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Billingham Looks To Cross The Pond With High-End Camera Bag Line


U.K.-based M Billingham
& Co. brought its line of ultra-highend
camera bags and accessories to
the recent PhotoPlus Expo here, in an
effort to get a foothold in the U.S. market.

The 38-year-old company, founded
as a fishing bag company by Martin Billingham,
specializes in hand-stitched
equipment bags constructed of proprietary
heavy-duty, weatherproof materials.

A spokesman told TWICE that the
company is not looking to create a large
retail footprint in the U.S., but rather, as
it does in the U.K., is looking for momand-
pop specialty stores with knowledgeable
sales staffs who can sell the
unique properties of the line.

The company is based in Brierly Hill,
England, and is still owned by the Billingham
family. The spokesman
said the company switched from
fishing bags to photo bags
in 1978, after founder Martin,
an avid photographer,
discovered that his fishing
bags were becoming
popular through word
of mouth with professional
photographers in
New York, who liked the
bags’ durability and lightweight
construction for their camera

The company’s present-day bags
are primarily constructed of proprietary
synthetic materials such as Fibre-
Nyte, an abrasion-resistant canvas-like
material bonded to a polyester lining using
StormBlock butyl rubber. FibreNyte
is 10 percent lighter than traditional cotton
canvas, and, the spokesman said, is
softer, more color-fast because the
dyes can be bonded more easily
to the material, and remains
supple longer.

All Billingham bags have solid
brass fittings, and are trimmed
with top-grain leather and the
heaviest-duty natural threads
available, the company said.

In addition to bags, the company
also manufactures and markets accessories
such as trolley and harness
straps, padded lens and component
inserts, shoulder pads, pouches and
pockets, and photo vests.

The bags range in price for approximately
$350 to as much as $800.