The ONA Bowery, my new camera bag

Ten years ago, my bag had to be big and capacious, today I go for lightness and style: my new bag is a ONA Bowery. Since switching to Fuji X, I have been hunting for a good camera bag. I wanted something small, light and with a style that was more “me” than the rugged bags I had used when I was a Canon shooter. The ONA Bowery ticked all the boxes, even if it forced me to become more minimalistic than I thought.
In this post I will tell you more on how I use a ONA Bowery, a very small camera bag, for every type of assignment. By no mean I think I have found the perfect bag, the ONA Bowery is just the one that better fits my need as a Fuji X Photographer.

The ONA Bowery is Style over Functions

I admit it, the ONA Bowery is not one of those bags that will surprise you with the many hidden pockets where to fit all your gadget. The ONA Bowery is a stylish and minimalistic bag, that will force you to leave many things at home. Of the five pockets you will find in the bag, only three are really usable, the remaining are so small and difficult to access that do not really count.
My decision to go the ONA Bowery, instead of the Billingham Hadley for example, was about its style and the philosophy that stands behind me as a photographer.

The philosophy behind the Fuji X

My philosophy as a photographer has always been “less is more”. In the Fuji X I have found this: a camera that is less, that have less functions, but that allows me to focus more on my subjects. This philosophy has been a winning one in developing my style, and it is forcing me to see things differently. As I mentioned already, it is not a camera that makes a photographer; however I have found that the Fuji X helps me in being who I am.
The ONA Bowery, from my perspective, shares the same need for minimalism, the same desire to have less.

Why did I need a camera bag?

I hate camera straps, I cannot stand them. They get wriggled up and they hang everywhere. I generally end up having them tied around my wrist, and this is generally an uncomfortable situation for me. The need for a camera bag was to replace the need for a strap, therefore I was looking for something light, small, and with an easy access to switch two camera bodies. I did not really need much more.
If you are looking for a super-duper bag, with a lot of space and with the ability to crush your shoulder for how many things you can carry in it… well, we have different needs, and probably the ONA Bowery is not going to be the right bag for you.

What are you going to leave at home?

In my ONA Bowery I can fit my Fuji x100s, a X-Pro1 with a lens, some spare batteries, some SD cards, my wallet, my phone and my keys. I would still have space to fit some more things, but I don’t really need them. On the contrary, often I get out just with one camera, leaving the bag half empty.
Of course I do not bring with me my laptop any longer, nor the many gadgets that ended up in my previous bag, the Think Tank Retrospective 40. The truth is that I don’t really need them with me all the time. I need a bag that is small, inconspicuous, light and that’s what the ONA Bowery really is.

Is the ONA Bowery a good companion for a wedding?

Faby and I flew to Australia to photograph a wedding few weeks ago, and the ONA Bowery was the only bag I had with me, and I could not have been happier.
My gear for a 13 hours wedding was:

  • Fuji x100s
  • Fuji x-Pro1 or Fuji X-E2 with 56mm f/1.2
  • 6 spare batteries
  • 4 spare SD cards
  • Lens cloth
  • iPhone
  • Paper tissues

Everything I needed fit nicely in the ONA Bowery. Of course, the bag was much more simple to handle with just one camera body in it, but of course the second body was always in my hand. Swapping one camera for another was quick and painless, therefore I did not really need the camera straps.
The beauty of photographing a wedding with the Fuji X is that you have a very light setup, and if you put together all the gear plus the ONA Bowery, the weight you carry around for 13 hours is close to nothing. My shoulders did not ace the morning after, nor my back.

Would I buy the ONA Bowery again?

Yes, I would buy the ONA Bowery again. This is the best statement I can do for this bag. It is light, inconspicuous, minimalistic and stylish. Exactly what I wanted, and exactly what the ONA Bowery delivers.

Showing 2 comments
  • Axel
    Reply

    Hello!

    Thanks for this nice review.

    I’m looking for a bag to carry my x100t, couple accessories and a moleskine.

    Ive noticed that you have a moleskine in some pictures but you didn’t say you carried it inside the ONA bag. So I was wondering if it fits nicely and in which pocket/position you would leave it.

    Best!

    • Carlo Nicora
      Reply

      Hello!

      The moleskin fits in the back pocket, but it comes out 1 or 2 cm. All in all it fits well and I bring the moleskine with me + x100s + few small things.

      Thanks for your comment!

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