Customer Reviews: ONA The Bowery Camera Bag and Insert, Waxed Canvas (Smoke)
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4.5 out of 5 stars
Color: Smoke|Change
Price:$139.00+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime
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on August 11, 2014
ONA The Bowery vs. Think Tank Mirrorless Mover 20 vs. Domke F-5XB

I hauled full frame DSLR around Europe for two weeks with an L zoom lens. Captured great images but I swore I'd never lug that amount of weight and bulk again on vacation. Sold it and bought a mirror less system, the FujiFilm XT-1. I love this camera and needed to get a bag to hold it with the kit zoom lens in place. I like using the lens hood for both image quality and to protect the lens .. so my goal was to find a bag that would allow the camera to be placed in it with the lens and lens hood attached.

I ordered the the three bags above. I put my new camera with the kit zoom lens with hood attached into each bag. I also put the items one would need for traveling such as a charger, spare batter, cleaning cloth, etc. All of these three bags were the perfect size. I returned the Think Tank and Domke and kept the ONA. Here are the pros and cons I found:

Think Tank - It is a boxy traditional camera bag with lots of zippered compartments. Fixed into a rectangular shape so it stuck out further from the waist when carried. Shoulder strap was very thin and would be very uncomfortable. The bag is light in weight but doesn't have a lot of padding. I liked the magnetic closure so if one was shutting a lot you could just leave the zipper open and access the camera very easily. Has a built in rain shield. Was the cheapest. It does say CAMERA. The thing I really didn't like about it was the boxy rectangular shape.

Domke - Looks nice. It was heavier than the Think Tank. Much of the added weight came from the hardware (two gigantic zippers, large strap claps). The shoulder strap was comfortable but thick. The bag flap is held closed with velcro which makes a loud noise and requires a little effort to open. Access to the inside is a opening that runs longwise along the center. One of the industrial size zippers must be slid open. The edges of the opening tend to rest together and there is a plastic zipper on the edge. So pulling the camera in and out requires a little fiddling to avoid brushing it against the zipper edges. No compartments like the Think Tank. The compartment inserts were very thin bent to one side of the other as the bag was compressed which would catch the camera when it was put into the bag. The bag is made in the USA.

ONE The Bowery - A significant disadvantage is it is over twice the price of the other two bags, even more so in the leather versions. However, it looks and feels like substantially higher quality. It is about the same weight as the Domke but has more padding. the shoulder strap is a wide and made of material like an automobile seat belt ... very comfortable. The inside is well padded and the customizable compartment inserts were thick and semi-rigid so they held their position well and did not catch the camera edges then placing the camera in the bag. The bag is designed to collapse down to become flatter around the contents, so it is far more comfortable to carry. Access is extremely easy by pressing a locking bottom clasp and simply open the flap. No zippers anywhere on this bag. A disadvantage is that there are no little hidden secure compartments for a memory card, etc. Lots of side pockets around the exterior, but they cannot be securely closed so a memory card could get lost. I simply took a small plastic box (that had a lens cleaning kit) and put it in the main compartment and that is where I put all the little parts (memory card, spare battery, etc.). It looks a little bit like a purse ... sort of. ... not really as appears to me as more masculine looking in design. My wife thinks that it looks like the "man purses" that are very common in Europe. I think it would be great for female or male photographers.

