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Author Topic: Which Billingham Bag to Buy?  (Read 8986 times)
BruceHouston
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« on: September 01, 2008, 10:58:37 PM »
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I am planning to purchase a Billingham but not quite sure which model.  Problem is that I am in San Antonio and the nearest Billingham dealer is in Houston.  From the Billingham website I am fairly certain that it should be a 335 or 445, though.

I need to carry as much as:

Canon 5D with RRS bracket
70-200mm f/4L
24-108mm f/4L
16-35mm f/2.8L
50mm f/1.4
Extender x1.4 II
580 EX II flash
Filter pouch
Misc.

(1) Would this gear fit into a 335 or do I need a 445?

(2) Would I be able to fit the 5D body with either telephoto zoom attached into either a 335 or 445?

(3) Should I consider a Packington?  (It looks like Packington has a shorter depth; not sure what the other differences are.)

(4) Should I get canvas or the man-made material?  (Billingham website says "FibreNyte"; U.S. distributor's website says "Nytex."  Neither website has been updated since 2007.)

Many thanks in advance for any thoughts.

Regards,
Bruce
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DavidRees
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« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2008, 03:42:37 AM »
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Bruce,

For the amount of kit you are planning to put in it, I'd definitely recommend the 445 over the 335.

My own method of carrying kit in Billinghams did not involve leaving a lens mounted on a body, so I can't comment on how easy that will be to do. If you plan to put the camera/lens combo nose-down into the bag, then the 445 is definitely the best, because it is higher; however, I'm not convinced even the 445 is tall enough for a body + 70-200 combo nose-down. I'd suggest the 550 for that, though you are starting to go big and expensive then!

If you choose to keep the body and lens together, placing the combo into the bag lengthways would work, though it takes up quite a lot of space inside a 445, leaving little room for the extra kit you wish to carry.

Personal background: I owned until recently 3 445 bags, a 335, and a 225. I sold off the 445s and the 335, making the switch to Lowepro backpacks, to allow me to carry more, and to reduce back pain (the load is better distributed with a backpack, I find). I loved the Billinghams, and once on site, they were great for getting equipment in and out, and moving around without having to fully pack up each time. It was getting the bags to the location which was hurting me. A fully loaded 445, with strap slung across the opposite shoulder, plus a big tripod, was making photography a drag. The switch to Lowepro has worked well for my needs, though they are nowhere near as watertight.

Given a choice between Nytex and Canvas, I'd go for the canvas every time. Also choose Khaki colour, for reasons of resale value and light reflection (dark bags absorb more light, and thus the contents get hotter).

David.
« Last Edit: September 02, 2008, 03:43:41 AM by DavidRees » Logged

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SeanBK
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« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2008, 07:25:41 AM »
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I can only say what I have been using for a while, which is "550 Classic" which I think it fantastic. Sometimes I remove end pockets, if need be.
  http://www.billingham.co.uk/acatalog/The_C...Camera_Bag.html
« Last Edit: September 02, 2008, 07:26:10 AM by SeanBK » Logged
BruceHouston
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« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2008, 01:32:30 PM »
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Bruce,

For the amount of kit you are planning to put in it, I'd definitely recommend the 445 over the 335.

My own method of carrying kit in Billinghams did not involve leaving a lens mounted on a body, so I can't comment on how easy that will be to do. If you plan to put the camera/lens combo nose-down into the bag, then the 445 is definitely the best, because it is higher; however, I'm not convinced even the 445 is tall enough for a body + 70-200 combo nose-down. I'd suggest the 550 for that, though you are starting to go big and expensive then!

If you choose to keep the body and lens together, placing the combo into the bag lengthways would work, though it takes up quite a lot of space inside a 445, leaving little room for the extra kit you wish to carry.

Personal background: I owned until recently 3 445 bags, a 335, and a 225. I sold off the 445s and the 335, making the switch to Lowepro backpacks, to allow me to carry more, and to reduce back pain (the load is better distributed with a backpack, I find). I loved the Billinghams, and once on site, they were great for getting equipment in and out, and moving around without having to fully pack up each time. It was getting the bags to the location which was hurting me. A fully loaded 445, with strap slung across the opposite shoulder, plus a big tripod, was making photography a drag. The switch to Lowepro has worked well for my needs, though they are nowhere near as watertight.

Given a choice between Nytex and Canvas, I'd go for the canvas every time. Also choose Khaki colour, for reasons of resale value and light reflection (dark bags absorb more light, and thus the contents get hotter).

David.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=218856\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Thank you for the excellent information, David.

I have a ThinkTank Rotation 360 which holds all of my kit (with lens cases attached to the side).  Although good for backpacking, it is not good for short photo excursions within the city.  It is this latter task for which I am considering the Billingham.

In most cases I will probably NOT carry the entire kit.  However, short of buying a 225 or 335 to carry a partial kit PLUS the 445 for a full kit, I suppose that I should buy the 445 for the worst-case scenario, right?

