BAG REVIEW: Ona Union Street and The Bowery
It seems like I have been getting a ton of bags in lately for review. Last time it was the attractive and very functional TENBA Mini Messenger. Before that it was the new Think Tank Mirrorless Movers. In previous articles I have shared my love for Artist & Artisan bags.
But today I am going to write about bags that so many others online have written about in the past because these are NOT new bags, but they are DAMN GOOD ones 🙂 These two bags are from ONA.
ONA makes some amazing bags for cameras or whatever gadgets you want to carry and I decided that the Union Street and the Bowery would be two great bags to take a look at because A: Many photographers swear by them and B: They are two bags differing enough in size to where you could own both. One for a larger setup (DSLR) and one for a smaller setup (Mirrorless or Leica M).
The 1st thing that struck me is the colors available. They pretty much ALL look attractive to me. The Smoke, the Black, the Field Tan and even the all leather offerings. But I decided to take a look at the black with the brown leather trim. When they arrived I appreciated the nice packaging and when I saw the bags I was pleasantly surprised at just how nice they really look in person. These are some great looking stylish bags, and made VERY well.
The one thing that disappointed me was that the Union Street and Bowery, while both being Black with leather trim, well, they use different color leather! If someone was buying these as a set for travel (again, one for larger systems and one for smaller systems) it would be nice if they matched since many who will buy these are not only buying them for the build and functionality, but the style as well. These two leather colors were much different with the Union Street being a dark reddish leather and the Bowery being a brown.
So, besides that one niggle, I thought the bags were gorgeous.
I used to own a Billingham Hadley Small about 5 years ago and really liked it but today I would choose a Bowery as I really enjoy the design and build and feel. It is perfect for a Leica M and 2-3 lenses. It also comes in at $119, so it is not crazy expensive (though it looks and feels like it should be)
The Union Street is LARGE. I carried a Canon 6D and 85L along with a Sigma 35 1.4 and Sony NEX-7 and added my 13″ Macbook Air. it was HEAVY and today, 3 days later, my back is thanking me for that. Three days carrying that load around can really do a number to a man who is 43, almost 44 🙂
So the Union Street would also be good for a Leica M system, a few lenses, a laptop computer, chargers, cables, SD cards, etc. It will hold it all for travel and if you want to look good while traveling, the Union Street will help you with that goal. I had several compliments on it while traveling all week from people just saying “nice bag” to those asking me what it is and where to get one. Some will thing it looks “purse like” and that is the problem with many fashionable camera bags. Some do indeed look like a “MURSE”, but hey, I am confident in my manhood and had no problem carrying around these bags, lol. They were GREAT.
So if you are looking for a great looking and functional bag, the ONA bags may not beat out the Tenba messenger in function but they look a little slicker carrying around your gear and are VERY well made with canvas and nice thick leather accents.
You can buy the entire line of ONA bags at B&H Photo HERE
Can’t remember seeing a lot of bags looking better than the bowery. I’d say just make sure whatever you bring fits in there.
Uhm, yeah, well, fast forward to 2016…. never mind.
Can Bowery fit Canon 7D with 50 mm or 40 mm attached? I’m looking for small camera bag just to bring 1 lenses with it and ONA looks really good.
Thanks for the great review! Any experience feeding the Bowery a Hasselblad 500CM? With 80mm attached and maybe an additional lens and meter?
Noooo. The Bowery is small, for a mirrorless camera and a couple lenses.
Thanks! The Prince Street it is then 🙂
Hey Steve! do you think the small one could fit panasonic gh2 with 14-140mm lens and a 20mm lens on the side?
I’ve been wanting one for so long but couldn’t find them anywhere in Australia, your post kept coming up when I searched for ONA bags in Sydney, Australia. Finally found a place that’s selling them http://paxtons.com.au/blog/ona-camera-bags-new-products/ hopefully get to check them out soon.
would the bowery fit a Nikon D90 DSLR and a lens?
I have the union street and I have one issue with it and it’s a big one. If you use it a lot it does wear a bit quicker than I’d like. For a bag that you would use a lot (like everyday) the cost vs wear rate is too high to justify. I find that other cheaper options to be better in that aspect.
I looked at the Onabag site and the local dealer and saw a in-between kind of bag, the brixton.
about 3,5″ less wide, same height…
Looks nice to carry my Leica or even my Nikon.
Yea, the Brixton is a little less wide than the Union Street so it will not hold the 13″ laptop but will hold your cameras just fine. Probably a Nikon and Leica with one lens each if you wanted.
ah ok ! so not my 13″ MacAir in that one, that’s a good remark, thanks!
Materials look great. Accessibility and convenience looks like a BIG problem.
No problem at all. I had zero issues using the bag and I was in and out of it all day for hours each day. I did not latch the bag while street shooting, just let the flap hang down. Was easy to reach in and grab what I needed.
The Bowery looks interesting. I am searching for a replacement bag for my Tamrac Super Pro 17 that I used for my DSLR gear when I was working. Any chance I could fit a Fuji X100S, Fuji X-E1 w/35mm, Nikkor 85mm f1.8 AF-D w/adapter, along with a spare battery for each, charger for each, additional SD cards in 4-card case, and power cord for the chargers? In looking at the internal dimensions, it looks like it may work with a little smart packing. All I really am looking for is something as small as possible to travel with.
I know it is a lot but I really want as small a bag as needed as I am now retired.
Thanx I didn’t know this brand so far, lets see if it’s available in the Netherlands
A camera bag seems to me like my Motor Helmet or Golf Putter….there will be always a more attractive one.
But the Union Street seems a nice bag, nice style, pockets for everything.
I know have a Hadley Pro, also nice, but a Union can be welcome
Thanks! I’ve been looking for a bag just like the ‘The Bowery’.
Minimal run-n-gun size for Fuji-X camera/2-lenses, quick access, discreet, no Velcro flaps!, solid built, all at a ‘reasonable’ price … realizing that it’s only a bag. 😉 Their touch of class is an extra+
I took a Union with me recently to the Bonneville Salt Flats. I fed it two cameras, two lenses, an iPad, two pairs of eyeglasses in cases , battery charger, passport , wallet, iPad charger and a couple of magazines in the back pocket. It spent most of its’ time either being kicked around on the floor of a pickup truck or hanging out on the salt. It performed flawlessly. Once over with a damp sponge upon my return home and it looks like new.
There is a blank space where the video should be on my iPhone.
yep, with iOS the video does not seem to work. On my iPad neiter.
I was hoping that you would show a couple of photos of the insides and even make some comments about what can be placed inside with photos. Thank you
I do show the inside in the video and show what I have inside.
Sorry, I meant the Digital Hadley.
Very nice! I was wondering if the Bowery can fit an M9 with say 90mm Elmarit and RX1 too. The Hadley small can sorta fit them but is a pain to pack/unpack.
Yes, it would be able to without being all tight. M9 with lens on the right on its back and RX1 on the left.
I got a Bowery (in “smoke”) for my M9 a while back and it’s been wonderful! The build is really high quality. There’s also room for a kindle or small tablet in the outside pocket. 🙂
I got the Union Street back in July and i can vouch for every word Steve has to say about the bag. I got the one in tan shade and it looks pretty cool. It is a bit expensive (around $300) but the quality is up there with the Billinghams.
A bit embarrassing but i get more compliments for my bag and camera (Fuji X100) than my pictures 🙁