I Modified One of My Favorite Camera Bags and Made It Better

We’ve objectively tested the most cameras bags for photographers of any publication or outlet currently available. Most folks in the photo industry will agree. What’s also undesputable is just how good many modern messenger bags are. But for what it’s worth, backpacks aren’t given the same level of attention. Don’t get me wrong, modern backpacks are excellent, but they’re not near the level of perfection messenger bags are. With that said, I decided to modify one of my favorite camera bags: the Oliday Journeyman. This bag checks all the boxes: affordable, stylish, comfortable, and made in America. I previously wrote about why I bought it again after my original one broke. Now I’ve modified it to be even better.

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Easy on the Eyes. Harber London Tan Camera Strap Review

I analyze the usefulness of a camera strap based on four attributes: comfort, functionality, quality, and appeal. A good camera strap must sit comfortably on my neck for hours with an attached camera. It’s got to give me at least a handful of years before it starts to show signs of wear and tear. And while I don’t expect it to be a head-turner, I do like to have friends asking me where I got my strap from. Harber London isn’t a camera accessories company but a family-run business that produces handmade leather goods. They’ve been around since 2013, but the Harber London Camera Strap appears to be their foray into making something camera-related. They’ve created a fine strap in sync with the finishing quality of their other products.

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A Weird One. Langly Premium Leather Strap Review

This has to be the most divisive camera strap I’ve ever used. For that reason, it deserves praise and scrutiny. The Langly Premium Leather Strap hugs your torso while giving you comfort. But at the same time, it can get in the way of taking pictures. For what it’s worth, it’s also one of the most different camera straps I’ve ever used. But unlike its paracord sibling, the execution isn’t that great.

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This is the Camera Bag I Bought Twice. And it’s Close to Perfect

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The Oliday Journeyman backpack is a bag that I was known to use by many other journalists and folks in the industry. It looks nice, functions well, and overall just feels good. Long-time readers know that we’ve reviewed the most camera bags of any photography outlet still standing. I’d probably argue that we’d done the most, ever. We often get things for free, that we declare, from manufacturers. But I also tend to get frustrated with camera bags. Like you, few of them are ever everything that you want. The Journeyman came so close that I repurchased it. And before you go on, I’d recommend that you not rough it around too much.

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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.

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It Keeps Getting Better. HoldFast Gear Skinny Money Maker Review

When I think of HoldFast Gear, I think of ultra-accessibility, comfort, and long-lasting and stylish gear. The company is beloved by wedding photographers and event photographers in the industry, and rightfully so. The HoldFast Gear Skinny Money Maker is a skinnier iteration of their original best-selling dual camera harness. Any fears of the thinner straps digging into my shoulders subsided after testing it out for several weeks. The leather is supple and molds around the contours of the shoulder. The harness has that added layer of convenience with which HoldFast Gear has become synonymous. Additionally, it’s incredibly comfortable for the most demanding of photoshoots.

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This Stunning Burgundy Pentax K1000 Has a Story Behind It

The Vintage series involves us scouring eBay in search of lusty, rare, and unique photography gear.

I don’t know how a true Pentax fan could resist this gorgeous Pentax K1000 camera. The Pentax K1000 was the standard for educational institutions for many years. Lots of photographers learned on them. And they’re all over eBay pretty cheaply. But it’s rare to find a precious gem like this Burgundy Pentax K1000. And best of all, it’s still at an affordable price. It begs the question as to why Pentax hasn’t made custom, cool colors for the Pentax K-1 Mk II. Years ago, the company used to produce its cameras in so many different colors. It helped make them really cool. Limited editions always get lots of praise and often get bought up quickly. Of course, this isn’t really a limited edition per se. Instead, it was restored and reskinned.

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Time to Meet Some of the Most Gorgeous Olympus Trip 35 Cameras Ever!

These Olympus Trip 35 cameras were given beautiful leather skins, and they still work!

Universal truth: These cameras are stunning. The Olympus Trip 35 is already one of the most coveted Olympus film cameras on the market. The 40mm f2.8 lens that comes with it offers a truly compact camera experience. These ones, in particular, have been given new life with new leather skin. Better yet, there’s an assortment of colors. We could easily see a photographer with one of these slung around them at a party. These cameras are statement pieces for sure. They tell you that the photographer using them cares about the way that they carry themselves. Of course, it tells others that you’re a photographer too. And also, very importantly, it tells folks that you stand out from the crowd. The Olympus Trip was designed to go anywhere and everywhere with you. There’s a great reason why over 10,000,000 units were sold.

