Ona Bags: Prince Street v. Union Street
For a traveler, bags are important. In travel photography, camera bags deserve a little more consideration than usual. I came across these Ona messenger bags after a couple years of being frustrated with backpacks. My biggest complaints with backpacks are:
1. Most are obviously camera bags
2. None are professional to carry into work
3. They have to be set in the dirt, mud, or sand to change gear
4. They are either hard to access or feel insecure in a crowd, depending on the design
These Ona bags answered those gripes and have proven to be exceptionally durable and weather resistant. When I was shopping amongst Ona's offerings, I was a little unclear about the capacity of each bag. I started with the Prince Street for my camera. It was perfect but later decided that sometimes I wanted to carry a computer. My satisfaction with the first Ona product made the purchase of the Union Street easy.
Leather Prince Street
The Prince Street easily accommodates a full-frame mirrorless with an attached lens and a spare lens. The bag offers two thin pockets on the front and an exposed pouch on the back. The purchase of a separate accessories pouch increases the utility of this satchel. It won't work with a laptop, there is no place to fit a water bottle and you will need to carry your tripod in a free hand. On a week-long car trip around Oregon the carrier protected some of my most valued possessions from persistent wind and rain. You should be satisfied with the protection that it provides.
The leather readily accepts scratches and creases which add up to a sophisticated character. That supple leather is one of the advantages that the Prince Street has over the Union Street. It is also about a pound lighter than the Union Street and comes with a very usable short strap in addition to the shoulder strap.
The minimal capacity and a quality feel add up to a comfortable bag to carry around. Confidence in the security of your gear adds to that comfort with peace of mind.
Leather Union Street
The Union Street is crafted from a more rigid leather and the shoulder strap is the only usable handle. you might as well keep the ornamental short handle tucked into the pouch on the back side of the bag. Ona could not include a strap like the handle on the Prince Street because the size and weight of the satchel would create a prominent, vertical crease down the middle of the bag. Odds are that this is also why the case is made from a more rigid material. The biggest disadvantage of either Ona bag is that they cost about as much as a Yeti Cooler. The Union Street carries the gear that the Prince Street holds but it also stores a thin, 15-inch laptop and yet another lens. In place of the third lens, you might carry chargers for your phone and laptop when your getting on a plane. On a short hike, you could opt for a water bottle. The larger bag was put to the test on several stormy days in Scotland. The carrier protected its cargo admirably.
The advantage of the Union Street is capacity. If you don't need the third lens or a laptop, you should stick with the Prince Street. Both bags prove to be carefully assembled from quality materials. They stand vertically on padded bottom panels. The latches and shoulder straps are rugged. Lastly, the messengers deliver a professional styling that doesn't necessarily communicate that there is a camera inside.
It might be possible to toss the accessories into the outer pouches of these bags but it is recommended that you find some organizers. If you can make due with the thin pouches built into the bags that would free up enough space to tote one more lens in either bag.
Take care of these bags like you would take care of any leather product. An application of Obenauf's Heavy Duty Leather Preservative a few times per year will help keep them in good shape.
___ Is a professional or distinguished style important?
___ Do you need to travel with three or fewer lenses?
___ Are you alright with spending a few hundred dollars on a camera bag?
If you can answer 'yes' to these three questions, I highly recommend the Ona messenger bags.