There are currently numerous choices of camera bags on the market today. There are the basic nylon bags like Lowepro and then there are the higher-end bags like Billingham. I own and use both and both companies are good in their own way. In this review I will be looking at the Billingham for Leica M bag.
This bag is about five years old. I purchased it to house my Leica M8, which I don’t own anymore. I kept the bag because it fits a standard sized DSLR with 24-70mm f2.8 lens perfectly, although there is not a lot of room inside with this combination. The bag is made out of two pieces of high-quality canvas with a waterproof membrane in-between them.
One of my main issues with the Billingham Leica bag, and in fact, most of the Billingham bags, is that they do not include feet on many of their bags. This creates an issue every time I set the bag down. Because of the light canvas material used these bags get very, very dirty. Billingham does include feet in some of their larger bags, but their Leica bag and the Hadley Pro, both bags I own and use, do not. I can’t help but thinking that without feet my expensive camera has a greater chance of getting hurt when I set the bag down on a hard surface. Perhaps I’m just being paranoid and the inside padding is enough to stop anything from harming my camera, but why take the chance? Just include feet that raise the bag up slightly and it won’t be an issue.
By far my greatest issue with this bag and all of Billingham’s bags are the leather used for the straps. They incorporate a leather strap quick release stud system that is very handy and quick, but eventually the leather fails and there is no resistance between the small and large holes in the leather. The leather straps can easily be moved back and forth on the system. This does not instill confidence in the bag, especially when I have an expensive camera system inside and all that is stopping it from falling to Earth is a piece of worn leather. I’ve had the bag for five years, however, the leather wore out within the first year of use.
The shoulder strap and pad is very comfortable and I’ve never noticed any issues with it.
One thing to note is that I do not use this bag on my professional shoots. I use the Hadley Pro and Lowepro bags with my Saddleback to store my gear for my professional shoots. So this bag has not had hard use. I mostly use it while traveling as there are not many nice looking camera bags for people who don’t want to look like a photographer.
All in all the Billingham for Leica M bag is a brilliant bag. It’s made in England of high-quality materials and incredible workmanship. Although at $264.95 I would argue that this bag could be a lot better. I would be willing to spend a bit more to have a bag that I feel 100% confident with. But until someone develops a camera bag that is stylish, durable and highly-functional, I will stick with Billingham.
In addition to photography my other main love is food! I adore it. I have been actively maintaining a food and restaurant blog for about five years now. It has lead me on many excellent adventures. But perhaps none as great as being asked to be a part of season two of Jamie Oliver’s Channel 4 show, Jamie and Jimmy’s Friday Night Feast.
Filming was last year on Southend Pier. Both my wife, Shaan, and I were asked to come along and we were sat front and center, right in the middle of the action.
After being told where to sit and given directions on how the day (a very long day) would unfold we witnessed foodie royalty, Jamie Oliver walking on the pier, practicing his lines. His good friend Jimmy Doherty was right next to him doing the same.
It didn’t take too long and we were eating our first course, then the second, then third. It was a non-stop food fest. I felt honored to be there. The food was brilliant. The lads, Jamie Oliver, Jimmy Doherty and Chris Moyles were all great fun. They were incredibly professional, while still keeping an air of coolness.
During one of the breaks I had a lovely chat with Jamie Oliver. We discussed his future plans and I told him I’d really like to see him doing more shows like Jamie’s Food Revolution. He said he’d like to as well and that he really wants to focus on projects like that in the future.
I can’t lie, I developed a little bit of a man crush on Jamie. He’s incredibly down to Earth and I believe has a massive heart.
My favorite moment had to be when Jamie told Chris Moyles that someone from New York was going to be judging his pizza. That, of course, was me. It’s pretty obvious in the actual show and it really meant a lot to me that I was included in that.
A big thank you to everyone on the show for inviting us. We had a blast!