Millican are based in the beautiful English Lake District and produce old school, rugged and well made bags for the great outdoors. I was first introduced to Millican via a project called Freedom Through Photography that I was involved in to promote their collaboration with Fujifilm UK to produce camera bags for the X Series. I'm not sponsored or paid by Millican in any way, I'm simply writing this review because I feel I've finally found a small, discreet and well made bag that suits street photography and small documentary shoots and I though I would share it with you.
So why such a small bag? That's easy, the bigger the bag, the more we try to cram in to them. I'm definitely guilty of this and I regularly have that inner voice that tells me I'll need as many lenses I can cram in. But when shooting street photography it's good to travel light. To be honest I would be happy to just have my X100S and some spare batteries, but my inner voice wouldn't allow that. The bag in these photos looks bigger than it actually is. It's really not much bigger than an iPad Air.
What you see before you is Rob The Traveller, but Robert The Camera Bag is also available. The only difference between the two is that Robert includes the Small Camera Protector, while Rob doesn't. I bought Rob because it (he) is available in Slate Green, but Robert is only available in Grey Blue and Antique Bronze at the moment. I have both large and small camera protectors, so I already had that covered (as you can see in the last photo).
The only downside to Rob is that because I have a lot of stuff in the main compartment, it can be a bit of a fumble to slide my iPad into the dedicated section at the back (inside) as the pouch has a thin material, rather than a firm padded devider (which would make the bag more bulky). This is a minor thing and not a deal breaker in any way. I have a piece of card covered in cellophane (that came with prints) in there at the moment that gives me something rigid to separate my iPad with my camera and lenses and allows my iPad Air to slide in easier.
The material Millican use for their bags is a high quality weatherproof 100% cotton canvas and veg tanned leather. This is my third Millican bag (I also have the X-Series Christopher and Matthew The Daypack) and the quality and craftsmanship is the same on each of them. These things are built to last and will probably look even better as they age. I love the old school fasteners on the main and rear compartment and the leather covered handle is extreamly useful. On Millican's website it says they Rob was "inspired by Grandad's old binocular case, which travelled the world. And then some". I love that!
INSIDE Inside the main section of the bag has a separate section for iPad at the back and one at the side that I use for a Zoom H1 audio recorder. There is also a zipped compartment that is ideal for business cards or bank cards. It's a safe place to keep your phone or wallet when you're on the streets too. The Small Camera Protector fits squarely on the bottom with enough room for another on top if required. This small insert will hold cameras up to an X100/X100S or X-E1 with an 18mm or 27mm lens attached. My recent street setup has been the 28mm and 50mm conversion lenses inside the camera insert on the bottom of the bag (separated by a padded insert from an old Lowepro bag). My X100S sits on top of the Small Camera Protector with the lens hood attached. I also have a mobile phone pouch on the bottom of the camera insert that the two conversion lenses sit on (see the last photo on this post). This pouch keeps my cables in one place and saves me from stuffing too much into the front pocket of Rob.
FRONT POCKET The front pocket is very handy and where all those important bits and bobs go. I have a Moleskine notebook and pen, spare X100S batteries, lens cloth and Apple Earbuds. It's unusual for me to need to change SD cards on the street, so I keep a spare SD card in it's plastic case inside the internal zipped pocket in the main compartment. The front pocket is also ideal for a mobile phone.
What's in my street photography bag at the moment? Here's a list of everything you see in the photo above. The two things that are missing are my Apple Earbuds and Lens Cloth. iPad is not essential (obviously), but it's nice to be able to read or write when stopping for coffee or travelling on a train. An iPad Mini might be a better option to save on weight.
Rob The Traveller bag by Millican
- Fujifilm X100S
- WCL-X100 Wide Converter Lens for the X100/S
- TCL-X100 Tele Converter Lens for the X100/S
- Zoom H1 Audio Field Recorder
- Small Camera Protector by Millican
- iPad Air
- Apple SD Card Reader
- iPhone Cable
- iPad Cable
- Phone Pouch for cables
- Business Cards
- Hotel Shower Cap for shooting in the rain
- Moleskine Notebook (Evernote version)
- Extra Sandisk Extreme SD Card
- 2 Spare X100 Batteries (I usually have a third too)
So that's Rob. A small well made street bag that doesn't look like a camera bag and 28mm, 35mm and 50mm options. Another possible setup would be an X-E1/XE-2 with an 18mm or 27mm lens attached inside the camera insert and an X100/X100S on the top. Two cameras with two focal lengths. Rob or Robert would also make great lens bags, (probably) large enough to hold two large f2.8 zooms for those DSLR users, or two to six Fuji (or CSC) lenses (depending on which ones). Click HERE to visit the Millican website.
If you're looking for something a bit bigger, Christopher, The larger of the two X-Series bags is now available in Grey Blue as well as the original Antique Bronze and includes the Large Camera Protector.