Review: Union Street Camera Bag by ONA

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Union Street Camera Bag

Like many photographers, I am constantly on the lookout for THE perfect camera bag. One that isn’t too big and bulky, but that carries everything I need for a day’s worth of shooting. One that is durable without being heavy, tastefully stylish, and multi-functional. One that is comfortable to carry around, even fully loaded, and keeps my gear easily accessible for those shots that always seem to pop up JUST as I’m putting my camera away.

In essence, I’m looking for the unicorn of camera bags.

Enter the Union Street Camera Bag by ONA. Per ONA’s press release, “The Union Street is a waxed canvas/leather camera and laptop bag for men designed to hold a DSLR, a 15” laptop, up to 3 lenses or small accessories, and personal items. The interior is lined with soft protective padding and 5 customizable dividers, including a removable divider for your laptop. The Union Street is made with premium materials, including Waxwear canvas, brass hardware, and top-quality leather.”

Union Street Camera Bag Interior

I will tell you right now, I LOVE THIS BAG. I use it every single day. It goes with me to work. It goes with me to photo shoots. It goes with me on trips. It doesn’t hold every bit of gear that I own (not many bags do without requiring something the size of a suitcase), but it DOES hold everything I need for a carefully considered day or weekend of shooting. And really, if you can’t get by with two or three lenses then you DO need a suitcase.

The leather accents are very attractive, and the sturdy leather padded bottom protects your gear and keeps the bag standing upright. The front straps are adjustable in length to give you a bit of extra room to buckle the flap. Sure, the Union Street is marketed towards men, but I love its antiqued, slightly-distressed look. Personally, I think it looks just as good hanging off of my shoulder as my husband’s!

It holds a 15″ laptop comfortably (and would hold an iPad even more comfortably), but you can also stuff a 17″ laptop in there if you really need to. The gear compartments are generously padded and protect everything well (I had a heart-stopping moment when the fully-loaded bag toppled off of the bed and onto the carpeted floor one day, and everything was perfectly unharmed).

Union Bag with Gear

I generally carry the following, which all fits neatly into the bag and the flap buckles securely:

Canon EOS 7D
Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L II IS USM Telephoto Zoom Lens
Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens
Canon Speedlite 580EX II Flash for Canon EOS Digital SLR Cameras
Extra camera battery
Camera battery charger
AA battery charger (for the flash)
Memory card reader
Microfiber cloth
Kindle Keyboard 3G, Free 3G + Wi-Fi, 6″ E Ink Display
Car keys
Cell phone

I have just a couple of slight quibbles. While the lenses fit comfortably with the hoods reversed, the camera body can only be stored with a shorter lens attached (like my 17-55, shown attached to my Rebel in the photo since I was using the 7D to take the photo) so that the flap will buckle – though if you’re not concerned about buckling the flap, storing it lens-down with a 70-200mm still leaves it accessible for a quick draw. A camera with a battery grip doesn’t fit very well when attached to a lens, but I’ve been moving away from using a grip during my walkabouts and just take extra batteries. Also, there isn’t quite enough room for all of the photographic accouterments required, PLUS a mouse and the power cord for the laptop. So, they usually get left in the car or packed in another bag. That’s not a big deal to me, since I tend to use the bag to take the laptop TO a place, then leave it (and the cord and mouse) behind if I end up walking around. The front zippered compartment is JUST a touch too narrow to pull fully open when the bag is full (probably intentional so you wouldn’t store bulky items and not be able to close the flap) and is only beneficial for storing very flat/small items. Finally, I would have like to have seen an inner clip for securing car keys.

Union bag buckle

None of those quibbles are a deal-breaker for me, and in no way detract from my enjoyment of the bag.

The real intent of this bag is, of course, to be out and about with it. There are certain things you can leave behind at home, in the car, or back at the hotel so you’re not weighed down (like the laptop and the chargers). The wide padded strap is very comfortable, even when walking around for hours, and seems to naturally position the bag just behind the hip which I found to be just the right spot. I took this bag to Santa Fe with me a couple of weeks ago, walked around the Plaza for HOURS, and didn’t suffer a sore shoulder! I’ve been getting a lot of compliments about it, and I use it daily as my briefcase to carry my laptop and all of my non-photography related items back and forth to work.

I wasn’t kidding when I said the Union Street Camera Bag is currently my favorite of ALL of my bags – camera or not. This would make an exceptional birthday or Christmas gift for the photographer (man or woman!) in your life – or a fantastic gift for yourself!

ONA has several other camera bags to choose from (the Brooklyn and the Venice are both gorgeous!) so be sure to stop by their website for lovely selections for men and women.

All photos copyright Tiffany Joyce.

*The Author received complimentary products in exchange for reviewing the Provider’s products and/or services on this website. Such compensation received did not and will never influence the content, topics or posts made on this website. We will only endorse products or services that we believe, based on our expertise, are worthy of such endorsement.

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