Best Leica Camera Bag – Billingham Hadley Digital

Best Leica Camera Bag – Billingham Hadley Digital

Billingham Hadley Digital

Billingham Hadley Digital

The Billingham Hadley Digital camera bag is the latest edition to my Leica camera outfit. I already own quite a few camera bags including rucksacks, a Thinktank shoulder bag and an Ona small shoulder bag. I wanted something smaller that would not hinder my movement to carry just essentials in. For a Leica wedding day I have the Leica M9 as my main digital camera and then the Leica M8 as a backup digital camera. If I was shooting digital only I would have the M8 in the ‘Hadley’ on my back. If I was shooting Leica film photography and digital photography I would have the Leica M2 in the bag so it was with me and leave the M8 in my larger ‘backup bag’.

Leica Camera Bag

How much Leica camera equipment can you fit into a Billingham Hadley Digital camera bag?

Answer. More than you think! Today I did an engagement shoot so got to road test the Billingham bag.

Main compartment: has 2 small internal ‘pockets’ perfect for Leica lenses leaving a ‘T’ shape space to fit a camera and lens with lens pointing down. In the 2 compartments I packed a Leica Summicron 50mm f2 v5 and Voigtlander Ultron 28mm f2 lens. I then had the Leica M9 with the Leica Summarit 50mm f1.5 (1954) attached facing down. I then placed a micro cloth over the top (back screen) of the M9. On top of this I fitted the Leica M2 film camera (body only).

Front pocket: I managed to fit 2 Leica spare batteries, filters and step rings, spare SD cards, iPhone 5, 4x spare AA batteries for speedlight, wireless triggers, micro cloth, car keys and credit cards. There was still space left to use so I fitted in the little Voigtlander Skopar 35mm f2.5 PII lens. Impressive!

More about the bag..

Comfort? The Hadley Digital does not have a shoulder pad but it really is not needed. I had the bag on my back all afternoon and almost forgot it was there. It stayed in place when I when low or leant over without restricting my movement. This is ideally for my wedding photography where I want to be able to stay light and mobile.

Build Quality?

The Billingham Hadley Digital is extremely well made and I can see it still going strong in 50yrs time. I think it will grow old gracefully with my Leica camera equipment. The internal pocket is very well designed and padded keeping your beloved camera secure. The outer cover/ fabric provides a reliable weather seal for your camera. This is especially important living in the UK! 🙂 The clasp is secure yet easy to open quickly given immediate access to your camera without having to undo zips and the like.

Would I buy another Billingham camera bag in the future?

Yes absolutely. I don’t think I would buy any other make after now owning a Billingham bag.

Fashion statement? In addition to being practical and very well made the Billingham Hadley bag is also a very good looking bag and I am more than happy to carry it with me for events such as weddings.

Billingham Hadley Digital for Leica Street Photography?

As noted above the Hadley Digital bag is perfect for travelling light while carrying all your ‘essentials’. In addition to wedding photography and event photography I will also use the bag for Leica street photography. Is ‘my’ bag the right choice for the street? The khaki colour looks good but if money was no object I would probably buy a second Hadley Digital in black for street photography. On the street you do not want to draw attention to yourself or your nice camera so black is the practical choice. It is just a matter of using your common sense as to when and where to walk around the streets with a bag on your back that says ‘nice camera inside’ written all over it.

I am very happy with my purchase and cannot recommend Billingham bags highly enough.

MatthewOsbornePhotography.co.uk – Leica Photographer

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Coventry Wedding Photographer
– My Leica camera bag is now ready for Leica Wedding Photography. I now have two Leica M camera bodies to share my Leica M mount lenses. A full frame Leica M9 and a 1.33x crop Leica M8. I did not feel fully comfortable switching between a DSLR and a rangefinder during weddings when I was using my Nikon D800 as a second camera body. You need to settle into the Leica rangefinder way of taking images so you can then compose them in your head before bringing the camera to your eye. This is where I want to get too and to follow in the footsteps of the great Henri Cartier-Bresson.

First thoughts on the M8 – Slightly heavier and chunkier than the Leica M9 at first hold. Controls are near identical and I was able to pick it up and use as if it was my M9. Shutter is louder but it had a nice well made solid German clunk to each press which I like. For wedding photography I can use the discrete mode and keep my finger pressed on the shutter until I have moved away from the quiet area if needed.

Here are the first samples images from the M8 in the short time I had when I got home tonight.

Leica M8 + Zeiss ZM Sonnar 50mm f1.5 C
DNG file – I am very impressed with the colours and this is without an IR reducing filter.

Leica M8 Colours

Leica M8 + Voigtlander Ultron 28mm f2
DNG file converter to B&W in LR3. This lens feels very at home on the M8. Love the M8 B&W images.  The lower MP makes the photos more grainy and in turn even more like 35mm film (in my view).  Looking forward to Leica M8 B&W portraiture.

Leica M8 Test Shot

I have noticed that 50mm and longer focal lengths are difficult to compose on the M8 as what you see in the viewfinder is not what you get. I may find I stick to using 28mm and 35mm mostly but time will tell. Early days.

Overall very pleased with my new edition to the family! 🙂

More samples soon!

MatthewOsbornePhotography.co.uk – Leica Wedding Photographer