Billingham made a bag for the Leica SL in the recent past. The SL bag was recently updated with the Leica SL2 bag. Let’s get one thing out of the way first: the SL2 bag is not made for the SL2. No, it’s an updated version of the SL bag and is very suitable for both the SL and the SL2. In fact, I don’t even have the SL2 (camera) myself.
So what have we got here? The Billingham SL2 bag is a bag specifically designed for the SL and SL2 with the 24-90mm lens attached to the body. As you know the 24-90 is a pretty big lens and mounted to the SL it takes up quite a bit of space. However, we don’t want to throw our precious SL in a random bag that is made for much bigger SLR cameras and lenses. And we like a bit of class and style too, right?
The Leica SL2 bag has roughly the same dimensions as the Leica M combination bag. And that size is perfect. It’s small enough to take anywhere you want, without giving the impression that you’re going to work. But it’s not so small that you’ll have to fear for your masculinity. Despite the masculinity thing, my wife likes the bag too.
The bag has one big compartment that fits the SL with the 24-90 attached. I don’t have the 24-90, so I used it with my Panasonic 24-105. With that lens, there’s some room left for a couple of small M lenses. The nice thing about the bag is that there’s a kind of cutaway in the bottom pad that fits the grip of the SL and SL2. That cutaway or dent also ensures that the bag keeps its modest height and that the lens is supported by the bottom pad. A second dent on the other side of the bag ensures that the front of the A clever design.
The main compartment has a thick bottom pad and also extra thick quilted sides. Between the side padding and the bag are two small pocket for an iPad mini or other small things. The main compartment can be safely closed with a water resistant zipper. On the back side of the bag is a luggage trolley retainer strap and another zipped pocket. This pocket is a good place for passports, a wallet, and other flat things (my wallet is pretty flat since the pandemic).
On the front is my favorite pocket. Billingham calls it a ‘dump pocket’ and they are right about that. The guys and girls at Billingham understand that going out with a camera doesn’t only require camera stuff, but also some food, maybe sunglasses or a scarf. I did a day day trip to Amsterdam recently and brought the SL2 bag only. Truth is, I didn’t bring my SL, but my CL which left me room in the main pocket for a bottle of water. And if you need more space, you can upgrade the bag with the AVEA 3 or 5 pockets.
As expected, the SL2 bag performed flawlessly on my day trip and other outings. The good thing about a small bag is that you can only bring so much. And that means that you’ll keep the weight down, which translates into a comfortable bag. To be honest, I think it is at least a s good as my much praised Billingham Hadley Small bag, which I used and abused all around the world. The Hadley is a little taller, with a slightly smaller depth, but has better acces to the main compartment. It lacks the big dump pocket though.
Would I recommend this bag? Yes, I would. If you’re a SL, CL or M user, the SL2 bag has something to offer. To be honest, a Billingham bag is always a good investment. There are camera bag manufacturers that create bags for people with money, and there are bag manufacturers that create sturdy and reliable bags that get picked up by people who use expensive cameras. Billingham has always been making great bags without being pretentious. That’s why there’s still 30 years old Billinghams around that still look good. If you’re talking sustainability, Billingham is the way to go.