ONA, Union street camera bag review

Yep, I suffer from a man-bag syndrome. I own a couple of bags, my day-to-day-go-everywhere Ben Sherman bag, a shootsac, my carry-all thinktank retrospective camera bag and as father of two, the Storksak diaper bag. Yet all of them have a specific function. Still, I was looking for the type of bag I need most.

My commuter bag to carry my macbook and other stuff is a plain black boring backpack, when I also want to carry my camera the only option is to bring another bag or just toss the camera in there, unprotected. I went searching or a messenger-style bag that can both carry my macbook pro and function as a camera bag. I also wanted it to look trendy & inconspicuous. And that narrows down the field tremendously. A tip from a friend landed me on the ONA website.

One glance at the product line-up and you immediately notice how serious they are about their craftsmanship and that they are targeting a more high-end range. My eye fell on The Union Street, it’s the smallest available that can carry a 15″ laptop. (Dimensions: 42cm x 28cm x 12,7cm / 6.5″L X 11″H X 5″D). With a price tag of 299$ it doesn’t come cheap and I didn’t really want to pay a steep 65$ on shipping with the possibility of duty taxes. I found a reseller located in Europe, PLABER store had the bag delivered to me within the week.

My thoughts on the bag.
The bag is gorgeous and looks surprisingly compact. It feels sturdy though it is on the heavy side (1,67kg / 3.7 pounds). The waxed leather looks and feels amazing. I think it will even look prettier over time when it has some wear & scratches. The brass belt buckle is a nice detail, but I’m happy I can just use the clips to open & close the bag. It would be handier if the straps were a bit longer so the bag closes easier without having to squeeze everything. However I must admit that after a couple weeks of use the leather settles in a bit more and it gets more flexible. As long as you don’t overfill the bag, you’re good.

The inlays are soft & sturdy offering the necessary protection for your camera gear. A 15″ inch macbook pro retina is a tight & perfect fit. (but if you have a bulkier laptop I suggest you test that first). The shoulder strap isn’t the most comfortable but then again, I’m not planning on doing a marathon walk with it. On a citytrip, I’d leave the MBP locked in a hotel-safe and happily carry the bag around all day.

The bag handle is what I struggle with most, I’m not feeling very confident about the stitching and when you pick it up that way the bag tilts 45° which makes it impossible to walk around like that.

On the inside there is lots of room for storage when you organize things. (Drop down to the bottom of this page for a list & pictures). You can customize the compartments and you can take out the laptop divider if you need to. The front pocket won’t open up as nicely as shown on the ONA product website and when you cram too much stuff in there the belts are not long enough to close the bag. I only carry some extra batteries, memory cards and my wallet in there. The back pocket is more of a flap than a pocket, it’s good for some papers but everything you put in there will just bother you because you’ll feel it scraping against your back/bum.

The bag design is gorgeous but not flawless. Form over function? Maybe. The bag is not ideal for everything/everyone but it fulfills my needs. And while not intended as such I could easily see me using it as my one bag during a wedding once I’m completely mirrorless.

What’s inside

  • 15″ macbook pro, mouse & charger
  • X-T1 camera
  • XF56, XF35 & XF18 lenses
  • 2 spare batteries
  • Camera charger
  • Lacy rugged HD
  • Camera strap & Lens cloth
  • Worn down wallet

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