Anyone who knows me or who reads my blog will know that I love bags! I'm constantly searching for the perfect camera bag and, whilst I have accepted that no one bag is perfect for every situation, I think I have found one that is close! I bought this bag at The Photography Show back in March and now I've had chance to use it for a while, I thought I'd share my thoughts on it.
I'd seen Fig Bags listed on the Show's website and was keen to take a look. Their stall was located right outside the Super Stage (well done guys!) where all the big speakers were, so I kept going back and looking at the bags, trying to decide whether I could afford to buy one. I chatted to Krystina, who designs the bags and is a photographer herself. She told me all about her process, which includes producing the prototype bags (she's leather trained too!). On my last day there, I decided to take advantage of the Show discount offer and purchase the Hanborough in yellow (the largest of the Fig Bags - if you are going to spend money you can't really afford, do it properly, right?) for £265 (after the show discount - it retails at £295 currently). There are various colours, but I was drawn to the yellow, so went with my gut.
The bag is absolutely gorgeous looking. It's a leather satchel type bag and the leather is really good quality. I like the unisex styling; so often camera bags are either pretty ugly or (with ones designed for women) pink and flowery! It has a carrying handle on the top, which is securely attached with (brass?) rivets and is useful for picking the bag up.
It has a long, adjustable shoulder strap with an additional shoulder pad (shown in the first photo above) - a crucial factor for spreading the weight of heavy camera gear. The strap is securley attached to the body with (brass?) clips.
It has a zipped pocket on the rear of the bag for small items.
You access the main compartment with 'quick release' fastenings, which is great, as one of my pet peeves with satchels is having to undo the buckles.
Inside, the bag has padding built in, with two moveable dividers to configure the bag to your needs. There is also a padded tablet compartment.
I have used this bag pretty much everyday since I bought it. On a day to day basis, I usually carry a Lomography Instant Wide camera (a huge instant film camera), a Lumix LX100 (a large compact digital), plus various accessories such as lens attachments, spare batteries and film cartridges. I can also squeeze in a Fuji Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic (a small instant camera), along with my purse, keys, phone etc. It's pretty jam packed with all this in, but it all fits.
When I'm shooting weddings/portrait sessions, I fill the bag with my second camera (a Canon 6d with a large, 24-105 f4 L lens), my spare external flash, a 50mm lens and my spare batteries/memory cards, whilst carrying my main camera and flash. I also use the tablet pocket to carry any notes I have, like a list of group shots and order of the day.
My only criticism relates to the strap... at 5'1", I've had to have extra holes put it (not a big deal), which has left me with a long overlap. There is no loop to thread this through, which means it flaps around a bit. I've currently secured it with an elastic band, but this does take away from the lovely aesthetic somewhat. At some point, I might try find a leather-worker to add a yellow loop to the strap to hold it down. Other than that, it's a beautiful bag which not only looks stylish, but is also really practical in use. It's not cheap, but if looked after properly, it will likely last a lifetime and the price reflects the quality materials and workmanship. It probably works out cheaper than buying nylon camera bags that only last a few years before they need replacing. It is also cheaper than the Ona Brixton Leather, which looks to be a similar size and quality and currently sells for around £360 in the U.K.
All in all, I love this bag! It's starting to wear in a bit now and the leather is softening. I think it will look even better when it's properly worn in. It's comfortable to wear and looks really stylish; something that is not often seen in a camera bag. The added bonus with this is that, if you are walking the streets or travelling with it, it doesn't scream "rob my expensive camera gear". Wearing it across your body makes it nice and secure, although when I take it on holiday, I'll make sure I pull it round my front in busy places (which I would do with any bag).
I look forward to using this bag for years to come!