Most camera bags are great at protecting your gear, but not so great at making you look great. The alternative is ONA, maker of distinctive camera bags, like this messenger-style Union Street model.
What is it?
A well-made, attractive and quite expensive $US289 messenger bag designed to hold a 15-inch laptop and a DSLR with two or three lenses.
Who is it for?
Photographers looking to transcend the typical black nylon bag.
Stylish, for sure. Materials include supple, seductive leather and fine, wax-infused cotton canvas. Sufficient padding, appropriately sized compartments.
If you don't know how to put stuff in a bag, I can't help you.
The best part
You just feel cool toting this bag, and you can use it every day -- it works well when you aren't carrying camera gear, unlike most dedicated camera bags.
This bag is not for run-and-gun shooting. A DSLR with a lens attached, plus the laptop and accessories, makes it feel bulky and overstuffed.
- The test tote load, over several months of use, included a 15-inch Macbook Pro and a Canon 7D with a 17-55mm f/2.8 lens, a 50mm f/1.2 lens and a Speedlight 430EX.
- Things feel less bulky if your camera body is detached from any lens when bagged. But then you're not ready to shoot right away.
- The colour of the bag is "smoke". It has a distressed look to it. It's lovely-looking but easily scuffed.
- The buckles on the flap are nice, but a bit too cumbersome. They're fine for luggage, not fine for quick access.
- When placed on the floor or table, the bag naturally stands upright, instead of keeling over. Love that.
- A messenger bag full of photography equipment, in general, is harsh on the shoulder and bulky on the hip.
Should you buy it?
Probably not. Full disclosure -- this is not a review unit. I actually bought it months ago. Now I'm back to carrying my gear in the weather-resistant LowePro backpack I've had for years.
The ONA is a really beautiful, American-made bag, but it (and messenger bags in general) are not as good as a compartmentalised backpack for quick work with a DSLR. Oh well. It makes a really nice carry-on.
ONA Union Street Bag
• Price: $US289 + shipping to Australia • Dimensions: 16.5 x 11 X 5 inches • Materials: water-resistant waxed canvas, full-grain leather, antique brass hardware • Fits: 15-inch laptop, DSLR, up to three lenses