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Archive 2011 · Ona Union Street Out of box and opinions
  
 
M635_Guy
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Ona Union Street Out of box and opinions


Gang, as promised here are the pix. I apologize for the poor quality - I had a lot going on that night and pretty much the worst spot in the house to work in - bad light, bad space, short time.

Anyway - Packaging

_DSC8567 by e24mpwr, on Flickr


_DSC8568 by e24mpwr, on Flickr


_DSC8569 by e24mpwr, on Flickr


_DSC8573 by e24mpwr, on Flickr


_DSC8574 by e24mpwr, on Flickr


_DSC8577 by e24mpwr, on Flickr


_DSC8579 by e24mpwr, on Flickr




Nov 20, 2011 at 06:52 PM
M635_Guy
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Ona Union Street Out of box and opinions


Bag:

_DSC8582 by e24mpwr, on Flickr


_DSC8586 by e24mpwr, on Flickr


_DSC8592 by e24mpwr, on Flickr

With Nikon 80-200 f/2.8, Nikon 35 f/1.8, Nikon 18-200 and ThinkPad T410s (14" laptop), room left for the D90 with the Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 mounted.

_DSC8595 by e24mpwr, on Flickr

Bag loaded with the above plus the body (hence the poor cell-phone pix), trying to get the tablet in the back pocket:

ona5 by e24mpwr, on Flickr

A little tight but no problems (screen is Gorilla Glass )

Ona6 by e24mpwr, on Flickr

Fully loaded:

Ona3 by e24mpwr, on Flickr

Including the front pocket:

Ona4 by e24mpwr, on Flickr





Nov 20, 2011 at 06:59 PM
M635_Guy
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Ona Union Street Out of box and opinions


All this fit in the bag:

Ona2 by e24mpwr, on Flickr


_DSC8597 by e24mpwr, on Flickr

Overall thoughts:
That is a lot of gear to fit in something so small-looking. Quality seems excellent throughout, though time will always tell. All the leather, the fabric and the stitching seemed very solid and well done.

The bag deals with bulk reasonably well. The buckles are high-quality. I was kind of hoping that you'd be able to press on the outside of the buckle to release/open, but it doesn't appear to work like that. Slightly fiddly.

The handle looks like it would be unbalanced, especially when loaded. It isn't, at least for light movement and picking it up/putting it down.

It carries very well - I'm amazed how light it feels vs. the same gear in my Lowepro AW200 on my back.

The gear carries well overall. The 80-200 has plenty of depth, though the pockets are shallow enough that the foot worried me. I pulled the shallow divider out from the "body pocket" and made a full-height space for the lens. No worries. The foot does provide some dimension to think about - I kept it turned toward the compartment with the shorter lens vs. the body compartment.

With all the stuff inside, I did need to extend the buckles to allow closure.

The bad/gripes:
There should be a "pull-strap" on the buckle to help pull the buckle.
The front pocket is very, very tight. Even when it isn't loaded, access to the front pocket is unnecessarily tight. A simple, minimal flap or gusset to allow a broadening of the opening would have been all that was necessary. There are spaces for a cell phone, memory cards and other stuff (I threw in a USB hard drive, a couple extra batteries, some cleaning supplies, etc. Net: My issues isn't so much with the space, but the access to it.

So. I think it is going back. Sad - I love a lot of things about it, but it is supposed to be a travel bag, and that pocket is a big piece of travel convenience. If it cost less, I might be tempted to keep it, but premium gear needs to be absolutely right.



Nov 20, 2011 at 08:20 PM
sjms
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Ona Union Street Out of box and opinions


You have got to be kidding me.


Nov 21, 2011 at 02:39 AM
M635_Guy
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Ona Union Street Out of box and opinions


sjms wrote:
You have got to be kidding me.


Oh what Mr. Opinionated?

For this kind of money I want it to be right. Hell, my laptop bag has better front pockets than this thing and has very similar overall dimensions. Since I've worked around laptop cases for 16 years (as part of a broader business that has a full line of carrying cases for PC's), I know what is possible and what I like. The front pocket is a flawed design. Sad but true. Hard to tell unless you get one and put your gear in it, or read about it in the gear section on a photography forum...

And let me clarify - you can't access the front pocket easily even when the main compartment is completely empty. There is no gusset or zipper-wrap that allows that pocket to open even slightly without pulling the edges of the main compartment (which is even more difficult when it has a laptop, a camera and lenses in it). That is a huge design flaw and a limitation I'm not willing to live with in a bag that costs nearly $300.

So seriously, what?





