Billingham Hadley Small Review : Great Hadley Features in a Small Size

Billingham Hadley Small Review:

The Billingham Hadley collection of bags are some of the most successful bags in the Billingham catalogue.  They are rightfully so because the combination of size, protection, durability, and dependibility of these bags are perfect for most photographers’ needs.  I’ve had my original Hadley for well over 15 years, and it has not let me down once.  It has been crushed, been bumped around countless times, been through numerous rain storms, and to this day, it still protects my precious Leica equipment just as well as it did when I first purchased it.  But what happens if you want a Billingham Hadley but it’s just too big for your photographic needs?  Well, Billingham has taken care of that need with their Billingham Hadley Small.

↑ A bag for a bag :).

Billingham Hadley Small Build Quality:

When I opened the shipping box to this Billingham Hadley Small (B&H Photo/Amazon), I was very pleasantly surprised.  This bag is probably the most beautiful Billingham that I’ve ever seen.  It is simply gorgeous.  Seriously, I buy Billingham bags mainly for their protective capabilities but I really love how this bag looks.  The one that I’m reviewing here is Sage in color, and made out of Billigham’s FibreNyte material.

↑ A cool little signature inside one of the pockets.

↑ Billingham has a great warranty on their bags.

So what is Billingham’s Fibernyte material?  It’s a synthetic material that’s tougher, and lighter than their traditional canvas material.  The fabric is abrasion resistant but it’s still very supple.  According to Billingham, FibreNyte is a durable material, which is bonded to a polyester lining using Billingham’s StormBlock butyl rubber, and it ways 10% less than their traditional canvas.  Lastly, FybreNyte is also more colorfast because the dyes can be bonded to the material more easily.

↑ Front view of the Billingham Hadley Small.  I shot a close up so you can see the pattern of the material.

↑ Side view of the Billingham Hadley Small.

My take on FybreNyte is that it’s actually pretty good.  It does feel slightly lighter, and I think the only thing that you’ll be missing from the canvas is the slightly softer feel.  Although, I guess if you wanted a bag that showed more patina, wear or that’s a bit more traditional, I would suggest you get the canvas instead.  As stated by Billingham, the dyes stay on better to the FibreNyte material therefore it is more fade resistant, and less likely to show wear.  The canvas will also probably give you more of the traditional feel often associated with Billingham bags.  I actually don’t think that there is much of a difference between the two fabrics.  However, if I had to choose between the two, I actually prefer the FibreNyte material because this sage color is really attractive looking in person.  Plus, to me, the feel is still very similar to the canvas option, and it’s also more durable.

↑ Billingham Hadley Small vs. Billingham Hadley original.  My original Hadley is made out of canvas, and you can clearly see that it has faded over time.  The new FibreNyte material used to make the Hadley Small should hold up a bit better.

Besides the FibreNyte, everything else is with the Billingham Hadley Small is the same as with other Billingham bags.  In other words, build quality is phenomenal as it should be for the price.  The main insert is fully removable so you can either use the bag by itself to carry other items besides photographic equipment or you can get a new replacement insert when yours wears out over time, greatly increasing the life expectancy of your bag.  This bag also features adjustable Quick Release Straps that go into brass buckles, bellowed front pockets with press-stud fastenings, and a double darted main flap which covers the mouth of the bag when closed protecting it from rain and weather elements.  The two front pockets can also be expanded a bit if you need the space by unbuttoning the press-studs.  Furthermore, the Billingham Hadley Small (B&H Photo/Amazon) comes with four velcro dividers, which can be placed pretty much anywhere in the bag.  Like all Billinghams, you will probably never need to buy another bag because this bag should last you a lifetime especially since you can replace the main insert if yours wears out over time.

↑ The Insert in the Billingham Hadley Small is fully removable.

↑ The Billingham Hadley Small comes with 4 velcro dividers.

↑ Once you open up the Billingham Hadley Small, there’s a another flap on top of your equipment for added protection.

↑ The two front pockets can be expanded a bit if you need more space by unbuttoning the press-studs.

What I can Fit Into a Billingham Hadley Small:

Don’t let the small in Billingham Hadley Small fool you; on the outside it may look small but it can fit a lot, especially if you use smaller cameras, such as, mirrorless or rangefinders.  I was able to fit in a complete Leica M system, which includes: Leica M body with lens attached, 4 other different lenses, a Leica M charger, a roll of film in the carton, a Leica M battery, and a Giottos small Rocket Air Blaster.  If I wanted to, I probably could’ve put in one or two more lenses, and various other accessories.  With all that equipment, the bag feels completely fine.  It does not feel strained in any way, and it’s completely comfortable, and supportive to carry all day long.  Everything in the bag feels completely balanced so there’s less strain on the person carrying it.