Thanks!
Bruce
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DavidRees
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« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2008, 02:26:44 PM »
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Bruce,

I'd definitely recommend the 445 over the 335, if the price differential isn't a major consideration. There's little perceived difference in weight between the two when empty, but the 445 can hold considerably more kit. My 445s were my workhorses; the 335 was mainly used for storage of lesser-used lenses, etc., and rarely got to go outside.

For street work, the Billinghams are really top-notch; I love the way one can pick up an OPEN bag, and carry it quite safely, even slung over the shoulder. I also admire their resistance to heavy rain; something the Lowepros I have don't match. I now keep all my lenses in clear ziplock bags, to provide additional protection. We get RAIN here in Scotland!

Regards,

David.
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BruceHouston
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« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2008, 02:32:28 PM »
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Bruce,

I'd definitely recommend the 445 over the 335, if the price differential isn't a major consideration. There's little perceived difference in weight between the two when empty, but the 445 can hold considerably more kit. My 445s were my workhorses; the 335 was mainly used for storage of lesser-used lenses, etc., and rarely got to go outside.

For street work, the Billinghams are really top-notch; I love the way one can pick up an OPEN bag, and carry it quite safely, even slung over the shoulder. I also admire their resistance to heavy rain; something the Lowepros I have don't match. I now keep all my lenses in clear ziplock bags, to provide additional protection. We get RAIN here in Scotland!

Regards,

David.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=219000\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Super; thanks David!
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BruceHouston
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« Reply #6 on: September 02, 2008, 11:33:20 PM »
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Bruce,

I'd definitely recommend the 445 over the 335, if the price differential isn't a major consideration. There's little perceived difference in weight between the two when empty, but the 445 can hold considerably more kit. My 445s were my workhorses; the 335 was mainly used for storage of lesser-used lenses, etc., and rarely got to go outside.

For street work, the Billinghams are really top-notch; I love the way one can pick up an OPEN bag, and carry it quite safely, even slung over the shoulder. I also admire their resistance to heavy rain; something the Lowepros I have don't match. I now keep all my lenses in clear ziplock bags, to provide additional protection. We get RAIN here in Scotland!

Regards,

David.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=219000\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

David,

One more quick question.  Did you ever try the Billingham backpack harness accessory?  Even if not, I would appreciate your thoughts about whether it would be viable.  I would not attempt to use it for long hikes (would use the ThinkTank Rotation 360 for that).  Question is, would it work to avoid single-shoulder strain when walking a moderate distance within the city when I do not need access to the gear?

Thanks again,
Bruce
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Morgan_Moore
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« Reply #7 on: September 03, 2008, 02:33:11 AM »
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I am planning to purchase a Billingham but not quite sure which model.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=218814\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Billinghams are the best bags because they are deep and boddy hugging, your kit doesnt fall out if you run down the road with them open

I have three Packingtons

For my D3, with 50, 20-35, and 80-200 and sometimes 14 and or 55macro, the flash goes in the side pocket (an Sb28)

I use the packington with most of the guff stripped out from inside, the lenses wrapped in domke wraps and..

The 80-200 is strapped on the outside in a lowe pro lens case (or left in the car)

---

I use another packington for H1 , Digiback and two lenses

---

The other packinton has a Qflash a couple of turbo packs in

---

You can jam a 15 inch mac into a packington if you have to

And think about airline requirements too - Packingtons go most hand luggage


I like having more of the smaller bags because often I just use the 50, 20-25 D3 and leave the rest in the safe in my van

If I am really loaded up say with the D3 rig and the H1 rig then the wieght is spread - one on each shoulder

The backpack straps dont work for me personally - not a good fit to the body - but an improvement if you have to hike miles with a billy - not something I would recomend

Advice on bags is really hard because it is so specific to how you operate

eg a big billy is great if you just move your kit from a car to a location but way too heavy fully loaded for walking or standing at a premier for three hours with it on one shoulder

ps  why the 24 zoom save some weight leaving that at home

SMM
« Last Edit: September 03, 2008, 02:35:25 AM by Morgan_Moore » Logged

Sam Morgan Moore Cornwall
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DavidRees
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« Reply #8 on: September 03, 2008, 06:22:58 AM »
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Bruce,

I did think about the harness, but never tried one. For years I managed by not filling the 445s to the brim, but as I found I wanted to carry more kit, and/or moved into heaver camera gear, I found the Billinghams less and less appropriate for my needs. The harness might have helped a little, but it seemed better to me to move to a custom-designed backpack, with padding at shoulders and hip, to distribute the load better.

David.
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Nigelfrommanchester
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« Reply #9 on: September 03, 2008, 10:45:57 AM »
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As a few people have mentioned, there really isn't a perfect bag. I have a 335, 445, Lowpro Stealth, Lowpro Rover, Peli 1510 and 'others' including stuffing gear in non-branded rucksacks to avoid attention.

