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Gear & Apps

Cecilia Lambert 12L & Tharp 8L Camera Messenger Bag | Quick Review

By Christopher Lin on November 27th 2018

When it comes to camera bags, besides functionality, carrying capacity, and comfort, photographers also value design and aesthetics.   After all, your bag is one of the few things in your photography kit that expresses your personal style.

I recently came across the Ceclia brand of camera bags, and what immediately caught my eye was the aesthetics.  Simply put, this is one of the best looking camera messenger bags I’ve seen.  After requesting a review bag and testing the Lambert 12L for a few weeks on actual shoots, I’m equally impressed with the functionality.

Here are my favorite (and least favorite) things about these Cecilia messenger bags.

Background

The Cecilia brand has been around since 1848. Throughout its long history, they’ve supplied leathers to companies like Leica, Coach, Bausche & Lomb and more (read their history here).  In October of 2018, announced their lineup of camera backpacks and messenger bags.

The Specs

While Cecilia offers backpacks, straps, memory card holders and more, as a wedding and portrait photographer, I was most interested in their messenger bags.  The bag I reviewed was the Lambert 12L, which also comes in a smaller version called the Tharp 8L.

Lambert 12L Dimensions:

  • Exterior: 10.75″H x 15.25″W x 5.75″D (27.3cm x 38.7 x 14.6cm)
  • Interior: 10″H x 14.75″W x 4.25″D (25.4cm x 37.5cm x 10.8cm)
  • Lambert Weight: 2.8 lb (1.27 kg)

Tharp 8L Dimensions:

  • Exterior: 8.75″H x 12.25W” x 5.25″D (22.2cm x 31.1cm x 13.3cm)
  • Interior: 7.75″H x 11.5″W x 4.25″D (19.7cm x 29.2cm x 10.8cm)
  • Weight: 1.8lb (.82 kgs)

Favorite Features of the Lambert

Aesthetics – The Lambert I reviewed is made of full-grain cowhide leather.  The look and feel is perfect for the photographer who prefers to dress up a bit for his or her shoots, such as a high end wedding or portrait photographer.

Capacity – The Lambert 12L fits 4-8 lenses (depending on whether or not you want to stack your smaller lenses). I used it for quick access to 4 lenses throughout the day:

Pockets – The sizing and placement of the pockets are well thought out.

In the two interior pockets, I kept four Canon camera batteries, a pack of 8 AA batteries, a Think Tank card wallet, and a Prism.

In the outside pocket, I kept my iPhone X.

Zippers – The main compartment and the two small interior pockets include zippers, a great feature for keeping your lenses and memory cards safe as you transport them between shoot locations.

Comfort – The padded backside of the bag adds to the comfort of holding the bag for long periods of time, and the included pads on the shoulder strap is also a great feature.

 

Versatility – The back pocket can be used as a compartment for your 13-inch laptop. Or if you unzip both the top and the bottom, you can slide the bag onto your roller bag or luggage.

Where there’s room for improvement

No Top Handle – While this isn’t a “deal breaker,” I would love to have a top handle on the bag. A top handle makes it easy to hand carry the bag when you just need to move it from one spot to another. Without one, you have to grab it by the strap.


Price –  This is one of the most expensive camera messenger bags on the market.  The current price as of the time of writing this article is $439 for the Lambert 12L in Black Leather.  For a lower price, you can opt for the smaller Tharp at $249 or the Charcoal Cotton Canvas version of the 12L for $289.

The over $400 price point of the Black Leather 12L will put it above the budgets of many photographers out there.  However, if quality, style, comfort and functionality are important to you, then it’s still worth strong consideration.

What else you might consider

Bags with similar carrying capacity that also maintain good aesthetics include the following:

What are your thoughts?  What do you use?

Co-Founder of SLR Lounge and Photographer with Lin and Jirsa Photography, I’m based in Southern California but you can find me traveling the world. Click here to connect on Google +

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