ONA Union Street Camera Bag Review: More Fashionable Than Functional

ONA Union Street Camera Bag Review: More Fashionable Than Functional

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.

Using it

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.

Tragic flaw

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.

Test notes

  • 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