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Product DescriptionA firm favourite with serious photographers all over the world. The main compartment includes four extra full depth pockets. Billingham zippered TukTop - zipper can remain open and equipment kept out of sight and protected with the main flap. Adjustable Delta shoulder sling with leather and neoprene shoulder pad.
Submitted by Lee England a Expert
Date Reviewed: August 18, 2007
Strengths: The protection it gives the camera equipment.
The ease of use when you're watching a subject and pulling lenses out of the bag by feel.
Weaknesses: It's eight ounces (0.25 kg) heavier than the Domke F2. Mine is the Nytex version which is lighter than the canvas version.
Optional backpack straps can be attached so you can carry it on your back, but it's not as comfortable as a dedicated backpack bag.
I've used the various Domke bags (F2, F5, F6) and a backpack type bag but finally settled on this Billingham for a Leica M2 with four lenses and light meter. I even tried the F6 again, since it's lighter, but it's just not as good in utility as the 335. Others dwell on this bag's appearance--it is handsome--but it's operation is it's feature.
Where the F6 flops around your hip, the 335 is rigid enough to keep the lens compartments open and easy to pull lenses out of by feel rather than having to look down. The bag stays anchored on your hip. A feature called Tuk Top allows the top of the bag to be tucked out of the way, making hand and visual access easy. The padding is so good you could drop the bag from six feet onto the floor without worrying about the equipment inside. The neoprene shoulder pad doesn't slip off the shoulder the way the Domke's strap will (the one with the rubber stitched into the canvas).
Last year I walked through southwest French villages for three days in a steady rain, constantly taking pictures. The top flap, flopped over the top opening of the bag, kept everything dry despite a constant two millimeter depth of water on the cover. I should add here that traveling with the bag is easy; it can carry all of your film for a 10 day trip along with passport and travel documents, airline schedules, etc.
Another review was critical of the several step bag opening procedure. It's a little longer than the Domke because the top of the bag has a zipper to open in addition to the top flap (that uses leather straps and brass studs.) But the zipper is there for the protection it gives. I've driven dusty roads in Mississippi with this bag and traveled through seashore areas and the North African desert where dust and sand are blown around. The zipper seals the contents from these insults. Also, left in a hot parked vehicle, the heated air doesn't get to the equipment so easily--t takes 4-5 hours for the camera to get even a little warm to touch. So I live with this system for its protection, and I don't think I've missed any shots because of it. I'll add I've used this product a lot for 5-6 years--it doesn't look like it will ever wear out.
Duration Product Used: 6-10 years
Price Paid: $330.00
Purchased At: BH Photo
Similar Products Used: Domke F2, F5x, and F6
Type of photography: Fine Art
Submitted by wolfkettler a Professional
Date Reviewed: August 25, 2004
Strengths: build quality
Weaknesses: complicated, awkward access
on the expensive side
I have owned and used many other bags before the Billingham 335 and thought this was the one to keep for a long time. It is such a stylish, great looking bag with that certain "explorer appeal".
Very well made (possibly indestructible), weather proof, sturdy, nice feel. In my case, it takes a 35mm camera with lens attached, a second body, two to three additional lenses, flash, power pack, filters and lots of smaller accessories such as cables, mini clamp, brush, mini soft box, notebook, travel documents and plenty of film.
However, this is where my love affair stops. The Billingham 335 is no more bulky than any other similar bag, it just *feels* incredibly bulky and is awkward to use. To get in, you have to (1.) open the carry handle (two studs), (2.) unfasten the top cover, (3.) fold it back, (4.) then open a zip.
At just under 2 kg, the bag is also heavier than (many/most of) its competitors.
In short, beautiful looking and well made, but too awkward to use.
Duration Product Used: 11-20 years
Type of photography: Other