Founded in 1973, Billingham is still a family business and has made it's name as a manufacturer of stylish camera bags. They have a characteristic attributed to the English and their age old need for quality and attention to detail.
Billingham 307: Specifications
- Width: 360mm
- Depth: 180mm
- Height: 260mm
- Width: 340mm
- Depth: 150mm
- Height: 220mm
- Width: 140mm
- Depth: 65mm
- Height: 200mm
- Strap length: 115-163mm
- Weight: 2Kg
- Material: FibreNyte canvas
Billingham 307: Features
Billingham's new 07 series of bags bear a striking resemblance to the Presstop 06 models and that's what they're based on. In fact, with similar dimensions, you could easily mistake them at a glance. Subtle differences are more noticeable on closer inspection such as a darker leather and more of it being used on the strap fasteners.
The lugs that attach the strap are solid brass. A prime example of the quality.
The unmistakeable vintage styling of Billingham drips off the 307 with its khaki/chocolate colouring and thick canvas build. Solid brass lugs adorn the front for keeping the lid closed and the whole ensemble oozes old school retro.
Opening the top flap brings you to the zipper which is one of the most solid types I've seen in a long time. Carbon fibre rods are placed around the top gusset to keep its shape make keeping the top open easier. Carbon fibre is used because it can bend but won't get misshapen.
Billingham bags are well known for being deeper than other camera bags and the 307 is no different. In fact I can get my arm in nearly to my elbow before hitting the bottom and the idea behind this is that you can put any personal effects on top to hide your equipment to prying eyes and for quicker access to those belongings. This equipment is placed on the second lid of the bag which is made up of two flaps that fold down to create a ledge around 4-5in below the zipper.
Inside, the separators are made from Billingham's Superflex material which is thick yet flexible so you can place your equipment in multiple layers and still be able to get to them. They're already shaped into cubes to slide lenses in but a spare body is meant to be kept at the bottom underneath everything else. This isn't a way that I like to work and I'd find it difficult having to dig around through expensive equipment to get to the one item I happened to need which is bound to be at the bottom of the bag.
The front pockets don't seem to be as protected as the interior or the rear pocket.
On the front, two pockets are available for accessories to be stored such as spare batteries, memory cards and maybe even a medium sized flash gun. There's no secure webbing for these bits though, so they'd hang around loose which increases the chance of them getting lost. They stay closed by the hand strap attaching to them using a strong pop stud but there's no inner water repellent material to prevent stray water entering. In fact it seems that the front compartments have been forgotten when it comes to keeping your equipment dry.
This is an unfortunate turn of events for an otherwise excellent bag because even the rear pocket has an extra flap to work as a water displacement system allowing rain to pass over the pocket entrance. While the front pockets do have flaps to do the same thing, they're nowhere near as good.
Billingham 307: Verdict
Being a dapper young gent around town, I have a special affinity for Billingham because of their effortless charm and quintessential Englishness.
I'm disappointed in the front pockets not being more protected and while I don't think they'll easily let any water in, they are still more susceptible than the other pockets and the main compartment.
If you're a discerning photographer that has a decent budget for a bag then take a look at Billingham. It could be worth thinking about paying extra. I'm on my third camera bag now since I started photography and I've probably spent more on them than I would've on one Billingham that I would still have now. That, to me, speaks volumes.
Billingham 307: Plus points
Deep main compartment
Spongy rubber on shoulder strap
Billingham 307: Minus points
Stacking items means rummaging
Front pockets don't seem as protected
The Billingham 307 costs around £230 from Warehouse Express. Take a look here: