put your nice iPhone in there and expect NOT to scratch it. They aren’t padded, or even lined, which means the stud (which is lovely brass) rubs on anything in there.
I have tried to love you Billingham Hadley Pro, I really have, but you ticked me off once too often. So, on to eBay you go.