↑ Inside view of the Billingham Hadley Small.

↑ Inside view of the Billingham Hadley Small with equipment.

↑ The Billingham Hadley Small might look small outside but it can fit a lot.

Billingham Hadley Small vs. Billingham Combination bag:

Some interested in the Billingham Hadley Small (B&H Photo/Amazon) might also be considering the purchase of the Billingham M Combo bag as well.  Well, I’ve been using the Billingham M Combination bag for quite some time, and I love it.  You can check out my review of the M Combo bag here.  The only thing that I don’t like about it is that it’s a little wider…or more square shaped.  The Hadleys are great because they wrap around the body a bit tighter, therefore, make them easier to navigate through traffic a bit without bumping into something.  Plus, the Biillingham Hadley Small does have two separate pockets as opposed to one big pocket with the M Combo bag.  This may be a good thing or a bad thing depending on your requirements from a bag.  I prefer the two pockets over the one.  Also, prices do vary a bit depending on where you buy these bags but I find that the Billingham Hadley Small is actually a bit cheaper than the M Combo bag.

↑ Billingham Hadley Small vs. Billingham Combination bag.

I will say one last thing that I do like about the M Combo bag that the Billingham Hadley Small does not have: I like the fiberglass plate on the bottom of the bag.  It’s probably not such a big deal but the plate protects the bottom a bit, and it does help stabilize the bag a little when you put it down on the floor.  I will probably do a better comparison between these two bags in a future post.

Is The Billingham Hadley Small The Perfect Camera Bag?:

In use, the Billingham Hadley Small (B&H Photo/Amazon) is slim and nimble, so it’s easy to walk around the busy streets of New York City.  It actually looks like a nice messenger bag rather than a full fledged camera bag.  I know that some might believe that people associate Billingham bags with expensive camera equipment but I found the opposite to be the case.  In fact, so far, I haven’t met anyone who even knows what a Hadley Small is made for.  This goes with all my Billingham bags.  I went on a wedding shoot one time, and the bride and groom thought my original Hadley was just a messenger bag.  However, I do see other photographers carrying Lowepro bags or Crumpler bags being noticed quite a bit.  This is not an attack on people who use other camera bags as there are plenty of excellent alternatives to Billingham bags.  It’s just that those bags are more common, and therefore, in my opinion, more associated with camera equipment.

This bag is seriously nice.  I actually have no complaints that I can think of with this bag.  I love my original Hadley but I  always wished that it was smaller.  Now it is :).  I can’t say it’s unattractive because I honestly think that this bag is the best looking Billingham out there.  The color is also really nice looking.  The padding in the Billingham Hadley Small is amazing.  I’m surprised at how small this bag is considering that it can fit so much gear, and be so well padded at the same time.  Seriously, this bag protects my equipment extremely well, and it also has two expandable pockets in the front as opposed to the one zippered pocket in the Billingham M Combination bag, which I like better.

The Billingham Hadley Small also feels a bit slimmer than the M Combo bag, which I prefer.  When you put these two bags together, it’s hard to tell which one is actually bigger.  I think the reason the Hadley Small feels slimmer is because it’s not so square shaped, and it doesn’t have the fiberglass plate on the bottom like the M combo bag.  This allows the bag to wrap around the individual a bit better similar to a regular messenger bag.

For me, I think that the Billingham Hadley Small (B&H Photo/Amazon) is the perfect bag for my purposes.  Even if you’re carrying minimal equipment, you can take this bag along because it is so light and nimble.  You don’t have to be afraid of bumping around in crowded streets like the ones in Times Square because this bag is extremely well padded.  It’s like a vault.  The flap is also very secure so it won’t come off in a crowded street unless you intentionally unhinged the leather straps.  It never gets in the way in a crowded subway station or a busy street, and everyone thinks it’s just a fancy messenger bag as opposed to a camera bag.  Plus its great to know that if a sudden downpour were to occur, your gear will be well protected.