The gear you listed will go into a 335 but I don't think you'll be able to leave the 70-200 on the body.

As mentioned above, the 445 can take much more gear but kills your back if you have to stand with it for long. I use the 335 for walkabouts and the 445 to take gear to a more static shoot where I know I can leave it somewhere safe.

The rucksacks are great, but you need to be somewhere where you're comfortable taking the camera out. It is really annoying when you have to take the bag off your shoulders to hide/ protect the camera.

My advice is to go 335 to maintain packing discipline.

A big advantage of the 445 is that it will carry a normal laptop.

Nigel
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Nigel Atkinson
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BruceHouston
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« Reply #10 on: September 03, 2008, 11:13:30 AM »
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I ordered a 445 last night from B&H; so we will see how it goes.

Thanks for all the helpful comments, invaluable because there is no dealer in San Antonio, Texas, to visit to view the product.

Best,
Bruce
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BruceHouston
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« Reply #11 on: September 03, 2008, 12:09:46 PM »
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Billinghams are the best bags because they are deep and boddy hugging, your kit doesnt fall out if you run down the road with them open

I have three Packingtons

For my D3, with 50, 20-35, and 80-200 and sometimes 14 and or 55macro, the flash goes in the side pocket (an Sb28)

I use the packington with most of the guff stripped out from inside, the lenses wrapped in domke wraps and..

The 80-200 is strapped on the outside in a lowe pro lens case (or left in the car)

---

I use another packington for H1 , Digiback and two lenses

---

The other packinton has a Qflash a couple of turbo packs in

---

You can jam a 15 inch mac into a packington if you have to

And think about airline requirements too - Packingtons go most hand luggage
I like having more of the smaller bags because often I just use the 50, 20-25 D3 and leave the rest in the safe in my van

If I am really loaded up say with the D3 rig and the H1 rig then the wieght is spread - one on each shoulder

The backpack straps dont work for me personally - not a good fit to the body - but an improvement if you have to hike miles with a billy - not something I would recomend

Advice on bags is really hard because it is so specific to how you operate

eg a big billy is great if you just move your kit from a car to a location but way too heavy fully loaded for walking or standing at a premier for three hours with it on one shoulder

ps  why the 24 zoom save some weight leaving that at home

SMM
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=219111\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Morgan, as a matter of curiosity, how did you decide to go with the Packingtons instead of the 335/445.  I noticed that the Packingtons have less depth, but I am otherwise unsure of the differences.

Thanks,
Bruce
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Morgan_Moore
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« Reply #12 on: September 03, 2008, 01:16:30 PM »
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Morgan, as a matter of curiosity, how did you decide to go with the Packingtons instead of the 335/445.  I noticed that the Packingtons have less depth, but I am otherwise unsure of the differences.

Thanks,
Bruce
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=219211\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Quote
Morgan, as a matter of curiosity, how did you decide to go with the Packingtons instead of the 335/445.  I noticed that the Packingtons have less depth, but I am otherwise unsure of the differences.

Thanks,
Bruce
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=219211\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I think they were on discount at the shop !

I think I have a 335 too - that is wider and less deep - bad balance - stuff can fall out - a different animal

Between the packinton and the 445 I cant really see a lot of difference except the packinton has the side pocket for flash and is thinner - more body hugging but less volumous

---

445 : W420 x D220 x H315mm


335 : W370 x D220 x H265mm


Packington : W425 x D160 x H315mm


The 445 probably is right unless for you unless are prepared to side pouch the 80-200 ie strap a lens case on the side

I am not sure you a clear on what I mean by side pouch - Ill try and find a picture..

S
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Sam Morgan Moore Cornwall
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Morgan_Moore
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« Reply #13 on: September 03, 2008, 01:27:39 PM »
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pic of bag with 70cm lastolite jammed in, 80-200 strapped on side

and stuff I used to day 55, 50, 20-35 and 14mm

flash in side pocket

.. and me with bag in a stupid outfit for your amusement : :

S
« Last Edit: September 03, 2008, 02:08:53 PM by Morgan_Moore » Logged

Sam Morgan Moore Cornwall
www.sammorganmoore.com -photography
BruceHouston
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« Reply #14 on: September 03, 2008, 03:12:37 PM »
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pic of bag with 70cm lastolite jammed in, 80-200 strapped on side

and stuff I used to day 55, 50, 20-35 and 14mm

flash in side pocket

.. and me with bag in a stupid outfit for your amusement : :

S
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=219230\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Ok, I get the idea; thanks Sam.

Happy honey-hunting!
Bruce
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BruceHouston
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« Reply #15 on: September 05, 2008, 05:50:26 PM »
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Thank you for all the assistance, folks.  I received my 445 today.   It is just as you described and is perfect for my kit.

Now I will probably need a 225 to carry just a few things from the car to the shooting destination.  This purchasing of photographic accessories is a never-ending quest, is it not?    

Anyway, I really appreciate all the assistance that I receive on this forum.

Best regards,
Bruce
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