I have been a long time user of Billingham bags and have written a number of posts reviewing those that I have owned over the years (Billingham Hadley Pro, Billingham Hadley Digital, Billingham Hadley Large, Billingham Hadley Small, Billingham Airline Stowaway, and AVEA 5 End Pocket). These bags have all served me well and many continue to do so. This post is not intended to be a review of a bag but more of a homage to what is currently my favourite combination of camera and bag for a particular genre of photography, namely street photography.
Over the last 12 months or so I have been reassessing my equipment as I have switched camera brands from Olympus to Fujifilm and started to focus more on street photography (my portrait work having to take a backseat during lockdown). It is during this rationalisation that I have begun to see just how much my Billingham bags and Fujifilm cameras and lenses work so well together and have become my go to choice when exploring the streets for shooting opportunities. Here’s why.
- Both brands ooze quality, offer superb engineering and have a very refined, retro look and feel. I know that gear is not meant to matter and agree wholeheartedly with this but if something is just nice to use then you are naturally going to use it more.
- The Hadley Small Pro is just the right size to carry one camera body, the Fujifilm X-Pro3 and a couple of prime lenses (the XF18mmF1.4 R LM WR and XF33mmF1.4 R LM WR) with a bit of space to spare. If you are carrying equipment for long periods of time you need just the right amount of gear, but no more, as well as a bag that is strong, light, comfortable and waterproof (very important if you’re not just a fair weather photographer).
- As well as the main, padded and removable camera compartment, which can be customised for your own individual requirements, the Hadley Small Pro also has two ample front pockets for lens caps, spare batteries etc as well as a handy back, (waterproof) zippered pocket which just fits an iPad mini tablet. There is also space inside the bag, at the back to slip a tablet, notepad etc. I also like the fact that the strap can be removed if needed whereby the bag can be just used with the carry handle. There is also a back strap which can be slipped over the handle of a wheelie case whilst travelling with your equipment.
- I tend not to pack my bags to the hilt preferring to keep as slim a profile as I can (as well as less weight). That said, there is room for another lens at least (similar size or smaller to the 33mm or 18mm) as well as a larger mirrorless camera body (like the Fujifilm X-T4 for example).
- The X-Pro3 coupled with the Fujinon 33mm and 18mm F1.4 lenses are the ideal combo for hitting the streets with. They are relatively small and light, water resistant, incredibly tough and I’m pretty sure are going to keep me going for years to come.
- As I’ve written elsewhere I’m never keen on the straps which come with cameras preferring to get my own. The one on the X-Pro3 you see in the images is made by Hyperion.
There is probably no such thing as the perfect camera or perfect camera bag. However for me, writing in December 2021, the Hadley Small Pro and X-Pro3 is probably as close to perfection as it’s possible to achieve. The Hadley Small Pro is the ideal bag for mirrorless or rangefinder style cameras like the X-Pro3 which is itself, when coupled with 33mm and 18mm F1.4 lenses, a superb combination for street photography. Others will, of course have different views, please comment below if so, but for me this gear just works.
Disclaimer: I am not paid, or supplied with kit, by either Billingham or Fujifilm to review their products. I buy this gear with my own cash and do these reviews on my own initiative. I do have an affiliate link for Hyperion which you can find at the bottom of this blog post.