Specifications For The Billingham Hadley Small:


  • Exterior: FiberNyte is a reinforced, abrasion-resistant cotton canvas
  • Interior: Polyester lining using StormBlock butyl rubber, high-density, closed-cell foam
  • Trim: Tan leather trim

Type of Closure

  • Quick-release buckles
  • Solid brass clog bolt and harness leather locking system

Exterior Dimensions

  • 11 1/2 x 4 3/4 x 8 1/4″(27.9 x 11.8 x 20.6cm)

Interior Dimensions

  • 10 1/4 x 2 3/4 x 7 1/4″ (25.4 x 7 x 18.5cm)

Carrying/Transport Options

  • Adjustable shoulder strap


  • 1.5 lbs (700g)

Billingham Hadley Small Final Thoughts:

Anyone who needs a small bag that can pack a lot, especially if you use a mirrorless or a rangefinder camera, should look no further because the Billingham Hadley Small (B&H Photo/Amazon) might be the perfect bag for you.  It offers superior protection for your equipment, the inserts are fully adjustable, and it looks good :).  Yes, the bag does look very well made but no one I ran into thought that it was a camera bag.

↑ I love this bag! 🙂

While Billingham bags are expensive, I’m a firm believer in you get what you pay for; in this case, the Billingham Hadley Small (B&H Photo/Amazon) has been made with the finest materials, and I’m sure that it will last a lifetime.  These bags offer incredible protection, and they are insanely waterproof.  I’ve been through countless rainstorms with my other Billingham bags, and not once has my gear ever been wet.  In the long run, I find these bags cheaper because I don’t end up buying multiple bags.  I use Billingham bags exclusively, and it’s not because it’s a fashion statement for me.  I like to buy things once, and I like to be completely happy with my purchase.  I’m willing to pay more for a product if I know it is completely dependible, and it gives me years of use.  These bags can handle whatever you throw at them, and you better believe that I will buy a good bag, whether it’d be expensive or not,  if I’m carrying a system where my camera body costs me $7000.  For a system like the Leica M, $200 to $300 does not sound like much to me, if it gives me a bit more peace of mind :).

If you’re considering buying the Hadley Small, and my review helped you decide, please help support me by purchasing from one of the links below.  Thank you for your support!

B&H Photo:

Sage w/Tan Trim,  Khaki,  Black w/Black Trim,  Black w/Tan Trim


Sage w/Tan Trim,  Khaki,  Black w/Black Trim,  Black w/Tan Trim


Sage w/Tan Trim,  Khaki,  Black w/Black Trim,  Black w/Tan Trim

30 comments… add one
  • B.T. Koay

    After reading this review the only next thing for me to do is just go out and buy it. Recently bought the Fuji Xpro-1 with the three prime lenses and the flash. Should be a great combination.
    Thanks alot

    • Patrick

      Hi B.T.

      Thanks for your comment! The Hadley Small is actually a perfect fit for your X-Pro1/flash/three lens combo! Enjoy it! Thanks for stopping by, and take care!

  • Ron Preedy

    Thanks, Patrick. I use my Hadley Small for my OM-D E-M5 and 4 lenses plus accessories, including a table-top tripod. Perfect. I am still undecided about a Billingham with a belt loop for the E-M5, one lens attached, one extra .Any recommendations?

  • Nina

    The perfect bag for a Olympus OM-D EM-5 setup. This camera and the Billingham are both high quality items and nicely complement each other. The Hadly Small is lightweight, roomy and not too big. I prefer it over the Combination bag, because it feels and looks less like a box. It wraps nicely around my waist. Hugs the body, so to speak. I love the khaki one. Especially in the summer. The lighter color helps keep my camera gear al lot cooler then the heat absorbing black version.

    • Patrick

      Hi Nina,

      Thank you for your comment! Yes, it is a great little bag that carries a surprisingly large amount of stuff. In some ways, I also prefer it over the Combo bag, especially when walking around tighter knit areas. It always stays close to you. I’m not a big fan of the black one either but I love the sage color in my review. It sure sounds like the Hadley Small fits perfectly with your equipment, which is great. I appreciate you stopping by! Thanks again for your comment!

  • Josh


    Nice website and review.
    How does the bag go with your 90mm attached to the Leica m? I’m really tempted by one of these bags but I’m worried with a 90mm or the voigtlander 35 1.2 attached to a body will fit at an odd angle taking up more than needed. What do you think?


    • Patrick

      Hi Josh,

      Thanks for the nice comment! If you put your M with something like a 90 Summicron into the bag, it would definitely be a tight fit unless you decide to separate the bag into two sections instead of three. I hope that helps. Let me know if you have any other questions.

      Thanks for stopping by,


  • LS

    Nice Review
    That’s awesome

    I have a billingham 207
    That’s good but, So heavy&big

    That’s Perfectly fit for me

    • Patrick

      Hi LS,

      Thanks for visiting, I definitely appreciate it!

      All the best!


  • Jens East

    Hi again Patrick!

    I ordered a black Hadley Small after reading your review a couple of times. I guess i would be fine of with something like a Domke F-5XB but your words “It is simply gorgeous” convinced me. Perhaps i can fit my GH3 and a couple of FD lenses with converter to.

