for Canon 300D / 10D / 20D / 30D / 40D / 50D / 5D / 7D
(Added 26th July 2010)
Inside the bag, I was able to fit a
Canon EOS 5D Mark II
Canon EF 24mm f/1.4 L
Canon EF 35mm f/1.4 L USM Lens
Canon 50mm f/1.2
Canon EF 85mm f/1.2 L II USM
2 x Canon 580EX Speedlite
Kenko Extension Tube Set
Pocketwizard MiniTT1 and FlexTT5
B+W 77mm MRC Circular Polarizer Filter
WhiBal™ G6 Pocket Kit
spare batteries, flash card, lens cleaning cloth, and camera level.
Every photographer looks for a specific range of features in their camera bag that meet or exceed their individual needs. As a female portrait, wedding and baby photographer, I was in search of something that was functional, stylish, comfortable, and looked professional on the job, rather than the standard black, sporty-style camera bag that the major competitors carry.
After reading online reviews, hitting up some of the local camera stores and Googling my eyes out looking for the perfect camera bag, I came across a brand called jill-e designs. Jill-e specializes in camera bags designed specifically with the female photographer in mind. I purchased the small, red leather camera/carry-all bag by jill-e designs about four months ago. I have put together the following summary here for any woman considering the purchase of this bag.
In reviewing the bag, it is built well, functional for multi-purpose gear loads, versatile for many situations and weather conditions, and has great character and style. The bag is made of a weatherproof, red leather and has a brown, leather croc, trim exterior. It offers a weather-resistant leather exterior with a detachable shoulder strap, matching personal pouch, a variety of pockets and removable polka-dot inserts that can be customized depending on your choice of gear.
When determining what size of the jill-e series bag I was going to buy, I leaned towards getting a medium size in bone leather. I preferred a small bag, but I was not confident it would hold enough gear for a basic shoot. Once I found a local retailer that sold the jill-e line of bags and saw the small red leather camera/carry-all bag in person, I was impressed with how much gear it really held. To give you an idea of size, the small is 14 inches in length, 7 inches in width and 8 inches in height. Scroll to the bottom of this review for photos of a comparison between the bag and a standard large egg.
The body of the bag is made out of a soft, flexible, red leather that easily wipes clean. The trim, handles, and detachable shoulder strap are made out of harder leather with a dark croc finish. They are not as soft was the body of the bag, and to me felt more like a cheap “pleather”. I was worried about cracking or discolouration happening, but have actively been using the bag now for four months I have not had any damage occur. I would have preferred that the dark croc trim be made out of softer leather similar to the body of the bag. On the exterior of the bag, there are three pockets with strong magnetic closures and one pocket on the back with a smooth zipper closure. The bottom of the bag is covered in the hard brown croc leather with four small feet that keep the bag stable when rested on a flat surface.
In terms of portability, the built-in handles are long enough for you to carry the bag over one shoulder comfortably, while hugging it close to your body. The small size bag fits snug against the natural curves of the female figure and rests on the upper hip bone. If hanging off your shoulder is not your thing, the bag also comes with an optional detachable shoulder strap in the matching brown croc. The strap includes a comfortable padded piece where the bag strap would have come into contact with your shoulder. My only suggestion here would be that in the future, Jill-e designs use a padded shoulder strap that is adjustable or that slides along the length of the strap. I often feel my strap digging into my body when I swing the bag around to my front to grab a lens because the padded piece does not stay in place.
When opening the bag, there are two zippers on the top that are connected with a leather string. This makes opening the bag quickly a breeze. No one wants to struggle in a photo shoot, missing shots because they are busy struggling with their camera bags. The bag design makes changing lenses easy! This zipper is quite smooth, though I wish it were thicker with a waterproof-lining built right in like many hiking packs include.
Once inside the bag, you’ll see a variety of polka-dot Velcro inserts, a long netted area of pockets, and a detachable personal pouch. The bag’s polka-dot lining is stylish and adds that extra element of fun to the bag. My only wish here would be that jill-e designs offer interior lining in a darker colour option so that dirt was less noticeable over time. Whatever combination of gear you choose to include in a shoot, have no fear because this bag comes with a bunch of spare inserts. Another great feature of the inside is a personal pouch that detaches and has the same soft red leather as the outside of the bag. I keep spare batteries for both the camera and my external flashes inside. On the top of the bag, there is a netted expandable pocket area where you can keep things like flashcards, white-balance cards, levels or filters in. Your things stay secure because there is an elastic band running across the top of the pocket opening.
In conclusion, having been working with this bag in the field now for four months, I am pleased with the durability, comfort and style of my small, red leather camera/carry-all bag. I would recommend this bag to other fellow female photographers as a great alternative to the standard camera bag. I have listed out a summery of the pros and cons of this bag for quick referral. I have included two photos which show how I pack my bag. Total weight of the packed contents was 15 pounds.
Likes about the bag:
(1) Stylish and likely to turn heads because of its unique look, (2) Great size for holding a variety of lenses, flashes and accessories, (3) Convenient detachable pouch for personal items, (4) Easy access to interior and exterior pockets through either zipper or strong magnetic buttons, (5) Body leather is very soft and has great weather-sealing properties
Dislikes about the bag:
(1) Hard, plastic feel of the dark croc trim and handles, (2) Non-adjustable padded shoulder strap, (3) Light coloured interior inserts easily show dirt
Thanks to Sandy for review.