Beautiful and Almost Perfect – Billingham Eventer Mini Review

The cool thing about Billingham bags is that they last a very long time. On the camera bag market, their durability is truly second to none. The brand has also been around for a very long time and their products aren’t made cheaply. In 10 years, your bank account will thank you. Today, they’re announcing the new Billingham Eventer Mini. It’s a smaller version of their Eventer messenger bag (which is an even smaller Hadley more or less). It’s as durable as it is beautiful. However, there are some modern updates Billingham really needs to make at this point.

Too Long; Didn’t Read

The Billingham Eventer Mini is a smaller version of the company’s Eventer bag. It’s designed mostly passionate photographers and event photographers. You can stuff just enough kit in here to shoot an event. 

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Very convenient
  • Small
  • Super stylish
  • Incredibly well built
  • Encourages you to not bring everything with you all the time. Perfect for the photographer who doesn’t edit on a laptop (or edit at all).
  • Canvas and leather make us super happy. Though these days, I’m very curious about a hemp material bag.
  • Seriously holds just the right amount of gear
  • Billingham’s quick release straps continue to be the best we’ve used on any messenger bag

Cons

  • It’s time Billingham steps into 2021 and gives us a waist strap for support. I do Pilates and yoga every day, and even this threw my back off. There was a point where I needed to take it off and rest up.
  • One could say it’s pricey, but their bags last the longest of any I’ve used.

Gear Used

We tested the Billingham Eventer Mini with the Sony a1, Sony 35mm f1.8 FE, two Sony flashes, the Fujifilm X Pro 3, Tamron 18-300mm, and Flashpoint Zoom Lion R2 flash.

Innovations

Let’s be honest, the Billingham Eventer Mini isn’t doing anything to change the game. Instead, it’s being the most stylish and rugged offering of a small messenger bag on the market. But Billingham can totally do a lot more.

Tech Specs

Provided by Billingham.

External dimensions (W x D x H)Internal dimensions (W x D x H)36cm x 16cm x 30cm (inc. top handle)33cm x 10cm x 21cm
Weight (inc shoulder pad and padded insert)2.78 lbs
Main compartment capacity5 litres (inside padded insert)
Front pockets (x2) capacity0.75 litres per front pocket
Included accessoriesSP50 Shoulder PadRemovable, padded insert featuring a tablet slip compartmentDivider set (2x vertical and 2x flap dividers)Mini Eventer Front straps
Optional accessoriesLeather luggage tally

Ergonomics

Here’s a look at the gorgeous Billingham Eventer Mini. Indeed, it looks like a smaller Hadley. That’s pretty much what it is.

Like other Billingham bags, it has the quick release straps. These are wonderful. I now own four Billingham bags, and I always swear by these.

At the top of the Billingham Eventer Mini is this suitcase handle. It comes in handy for sure when the bag is starting to cramp your back and shoulders.

In the back, there’s room for a tablet and other random things. It’s an incredibly useful pocket. I put business cards in here.

Here’s a look at the shoulder strap. As always, Billinham’s shoulder straps are wonderful. They attach using buckles. However, most of the time I don’t end up using it on the shoulder.

Here are the front pockets. These aren’t expandable like some on the Hadley bags. So again, you’ll go minimal.

Under the main flap, you’ll find this zippered pocket. This is for the main compartment.

Here’s a quick look at what can fit in here. There are more dividers, but they often don’t make sense. I put an X Pro 3 with a Tamron 18-300mm in there and a Flashpoint flash on the side.

Here’s more of a look at the interior divider system.

Build Quality

In terms of build quality, you can’t really complain about the Billingham Eventer Mini. It’s built better than any other bag we’ve used in this category of small messenger bags. That’s what you get with products made in Britain! I’m pretty sure this bag will last another decade or so. Granted, it uses canvas and leather; so it’s heaver than others. But nothing about this bag feels cheaply done or bad. It’s truly one of the best messenger bags I’ve used in many regards.

We didn’t test it in the rain, but we’re more than confident it could survive a shower. If all of Billingham’s other bags survive rough and tumble, so will this.

Ease of Use

The Billingham Eventer Mini is a pretty simple to use bag. Throw it around your chest, adjust it, put the shoulder strap on, and then get to shooting. It’s pretty simple. Getting into the bag is also straightforward by undoing the quick release straps. Of course, you’ll need to wear them in first. The zippers work with ease, the pockets serve their purpose well, and the bag is very enjoyable if you want to stay minimal. That also means that the pockets won’t expand on the front of the bag.

Where this bag could’ve really improved is with how you carry the weight. I’ve walked for miles with this bag slung across my chest. At times, it really started to hurt my back. I’d have to determine whether I’d take a break for a long time or take a break and then trudge through it. This bag really needs a belt system of some sort to help take the weight off your chest. Overall, pretty much every messenger bag on the market does that. If the Billingham Eventer Mini had this feature, It would easily get an Editor’s Choice award and be the envy of many photographers. But maybe next time.

Conclusions

Likes

  • Style
  • Build quality
  • Just the right amount of gear to be carried

Dislikes

  • I really wish they had some sort of belt system to support carrying gear.

The Billingham Eventer Mini is a fantastic bag. Pack light! A Sony a1, lens, and flashes is too heavy. If anything, go with Leica M cameras. However, I think it’s time Billingham do a slight update to some of their bags and give them waist straps to balance out the weight. Messenger bags have evolved over the years, and it’s about time Billingham’s messenger bags did too. 

The Billingham Eventer Mini receives four out of five stars. Want one? Check out Amazon for the latest prices.

Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.