ONA Astoria Review

Athol Hill Ona Astoria8

As much as I love backpacks, there are times where nothing beats a messenger bag. I think every photographer should have at least one in their camera bag arsenal.

Despite brands having a side access point on modern backpacks, you still have to take one shoulder off to slide the backpack around your body. It’s much slower and provides a risk of losing a photo at a critical moment.

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With a good messenger bag, it’s just a case of sliding your hand inside at where it hangs – you don’t even have to look away from your camera while doing it.

The bag we’re looking at today is one that has been around for a little while, the Let’s see if it’s the best camera messenger bag of 2020.

ONA Astoria Review Specs

  • Handcrafted with premium waxed canvas
  • Secure antique brass tuck-clasp closure
  • Full-grain leather accents
  • Discreet luggage sleeve also acts as a slim back pocket
  • Exterior Dimensions: 16” L x 11” H x 7” D (
  • Interior Dimensions: 15.5” L x 10.5” H x 6” D
  • Weight: 3.68 pounds

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Build & Appearance

The ONA has built a reputation for the style and quality of their camera bags, and I think it would be hard to argue that they haven’t met that brief with this one.

The It’s also one of the first bags that I had to steal back from my wife after she assumed it was a new laptop bag I’d bought for her. The usual “what’s mine is hers and what’s hers is hers” mantra applies in our household.

I think the field tan is the nicest of the waxed canvas colours. I also think the choice of material shows the bag is targeted a little more at commercial photographers.

The waxed canvas is more suited to shooting in variable conditions and doesn’t require the same levels of extended maintenance as leather. Waxed canvas bags hold their shape longer when loaded up. Leather messenger bags tend to soften and fold in a little after an extended period.

The high-quality construction of the The bag folding in on itself isn’t a problem for personal use, but makes it little more restrictive for commercial or event shoots where you have weightier pro glass in your bag.

Construction is impressive on the . The front buckles are brass, and the accents are leather. The quality includes the wide leather padding on the shoulder strap.

The only gripe about the construction on the bag is the empty weight. At nearly 3.68 pounds (1.7 kgs), it’s heavy by anyone’s standards.

Exterior Features

Two large front pockets ensure that you can store additional items like speedlights or small lenses.

On the front of the

The zip at the bottom of the back pocket allows the Astoria, it includes what I initially thought was another pocket until I discovered it serves two purposes. Unlike the rear pockets on my Prince 2, this one has a zip to unzip the bottom so you can attach it to luggage, which is a valuable feature for travelers.

For carrying, you’ll find the usual messenger-style shoulder strap and a leather grab handle. The shoulder strap is wide, about the width of a seat-belt.

Interior Features

This is a full-frame Samyang 18mm f/2.8 to indicate the size and depth of the front pockets.

The inside of the

Storage Capacity

The ONA state the Astoria is the largest camera messenger bag they make, and it shows. The storage in this bag is massive.

There are very few messenger bags I’ve seen that hold a laptop and two gripped full-frame cameras. Yes, that’s not a typo. Two gripped full-frame cameras with lenses mounted and a Laptop.

The Technically, that means you could fit two gripped full-frame cameras with a 70-200mm f/2.8 and a 100-400mm at the same time if your shoulders can handle it.

This is one of the few messenger bags that can fit two gripped full-frame bodies with large lenses mounted.

From my perspective, it means I can carry two large portrait lenses like the Sigma 135mm f/1.8 ART and the Sigma 35mm f/1.2 ART, mounted on separate bodies to avoid lens changes.

Both of these lenses are 1kg+ beasts that could class as weapons in many countries.

The downside with dual bodies is that it limits the number of lenses you can carry unless you carry smaller lenses that fall below the top of the dividers.

Ease of Use/Comfort

The shoulder straps are thick (seat belt width) with leather padding for comfort.

From an ease of use perspective, I always think camera messenger bags score high, in part due to accessibility. They’re at your side, so they’re easy to access. It has to be a poorly designed bag to score badly on ease of use.

On the converse, the exact item that makes ease of use score high becomes the Achilles heel for comfort…

Most shoulder bags are fine as long as you aren’t loading 10kg’s worth of gear into them for an entire day’s shooting, which is pretty easy with pro glass.

Leather trimmings on the top of the bag with the grab handle. As with the rest of the bag, the fittings are impeccable

I think ONA have done a great job of providing shoulder padding on the However, I think that this is the price you pay for using a good quality waxed canvas bag. After all, you’re carrying a bag that will last a lifetime.

Value for Money

Brass fittings on the straps used to close the bag.

The pricing of camera bags is like any product. You have budget, mid-tier, premium and luxury. ONA’s pricing puts the Astoria in the premium to the luxury end of the market.

While some people will look past bags like this due to the price, I think you also have to consider whether it’s the kind of bag that will still be on your side in 10 years. This one definitely will.

Ultimately, you get what you pay for, and in this case, you’re paying for style, quality and longevity – check the latest price here.

ONA Astoria Review | Conclusion

In a world where photography accessories have a shelf life of 5 years, the isn’t showing its age. With the exception of its weight, there aren’t too many things that need changing, which is probably why nothing actually has changed over the years.

While I have managed to maintain possession of the bag, it remains under the watchful eye of my spouse, and I live under the constant threat of its repossession. I would recommend you hide yours under lock and key in your household as well.


  • Construction Quality
  • Looks
  • High capacity


  • Heavy empty weight
  • Price
  • Uncomfortable when heavily loaded (like most messengers)

Disclaimer: All recommendations are impartial and based on user experience, with no bias to the products or the brand. The products in this post may contain affiliate links.

Athol Hill is a sports and portrait photographer based in Melbourne, Australia

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