Review: Hawkesmill Jermyn Street Camera Bag (Small)

Without a doubt, some of the most luxurious camera bags on the market are made in England by Hawkesmill. Not only are the bags luxurious, but they’re also built very well overall for the most part. With the new release of the smaller versions of the company’s larger bags, there have been a few changes. For example, the Hawkesmill Jermyn Street camera bag has a few new updates like the use of a hook system to keep the bag closed.

Otherwise though, it’s business as always: a beautiful bag that’s well built.

Pros and Cons

chris-gampat-the-phoblographer-hawkesmill-small-jermyn-street-bag-fujifilm-x-pro1-review-23mm-f2-iso200-1-125s-image-samples-1

Pros

  • Comfortable
  • Durable
  • Feels really nice
  • The carabiner style clasp is really nice
  • Can hold a sufficient amount of gear

Cons

  • The clasp can sometimes be tough to access when the bag is strapped around your chest. So, you’ll need to work at it a bit more and this inhibits quick access if that’s what you’re looking for.

Ergonomics

chris-gampat-the-phoblographer-hawkesmill-small-jermyn-street-bag-fujifilm-x-pro1-review-23mm-f2-iso200-1-125s-image-samples-2

The Jermyn Street camera bag is a special bag that looks quite nice and is overall super compact. It’s a bag that doesn’t have a lot of the new things so many photographers have been used to; silent velcro, magnetic buckles, etc. Instead, it’s noticably more old school and classic. The body is comprised of triple layered waterproof canvas and Harris tweed. Plus there is Italian leather trim, and nickel for the hardware.

If that doesn’t sound well made and luxurious, then I’m not sure what does.

chris-gampat-the-phoblographer-hawkesmill-small-jermyn-street-bag-fujifilm-x-pro1-review-23mm-f2-iso200-1-125s-image-samples-3

Like all bags from Hawkesmill, it’s got a super comfortable strap pad and strap. This one is a bit tougher to work with and adjust, but once you’ve got it you’ll have no major complaints. In fact, I’ve always found these straps to be some of most comfortable because they’re so large. The large area distributes the weight better.

That carabiner claps thing holding the bag closed? It opens by sliding a part of it down and then lifting the hook up. It’s very secure; very, very secure. On either side of the clasp are pockets.

chris-gampat-the-phoblographer-hawkesmill-small-jermyn-street-bag-fujifilm-x-pro1-review-23mm-f2-iso200-1-125s-image-samples-5

When opening up the Jermyn street camera bag, you’ll see flaps that keep the sides of the bag’s interior weather sealed. Then when you get into the bag, you’ll see an entire insert with a fair amount of padding. The insert can stay in place via buttons.

chris-gampat-the-phoblographer-hawkesmill-small-jermyn-street-bag-fujifilm-x-pro1-review-23mm-f2-iso200-1-125s-image-samples-8

Turn to the back of the bag and what you’ll find is yet another pocket. This pocket has an organizer inside (which I’ve taken out) and you can stuff an iPad Air 2 into there with little issue. It’s a snug fit, but it fits!

Build Quality

chris-gampat-the-phoblographer-hawkesmill-small-jermyn-street-bag-fujifilm-x-pro1-review-23mm-f2-iso200-1-125s-image-samples-6

This bag has withstood rain – lots of it. At the time of writing this blog post, NYC has had lots of rain and the weatherproof canvas truly stands up to the abuse. And it’d better considering you’re paying quite a pretty penny for a camera bag that is this luxurious.

Think about it like a Leica, but a film Leica without electronics that lasts for years and years.

Ease of Use

chris-gampat-the-phoblographer-hawkesmill-small-jermyn-street-bag-fujifilm-x-pro1-review-23mm-f2-iso200-1-125s-image-samples

When you’re using this bag, it’s a great idea to make it hang around your chest over your waist. The reason why I say this is so that you have quicker access to your gear. I’m a bass guitarist and since I grew up in the revival of the punk rock era, I’m the type that likes to let my bag hang a bit lower in the same way that most punk bassists do. Plus I’ve got long arms. Whenever I’ve had the bag around me, it’s always been a two handed operation.

During my time using the bag, I still didn’t get used to easily opening the bag with one hand while it hangs around my chest. It’s nowhere as simple as the big bags are, but these smaller bags are also arguably more secure.

chris-gampat-the-phoblographer-hawkesmill-small-jermyn-street-bag-fujifilm-x-pro1-review-23mm-f2-iso200-1-125s-image-samples-7

When the bag is off your shoulder though, it’s very easy to get to everything. I really love putting it down next to me when I’m at a restaurant or while shooting. But, at the same time, I’m also preparing to not have quick access. For example, if I’m shooting with my Hexar, then I have the flash on. I don’t need to dig into my bag to get to it. Even if I’m not using the flash, it’s available just in case. That keeps the bag more secure and, once again, is mostly plain and simple common sense.

For what it’s worth, the only people I think ever truly need very fast access to their gear are photojournalists, event photographers, and wedding photographers. I’d even argue that event shooters don’t really need it. Portrait photographers and all the rest take their time to set something up. So if you don’t need quick access, this could arguably be the perfect bag.

Conclusions

The Hawkesmill Jermyn Street camera bag is clearly for the photographer using an iPad, film, or just focusing on shooting with the intention of sending images to their phones to upload to social media or edit later when they get a chance. It’s built very well, keeps your gear secure, feels nice, is weather sealed like crazy, and is absolutely incredible overall. The photographers that I think will really benefit from its use are street photographers. These smaller bags just make so much sense and if we’re being real here, you don’t need quick access. Will you want it? Yeah. But you don’t need it. It isn’t IMPERATIVE that you get the shot.

If you’re looking for more of an everyday bag for work, then consider the company’s larger bags.