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Check Out This Minolta CLE Looking Fine in Brown Leather

The Minolta CLE is a fantastic camera, and this version combines fashion with functionality.

With the deal that Leica and Minolta made many years, Minolta created the CLE. Some circles will say that it’s the superior camera. Others swear by their Leicas. But I think everyone will agree that this 50th-anniversary edition is gorgeous. Using the same M mount lenses everyone loves, this camera is a beast. It places the shutter dial on top vs. Leica’s front-facing dial on the CL. And most importantly, it places the strap lugs on both sides. Leica, on the other hand, put them both on one side.

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This Stunning Contax RTS Is Wearing Lizard Leather Very Well

The Contax RTS was a great camera, and this skinned version is absolutely stunning.

Did you know that the Porsche Group was hired to complete an ergonomic and styling study of the Contax RTS? According to Camerapedia, the Contax RTS was an immediate hit. It was a collaboration between Yashica and Zeiss many years ago. This was the first interchangeable lens camera that they made together of this type. It has the C/Y mount, which is host to several beautiful lenses. But these cameras aren’t seen with a lot of dressy character to them. Instead, you often just see the condition. This particular Contax RTS is looking its best for October. Better yet, it’s looking awesome for just about any time you wish.

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Feast Your Eyes on This Handsome Brown Leather Pentax Spotmatic

Take a look at how this Pentax Spotmatic looks with brown leather.

The Pentax Spotmatic is a camera that I stupidly gave away a long time ago to help someone else discover their analog passion. And this listing made me want it all over again. I adored the Pentax Spotmatic and the lenses that it can use. This particular Pentax Spotmatic is also quite special. It’s been reworked to have lovely brown leather. The leather contrasts beautifully with the grey/silver colored camera body. And when you sling this around your chest, it will look like a fine piece of jewelry. Of course, you can load it up with T-Max 400 and do lots of serious work with it. The Zeiss 50mm f1.8 lens it comes with will ensure that. Being a vintage camera, it’s manual focus. But I assure you, the viewfinder in these cameras is spectacular.

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They Finally Got It Right! Holdfast Gear Vegan Money Maker Strap Review

The Holdfast Gear Vegan Money Maker is oddly enough their best camera strap yet.

I’ve never really adored many vegan leather products, but the Holdfast Gear Vegan Money Maker is changing my mind. A staple amongst the wedding and event photography community, this camera strap is their softest and most comfortable option yet. Most vegan leather I’ve used tended to be rigid, tough, and sort of weird. But the Holdfast Gear Vegan Money Maker isn’t like that at all. I’ve been very used to their Money Maker straps cutting into my shirt or skin. The exception is their canvas option, and now the Holdfast Gear Vegan Money Maker is my favorite. Not only is this the best vegan leather camera strap I’ve used, but it’s something I may consider using more often.

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Give It Time: The Holdfast Gear HF Classic Strap Wide Review

The Holdfast Gear HF Classic Strap perplexed me at first, but then I figured it out, and it just got better.

To say that there isn’t a learning curve with the Holdfast Gear HF Classic Strap is a lie. And to say that it won’t frustrate you at first is another lie. But what starts like a lion turns into a lamb. With time, the corn mash juices of the Holdfast Gear HF Classic Strap turn into a fine bourbon that you’ll enjoy spending time with. This strap is designed to work for any photographer that wants it, but it’s also got appeal to for a photographer using the rest of the Holdfast system. Like all things Holdfast, you’re getting ruggedness, harnesses, leather, etc. Made with buffalo leather and designed with some of the best hardware I’ve ever tested, the Holdfast Gear HF Classic Strap addresses a big problem that folks have: the metal hardware of their straps wears away at the camera. While some may embrace the patina, others treat their cameras like children. Now, Holdfast has a solution, but that solution is also the trickiest part of the strap.

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Less Than $65 and Great! The BAGSMART Camera Backpack Review

With the BAGSMART Camera Backpack, photographers are getting lots of high value at a super affordable price.

Quite honestly, the BAGSMART Camera Backpack should be at least double the price it goes for. But at under $65, the BAGSMART Camera Backpack is a significant value that gives photographers features and build quality that makes our jaws drop. In my opinion, this bag is a no-brainer. It’s so affordable yet so good that every photographer should pick one up even as a backup camera bag. We tested it out while trekking on hikes, commuting around the city, and with a variety of gear inside. Over the past few months, I’ve personally seen it outdo the quality of more expensive camera bags. Most importantly, this one bag is making me reconsider the entire thought process behind the pricing of camera bags.

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Pimp Your Camera: Accessories to Refresh Your Camera’s Boring Look

There is no reason for your camera to look standard and dull; let everyone know that it’s clearly yours.

