I have something to admit. I’m kind of obsessed with camera gear. Some call it GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome), but I don’t mind. I think that whether a person is a hobbyist in their photography, or a professional full-time photographer, they should love their gear. They should enjoy carrying it, taking care of it, using it, and knowing the ins and outs of their gear.
If you’ve been into photography for a while, you know that you’ve struggled with the dilemma of what bag you should buy for your gear. Not only have you struggled with that, but you’ve also struggled what bag to use in various situations. Sometimes you’ll need a messenger bag; sometimes you’ll need a backpack.
There are a million and one companies out there that create camera bags. I’ve purchased from many, but this review is focused on a pretty awesome company named Ona Bags, and specifically their small shoulder bag called the Bowery. Here is why I purchased the Bowery from Ona. I was looking for a bag that I could take on a shoot. I didn’t want to bring my gear in this bag, but just wanted to use it when I was actually shooting. I wanted to use it in conjunction with the Hold Fast Money Maker. The options that I had to choose from were many. However, most of them looked pretty tactical (don’t get me wrong, I love some tactical stuff), but I didn’t want tactical for this application. When you’re shooting, I think that it is imperative that the photographer look good, and what he or she is carrying really matters. So I picked up the Ona Bowery, knowing that I would be getting a high quality item that would last a lifetime.
The Bowery is made of Italian leather, with a very soft camera bag style insert, which is sewn into the bag. It comes with one divider. Some people won’t like that, but for what I’m carrying in it, it’s more than enough. Sometimes I don’t even use any dividers at all. Its strap is made of the same leather, and feels really good on my shoulder.
By this time, you’ve got to be asking what you can fit inside the bag. If you’re a mirrorless shooter, this bag is perfect! I can easily fit a Fuji X100S, and a bunch of little accessories into it. On the DSLR side of things, I can fit a Canon 5D Mark III with 50mm 1.2 or 135mm 2.0 attached. If I really need to, I can squeeze in an extra lens or a flash. I definitely can’t fit a grip on the 5D3 though. My favorite setup is to using the Hold Fast Money Maker to carry my 5D3 on one side, X100S on the other side, and to use the Bowery as a bag to switch lenses in. Currently, I love using the 50mm f/1.2L on the camera, and the 135mm f/2 in the Bowery. I usually keep the clasp unlocked, with the leather flap down. I attempted to get a couple extra portrait sliders for my money maker, take off the Bowery’s strap, and hang it to my left on the Money Maker, but liked having the Bowery behind me instead. It’s a super light setup, keeps weight completely, and I mean completely off my shoulders, and looks amazing. One cool thing that I love about the Bowery is that when you scratch it, it just looks better. Apparently this is called patina. It’s awesome.
If you want to know what color I purchased, it’s the antique cognac. The Money Maker is the water buffalo tan. They look great together. The only con that I can give about the Ona Bowery is that it sort of looks like a purse, and my wife lets me know this all the time when I wear it. Seeing as it is so small, that was bound to happen. If you’re a lady, this should just be a compliment. However, when paired with the Money Maker, I don’t think this is an issue. At $250, it is also extremely expensive for such a small bag. But to be honest, you get what you pay for, and I fully expect this bag to last me years of wear and tear.
If you have any questions, please feel free to ask in the comments below, on Instagram @the_brotographer, or through the Contact page.
You can purchase the Ona Bowery through Amazon below.
You can purchase the Hold Fast Money Maker here through the Hold Fast website.
Thanks for reading the Ona Bowery review, and have a great day.