Billingham Hadley Pro Camera Bag Review

Billingham Hadley Pro Camera Bag

Having made the decision to add a Leica M9 Rangefinder camera to my options when travelling, I spent a great deal of time looking for a camera bag that would allow me to carry my gear comfortably and safely. One of the issues I face when on the move is the amount of technology I have to carry in connection with my work. It includes two laptops and several disk drives, chargers and cables, so my Tumi roller laptop case is packed to the hilt already. This means that I carry another hold-all kind of bag with my other stuff in it, so I cannot add a separate camera bag and get through check-in without having to consolidate all this into two carry-ons.

I needed something that would hold my rangefinder and two or three lenses that would collapse into nothing when necessary, or which could consolidate itself into my other bags until I arrived at my destination, when it would become a purpose made camera bag again. Yes, I know it's complicated, but it's no joke when you are trying to get so much gear from one place to another on airplanes without breaking it or your own back carrying it all. I looked at several options from Lowepro and Crumpler, but without success.

Then I remembered that I had a couple of very old Billingham bags that I'd bought many years ago which carried my 35mm SLR Film bodies and lenses onto field trips before the days of purpose designed photographic backpacks. I pressed one into service, but soon found that its design was not going to do what I needed. It was too bulky, front to back, which meant that the heavy gear was being carried further away from my body and 'pulling' outwards to make things very uncomfortable after only a short time. Wearing the bag while attempting to take shots was very awkward; so that wasn't the answer. It did remind me to check out Billingham's site though and follow up at a local camera store, where I found just the thing! A Hadley Pro bag.

The video review shows how well it meets my needs. It's thin - only about four inches thick. It's long enough to take a camera and four lenses. It's light enough to sit on the shoulder without 'pulling' itself off while shooting images in the street. Everything can easily be reached and its inner padded compartment can be pulled out and quickly popped into another bag while going through airports until you can put it back into the outer bag. Brilliant. Highly Recommended and four and a half out of five for value and design.

The only improvement I could think of was that a non-slip shoulder pad should have been included in the price, but these 'accessories' are obtainable from Billingham directly, at extra cost.