Here at the Phoblographer, we’re all about aesthetics–and that’s why we think every photographer should do what they can to truly call their camera their own. Lucky for you, there are a plethora of accessories on the market designed to do just that. Some are functional, while others are fashionable, but very few manage to walk the line. For the photographer looking to add some peacock and flair to their camera, we dove into our Reviews Index to figure out just what the best selections would be for that purpose.

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Review: Vi Vante Tread Classic Camera Strap

The Vi Vante Tread Classic Camera Strap is for only the most stylish photographer.

After using the Vi Vante Tread Classic Camera Strap for a month or so, I’ve come to the conclusion it’s for the stylish photographer. It has its practicalities, but it’s less functional than much of what Vi Vante has in their lineup. The Vi Vante Tread Classic Camera Strap is for the photographer who first and foremost wants to flex their style, evident in many aspects of the design. From the flat profile intended to provide comfort to the red threads that run through it, the Vi Vante Tread Classic is a strap that oozes with allure. And to be honest, I’m perfectly okay with that.

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First Impressions: Fujifilm X-A7 (A Curiously Beautiful Camera)

The Fujifilm X-A7 is a gorgeous camera–but it seems more of a fashion statement than anything.

I can imagine the Fujifilm X-A7 slung around a discerning, fashionable photographer. It’s mated to some sort of beautiful vintage optic or one of Fujifilm’s lust-inducing prime lenses. The stunning leather strap that comes with it is only the icing on top. Everything about the Fujifilm X-A7 tells me it’s designed for a specific crowd. This crowd includes the travel photographer and those accustomed to large phone screens. In the same line of thought, this photographer will like the feeling of the dials, the leatherette cover, and the lack of emphasis on control via the touchscreen. I fully expect these photographers to also use the Auto or Program modes. Best of all, they’ll adore the tilting screen.

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Review: Vi Vante Matador Noir (The Only Strap You’ll Ever Need)

The Vi Vante Matador Noir isn’t really a luxury camera strap; but more of a well built, nearly unbreakable option.

I didn’t really understand the Vi Vante Matador Noir camera strap until I held it. Then my dad, who was visiting my while I was sick, really understood it too. The former UN diplomat in him is almost as discerning as I am, but he completely understood why someone would spend $250 on a strap like this. The thing about leather straps is that they’re already pricey–and often the sailing rope and canvas straps can serve just as well. But what the Vi Vante Matador Noir is combines the best of both worlds. Is it expensive? Yes. But this is genuinely the only strap you’ll ever need.

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Review: Hawkesmill Monmouth Messenger Bag (It Can Also Be a Backpack!)

I really wanted to like the Hawkesmill Monmouth and had some ridiculously high hopes that were let down with complete heartbreak.

I had known that the Hawkesmill Monmouth was coming a while before its announcement, and in fact, I suggested to the company and a number of others that what the industry needs is a camera bag that can be a messenger and a backpack. By all rights, the Hawkesmill Monmouth is a messenger bag first and foremost made of some of the most luxurious materials I’ve ever seen. And as a messenger bag in and of itself, it isn’t bad. However, there are far more comfortable messenger bags out there that are also much lighter. In fact, I’m not even sure that this bag was totally designed with the photographer in mind.

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Camera Bag Review: Tarion M-02 (The Affordable Backpack for the Roaming Photographer)

The Tarion M-02 is a backpack with a number of quirks, but that overall does a decent job.

I purposely purchased the Tarion M-02 as a counterpoint to a reader’s comment on a previous review of ours claiming that we only review pricey camera bags. The truth that I’ve learned over the years is that that’s simply not true. A lot of work, care and design goes into camera bags with special emphasis on what photographers need like weather protection, quick access, security, etc. And in comparison, most bags don’t really have that. While the comment could surely have come from an ill informed place of internet nerd rage, I often try to do my best to satisfy everyone–and so the Tarion M-02 made me of the belief that I could.

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Essentials: Cecilia Gallery SD Card Wallet

Essentials is a revamped series featuring products that we’re currently lusting over in quick, bite sized posts.

I was introduced to the Cecilia Gallery SD Card wallet during Photo Plus Expo of 2018. It was thrown in with the camera bag we reviewed and for me personally, it’s been a big upgrade over my old think Tank SD card wallet. The Cecilia Gallery SD Card wallet is probably not for everyone, but it should be as it’s made pretty much better in every single way. Not only can it attach to any loop on your camera bag, but it has a secure clasp to keep your cards safe, is made of leather, and keeps everything nice and compact.

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