Billingham Photo Vest Review

by Enche Tjin on March 21, 2009

billingham-photo-vest-tripodThe most popular way to carry photography equipment is using camera bag. But there is another alternative that you might want to check out. It is a photo vest. While photo vest is not a new innovation, but in some condition, it is better than using camera bag.

The main advantage of wearing a photo vest is accessibility, you don’t have to scour your camera bag to get equipment you need. The second advantage is you might don’t have to carry a bag at all, so you don’t have the extra weight with you. Photo vest distributes the weight into your body so overall you feel lighter than carrying bag full of equipments.

Photo vest is popular among wildlife and nature photographers, because vest allow them to change equipments faster, and to move easier.

Material
The Billingham photo vest is one of the most well-made for photographer. It looks like regular vest, very modern and fashionable. The quality of the material is top notch. It is manufactured from textured multi-filament Cordura 500. Supple and quiet for wildlife photography, hand crafted for years of rugged use. It has ventilation in the back, to increase comfortability especially in hot and humid weather.

Design and Pockets
The design of the pockets is also very sophisticated. It has eight pockets with various sizes. The biggest vertical pocket runs through your right shoulder to the waist (660mm X 300mm). It can hold almost any photographic equipments from super telephoto lens to tripod. Six of the seven pockets are accessible from outside.

billingham-photo-vest-s

Click image above to see the division of pockets

In general, it will stores your

  • 1 or 2 camera bodies
  • 1 long telephoto zoom lens or a compact medium-sized tripod
  • 2 or 3 wide angle zoom lenses
  • 1 flash and/or other camera accessories
  • small notepad, 2 pens, memory cards

In addition, the shoulder and collar pad enhance your comfort when carrying monopod and long lens on your shoulder. Furthermore, the twin epaulets on the shoulder make sure that your camera strap stay in place.

Downside
billingham-photo-vest-pocketThe drawback of this product is it might not practical to use in hot temperature location or in summer. And the price is relatively expensive ($250) comparing to other photo vest such as popular Domke vest or Vested Interested photo vest.

The other disadvantage is the lack of color choice. While light khaki is a fine color, but some photographer might prefer darker color such as olive green or black.

There are also other alternatives on carrying equipments without bag, such as Newswear chestvest or Think Tank Photo modular set.

If you are shooting outdoor and in relatively cool temperature, and you want a vest that well-designed and will last forever, then Billingham Photo Vest is made for you.

Build quality: 5/5
Practicallity: 3/5 (general photography) 5/5 (outdoor and/or in relatively cold environment)
Value: 3/5

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