The new ONA Berlin Leica M System Bag

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The new ONA Berlin Leica M System Bag

The new ONA Berlin is now available and I have had one for the past 7-10 days putting it through its paces around town. This is a bag made for the Leica M system, but could be used for just about any mirror less system available right now. So Leica, Fuji. Olympus, Sony, etc. BUT, this bag was “designed” to be a Leica M system bag right down to the red dot on the buckle strap and shoulder pad and what a beauty of a bag it is.

Excuse the lighting and poor color in the video below, I will be re-doing this video in the next few days  – going through some medical/health issues right now and when I did this I just got back from Doc/ER – sorry!

I love ONA bags as they are well made, look handsome and rugged and are one of the few brands that offer a taste of the higher end in the bag world. A bag that is not only functional, but stylish and looks good around your body. The new Berlin sits right in with the other luxury offerings from ONA and this is a GOOD thing because ONA makes some of the best bags in the camera bag business.

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ONA states that this is a limited edition bag and below are the specs from their website and description page of the “Berlin”…

Created to celebrate 100 years of Leica photography, the Berlin is a limited-edition ONA bag designed for the Leica M-System. The Berlin is handcrafted with full-grain leather that will develop a rich patina over time.

The signature Leica red interior is fully customizable, padded with premium closed-cell foam, and can accommodate one Leica M-System camera, two to three lenses, an iPad and small personal items. The Berlin also features a zipped organizer pocket, a convenient removable top-grab handle, antique brass buckles, red rivet accents and a streamlined back pocket.

Limited edition

Handcrafted with full-grain leather

Designed for Leica M-System

Removable top-grab handle

Exterior dimensions: 12.5″L x 10″ H x 4.5″ D

Interior dimensions: 11″ L x 8.5″ H x 3.5″D

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I like that it can hold an iPad as well as your M and 2-3 lenses along with other necessities such as your phone, battery charger, and even some film if you so desire. This is a bag that feels a little stiff out of the box but over time it will soften up and develop a patina while wearing in and showing that wear. The one I have been using still looks new but it has only been on a couple of local trips with me. I examined the bag inside and out and it is up to the same Ona standards as the Brixton leather, but smaller and lighter (which is good). If leather is your thing, and you own a Leica M system, this is a bag that may just be the “one” you have been waiting for.

But quality does not come cheap at $369. This is a luxury designer limited edition full-grain leather bag. This is not a cheap fabric bag but more of a “functional statement piece” much like Fogg and Billingham bags. Fogg bags are now running into the $600’s and up for cloth and leather (but they are beautiful bags) and Billingnam round the gamut from $250-$600 or so for a good M bag. The ONA bag is created to celebrate the Leica M, and it looks, feels and plays the part well. If you have invested thousands in your Leica M system, why not dress it up with a new bag?

I think it is gorgeous but I am a fan of the leather camera bags. To me it sort of looks a bit old school and new school and the red interior is gorgeous but the cool thing here is that this bag will AGE VERY WELL. In 5-10-20 years it will look like a true well worn classic bag, even if you have the M 980 in it by then.

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When I took out the bag I had my M 240, 50 Nokton, 90 Summarit and an E-M10 inside with a lens. I also had an iPad mini, my phone and a charger for the M. I had some room to spare yet the bag is not huge and unruly. I think those that appreciate quality and function will really be into this bag. I have used a ton of bags over the years and for quality of build, the ONA is up there with the best I have used and tested. I love Fogg, I like Billingham and I enjoy Artistan & Artist but for the money spent, it is tough to beat the ONA for a mix of everything. I previously reviewed the Union Street and Bowery HERE but those were not the leather versions. I also bought and owned the all leather Brixton which traveled with me to Ireland, New York ad other parts of the world. It wore in quite nicely and now looks like a 20 year old leather bag. That Brixton received MANY compliments during my travels and I am confident that the Berlin will as well.

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For Leica M owners, the Berlin is a fabulous carry case for your valuable camera and lenses, if you like that sort of thing.

You heard it here first...I asked ONA to make this in black as I would personally prefer a black version with the red dots and red interior. It would look striking I think but this normal leather version is also VERY cool and classic..retro..M. How limited is it? Not sure, but if it catches your fancy, take further look at the ONA website.  You can read more or buy it.  $369.

As for my black request, only time will tell.

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39 Comments

  1. here i sit on a Saturday morning, and thought i would get on the computer….after watching your video, i went on line and found that Amazon has them. Watching that video cost me $377….thank you

  2. I just got the big call from Leica store LA today too. They got one more, and I was next on their list. So mine should arrive in a few days.

