The Ona Brixton
First of I have to say that this bag is almost ridiculously expensive and that I probably wouldn’t have considered it if I hadn’t found it heavily discounted in a local store. Secondly I absolutely love this bag and I will give you the reasons later on. But first a rundown of the bag. The Ona Brixton is made by an American company and is one of their midrange bags size wise. It is available in leather or canvas and ranges from $289 to $439. I have the dark truffle leather so my review will be based on that particular model but I assume that everything except the material is the same. You can check it out here on Amazon (canvas, leather).
Appearance & Build Quality
Let’s just face it, this bag looks awesome and since this probably isn’t the first review that you’re reading on this bag you are likely agreeing with me. To me the best part of the appearance is that it does not look like a camera bag, it just looks more like a nice messenger bag. The benefit to this is to me twofold. Firstly I can carry it with me regardless of occasion since it doesn’t stick out, and secondly it doesn’t scream “I’m full of expensive gear”. Regarding build quality the Ona Brixton is built to last you a lifetime. Every stitchs and seem is top notch and reeks of craftsmanship. The belt straps look great and are used to determine the size of the bag. The actual latch is located underneath the belts and is a fast working quick release type of system which works well, although the straps can sometimes “almost” slot in place. Which could lead to some unhappy accident if you’re not careful. I’ve gotten into the habit of listening for the audible click when closing the bag just to be sure.
The leather is really nice and only looks better the more you use it. The downside to the leather is that the bag is rather heavy on its own, about 1.9kg. Coming from the polyester type bags it was a hefty extra weight to lug around. Although you will get used to it after a while, I did, but the first time you pick it up you’re sure to notice it.
Before I bought this bag I looked at guys on YouTube emptying this bag of gear and it sure seemed to swallow anything you threw at it and I can attest that it certainly can hold a lot. But not if it’s going to be comfortable to carry or keep its look, sure if it’s only for a few hours or if you don’t need to have it hanging from your shoulder it’ll be fine. I’m going to give a rundown on what I might have in my Ona Brixton on an ordinary day, e.g. what I think is the max amount of gear you can comfortably carry, as well a rundown of what I can cram into the bag if I stretch it out to the fullest.
A workable load: My main camera gear which consist of a Fuji X-T1 with a mounted 35mm lens, 10-24mm F4 wide-angle and 50-140mm F2.8 tele-zoom. A Macbook 12inch laptop, small notebook, sunglasses, some filters, spare batteries, charger etc.
A possible but uncomfortable load: All above as well as two Yongnuo 560 flashes, Yongnuo 560tx trigger, Pansonic GMC with a mounted 45mm lens, a fisheye for the Panasonic, additional extras such as some collapsible modifiers for the speedlights, some maps etc.
The Ona Brixton has five external pockets aside from the main compartment. One on the rear of the bag handy for papers, tickets, maps, passport and items like that.
One small pocket on each side for small items such as lens caps etc.
And finally two larger pockets on the front beneath the lid.
The bag comes with four dividers one large for a laptop or tablet and three ordinary for your camera gear. The dividers, except for the laptop one, does not cover the full height of the bag. It would have been nice if they did, but you can use any you have laying about or order extra from Ona. I had some lying around from an old crumpled messenger bag.
The shoulder strap is nice and has a padded area for extra comfort.
I had read that there was an issue with the shoulder strap. That the padded part couldn’t be centered if you shortened the strap to much. I tried it and can confirm that it might be an issue since the buckle on the strap moves towards the center of the strap when shortening it and ends up moving the padded bit from the center. Not an issue for me, but if you’re of a much lesser stature (I’m 173cm) it might be. The straps and latches for closing the bag has worked well so far except for the issue noted earlier and are easy to open for fast access.
I have fast grown fond of this bag because of its look and feel. It’s not the bag I would go for during an extended trip where a backpack would be preferable but as a day bag it’s awesome. I have never gotten positive comments on the looks of any of my camera bags before the Ona Brixton, but since I’ve gotten several. It is also less intimidating than the ordinary camera bags which helps for spontaneous shooting. The bag can also double as a nice messenger bag with the inserts taken out. All in all it’s a useful bag that can handle a lot of gear if need be but is most comfortable when packed with only the necessities. So if you have been eyeing the Ona Brixton for a while and can get a good deal on it or if you have the cash to spare I recommend going for it. If you have any question feel free to comment and for more details you can check out the Ona Brixton here at Amazon, (canvas, leather)!