All in all, none of them are a bad bag. Any of the three would be functional. If weight mattered the most I'd get the ThInk Tank but would have to replace it with a real shoulder strap. If the ONA was out of my price range, probably I'd get the Domke. But the ONA was truly the most comfortable and had the highest quality.
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on December 9, 2013
I own the camera insert bag from ONA and love the quality of it so i decided to buy the bowery camera bag this time so i could carry my camera around on my shoulder. The camera bag is a little bit smaller than the camera insert. It is still better padded than the insert and the quality still great. Although I love the look of the buckle on the front, i have to say that it doesn't secure your items inside very safely. The buckle opens easily with the slightest bump on it, which makes it easy for your camera to be dropped on the floor, and that's exactly what happened to my Canon 70D with a 18-200mm lens attached to it. Luckly my camera and lens didn't break, but now I am concerned that this will happen again. ONA should have used a stronger and safer buckle for this camera bag. Also another suggestion would be to make the leather flap on the front of the bag ,the one that conceals the buckle, slightly bigger so if you use the last punched hole on it (like me), it would still hide the buckle and not look weird and off. Anyways, overall the camera bag has a great potential, it's good looking, great quality, but the buckle safety should be improved to secure better our investments!
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on September 13, 2013
Just got the ONA Bowery bag the other day, and I am more than quite impressed. I was skeptical about it's size and what would fit because the video's out there mostly use mirror less camera, not full size DSLR. The quality of the product definitely jumps out at you the moment you take it from the plastic bag. The model I got was black. The material is soft to the touch, I would describe it as similar to a brushed cotton. The leather accents and functional parts are made of a soft supple genuine leather. As you have heard the strap is made of seat belt like material. This bag is just beyond any of the other's I've used, its compact and light weight with lots of durable protection for the contents, it wears well on your body not a big bulky bag with 25 lbs in it to ruin your posture! Seriously, coming from some of the larger shoulder bags, this is perfect.

So what can go inside: I have a 5D Mark II with any combination of a 50mm, 16-35mm or 100mm L lens attached with one extra lens in the bag. So I can have the 16-35mm mounted and the divider then the 50mm, or 100mm mounted and 50mm, and of course the 50mm mounted and either 100mm or 16-35mm in the bag. The I still have a large amount of space to either add a full feature flash unit or my sun sniper strap which has a rather bulky shoulder pad. So with any of the above configurations you can also have inside a lens cleaning pen. Then in the front slip pockets an iPhone and the other with keys and a iPad cleaning cloth. On one side pocket a 5D spare battery and two USB sticks, in the opposite side pouch my iPhone ear buds. In the slip pocket along the back side one of the 10 Compact Flash card holders from CPS. All of that in one very small compact package. BTW with the top of the bag fastened, you can lift either flap to access either of the front slip pockets without have to release the latch. Just lift the flap and remove your iPhone device.

I also tested a configuration where I can remove the divider, lay in my 70-200mm, put the divider in as a pad and put in my 100mm macro plus a 50mm along with all the other accessories in the side pockets listed above. I can then have my camera on the sunsniper strap with the 16-35mm mounted and basically carry all that with me, which is unbelievable.

If you are looking for a small compact high quality versatile camera bag that isn't bulky and wears well on your body, you cannot go wrong with this ONA Bowery bag. And yes your full sized DSLR and an extra lens will fit with lots of room.
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on September 10, 2013
It's tougher to design a small bag than a larger bag. A small bag with thick padding will carry very little, too thin on the construction and it is flimsy and lacks protection. Ona did a great job designing and building this bag. It is small enough to be carried everywhere, yet it is unobtrusive easily fitting the body without the unbalancing feeling of a medium or large bag. It will fit many configurations of camera/lens/accessories. It won't carry everything all at once, rather it fits one or two lenses. I purchased it to carry my camera and a flash unit, maybe fitting in a pancake lens also. Beautiful construction, this will last a lifetime, it is one of those bags that will look better with time. One last thing, there is no velcro, zippers or plastic buckles.
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on April 1, 2013
Easily fits my Canon 6D and two primes ( the 50mm 1.4 and 40mm 2.8 ) But will also fit the 6D and one larger sized lens like the 24-105 or 17-40 with some room to spare. This bag looks good, feels good, and even smells good. A lot of attention to detail went into it. I'm very pleased with the construction and quality of materials. Well worth the price IMO. Highly recommended!
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on February 10, 2014
received this a month or so ago and could not be happier i use this bag for my fuji x series everyday bag and can comfortably fit the following, one EX-2 with the !4mm on, one 23mm and either my Fuji X100S or my 18mm-55mm. In addition i put my Think Tank Battery pouch and memory card box in the front pockets.