  3. I got a lucky phone call from the Leica store LA last week. They received one Berlin Limited Edition bag from ONA. It just arrived this afternoon. $369 plus shipping. Appears to be a very nice bag

  4. After reading this review (Thanks Steve) I was so happy to see the bag I have always wanted. I own the Ona Brixton, but this one got the perfect size and look for me. Then I got equally sad to find out it was sold out right away, and they are not going to produce any more of it. They still have the picture of it in their shop, and still promote it on their front page, but they will never sell it again. 🙁 (They told me on email) Anyone knows about other bag brands than Ona that makes bags in this style?

    • I am surprised as when they 1st sold out it said more was coming end of April. Then all of the sudden it just said SOLD OUT. I guess this was a REAL limited edition. Not sure how many were made though.

        • Beware of that B&H link as they may think they can just order more from ONA, which they can not as they are all gone. No one has these bags available so I think the B&H “ships in 3-7 days” is a mistake. If so, I am sure they will contact you soon about it. But if they do come through, let is know. Just not sure where they plan on getting any stock 😉

          • B&H will reopen tomorrow. Waiting for their answer to my order… but I think you’re right 🙁

          • The ONA The Berlin is scheduled again for late june on the french site digixo.com. I called them today and they confirm that the bag will be produced again and will be available end of june.

          • Never seen such a mystery as this little Berlin bag. I have one on order from B&H; they re-open tomorrow so I’ll see if they really have some. I think Ona could have done a better job marketing these.

          • Just receive this message from B&H : “We regret to inform you that this item has unfortunately been discontinued”

  5. As far as man bags go its a little on the “Camp” side for me.
    Black or Dark Brown would be better I think.
    I am of the opinion that Camera bags should NOT look like very expensive Camera bags.
    Got my Crumpler Messenger Bag off Evilbay for £3.00.

    I did see in Wex Photography the other day that Ladies can now buy Camera bags that look like Handbags.
    Some of them are not too dissimilar to the bag above!

  6. As with so many of us, I have a room full of old camera bags. My favorite remains my Fogg B-Laika, which fits the M-system perfectly. I also have an Artist and Artisan that, likewise, fits the M to a “T.” My chief complaint, which I expressed to Bee Berman and Nigel Fogg – for all of these bags is that the closure is simply gusseted. And while Steve mentioned this aspect of the ONA Berlin, I suspect that it too, cannot be made weather-resistant/tight. I have discussed with Bee and Nigel the possibility of creating a zippered or draw-string closure attached to bellowing gaiter-like cloth/nylon that could be used only in case of being caught out in severe, unexpected conditions…the M’s sensor (and my M9 before it) are veritable dust magnets, so anything to keep things clean-er and dry-er would be a nice addition. I am not suggesting that the zipper be used during times of active use, but, again, might be a nice feature if and when the conditions turn for the worse. Wotancraft seems to offer this feature as a possibility with their bags, but they seem extremely large, or simply a mite too small (the ranger v. the paratrooper). For an M-user, the B-Laika seems perfectly sized (or B-Sharp for those who would like to add an iPad). i carry an M with 50 1.4 ASPH attached; a 35 2.0 ASPH; a 28 2.8 ASPH; and either a 75 2.0 ASPH or a 21 2.8 ASPH in the B-Laika with room for an extra battery, SD cards, etc.

  7. I looked at these bags- beautiful in every way except Very Heavy! One of the main reasons to use the M or m4/3’s is the light weight and the bag weighed more than my camera system.

    • Check out their Bowery Bag. Its the perfect bag for a small m4/3 kit. I can go out with the EM1 with the 17, 25 and a normal zoom and the bag add almost nothing to the weight.

  8. Why do bag makers think we like big flaps with buckles? I have to un-do two buckles to get into the bag? This is why I love some Artist & Artisan bags – no flaps, one zipper. Is that better in the rain? No. In the rain, toss a cloth over the zipper or hold it close to your body.

  9. Looks well made and attractive, but the sort of thing which is a magnet for the low-life of a number of European capitals. You would need to choose your place to wear this accessory.

  10. Thanks Steve for another great review!
    I have a quick question: Do you think the Nikon DF could fit in the bag with the 50 mm F1.2 AIS on? I can fit the camera in my Bowery bag, but it is a little too tight and I was looking for a bigger bag…
    Thanks!

  11. Thank you for review this bag, so did ONA say they are going finals the black version?
    I owned a union street for two years, really love it and still working really well. I also just order a bowery for a family trip this weekend, I figure it’s smaller size will be perfect to carry m9 and 2~3 lenses.

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