    I’ll let you know what i think about the bag when i recive it. Perhaps it’s a little bit roomy for my GM1 + PL 42,5 & 15 only but i could’t resist it!

    Thanks again for letting me know your thougts in a smart and informative way!


    Jens E

    • Patrick

      Hi Jens,

      Great to hear about your new purchase! The Domke bags are definitely great bags. I’ve owned a couple before but I’ve been a diehard Billingham fan for decades. For me, they just fulfill all my needs.

      They aren’t overly flashy, and they are extremely well built. My original Hadley has lasted me over two decades, so even though they are more expensive than some bags out there (although a lot of other bags have gone up in price, and there are also a lot of new bags out there that cost even more), I feel I got my money’s worth. Most importantly, they do a great job protecting my equipment. I’m sure you read this in my review but they are really waterproof! I wouldn’t drop it in the ocean or anything 🙂 but I’ve been in some serious tropical rain storms where puddles have formed on top of my bag but it wasn’t even a little damp inside.

      I hope you enjoy it and yes, definitely let me know what you think! It might be a bit roomy for your gear but at least you’ll have some extra space if you decide to purchase new lenses/gear.

      Take care!


  • Jens East

    Hi again Patrick!

    Got my Hadley Small (boring black) a couple of day ago. I really like this bag! So far it´s housing my GM1, PL15, PL25, PL42,5, PL45, an iPad and a couple of other more or less necessary things. Hadley Small is somehow a paradox, small and really flexible and still a high capacity carrier. Thanks again for your valuable advice.

    I wish Billingham had something like FOGG Piccolo. The size is just right for GM1, PL15 & PL42,5. But it´s too much man purse for my taste. Perhaps a Avea 5 with Billinghams Waist Strap Attachment could work?

    At the moment I’m awaiting the announcement of the new GM5. Can´t say i need a viewfinder but sometimes it would be nice. And 4K plus stabilization would be nice to..

    Thanks again,


    • Patrick

      Hi Jens,

      It’s great to hear from you again! Glad to hear you got the Hadley Small, and thanks for sharing the link! I totally agree with you about the Hadley Small being like a paradox: it’s deceptively small on the outside but it can definitely hold a lot.

      The Fogg Piccolo would be a great size but I agree with you about the looks. The Hadley Digital is smaller than the Hadley you purchased but it just doesn’t quite fill the spot that a Billingham version of the Piccolo would. The Avea 5 might work but I believe it is even smaller than the Stowaway. Have you considered the the Delta Pouch?

      It would be very interesting to see the new GM5 as I’ve been a huge fan of the GM1. Let me know what you think of it when it is announced!

      Keep in touch!


  • Vivo en America del Sur, mi país es Argentina y compre mi primer Billingham hace 15 días !! Después de tener un monton de marcar conocidas de bolsas, considero que esta es la mejor !!!
    En ella llevo mi Leica M9 con el 35 y mi MP .
    Estoy muy contento !!

    • Patrick

      Hi Agustin,

      Congratulations on your purchase! It is a great bag for the M system. I hope you enjoy it!

      Best regards,


  • Hi there (again)!

    I guess you do a decent job in Search engine Optimization, since this is the second time i land on your page after trying google 🙂

    Case is, i’ve been looking at the Billingham Hadley Small for my M Monochrom. I want to use the bag for my Monochrom with a Summilux 35 mm attached.

    While in the bag i want to store the camera with the lens facing down, and the LCD/back of the camera upwards.

    While the Monochrom measures 80 mm Billingham states on their site the bag is 70 mm deep, meaning the camera is 10 mm wider than the bag, if i were to store my camera in the bag lens facing down.

    Yes, i could imagine the camera bag could be stretched a little bit. Do you think it will fit?

    The next option is the Hadley Pro which in my mind is way too big for this equipment:

    Leica M Monochrom
    Summilux-M 35 mm
    Two filters
    Lens cloth

    • Patrick

      Hi Bjarni!

      Great to hear from you again! I’m glad to hear I was easy to find on Google :). Sorry for the late reply. I’ve been busy with a bunch of reviews. I still have my review sample, so here is a photo of my M 240 with a 35mm Cron in the bag:

      In my opinion, the Hadley Pro would be too big for what you are carrying. I hope this helps. let me know what you think.

      Best regards,


  • Hi Patrick!

    No problem with the late reply 🙂 Thanks for the photo, so i can see how it fits in the bag.

