Old and New – The Billingham 225

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Billingham has been making camera bags since 1973. We are proud that many have lasted so long, and also the little improvements we have made over the years. Below is an article by Mich Buschman comparing his old Billingham 225 to its newer counterpart.

You are a very good distributor when you can select the right products from the huge selection that’s offered. You are a very good salesman when you get both the photography lovers and professionals to buy your product in almost no time. I’m talking about Jules Degreef, who took the Billingham bags to the Netherlands in 1983.

I bought my first Billingham 225 Khaki Canvas/Tan Leather in 1991, according to the photo albums I checked. ‘My’ bag is now, in 2016, celebrating its 25th anniversary! All those years I’ve put it through thorough tests, in sun and rain, brushed it up against rough denim and overloaded it with heavy cameras and lenses.

Mich Buschman with his ‘new’ Billingham 225 in 1991

One of the zippers is – on the edge – a little weak, and one puller has broken. The shoulder pad had worn out, but has been replaced by a new one. The bag is still waterproof, thanks to the protective flap and the specially designed canvas, that consists of two layers of fabric with ‘Stormblock’ in between.

A 25 year old Billingham 225 photobag

Old vs. New Billingham 225

I’m looking at the new bag. Clean, perfectly finished, and the thick top grain leather shows small ‘veins’. The adjustable shoulder strap is stiff with newness. The zippers are of a different type, flatter and with barely any resistance, and are neatly finished. Beautiful! The bag measures 320 x 220 x 230 mm and fits a DSLR with 2 lenses and a flash. The front pockets offer enough space for lots of small items, like filters, a charger, additional memory cards and batteries, a wallet, phone and drivers licence. When it’s empty, the Billingham 225 weighs about 1.6 kg. The removable insert [basepad] is padded with stiff material, so that it keeps its shape. Moreover, it offers more protection on the inside. It comes with additional dividers, that stay in place through a wide patch of Velcro.

This is what a new Billingham 225 camerabag looks like.

No remarks on the camerabag?

Do I have no remarks at all on the bag? Maybe the price? The RSP is €399,. So, let’s say that 25 years ago, I paid in euros. This means that the bag cost me €16 per year, or €1,33 per month.

I barely use the ‘hip pocket’. It fits a notepad, or a flat bag, etcetera. I cut the handle off, because I only want to use the photobag as a shoulder bag.

Find the differences: old vs. new Billingham 225

Billingham has been around since 1978. The English company assembles almost everything by hand (which means: using ordinary sewing machines). Of course, by now they make many other bags, which you can find on www.billingham.co.uk.

On my daily morning stroll, I took my old, only slightly worn Billingham 225. Because it’s so supple, and old love never dies. It’s the ultimate shoulderbag for photographers, which makes it the bag for me.


About Mich Buschman

Mich Buschman is a professional photographer. He teaches, among others, portrait photography. With over 30 years of experience, he’s a real expert in the photography industry. For more information, see www.michbuschman.nl.


More Comparisons

Below you can find more comparisons between the new and the old bag. The brass buttons are still intact.

The old and new Billingham 225 photobags together.


Billingham 225 old and new: a look inside.


The reverse of the old and new Billingham 225; different zippers.


New vs. old Billingham Superflex Dividers.

This article was originally published in Dutch on the website of Degreef & Partner. You can see it here