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I’ve bought a few camera bags, and not really had much luck.  Waist pouches don’t work well for me, and backpacks are a waste of time.  What I want from a camera bag is one which:

1) Gives easy access to cameras and lenses
2) Has enough room for all the assorted bits and pieces
3) Is tough, durable, and more or less waterproof
4) Doesn’t look like a camera bag, and isn’t too ugly
5) Can be used for other things besides cameras

I own two Lowepro bags and find myself not using them.  Since I’ve arrived in Afghanistan, I bought a Hadley Pro and find myself slinging it into the back of my armoured vehicle and not being worried about it.  I’ve pretty much stuffed it with the following:

Front left pocket:
Nikon MC-36A timer
Nikon ME-1 microphone
Nikon EN-EL15 Lithium-Ion Battery
2 x lens brushes/

Front right pocket:
D800 USB adapter cord
SMDV RFN-4S wireless shutter release
4 x memory cards (1 x Kingmax 16GB, 1 x Eye-fi 16GB, 1 x SanDisk Extreme Pro 32GB CF, 1 x Lexar 1000x Pro 32G CF)
Michael Tapes WhiBal card
Carl Zeiss Lens cleaning kit

Inside right side:
Zeiss Planar ZF2 f1.4 85mm (in soft bag)
Nikon AF-S 85mm f1.8G (in soft bag)
Inside centre:
Nikon D800 w/ AF-S 24-120mm f4G ED attached, lens facing down, w/MB-12 motor drive
Inside left side:
Nikon D700 Speedlight in soft case with plastic gels
Manfrotto mini-tripod in case

If I had to push it to the limit, the 13″ Macbook Pro I am writing this on could probably also fit, with the power supply stuffed into the front left pocket.

The bag itself is very, very sturdy.  The first item to wear out will be the leather straps used to buckle the top cover down.  The canvas is quickly breaking in with all the dust and dirt here in Afghanistan, and has very quickly adopted the beaten up look that I want with absolutely no indicator that there is more than 6 grand worth of camera equipment inside.  I got the black on black model, dismissing the other tan/sage colours as overly yuppy and definitely more attracting of unwanted attention.  I have purchased a larger 445 in anticipation of fitting all my lenses into it along with a 15″ laptop for the ultimate portable travel kit.  More to follow on that one.  I didn’t much care for the fact that I had to spend another $40 to get a pad  to fit on the strap which after a long day slogging about in the field starting to wear raw on the shoulder when I wasn’t wearing body armour.  It does, however, come with plenty of internal padding and dividers.  In fact, there are so many that it’s unlikely you’ll be using them all.  The thing I like best is being able to quickly yank out my camera and fire off a few shots without emptying the entire bags contents on the floor.  The straps quickly and securely attach, no fear of them coming undone.  I don’t use the zippered pocket at the rear of the bag, but it could be a good place to stash documents. All in all, well done Billingham.  It wasn’t cheap – the bag was $282.30 with the padded shoulder strap attachment $39.  The rumour is that these bags last a very long time, and only time will tell about that.  Some  pictures will be added shortly.

OK, I lied.  In response to a few questions, including Jonathan’s below, it makes sense to finally include some pictures.

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