    Unfortunately my photo dealer didn’t have the Hadley Small in store, so i did choose an alternative solution: An Ona Bowery for those days carrying only one camera with a lens, and the Hadley Pro for those days when taking film camera and films out as well, since the Pro can take a small portable as well.

    Kind Regards

    • Patrick

      HI Bjarni,

      Sorry I didn’t get the photo to you on time! But the Ona Bowery is also an excellent bag! In fact, it’s a bit smaller than the Hadley Small, so it probably works out for you better. Let me know how the Ona works out for you. The Hadley Pro is also a fantastic bag. It carries so much stuff!

      Best regards,


  • Steve

    I Patrick,
    Fascinating review. I read your review about the Domke F-5XA as I was thinking about it. Having read this review it seems the Billingham Hadley Small is much much better. That just means I can’t pop out tomorrow and buy it. LOL.

    To cut to the chase, what I’d like to carry in it are a Fuji X-Pro 2 body, 23 and 50 lenses, both f2. Add one Nissin i40 flash (you should take a look at it) and some odds and ends. Does that sound like a good choice?

    Thanks and cheers,


    • Patrick

      Hi Steve,

      My apologies for such a late reply! The Hadley Small is definitely a better choice for that gear. The Domke will be a little tight. I hope this helps. Let me know if you have any other questions,



  • Sam

    Hi Patrick
    Thank you for this great review!
    I’ve read all your reviews and they are the best! So useful.
    I actually own the Hadley Pro for my nikon gear (Df + 24-70 + 70-200) and i’m looking for a smaller bag for my brand new Fuji system (X-T2 + 14 2.8 + 23 1.4 + 56 1.2)
    I’m debating between the Hadley small and the L2. What would be your choice ?
    Thanks a lot ! Sam

    • Patrick

      Hi Sam!

      Thank you so much for your kind words, and for stopping by to read my reviews! It’s really much appreciated!

      I owned the L2 a long time ago but one of my friends has it now. It’s a great bag. If I recall correctly, it has brass feet on the bottom. Since it is rectangular shaped, you can also place it on a flat surface without it tipping over. It does carry a decent amount of gear.

      But if I had to choose between the L2 and the Hadley Small, I’d go for the Small. In fact, I actually ended up buying one lol. I just feel the Hadley Small is a little more versatile. First off, I prefer the two pocket setup. I like that there are flaps on the pockets as well. Also, while it does not have a tablet slot, I still was able to slip my iPad Pro 9.7 in between the back of the insert (which is also removable), and the back of the bag. Keep in mind that the bag was also packed full with lenses, body, charger, etc. The Hadley Small is a very compact bag but it’s amazing how much it can carry. If you buy a couple of extra dividers, you can even stack a bunch of lenses in it. Lastly, if you look at the L2, there are side flaps that are attached to the main flap. This makes it more difficult to fully open the main flap.

      I hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions, and I’ll try my best to answer them.



  • Sam

    Hi Patrick

    Thanks so much for answering my question! It helps a lot.
    I totaly agree with you regarding the two pocket setup. I love them on my Hadley Pro ! They are so useful i can put my wallet in one and other stuff in the other one (pocket book, charger, …).
    I also prefer the “look” of the Hadley serie, so i will surely buy a Hadley. Just wondering if i will go for the small or another Pro. It’s often nice to have more room for other things than photographic stuff (i have 2 young daughters and there’s always somme things to carry ) 🙂


  • Sam

    Thank you
    Tough choice 😉
    Third option : Hadley Pro + Avea 3 or 5 when needed –> best of both worlds ?

    In fact, i love Billingham Bags and i can see myself buying one of their weekender bag someday 🙂

    Thanks again Patrick for sharing your experience and knowledge!


    • Patrick

      Hi Sam,

      Anytime, just glad to be able to help in any way. The Hadley Pro with the 2 Avea pockets is a nice option. Actually, that’s a great idea. Then when you don’t need the extra space, you can just leave the Avea pockets at home.

      I am a big Billingham fan as well, which is probably no surprise since I reviewed most of their collection haha. Let me know if you have any other questions, and I’ll do my best to answer them :).



  • Uchin Mahazaki

    that Billingham Original.. no longer can found in their webstie. is it discontinued? looks like what I need : bigger than small but smaller than pro

    • Patrick

      Hi Uchin!

      I believe my original Hadley and the Hadley Pro are the same size. It’s just my Hadley has a lot of wear from years of use, so it may not retain its shape as well. You should check with Billingham to confirm but I bought a replacement insert for my original Hadley, and it’s the same one for the Hadley Pro as well. In the link below, I have a picture of the Hadley Pro and my original Hadley together.

      I hope this helps, and thanks for stopping by!



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