Nov 21, 2011 at 02:50 AM
sjms
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Ona Union Street Out of box and opinions


its like buying a real slick looking suit. looks great on the model that isn't moving or essentially breathing. mr real world gets into it and it never looks or works quite as well as on the model. i do understand

but then thats what adverts are all about, to give the perception of perfection. then that damned reality gets in the way

i've run into enough of that to in my life



Nov 21, 2011 at 02:59 AM
M635_Guy
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Ona Union Street Out of box and opinions


sjms wrote:
its like buying a real slick looking suit. looks great on the model that isn't moving or essentially breathing. mr real world gets into it and it never looks or works quite as well as on the model. i do understand


I hate to pick on your analogy, but it sucks. A well-made suit doesn't have to be expensive, but there are great suits that are comfortable and wear/look terrific. Generally those cost more than what you find at Men's Warehouse and JC Penny. I have several. But they didn't cost a fortune, either.

There is absolutely no reason why a bag can't look good and have great function. I'm not talking about a working pro's bag here - that is clearly not who Ona is marketing to. I'm a serious Enthusiast Photographer: I don't earn money doing it, I tend to travel for work and vacation not specifically photography, and I need to have versatility. There are probably more people like me than pros.

But anyway, the reviews I'd read and the pictures I'd seen didn't suggest how limited that front pocket was - there were some mentions of being a little tight, but I find it unacceptable. Neither of my local camera shops have this bag, so ordering it was my only choice. I may well trek out to both tomorrow to show it to them, just so they can see it.


If the designers worked at my company, that design would never have made it to production. There are some terrific laptop cases that give you excellent looks and high function - why can't that be done with a camera bag?



Nov 21, 2011 at 03:14 AM
sjms
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Ona Union Street Out of box and opinions


a week or 2 ago someone stated to me here and i quote "i am a broadcast journalist". what does it take today to be a "broadcast journalist"?. what is the real world definition of one in this society thanks to these simple 3 letters www?

me? i am simply a photographer. i do it for money when it dictates or gratis when fits my needs. now i do hope we are all enthusiasts about photography. and you do need to be fairly serious to put up the investment currency which invilves both time, effort and the root of all evil, cash.

what is the relevent difference between the enthusiast and a pro? do they not shoot pictures? do they not in many situations shoot with the same gear and even on more then occasionally many enthusiast work with more recent models and lenses? Pros don't need versatility? don't they travel too?

perception

there is always a difference between what is perceived as usable from multiple points of view of a a user base. there are quite a few purposefully designed products out there. but then beauty and purpose are in the eye of the beholder and compromises/balances will be made to reach a certain portion of that base. there is no one product that will satisfy all. some come real darned close though

my original suggestion was the "cheap looking" Chobe. to me it is a well designed and made product with multiple purposes in mind. it was designed by a a company that has lots of experience multimode transport and just a bit of a photography background.

it, unfortunately, fails me for the want of 2 simple D rings. i will contact them and converse or end up putting them in myself









Nov 21, 2011 at 03:56 AM
hfgarris
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Ona Union Street Out of box and opinions


Nice looking bag ... I'm sorry it didn't work out for you.

I don't really use the front pocket for much of anything in an effort to keep the bag as thin as possible. Usually only stick things like my plane tickets or itinerary in there, so I hadn't noticed it being too tight (although I don't have as much stuff in mine: 5D-II, 3 lenses, flash, very thin Macbook Air).

Don't know quite what you mean about the clip-release, I just press mine on top and they slide open. I do agree that sometimes latching them closed is a bit of a hassle, a "pull tab" at the top of the clip-insert strap would help, since tugging on the strap simply pulls on the upper adjustment buckle.

Since bags are "highly personal" items, I always suggest people order such that they can return easily if the bag isn't available in a local store. Hope your return goes easily and you find something else you like (you might take a look at the Billingham line ... that is my current favorite).

-howard



Nov 21, 2011 at 08:05 PM
M635_Guy
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Ona Union Street Out of box and opinions


I think a couple things differentiate a pro from a non-pro. Firstly, a pro is going to pack like a pro. I imagine (though I don't know) that a lot of pros will have a travel case and a carry case - one they use to get the equipment there and one to have what they need if they are out and around.

A laptop and looks are probably secondary to capacity and sheer utility. What I do for a living requires me to look like a business person. I'm not an executive, but I spend a lot of my time meeting with them, and I need my laptop and the various technology gadgets not associated with my camera. So the Domke F7 (or Billingham 335) that I really like won't serve me in either purpose.

