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Review: Billingham F-Stop f1.4 Camera Bag

by Thursten Kent on 04/02/2012

Ask almost any well-seasoned camera lover who Billingham is and most will tell you about how nice but pricey their bags are. In having this bag for the few weeks I’ve had most of my other professional photographer friends just come off as plain jealous. I can just see why. Known to some as the Rolls Royce of camera bags, Billingham makes some of the more classic looking bags in the business.

But, how was it like to use in real life you ask?

Tech Specs

Specs borrowed from B&H Photo’s listing of the bag

Material Exterior: FiberNyte
Interior: Wrap-around side padding
Interior: 25mm thick foam base
Type of Closure Quick release system
Exterior Dimensions 9.84 x 13.78 x 6.69″ (25 x 35 x 17cm) (HxWxD)
Front pocket: 6.69 x 11.81 x 5.9″ (17 x 30 x 15cm) (HxWxD)
Rear pocket: 5.9 x 11.02″ (15 x 28cm) (HxW)
Interior Dimensions 7.09 x 12.6 x 4.33″ (18 x 32 x 11cm) (HxWxD)
Tripod Holder No
Carrying/Transport Options Attached shoulder strap
Weight 1.85 lbs (840g)

Build

Now normally, Billingham bags are made from canvas. The F stop series bags are actually made from a tough very weather resistant synthetic material called Fibernyte. This material in turn makes water bead off the bag. The bag was subject to testing in the rain; and it does in fact work nicely. When holding the bag in my hands, it felt like it had the similar properties of a natural fabric.

You have two color choices with this specific model, khaki or black. This bag comes in two variants. The f2.8 and the top of the line featured here the f1.4, which is a little bit bigger than the f2.8.

Starting from the rear top of the bag, a pleat was made in order to give the bag a sqaurish and more handsome look. Head just below the pleat you will find a rear zippered pocket, which is treated to the same accent color found on the inside of this bag. (more on the interior of the bag in a moment.)

Following forward around the sides you will notice two nice leather trim pieces, which move your eyes towards the leather tabs out front.

These tabs have a key-hole like pattern that’s locks into a solid brass clogball located slightly below the tabs.

To close the bag up, simply push the clogball through the wide portion of the key pattern on the strap to attach it. Then pull upwards to lock into place, which will slide the clogball into the smaller end of the key pattern.

Finally, on the top the bag is supported by a thick shoulder strap that is adjustable.

Interior

Once you lift the top the flap from the bag, you will notice a secondary lid inside the that acts as another barrier from the elements. As well as a well hidden dump pocket in the very front of the bag.

This pocket is perfect for storing little things like your keys, or business cards/memory cards.

The interior of the bag is treated to a nice shade of green all throughout the inside of the bag and it’s outside pockets as well. You can even notice some very small, fine stitching in the interior.

There is a small pocket in far back of the bag that is perfect for an iPad or some sort of small reading material.

A nice feature about this bag is the amount of padding you get.

The removable base padding is 25mm thick and helps reinforce the bottom of the bag nicely. The divider pieces are removable and can be configured to a few different scenarios depending on what you might be carrying. Your space is minimal so pack wisely. In my usage I had no problem placing a small rebel body or medium sized body with a small zoom lens and a flash. But, your mileage will vary depending what you use.

Another thing I liked is the amount of Velcro you have on the inside of which allows you to make sure your divider pieces stay in place. A lot of times, the ability to use more of the surface area on the inside of the bag can be overlooked.

Conclusion

This is a beautiful, stealthy looking bag with a simple, timeless appeal. I could see a Leica shooter following the Leica’s philosophy as a perfect person who might enjoy this bag.

While it won’t hold a ton of things like other bags, this one is meant to carry a small amount of things to keep the weight down.

One thing I do wish had come with the bag instead of being an accessory was a leather shoulder pad for the bag strap. You might want to consider it if you need a little extra support if you are carrying some heavier items.

You can also purchase leather straps to attach a small tripod to the bag as well.

If you are in the market for a higher-end premium bag take a look at this one. Leica shooters and even Micro four-thirds users might appreciate this bag as an investment that will last longer than the very camera bodies they are using now.

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