Billingham Hadley Large camera bag

It had always been my dream to own a Billingham camera bag. The legendary label exudes an aura of sheer elegance that other brands cannot match. Like a Lamborghini Gallardo, the Billingham is not just about looks but also sensible practicality.

Many camera bags in the market are concerned about function – the ultimate purpose of  camera bags is to protect the gear, allow quick access to the gear and be comfortable to carry for hours. These manufacturers know what they are doing, but camera bags have evolved to become more than just a mere container to transport camera equipment. They are now fashion accessories for the chic photographer.

Of the various brands, Crumpler has taken the lead by targeting those who want a camera bag that does not look like a camera bag. Many photographers prefer to carry a bag that does not shout about the camera gear it holds. It is not simply for the sake of appearances. It is also a matter of security, especially if you are travelling. Think Tank has recently followed in this direction with their Retrospective range of shoulder bags.

However, these pretenders cannot compare to the ageless look of the Billingham. A sharp eye would recognize the attention to details underneath the stylish design. The unique buckle system makes it easy to unbuckle the bag to reach your gear.

The main flap of the bag has darted corners that ensures it closes around the opening. The bag comes in canvas or fibrenyte, which is a lightweight but durable material, and both materials are waterproof. There are several colour combinations available. I chose the black fibrenyte with black trim. The bag is much lighter than the Retrospective 20 when both bags are empty.


The bag becomes a messenger bag when you remove the insert, though I find the Hadley Large a little too big as a messenger. A Hadley Original or Hadley Small would make a better messenger bag at the expense of lesser capacity.

I decided not to go with the Hadley Pro because of the handle. While it is a handy feature (pun intended), it does not go well with the overall look of the bag. I would prefer the handle of the 5 series. I might consider getting a 225 if I need a bag to carry a lot of equipment.

For now, the Hadley Large is sufficient to carry my SB-600, 70-200mm f/2.8 VR II, 50mm f/1.4G and 35mm f/2D with any of the lenses attached to my D700. I can even put my MacBook Air in the bag with the above-mentioned equipment. My Retrospective 20 cannot fit the laptop. The Hadley Large fits all the equipment and still have a slimmer profile than the Think Tank bag.

This is my first Billingham bag and I’m sure it won’t be the last.

Detailed review with pictures can be found here.

You can get your Hadley Large directly from Billingham or through Amazon.

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  1. Matt Avatar

    Wooo…I’m a big crumpler fan. I like the reverse hooks on your bag, though :D

    1. Jenxi Seow Avatar

      I almost got a Crumpler but I’m glad I didn’t. Get a BIllingham and you’ll want to get more. ;)

  2. Wei Hao Avatar
    Wei Hao

    Hey bro! Mind telling me Via where did you get your Billingham Hadley Large Black Fibrenyte? In singapore dealer/distributor mainly carry the canvas version.

    And does furs start to appear after awhile? when the bag rub again tougher/rougher material like jeans.

    Thanks =)

    1. Jenxi Seow Avatar

      Hi Wei Hao, I order my Billinghams from gmarket. It’s still cheaper even when you include shipping.

      As for fuzzing, I haven’t experienced that with the fibrenyte. The only part that fuzzes is the strap because it’s not fibrenyte.

  3. Wei Hao Avatar
    Wei Hao

    Orh! May i know which Gmarket dealer you got your bag from? I ask one of them, they respond only canvas type.

    Thanks alot for your help! =D

    1. Jenxi Seow Avatar

      Hey Wei Hao, which dealer did you ask? I get my bags from Infigo.

      1. Wei Hao Avatar
        Wei Hao

        Hello!~ i asked infigo, he replied canvas~ u can see my question there on the billingham hadley large black.

        Do u use msn? =D i view thru your page, found u use nikon and love gundam as well. hahaha. if you do not mind, add me we can chat there. is the email i used to replied the comment here.

        1. Jenxi Seow Avatar

          Hi Wei Hao, I could have gotten it wrong cos I have several Billingham bags.

          I don’t chat that often nowadays but you could add me on Facebook.

  4. Wei Hao Avatar
    Wei Hao

    Mm! What other place u got ur bag from? I will go search. Hahaha. Pretty determine to get the fibrenyte, love the grossy finish.

    1. Jenxi Seow Avatar

      You can try John 3:16 Photo Supplies at level 5 in Funan.

  5. René Avatar

    Thanks for the great review. Based on it, I ordered a Hadley large bag to use with my new D700.
    How do you carry all your equipment? When I lay the D700 flat on its back, it is wider than the width of the bag. It still fits, but “plumps up” the bag. They body only would fit fine, but with a lens attached there is no way to fit it without distorting the bag.
    Thanks for the feedback!

    1. Jenxi Seow Avatar

      Hi René, what lens do you use on the D700? It fits fine when I use it with prime lenses and the 24-70mm. The bag only bulges a bit when I have the 70-200mm on the camera.

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