Composing Hands Blog Quote "Billingham camera bags may seem expensive but you get what you pay for... it's made to last a lifetime and it's going to protect my gear, I can rely on its build quality not to fail..."
My DSLR is carried around in a Lowpro Trekker rucksack which is not the kind of thing I wanted for my X-Series camera. When I got my X-E1 I temporally used a small Lowpro shoulder bag, although functional with plenty of pockets I really had my heart set on the classic looking shoulder bags from Billingham to carry on the retro look with its leather and brass fittings.

Unfortunately I found the Billingham website a bit lacking in the visual department, more images displaying color options and scale would have been more helpful (a picture of someone wearing the bag for scale, I mean to add a picture of myself wearing this bag at some point) but I had to research outside their own website to make a my final decision. It was between the Hadley Pro or Hadley Small, both have great styling but the size was hard to judge... Too large and it becomes a hindrance to carry around while walking, too small that I can't get the necessary equipment inside comfortably and easy to remove quickly.
Billingham Hadley Small Camera Bag from Composing Hands
In the end I decided the Hadley Pro was just a bit too large, the Hadley Small looked like enough room to take the X-E1 with 18-55mm attached and room for two extra lenses. I can fit my iPad inside between the sleeve and the back, it's not designed for that so its not padded on the outside. Two front expandable pockets take all the little extras you'll likely to need, push studs make them quick to access.
Billingham Hadley Small Camera Bag from Composing Hands
Bags are very much a personal choice, and these bags are not cheap but I have read they will last a life time and the styling of the Hadley range is very old school photographer, just what I was looking for and the perfect partner to any X-Series camera.
Billingham Hadley Small Camera Bag from Composing Hands
Colors, again the Billingham website failed to show all the color choices on screen except Khaki/Tan, only descriptions for the rest... very weird, "come on Billingham I want to see beautiful photos of all your bags in all the color choices". However, I always hovered towards the original color combination of Khaki/Tan, so now I was set to order.
Billingham Hadley Small Camera Bag from Composing Hands
Billingham Hadley Small - Khaki/Tan - UK retails at £140 - I was extremely lucky as I was about to order I made an unusual decision for me to go check eBay, I found a seller with these statistics - Positive Feedback: 99.9% & Feedback score: 4888 selling the Hadley Small Khaki/Tan combination, brand new with all tags in original packaging for a starting bid of £89 and with only 2 hours remaining on this auction. Needless to say I won with the minimum bid and received the bag 2 days later, I saved £50. It came in a cream colored draw string presentation bag with a 5 year guarantee from Billingham.
Billingham Hadley Small Camera Bag Inserts from Composing Hands
It's everything I hoped for, material and construction are all top grade, you can see it's built by craftsman. Design is retro like I said before so doesn't shout I'm a camera bag. Take out the removable sleeve and you have yourself a beautiful everyday bag, plus the canvas has been treated to be waterproof which is good to know your gear is well protected. Inside the removable sleeve you get two large and two small dividers which is ample for this size bag. No noisy velcro to bring attention to yourself when opening the main flap, instead the beautiful quick release leather straps make it a much more stealthy affair on the streets.

Billingham Hadley Range

Billingham camera bags may seem expensive but you get what you pay for... it's made to last a lifetime and it's going to protect my gear, I can rely on its build quality not to fail.

N.B. All photos taken with Fujifilm X-E1 + XF18-55mm : Files OOC JPG's



David S
11/02/2013 5:05am

Thanks for the review. I've been looking for a bag like this and your review really helps. Well-written and thoughtful; tells me what I need to know.

james d
11/02/2013 3:49pm

Nice review, please could we have...

a picture of someone wearing the bag for scale please!

12/02/2013 12:02am

Hi James, I'll try and get something updated soon. I know how irritating it can be when you can't judge the scale of these bags and Billingham's website could be better in this department.

Follow Composing Hands on Facebook where I'll be sure to post these updates... Hope that helps.

17/02/2013 2:38pm

I bought one for my X-E! kit based on this post, which arrived yesterday (16th February 2013). It's an excellent classic bag, designed and made in England to the highest standards of craftsmanship by Billingham.

17/02/2013 3:52pm

Thanks for your comment, much appriciated.

19/04/2014 11:53pm

I use my small Hadley in every country I serve- love it love it love it!!


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