The original Billingham bag – the Classic 550 – is still produced today and as much in demand as ever. Aside from a few minor improvements the bag remains essentially unchanged: Testament to the 550's excellent design and timeless styling – evocative of an age of exploration. Whether you're toting your photographic equipment around the globe, or simply using the 550 as a travel bag, you'll find the 550 comfortable and easy to carry, practical and enormously robust.
At a glance:
Designed for Life
The 550 was the first soft camera bag manufactured in Britain. It's continuing success, both as a spacious camera bag and as a general travel bag have meant that, apart from a few very minor improvements, it remains much the same as when it was first introduced. The adjustable shoulder sling comes complete with a leather and neoprene SP20 shoulder pad. An 8-15, 9-15 and 9-18 Superflex side-pouch (partitions), and flap are included.
The protection provided by a soft bag comes about through the careful use of closed-cell foams and the inherent pliability of the Billingham StormBlock canvas. SuperFlex inserts keep cameras and lenses protected and separated from each other. We have designed them in such a way that they simply move out of the way when pushed, allowing the bag to mould itself to the wearer's shape. Stiffening and shape are given to the bag by the way we cut and stitch the material so that they naturally hold their shape.
The materials used in the Billingham bags
Billingham choose the very best materials and use them in a way that takes maximum advantage of their natural properties, then manufacture the product to precise quality standards. That's why Billingham bags have solid brass fittings, top-grain leather, the best threads and fittings and a reputation for quality products.
As well as working closely with suppliers to improve each aspect of a material's performance, Billingham also co-operate with them to ensure that every delivery of material to their workshop meets exacting quality specifications. They are are members of SATRA, an international organisation who help us ensure the materials and production methods we use result in the highest quality products. Hard wearing materials can be abrasive and sometimes damage clothing, so our canvas has been chosen to avoid these problems.
The UK can be a pretty wet place much of the time, so it isn't surprising that Billingham bags started life being very resistant to rainwater. In a recent Maeser test, Billingham Stormblock Canvas was first aged and then flexed in water over 100,000 times. There was no sign of water ingress and the canvas was defined as waterproof, so confirming our confidence in the material as suitable for production.