I’ve been enjoying photography as a hobby for a few years now - my original Canon 1000D has been replaced by a 550D, I have three lenses and a few filters. I won’t be photographing weddings any time soon (frankly I’d be too scared of upsetting any bridezillas out there to even offer) but I do take it seriously.
Over the years I have outgrown my original camera bag, often having to choose which lens to leave at home on a trip out, and then finding that’s the one I really, really wish I’d brought with me. But whenever I looked for anything bigger I was greeted with professional style rucksacks (serious I may be, professional not quite) in grey and black, or something that looked stylish but turned out to hold nothing useful at all.
I was very excited when I discovered this Fox Talbot bag, available from Jessops, but there were no reviews on the website to help me to consider. Luckily Jessops offered me one of the bags in return for an honest review, so here it is.
Let me say from the off, I love this bag. The first time I took it out, we went to Chartwell, the National Trust property previously owned by the Churchill family. Typically of the English summer it was tipping it down. All Day. The leather bag coped admirably in the rain, I made sure to wipe it dry when we got back to the car later and it looked as good as new, no rain marks on the leather. More importantly, my equipment was kept safe and dry.
There is a padded inner layer to the Fox Talbot bag, with moveable (or completely removable) dividers, so that you can split up the bag as you choose to fit your equipment. I found this really useful; as in the case of my first test day, when it’s raining, having the inner “lid” as additional protection means you don’t have to be totally sure you’ve shut the main bag because your equipment is safe and dry inside the inner layer. If you so wish you can remove this inner section all together but of course it is this that offers the protection to your equipment.
I easily managed to fit my camera body, three lenses, and a small pack of filters into the bag, plus in the two zipped pockets I can keep my memory cards and card reader. Crucially I can also fit in keys, money, phone and bank cards, saving me from having to carry 2 bags around with me. This bag is the large size and measures (WxHxD) 27cm x12cm x18cm. When carrying my camera separately I could also fit my gorilla pod in it.
The next test for the Fox Talbot bag was a trip to the Maldives. I had intended on taking the bag as hand luggage but due to seaplane luggage restrictions (i.e. only one bag of hand luggage under 5kg) I put the bag and its contents in my hold luggage, about which I had no worries at all as I felt it was well protected.
For the two weeks we were there I took the bag with me everywhere, it was smart enough to take to dinner and the bar in the evening and, because of the inner layer, tough enough to be left on the sand without me worrying about it getting into the bag, and ultimately the camera. It was also spacious enough for me to slide my iPad into the back of it, which meant I could upload the photos I’d taken wherever we were.
In addition to the shoulder strap the bag has a handle, which is a great idea as it makes it easy to grab out of your car. The shoulder strap was comfortable enough to use even when wearing just a summer dress.
Despite being dragged half way across the world, subjected to tropical storms and being left on the sand, the bag remains unscathed, although I think it’s actually the sort of bag whose looks will improve with use and age. I am really pleased with the bag; it isn’t just style over substance, it’s practical and well-designed. I know I will be using it for a very long time.
Disclosure: I was sent the The Fox Talbot Large Gadget Bag by Jessops in return for an honest review. It is available in 2 finishes - leather and canvas - from Jessops and is currently retailing at £69.99.