Michael Topham tests a stylish and practical shoulder bag from Swedish manufacturer Fivedotsix

Fivedotsix-Model-2-insideFivedotsix Model 2 at a glance

  • Internal dimensions 330 x 160 x 230mm
  • External dimensions 340 x 170 x 240mm
  • Made from buffalo leather
  • Smaller size available
  • Price: £300
  • Website: www.fivedotsix.com

The Model 2 from Fivedotsix isn’t just any shoulder bag; it’s a bag that’s been carefully designed for fashion-conscious photographers. Beautifully crafted from buffalo leather, with a standard of stitching that wouldn’t look amiss inside a Ferrari, the build quality is in a higher league than your average shoulder bag and has a custom-made feel and finish.

Behind what looks like a buckle at the front lies a hidden push-lock for quick access to its deep, spacious interior that has a protective felt lining and an excellent padded space for carrying a MacBook Air or 10in tablet. However, the interior of the bag doesn’t have any padded compartments, which the manufacturer says maximises space and provides instant access to the kit stored inside. This leaves users with little choice but to use one of the two pull-out leather wraps to prevent the lenses colliding in transit, or as we did, locate the supplied lens pouch that came with our lenses for additional protection.

In keeping with the design and aesthetics of the bag, Fivedotsix is in the process of producing additional lens wraps to prevent expensive optics knocking against each other. As I discovered on a quick dash to a Tube station, the camera and lenses I’d packed inside did have a tendency to move around within the bag unless the contents were packed very tightly or the bag was fully laden with kit.

Fivedotsix-Model-2-(leather-wraps)

The Model 1 and Model 2 both come with a pair of pull-out leather wraps, which are used to give expensive lenses additional protection

Fivedotsix Model 2 – key features

Smaller size available

Fivedotsix also produces the Model 1 (£199), designed to hold a compact DSLR with lens attached, 2-4 additional lenses and a 7in tablet.

Pockets

Three internal pockets provide space to store chargers, cables and other accessories, although these could hinder our idea of a removable insert being added.

Shoulder strap

The shoulder strap can be shortened quickly and easily using a clever pin arrangement should you wish to carry the bag as you would a holdall.

Fivedotsix Model 2 – verdict

The Fivedotsix Model 2 happily accommodates a full-frame DSLR with a standard lens attached and 2-3 additional lenses, but the bag’s styling suggests it’s better matched to those using elegantly designed compact system cameras. It proved to be an ideal size for carrying a Fujifilm X-T1 with a long lens attached and I found there was enough space alongside to house six lenses, a tablet and a range of accessories. Although the open and spacious interior makes it quick to rummage through, I think it would work better with a removable insert that had padded compartments so you could rearrange kit as you want. This would instantly turn it into more of a multi-purpose bag that it’s attempting to be, while making it more appropriate for photographers who want the very best protection for their expensive kit on the move.

SCORE: 3.5 out of 5

You may also wish to consider:

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ONA Brooklyn Chestnut Leather Shoulder Bag

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Price: From £399

Website: www.onabags.com

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Billingham 445 Khaki Tan Canvas Bag

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Price: £279

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Think Tank Retrospective 30

Think Tank Retrospective 30

Price: From £144

Website: www.thinktankphoto.com

If you’re working to a tighter budget, but want a spacious shoulder bag that’s superbly constructed, Think Tank’s Retrospective 30 is a good alternative and comes highly recommended.