Tuesday, September 9, 2014

A tale of two camera bags -- perfect for a Fuji X or small DSLR system

Let me confess to something right up front: I am a sucker for a tailor-fit camera bag, especially if it is compact, convenient, and easy to carry. I already own too many camera bags, but that didn't stop me from looking at some of the newer models.

This is a tale of two camera bags I found on my recent search. One is a smaller, relatively inexpensive model, perfect for a mirrorless camera body with 2-3 lenses, plus some accessories. The other is a bit larger, considerably more expensive, stylish, and very well-made.

Tenba DNA 8:

I have to say that when I stumbled upon the Tenba DNA 8 bag in the camera store, I was immediately impressed, and the more I examined its qualities, the more impressed I became with its well-thought-out design.

Note how the zipper enclosures have a finger grip on them making it convenient to open with only one hand. The top zipper is a second opening for accessing the interior of the bag without having to lift the front flap.  The second slanting zipper provides access to yet another accessory pocket. The rear carry handle is balanced so you can lift the bag even when the front flap is not fastened. 
This is a small bag, only 10.5" wide, meant to be worn messenger-style. It can fit a Fuji X camera with 3-4 lenses, depending on which lenses you pack. My X-T1 with three zooms, one on the camera, the other two in the bag, were a comfortable fit without much room left over in the main compartment. The interior dividers are cleverly designed to fold sideways a bit to accommodate a camera with its lens facing down. The slanted divider protects the other two lens slots from being rubbed by the camera body.

The front accessory pockets are divided in two making it much easier to stuff gear without having items rub up against one another.  A small 8" tablet can fit inside or in the outside, rear pocket. In this photo you can see the zipper for access to the interior without opening the flap. There are two mesh side pockets. One can hold the rain-cover accessory that comes with the bag. Note also how the flap hinge is sewn to the main body to offer even more protection from the elements. 
This bag has one of the cleverest designs for fasteners. One feature I always want in a bag is that its fasteners can be opened using only one hand. I always assume that my other hand is holding the camera. Tenba has invented a patented magnetic clip that allows blind, drop-on magnetic attachment and a fast unique slide release. It must be the quickest most convenient clip in the world. If you've ever wasted time fumbling around to open or close your bag while juggling your camera in another hand, you'll know why I like this feature.

The top of the bag flap allows zipper access to the interior without having to open the flap. Tenba's patented clip make for easy but secure one-handed use without looking. 
Specifications of the Tenba DNA 8:

Weight:  1.3 lbs(0.6 kg)
Exterior Dimensions:  10.5W X 7.5H X 5D in. (27 X 19 X 13 cm)
Interior Dimensions:  9W X 6.5H X 3.5D in. (23 X 17 X 9 cm)
Laptop Compartment:  9.25W X 5.5H X 0.5D in. (23W X 14H X 1D cm)

Check out how even the inside divider has an extra accessory pocket on its side. This bag is loaded with little niceties like that.
The Tenba DNA 8 messenger style bag is priced at $79.95 -- very reasonable when you consider the many extra features the bag offers.

Need something a little larger? Take a look at the Tenba DNA 11 for $129.95. It can accommodate either a mirrorless or DSLR camera with 3-5 lenses, plus an 11" tablet of laptop.

Tenba DNA 11 Specifications:

Weight:  2.4 lb (1.1 kg)
Exterior Dimensions 13.0 x 9.5 x 6.5" (33.0 x 24.1 x 16.5 cm)
Interior Dimensions 12.0 x 9.0 x 5.0" (30.5 x 22.8 x 12.7 cm)

ONA Prince Street Camera Messenger bag:

The stylish design of the new ONA Prince Street camera bag jumps out at you immediately. Upon closer examination you realize it is not just another pretty face, but a very rugged, practical messenger style bag for a compact DSLR or full mirrorless camera kit.  It comes in two styles -- waxed canvas with full-grained leather trim, or full leather. In both styles the fine materials and workmanship of the bag is quite apparent.

The ONA Prince Street bag finished in Slate, water-resistant waxed canvas and fine leather trim. You can see the beautiful tooling of the bag even in the photo. It has both a removable clip-on handle and shoulder strap.
The over-all design is fairly basic with three dividers (more available as accessories), two large expanding front pockets and a rear laptop or tablet slot. Two front leather straps hide the actual brass clasps that are easily fastened or un-fastened with one hand. The straps are adjustable to allow for expansion.

The two front clips are hidden under a leather strap and snap into place. They are easily released by pushing in the front of the spring clip. 

The underside of the bag is heavily padded and quilted for protection. 
At $269 for the waxed-canvas model and $389 for full leather the bags are a bit pricey. The price is fully justified by the workmanship and materials in addition to the stylish good looks that are only going to get better as the bags age.

The interior is deep enough to accommodate long lenses and a camera with lens attached. A slot in the rear can hold up to an 11" tablet or computer. 
The ONA Prrince Street comes in four varieties. Clockwise from top left: Antique Cognac full leather, Dark Truffle full leather, Field Tan waxed-canvas with leather trim, and Smoke (my favorite) waxed-canvas with leather trim.
If you are looking for a durable, basic travel bag with a lot of style but not many unnecessary bells and whistles, the ONA Prince Street is something to consider for either a small DSLR kit or mirrorless camera system. It's built tough, is practical to use, and looks great -- a combination not always easy to find.

Specifications for the ONA bags:

Weight: 2.6 pounds
Exterior dimensions: 12.5"L X 10"H X 4.5"D
Interior dimensions: 12"L X 9"H X 4"D

If you are planning on buying one of these bags, you can help support this site at no extra cost to you by clicking the link and purchasing from one of our affiliate sellers listed below -- and thanks for your support.

The Tenba DNA 8 in graphite color can be ordered from:  BH-Photo   Amazon 
The Tenba DNA 11 in graphite color can be ordered from:  BH-Photo  Amazon

The ONA Prince Street in Antique Cognac can be ordered from:  BH-Photo  Amazon  
The ONA Prince Street in Dark Truffle leather can be ordered from:  BH-Photo Amazon  
The ONA Prince Street in Field Tan can be ordered from:  BH-Photo   Amazon
The ONA Prince Street in Smoke can be ordered from:  BH-Photo   Amazon

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