Makes me want to design a bag...



Nov 21, 2011 at 10:05 PM
 

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M635_Guy
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Ona Union Street Out of box and opinions


hfgarris wrote:
Nice looking bag ... I'm sorry it didn't work out for you.

I don't really use the front pocket for much of anything in an effort to keep the bag as thin as possible. Usually only stick things like my plane tickets or itinerary in there, so I hadn't noticed it being too tight (although I don't have as much stuff in mine: 5D-II, 3 lenses, flash, very thin Macbook Air).

Don't know quite what you mean about the clip-release, I just press mine on top and they slide open. I do agree that sometimes latching them closed is a bit
...Show more

Does Billingham make a laptop-capable bag? I haven't noticed one...



Nov 21, 2011 at 10:10 PM
millsart
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Ona Union Street Out of box and opinions


M635_Guy wrote:
I think a couple things differentiate a pro from a non-pro. Firstly, a pro is going to pack like a pro. I imagine (though I don't know) that a lot of pros will have a travel case and a carry case - one they use to get the equipment there and one to have what they need if they are out and around.

A laptop and looks are probably secondary to capacity and sheer utility. What I do for a living requires me to look like a business person. I'm not an executive, but I spend a lot of my time
...Show more


I somewhat disagree. After so many years you really learn what situations can and may arise and what gear you need to handle them, and what gear just isn't worth the bother of carrying on a given assignment.

I personally see far more non pro's carrying huge bags with everything but the kitchen sink in them, while I sometimes just strap on my cameras and may carry a small belt pack because I know what shots I'm after and what gear I need to make sure I can get the job done.

Don't get me wrong, there are assignments where someone may need to ship several flight cases full of lighting equipment, stuff for remotes etc all to an assignment, but I think thats more an exceptional case. (pun ? lol)

Overall though, its still usually the enthusiast whom I see carrying a huge bag with darn near everything they own. After so many years working I've really gotten to where I don't want to be weighted down any more than I have to be.

I suppose theres a bit of a natural progression for many in that

starts out with a simple camera, pocket one perhaps, then as the photography bug/GAS hits one starts buying more and more, lens are fun and exciting, same with new gadgets etc, then with time, the GAS fades and you simply want stuff you use, sell off lots of lenses that you don't use enough to warrant carrying (my TS/E's for example) and your happy to work with just what you actually need.

Personally I still really enjoy compacts, RF glass etc, but in my professional work I've got all the same old Nikon G lenses and D3's I've used for a few years and honestly don't think of obsess about that gear at all. Its just my work tools and as long as it gets the job done I don't think twice about it.



Nov 21, 2011 at 10:25 PM
hfgarris
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Ona Union Street Out of box and opinions


M635_Guy wrote:
Does Billingham make a laptop-capable bag? I haven't noticed one...


Well ... it depends on your laptop ...

If I am carrying a bag full of camera gear and have a laptop too, I will probably have my 11" Macbook Air with me. It is so tiny, light, and thin, it will fit into almost any bag, and fits nicely into my Billingham Hadley Pro.

However, if I actually want to carry my 15" Macbook Pro along with me, I would use the ONA "Union Street" which you already find too small for your needs. The ONA is the smallest bag I have found that will carry a 3 lens + flash camera system and a normal laptop computer. It appears from the pictures that your laptop may be even thicker, which makes the situation worse. I seldom actually carry my laptop with me when I am out shooting, it is usually back in the hotel room so it doesn't take up space and weigh my bag down even more.

Some of the larger Billinghams might work for that, but I haven't really studied them as I usually want small bags to carry around for my needs. The Billingham 207 is the largest one I own and it wouldn't hold a larger laptop. There is a Billingham thread over on POTN which may have more information from users with the larger bags.

I could fit all that plus 15" laptop into the Think Tank "Urban Disguise 60" as well, but that is getting to be a pretty big bag to carry around. For travel with a larger laptop, I usually take a roller bag with my laptop and chargers, and put my small Billingham loaded with camera gear inside as well.

I hope you will post pictures of whatever you find works for you...


-howard



Nov 22, 2011 at 02:37 AM
M635_Guy
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Ona Union Street Out of box and opinions


I currently have a 14" laptop - will probably be going smaller early next year (13" near-Ultrabook size).

I'm not so worried about size - I'd actually prefer the Ona bag 15% larger.

It looks like Timbuk2 can do a custom Laptop Messenger in waxed canvas with a Snoop camera insert. Not quite as "formal" as I want, but no too bad...

I think I'm going to let it marinate over the holiday and decide then...

