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Quick Review: ONA “The Bowery” Camera Bag

by Andy Hendriksen on 08/22/2012

When I switched to shooting Micro Four Thirds full-time a couple months ago, one of the first things I realized was that nearly all of my bags were too large for my new tiny photo system. I generally carry around two bodies, three lenses, and sometimes even a flash but even that didn’t seen to fill out my larger bags as well as I had hoped. I’ve tried a few smaller bags, namely the Cosmos Vintage bag, but I’m always looking for something fresh and after spending two weeks with “The Bowery” bag from ONA, I’m convinced that this is the one to get.

 

Appearance & Build Quality

I’ve always admired ONA bags for their understated and clean styling, along with an incredibly high quality durable build. This bag is no exception. From the moment I took it out of the box, I got the feeling that this bag could last a lifetime. ONA’s signature waxed-canvas material is sturdy but smooth, and the closed-cell foam inside padding is ultra-soft, but rigid enough to provide true protection should the bag take a fall.

All the metal hardware on the bag is made from ONA’s “antique brass”, which feels incredibly sturdy and satisfying to use. The clasp that holds the top flap closed is a beautiful, clever design that is ever so satisfying to close. While walking the street, I found myself playing with the clasp constantly because it feels so great in the hand.

All the stitching appears to be of the utmost quality, with no signs of threads coming loose or fraying. The build quality reminds me much of Billingham bags, which are highly regarded for their top-notch craftsmanship and quality feel. It really is a beautiful looking bag.

In Use

Make no mistake, this is not a large bag by any means. Don’t bother even trying to fit a DSLR into this bag, you’re not going to get anything in here much larger than a Leica M9. That said, if you work with a smaller mirrorless camera system, it will fit in this bag live a glove. My Olympus OM-D, E-P1, and 3 lenses all fit perfectly in this bag. And speaking as someone that absolutely hates lugging around heavy equipment, I like that the size really limits what I can take with me, and makes me be more critical about what I think I need to bring with me on shoots. Particularly during these blazing hot Los Angeles summers, saving any weight is much appreciated.

As I mentioned before, the build quality of this bag is phenomenal. I never had any fear that my cameras weren’t protected, and I even managed to drop the bag a couple of times (accidentally, of course), with no ill effects on my gear.

The waxed-canvas is also weatherproof. I haven’t had a chance to test that out just yet, but I like knowing that I have a weatherproof bag without having to carry around a silly nylon slip cover in case of rain.

Conclusion

The beauty of this bag is really in the details. The stitching, the high quality hardware, the sturdy waxed-canvas material, and the extra secure foam inserts all come together to make a truly excellent bag for someone looking for a great carry-around solution for their mirrorless camera system. I couldn’t be happier with it!

Buy the ONA “The Bowery” Bag on Amazon

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