Mostly, though, the Billingham 5-series MKII bags are very much a case of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, with essentially the same classic styling and design as the firm has used for decades.
Shared features retained from the existing versions include a single main compartment for holding your camera and lenses, and a large front pocket intο which you can fit a tablet or laptop. Two more ‘dump’ pockets are found on the front, along with a flat zipped packet on the bank. Both the main and laptop compartments have zipped closures covered by a generously sized top rain flap. There are also loops for fitting tripod straps, which are sold separately.
Key updates to the Billingham 5-series MKII bags are as follows:
Each model now includes a luggage trolley strap on the back, to make them easier to transport on top of a wheeled suitcase.
All four ship with Billingham’s unique ‘V-Bridge 15’ padded divider, which is designed to support the lens attached to a camera stored flat in the main compartment
The smaller 225 MKII and 335 MKII models both benefit from a wider strap and shoulder pad for more comfortable carrying.
The bags range dramatically in size, with the smallest 225 MKII being fairly petite and capable of holding an 11in tablet, a camera body, and up to three lenses. At the other end of the scale, the 555 MKII is more than the twice the volume, and will take a 16in laptop, 2 or 3 camera bodies, and multiple additional lenses.
All have a main compartment that measures 15cm / 6in front-to-back, to accommodate everything from classic film cameras to the latest high-end mirrorless models. Unlike slimmer bags, including the firm’s popular Hadley range, they’ll hold a camera with a vertical grip and lens attached. The interior can be configured in multiple ways using the firm’s unique Superflex divider system, with a range of alternative inserts available separately.
Billingham is using the same premium materials as ever, including its signature triple-layer canvas. This employs a waterproof ‘StormBlock’ butyl rubber layer that’s sandwiched between a robust outer fabric and a soft, non-scratch liner. It’s complemented by vegetable-tanned leather and durable solid brass fixings.
External Dimensions 37 x 22 x 26.5 cm
Internal Dimentions 35.5 x 15 x 22 cm
Weighr: 1.8 kg
Fits: Boddies: 1 + Lenses: 1-3
The ‘5-Series MKII’ collection starts with the medium-sized 225 MKII and scales up to the very spacious 555 MKII, Billingham’s biggest camera bag. The larger models in the series being able to hold multiple cameras or longer lenses.
The bags can also store computing devices with the 225 MKII able to hold an 11” iPad, the 335 MKII a 14” MacBook Pro and the 445 MKII and 555 MKII able to fit 16” MacBook Pro.
The MKII bags add luggage trolley straps on the back for convenience while travelling and include their innovative ‘V-Bridge 15’ padded divider to support lenses attached to cameras, in addition to the dividers previously supplied. Furthermore, the 225 MKII and 335 MKII now feature the same wider shoulder slings and shoulder pads as their bigger siblings, the 445 MKII and 555 MKII, for increased comfort while carrying for extended periods.
The new models retain improvements made to the 5-Series (and its predecessors) over the years such as the unique SuperFlex divider system, two strips of Velcro® on the front and back of the main compartment to more securely attach dividers, the ‘TukTop’ feature to tuck the main zips out of the way during use and a significantly more robust ‘closed-cell’ foam padding.
Like all of Billingham’s current range they’re handcrafted from premium three-layer waterproof fabric with a core ‘StormBlock’ butyl rubber layer, promising a lifetime of water resistance without reproofing.
The attention to durability extends to the finest top-grain, vegetable-tanned leather and solid brass fixings – a testament to Billingham’s steadfast commitment to protect photographic gear with class and reliability.
Director Harry Billingham reflected, “For many years the 225, 335, 445 and 555 have been the backbone of our offering to photographers due to their high capacity and legendary durability. These bags have journeyed around the world, from film sеts to the front lines of photojournalism. As we celebrate our 50th anniversary we are proud to update these bags with new features and a ‘MKII’ designation to serve another generation of both cameras and photographers.”
Billingham is a small, family run business that has manufactured camera bags in England since 1973, providing a high level of protection for the equipment of those in the photographic industry for decades. Billingham is renowned for using only the best materials that they have meticulously tried and tested, for their incredible attention to detail and for their bags being waterproof, robust, and yet lightweight.
In common with all Billingham bags, these new MKII models are constructed to meet the demands of professionals and enthusiasts alike. Each bag will have undergone rigorous inspection before leaving Billingham’s factory, earning a unique serial number and a five- year manufacturer’s guarantee.