ONA Berlin II shoulder bag review

ONA Title
The ONA Berlin II Bag Review – Celebrating 100 years of Leica Photography by Louis Ferreira (http://500px.com/LouisFerreira):

ONA approached Leica Rumors a few weeks ago about doing a bag review of their black Berlin II, which I jumped at, because it was on my short list of bags to consider when I outgrew my Leica branded Billingham bag. Sadly it was unavailable when I was looking to purchase and I settled for the very functional Artisan & Artis ACAM 1000. Doing a bag review is a first for me and I am going to do my best to cover any detail that might interest you so feel free to ask questions in the comment section.

This is one of the many items created to celebrate Leica’s 100th anniversary of photography and I am sure many of you want to collect them all. The only leather bags I have owned, for comparison, were high quality laptop bags for work and the ONA is a step above them in quality. The ONA Berlin II is made of very thick full-grain leather that is soft to the touch. The stitching is well done and should hold up for years to come. I think this bag is going to look much better as it ages because it is almost too perfect out of the box.

I asked ONA about weather durability because the bag has flaps to help keep water out. They assured me the Berlin II should be pretty weather resistant however, they did warn that it should only be air dried and, if the bag is drenched, leather soap should be applied.

The Berlin II is a little on the heavy side, but comfortable to carry all day due to its long, adjustable, soft and well-padded all leather shoulder strap. I am 6’5 and can easily wear the shoulder strap across my body messenger-bag style with plenty of slack. This bag should fit anyone comfortably.

I am not a fan of the latches ONA decided to use on the Berlin II, but they are very well made. I prefer silent latching mechanisms. The bag is deep enough to leave the latches unclipped when you are walking around, but there will be a metal on metal sound from the two pieces making contact. The latches they chose are stylish, but I’d rather something stealthy.

The Berlin II utilizes a modular velcro padding system, like many other bag makers, that allows for a lot of configurability. I was able to fit two bodies with a lens on them, but it was a little tight. There is also a front zipper pocket to carry accessories and two side pockets that I think work well for most cell phones. I tried my iPhone 6 Plus in them with a leather case on and it fit, but was tight. The 6s is supposed to be a little bigger so it may not fit without the pockets loosening a little, which ONA says they should with time, but the bag was designed before these phones were available.

Overall, if you’re looking for a leather camera bag, the ONA Berlin II should be at the top of your list and it has the benefit of being a Leica centennial bag too. I generally prefer black bags but, in this case, I think I might prefer this bag in brown. I’m going to continue using this bag as my primary bag for a while and if I come up with anything to add you will find it here or in the comments. The Black ONA Berlin II is currently available on their site or if you are looking for something a little bigger check out their homepage.

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