It can be tough to navigate the city with a camera bag. They can be awkwardly clumsy, bulky, and vulnerable to bumps, scratches and sticky fingers.
Heavy Leather NYC’s Lookout camera bag addresses these concerns beautifully. Constructed of high-end cowhide leathers and microsuede, and built by American leather artisans, it is a perfect investment for DSLRs, rangefinders, and lenses.
Heavy Leather NYC is a “one-woman show,” that woman being Rachael Becker, who has built her brand from the ground up, having sold leather goods to Prince, Black Sabbath, Motörhead’s Lemmy Kilmister, and Justin Timberlake. She keeps the production footprint as minimal as possible, with little waste and little travel.
Most of Heavy Leather NYC’s products are made in-house. The larger production is made by a small family-run factory down the street from the studio. “It’s a father, mother, son, grandfather and 2 dog team,” says Heavy Leather NYC’s website.
You can be sure that each bag is unique and created with love, care and skilled craftsmanship.
The Lookout bag is weather-resistant, generously padded and features a divider for lens and gear. Its universal design accommodates all cameras, including a DSLR with one lens, or mirrorless cameras with 2 lenses. It also serves well as a holder for other accessories, with two large pockets on the sides and an interior pocket under the flap for various sundries.
The front flap secures with a double nub closure, and the leather interior side flaps secure with a snap for extra protection. An adjustable nylon webbing shoulder strap, removable by two heavy-duty swivel hook clips, is included – it comfortably fits cross-body.
Our model Katie, an actress and visual artist in Astoria, took the bag out for a test spin in Astoria Park with a Canon 5D on a gorgeous early spring day.
“I like this bag a lot,” she said. “They did a great job designing it for working photographers. It’s really secure, it’s not cumbersome in any way. It’s comfortable to wear.”
The nubs securing the front strap are quite snug, so unbuckling the bag quickly can be a challenge. There are no reinforcements around the strapholes, which could potentially be troublesome if the leather isn’t cared for properly (leading to cracks or tears), but otherwise the front strap is quite secure.
This is a camera bag best suited for planned work and transport, not off-the-fly street photography that requires a quick grab. But its design and protection are well thought out and executed, as is its attention to detail. One feels perfectly comfortable walking around city streets wearing it. The leather is high quality and buttery smooth. The top door is solid and secures well. The bag’s sleek triangle design is chic and timeless – and it comes in black and brown. It’s a good choice for pragmatists and the style-conscious alike.
The depth of the bag makes up for the usual standard: Katie’s DSLR and a 80-200mm easily fit inside; there wasn’t room to store many other lenses, besides a spare nifty fifty or 35mm, or one telephoto. But as far as protection goes, it’s absolutely stellar, feels rock n’ roll, and the included strap is comfortable.
Heavy Leather NYC’s leather camera strap, embossed with the company’s logo, was also tested during this excursion. It fit easily on Katie’s 5D, and felt secure and comfortable as well as stylish.
All in all, the $200 for the bag is absolutely worth every penny and is an investment in local artisan production.
The leather strap runs $65, and it too will last with proper care. Heavy Leather NYC’s products will long outlive your gear, and will weather gorgeously for the next generation of shutterbugs. Highly recommended.
Here are the bag’s dimensions:
- Exterior leather: 2/3 oz top-grain cowhide
- Interior lining: Microsuede
- Top of bag: 9.5″ width x 6.5″ depth
- Bottom of bag: 6″ width x 5 depth
- 8.5″ height
- Side pocket: 6.75″ height x 5.5″ width
- Flap interior pocket: 5″ height x 7″ width
- 2 lb
Model: Katie Marie Frank