Edited on Dec 09, 2011 at 12:39 AM · View previous versions



Nov 22, 2011 at 04:27 AM
desmondt
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Ona Union Street Out of box and opinions


I see you're using a T410s. Do you think a T410 with the 9cell battery sticking out of the bag would fit?
I know the strap won't be able to wrap around it but I'm wondering if the bag will even close.

My main concern with this bag right now is whether or not it will fit my laptop.



Dec 08, 2011 at 08:43 PM
M635_Guy
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Ona Union Street Out of box and opinions


hfgarris wrote:
However, if I actually want to carry my 15" Macbook Pro along with me, I would use the ONA "Union Street" which you already find too small for your needs. The ONA is the smallest bag I have found that will carry a 3 lens + flash camera system and a normal laptop computer. It appears from the pictures that your laptop may be even thicker, which makes the situation worse. I seldom actually carry my laptop with me when I am out shooting, it is usually back in the hotel room so it doesn't take up space and weigh
...Show more

Howard - I didn't find the Ona Union Street too small, I found their front pocket design poor and as something I would dig into constantly, I wasn't willing to live with that in a bag that costs nearly $300. The front pocket issue was just as bad when the bag was completely empty. My T410s is only 26mm thick.

I've ordered a custom bag from Timbuk2 - their Laptop Messenger (Large) with the Snoop Insert (Medium).

I'll be posting a full review when I get it.


desmondt wrote:
I see you're using a T410s. Do you think a T410 with the 9cell battery sticking out of the bag would fit?
I know the strap won't be able to wrap around it but I'm wondering if the bag will even close.

My main concern with this bag right now is whether or not it will fit my laptop.


I think it would be close, but I think it would probably work if you aren't putting in as much equipment as I was. Not sure if I mentioned it here or the review on my blog, but I did have to extend the buckle with all that gear - that may or may not give you the insight you need.



Dec 09, 2011 at 12:50 AM
desmondt
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Ona Union Street Out of box and opinions


M635_Guy wrote:
I think it would be close, but I think it would probably work if you aren't putting in as much equipment as I was. Not sure if I mentioned it here or the review on my blog, but I did have to extend the buckle with all that gear - that may or may not give you the insight you need.


I definitely will not be putting in as much equipment so that seems fine. My laptop is 0.4 inches thicker than yours however and about 0.6 inches deeper (because of the battery). Do you have that much clearance room at the top of the bag when you put in your T410s?

I didn't realize this but my laptop might be too thick as well as too deep..
I guess it's hard to expect a camera bag to fit a large laptop.



Dec 09, 2011 at 01:44 AM
M635_Guy
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Ona Union Street Out of box and opinions


Hmm...

I didn't think the T410 is that much thicker (and frankly, I should know, but don't off-hand), but you might find it a little cramped. I think the height would be a bigger issue than the thickness, but you might be able to get away with it. It is probably one of those things that would work fine occasionally but might be an issue for every day.

The Timbuk2 bag would handle that easily (M) or (L). I went (L) to have the additional carry-space. It won't be small or dainty, but think I'll be happy. I hope I'll be happy. I hope...




Dec 09, 2011 at 02:18 AM
desmondt
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Ona Union Street Out of box and opinions


The big added bonus for me with the Union Street is the looks. I would have bought this bag a while ago but I have never figured out if my laptop would fit. Darn that extended battery.

In the picture your T410s seems almost on level with the front divider (maybe 1/2 cm difference), is this the case?



Dec 09, 2011 at 05:23 AM
M635_Guy
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Ona Union Street Out of box and opinions


desmondt wrote:
The big added bonus for me with the Union Street is the looks. I would have bought this bag a while ago but I have never figured out if my laptop would fit. Darn that extended battery.

In the picture your T410s seems almost on level with the front divider (maybe 1/2 cm difference), is this the case?


I wish I still had the case - I work for Lenovo (as you might have guessed with all the ThinkPad gear ), and could have gotten an extended battery to do the test.

Anyway, I think it was pretty close to level with the divider - I'd say only a few mm taller if any. The strap definitely won't work with a laptop much taller than the T410s. You might be able to grow a few mm thicker, but honestly I think they designed it assuming people would be carrying things like the Macbook Air (or ThinkPad X1 ).

If they grew this thing 15% and fixed the front pocket, it would be an absolutely awesome bag, and completely worth the money (to me).

I guess they are making a decent splash - the Ona bag post drives more traffic to my blog than my JPEG vs. RAW post



Dec 09, 2011 at 01:33 PM
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