What I particularly like: the very narrow stream lined fit on my body, no extra bulk, the easy clip open top flap, the light weight and the look and feel of the bag materials

I also use the Think Tank Retro 5, which is a little bigger and bulkier, holds extra stuff, wallet, a flash, another lens etc and is a terrific bag

This ONA is best, for me, for the minimalist all day carry bag

and I've owned and looked at many
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on June 13, 2014
I have lost count of how many briefcases, backpacks, and camera bags that I've bought over time. I love the idea of something that has the right set of compartments, is the right size, and looks good. The quest was a great way to kill time whenever I ran across a new luggage store, leather store, camera shop, etc.

Sadly, my quest is over because I found the perfect camera bag. There are two main compartments which are the perfect size for my mirrorless camera and a few lenses. It has two front pouches that are already stuffed with a few things I couldn't get into my old camera bag. There is a wide sort of slot pouch on the back that will work nicely for flat things and the occasional brochure. As I was looking at it, I thought "It would be nice if they put pouches on the side." Then I looked closer. There are pouches on the side... Perfect for batteries, cables...

What sold me in the pictures and video was the size. I don't like big bulky things. In real life it's better than the pictures. This is an excellent size for what I need. I love the waxed canvas (much better than the bulletproof nylon of most camera bags). The brass fittings are beefy and the leather trim is real leather. The "build quality" is outstanding. This thing is going to look better as I use it. The price for what you get is really fair IMHO.

If you have a LOT of camera gear and you're a semi-pro or real pro photographer then you'll need more room. If you're a prosumer with extra lenses and the little things you need to keep your camera cleaned and charged then this is a great product.
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on February 22, 2013
Just received it today and I love it. It's roomier that I expected it to be - it holds my Nikon D5100 with lens attached, plus has room to carry another lens or accessories. Great quality bag, very nicely made, great heavy duty material, excellent padding, and, my favorite part- it looks great. It's a nice change of pace from the standard nylon camera bag.
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on September 1, 2014
I really like this bag. I've used it for street shooting, shoots and I've done miles of car and air travel with it. It manages the rain very well and keeps everything dry. Unfortunately it does not carry two small Micro Four Thirds lenses with caps and a hood without scratching my Olympus OMD camera body. So I've suffered some camera body scratches but I'm looking forward to upgrading to a larger size so that I can easily carry and access batteries, lens cleaners, flash, phone and iPad mini. The large pocket on the exterior is not very secure (I shoot in crowds, street scenes, wilderness) so I tend to refrain from holding important items in it, so It holds a pencil and a small papers. The side and inner front pockets are very secure, perfect to carry a lens cloth, backup battery, thin wallet w/ID, maybe an iPhone and a lip balm. It's very attractive and I really love the slate blue/brown combo. I did make slight modifications to the strap (adding a removable silk shrug) because I found that the strap and the back of the bag that leans on my thigh really irritated my clothing (especially dresses/skirts) and the areas it touch started to pill the fabric. Pretty frustrating so when I decide to upgrade I will consider leather to avoid clothes chafing. Now that I know how I should use the bag (carrying less is more) and what I should wear (jeans/khakis, t-shirts or no wrinkle hardy tops), I'm really glad that I have the Bowery.
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on May 19, 2014
This bag exceeded my expectations, its stylish well made and absolutely gorgeous. My mirrorless OMDEM10 fits perfectly along with three lenses (one prime and 2 zoom). I was skeptical to spend this much money on a camera bag but since I will be using it almost daily I pulled the trigger and I don't regret it at all. The outside is buttery smooth, the inside is soft and a good blend of padding while not so padded it eats up all the space. Its a perfect size for a small girl (I am 5') and it has so many pockets good for my iPhone, extra battery's, and memory cards.

I might even splurge on a different color at some point (if I can become a good enough photographer to justify color coding my bags with my outfit ;))
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