A while ago I started a search for what people are looking for when searching for a camera bag, more specifically, I started looking for keywords that score high while looking for camera bags, and maybe not that surprising but the following 5 words stand out: Best, Stylish, Cool, Travel and Women.
Best, that was obvious, don’t we all want the best camera bag?
But then, Stylish, Cool, Travel and Women, these last four all scream: I want a camera bag that doesn’t look like a camera bag, it has to be attractive, and it has to hold more than just camera material. Because let’s be honest, we men also carry a lot of stuff: wallet, phones, keys, power bank, card holder, and a lot of other stuff.
The bags that most capture the imagination are:
Billingham, ONA bags, Kelly Moore, Think Tank, Wotancraft, Domke and more.
But they all start with a heavy, sometimes even extreme price tag.
Hence my previous review about the Caden F1, a nice canvas shoulder bag for the more extensive camera equipment – or as a traveling light travel/camera bag. The question is : are there any other alternatives?
Hell yes !
For ladies and gentlemen here is a small vintage/retro canvas and leather – handbag/shoulder bag/messenger/EDC/man bag.
Available under as many names as types above including Berchirly, Vianber, M376 etc. Dimensions approximately: W.27cm-10.6″ x H.20cm-7.8″ x D.8cm-3.1″ – Colors: Brown, Army Green, Dark Gray and even … Pink.
Equipped with three inside pockets and two outside pockets, no padding or insert, but with a simple lens/camera pouch – even easy to make yourself from the legs of old jeans – you can use this bag with a small mirrorless or compact camera and many personal items, making it a bag for every day and any adventure ! With a bit of Google searching you can find these from around 30€ 26£ 40$.
On the many reviews on the stores, you will usually find good recommendations, here and there someone less satisfied, but what can you expect from a bag this cheap.
Perhaps the bag needs an extra layer of wax, or a spray with water proofing, but also the expensive bags will need this over time. The zippers are not YKK, but with a touch of silicone lubricant, bees or candle wax, they run like …euhm zippers ? 🙂
The bag – pictures from the manufacturer :
I think the look is very similar to the ONA The Bowery field tan, but without the padding and more type of a handbag/shoulder bag, but that is just what I wanted, a bag for every day in which I can put a camera, my wallet, phone, keys and some more small items.
The color was actually a lot lighter and not as tough looking as the one above, so I suspected that the wax treatment was rather on the thin side. Actually I was already planning to give it a tougher appearance and better waterproofing, just like the Domke’s “rugged wear” or vintage WWII style canvas shoulderbags. So, I took an old candle or whatever was left of it, and I rubbed it on the canvas until the bag was completely white from the candle wax. Then with a hairdryer I heated all the surfaces until it was completely melted in – an old WWII water proofing method 🙂 , then I let it cool and dry out until the next day, after which I rubbed the bag all over again – especially on the top part – and let it melt with a hairdryer. I repeated that process three times.
I have to make a confession, I was so into making it bom pr … I mean waterproof 🙂 that I oversoaked it at a certain point, and the inside lining in the top flap also had some waterproofing, but now it certainly is rough and waterproof, i think even typhoon proof.
Te above pictures are taken with a Fujifilm X-E1 with Fuji 15-45mm – in the bag I have the Fujifilm X100
The next ones taken with Fujifilm X100 – in the bag the Fuji X-E1 with 15-45mm in a camera pouch.
With the above pictures I think it is clear to everyone what can be done with this bag, with a little reordering, maybe leaving the EDC pouch out and only take a pocket knife and torch, I could easily take a X-E series or X-T20 with a standard lens and small telephoto lens up to 135 / 200mm even with an adapter and still enough room for my other belongings.
For those who are thinking whats with the EDC pouch? well, I am also a bushcrafter, and these are things that can always come in handy, even in an urban environment.