Reviewer: Anthony Fordham
Digital cameras let everyone be a photographer, but if you want to take it to the next level the whole hobby of “pro-sumer” photography is still a very male-dominated arena. Not in any deliberate or malicious sense, but simply because photography has this vaguely paramilitary feel to it.
You know what we’re on about: bayonet fittings, D-clips, camo, netting, and endless racks and rack of grey or green or navy blue camera bags. Jackets with pockets that look as useful for carrying grenades as they do for carrying extra lenses.
This camera bag, on the other hand, is unashamedly aimed squarely at the lady photographer. Jill-E’s aim is to create a bag that strikes a balance between the ultra-utilitarian design of a regular camera bag, but brings in just a tiny suggestion of the style of a $3,000 designer handbag.
Whether or not this leather unit with its “fun polka dot interior” and “detachable pouch for personal items” is stylish of course depends very much on your personal taste. As for practicality though, it does very well.
What really belies its function as a camera bag is the camcorder-bag style top flap, with those traditional double zips running the full length of the main compartment. Indeed, the bag is quite big enough to carry a camcorder, a DSLR and a couple of compact cameras too! Or you can dedicate it to a serious pro-sumer set up: several DSLR bodies and four lenses, with room left over for filters and other technical trickery.
Like a proper “man’s bag”, the interior dividers are all attached by Velcro and can be removed or reconfigured for your particular set of gear. Huge telephoto lenses can fit in here.
Of course this quite a large bag, and not especially practical for the casual photographer. You need a lot of stuff to justify the sheer size of the thing, and it doesn’t help that the dual carrying handles are so long and can’t be removed: they do get the way.
But having a red leather camera bag could just be worth it for the stir you’ll make next time you turn up to the photography club meeting in a gorgeous dress and killer heels. Behind your wraparound shades, you’ll regard the boys in their identical khaki “webbing” vests, and then proceed to unload a pile of kit every bit as hardcore as theirs.