Finally, A Camera Bag Made Just for Women: Introducing Pompidoo

Finally, A Camera Bag Made Just for Women: Introducing Pompidoo

It seems that every week a new camera bag hits the market, and while the majority are stylish and functional they all have one unifying trait. They all seem remarkably masculine in appearance. Whether this is a reflection on the industry of photography as a whole (seeing as men outnumber women) the fact of the matter is that there isn't a whole lot of selection for women... until now. Introducing, the Cologne camera bag/purse by Pompidoo.  

While Pompidoo isn't exactly new to the camera bag market (they've been around for about five years), I was still very excited when I learned about them and their fashion forward thinking when it comes to supporting women photographers. I reached out to the company and they were kind enough to send me their most popular bag, the Cologne, to try out. The bag is handmade from Lativa and was relatively fast arriving despite it being delivered from overseas. It arrived in its package safely wrapped in a protective outer bag that many higher-end purse companies do. 

The bag is handmade with European Bovine leather and is very soft to the touch and supple. I'm not a huge leather connoisseur by any means, but my best-friend Amanda was with me when I received the bag and said it smelled delightful as far as a leather purse goes. I'll take her word for it. The stitching is sturdy and looks like that even with normal wear it is going to last me quite awhile (I tend to go through purses pretty quickly). The bag's zippers work smoothly and the hardware on the bag is solid. The interior lining of the bag is actually very pretty compared to other fashion purses on the market. The dividers are all interchangeable to accommodate your camera gear and can be removed entirely using Velcro to switch from a camera bag to an everyday female purse. There's one internal pocket (great for hiding my passport and a small wallet), a leather side pocket (meant for a mobile phone), one exterior pocket on the back of the purse and two pockets on the exterior front of the bag. 

 

So, the biggest question when doing a camera bag review is probably, 'How much equipment can it hold?', and the Cologne doesn't disappoint. I was able to comfortably fit my Canon 5D MkIII (with battery grip), Canon 85mm f/1.2 II,  Canon 17-40mm f/4, along with a few extra batteries, a hoodloupe, a pack of memory cards, my large wallet, an iPhone 5s, various makeup supplies, hairbrush, an iPad mini (with case), and a whole slew of little odds and ends (pens, tissues, miscellaneous girlie stuff). All in all I was quite surprised with how much gear and normal everyday supplies I was able to stuff in the bag neatly. Everything is easily accessible through various interior and exterior pockets and a large side panel. Even with the bag fully loaded with gear and other non-essentials it's still comfortable to carry around on your shoulder without having to constantly readjust it. 

 

I do like the fact that the bag on the outside looks like a normal purse and doesn't scream "Steal me, I have camera gear inside," like most camera bags do. It easy and comfortable to wear around during the day, although I will admit that I prefer to sling my purses and camera bags over my shoulder and across my midsection while shooting, so that I don't have to set my bag on the ground during a natural light, outdoor photoshoot. The bag is on the larger end, which seems to be a big trend right now in purses. When I take the bag out, whether on a shoot, an evening event, or just to the grocery store I do get several compliments on it, and when I mention that it's a camera bag they always react with astonishment. It's a great icebreaker when meeting potential clients, I've recently learned through their reactions to the bag. 

The bag comes in eight different colors to fit any personality, and I chose the dark blue bag since I tend to wear a lot of darker blues, blacks and purples in my wardrobe. The price I find to be pretty fair considering the high-grade leather used and size of the bag. The Cologne will run you $299 on its website. Pompidoo also has three other handbags made for women to choose from if the Cologne doesn't fit your style for whatever reason, and don't worry boys Pompidoo also has a bag just for you, as well, that you can check out on their website called the Amsterdam. I myself will probably be ordering the Amsterdam myself here in the future for my boyfriend and his own camera equipment.  

You can order the Cologne for $299 on Pompidoo's website HERE

All photos by Pompidoo and Rebecca Britt Photography  Used with permission.

Special thanks to Lesley Villarreal for modeling with the bag for me.

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20 Comments

Bert McLendon's picture

Haven't you heard of the Kelly Moore bags? =) They've been around for a while. The pioneer's of the female camera bags. I've heard the quality on them was a little iffy though.

Arturo Mieussens's picture

My wife has had a Kelly Moore bag for a few years, and she's very happy with it. I think the quality is good, and they're a good purchase.

Rebecca Britt's picture

Yeah I'm not really a fan of their bags to be honest. I haven't really found any of their bags to be pretty enough to take to a formal event, but that's just a personal opinion.

To me this seems like the opposite of toy stores stopping the labeling of girls and boys toys. I've never seen the variety of camera bags (or which there are more types than I can imagine) as masculine, but as purposeful. Every part of the bags design should have a purpose. This bag seems incredibly large for what appears to be a relatively small amount of space. And for the price? Well its obviously aimed at being a fashion accessory over a piece of equipment. The marketing being heavily aimed towards woman just gives me an impression that women must care more about how they look when taking photos rather the actually taking of the photos.

That being said, some people will get it and love it. I personally don't see the positive progression in this. Cameras are all black and bulky. Are they just designed for men as well? Guess thats why Pentax started selling pink cameras.

Aaaaand Fstoppers started to review hand bags...

Let's face it, it's a simple fucking purse. My girlfriend has something similar. They didn't reinvent "the bag" here did they!?

In case of an emergency, that thing doubles as a kayak.

And there's always Billingham ☺

No. Just no way in hell I'd spend $300 on this OR carry it. I'm guessing their target market is momtographers because I can't see myself throwing this in my kayak, walking through the swamps, or crawling through a cave with it.

And "I was able to comfortably fit my Canon 5D MkIII (with battery grip), Canon 85mm f/1.2 II, Canon 17-40mm f/4, along with a few extra batteries, a hoodloupe, a pack of memory cards, my large wallet, an iPhone 5s, various makeup supplies, hairbrush, an iPad mini (with case), and a whole slew of little odds and ends (pens, tissues, miscellaneous girlie stuff)." ??? Please tell me you have a good chiropractor. I gripe a lot about camera bags being really bad for your back because how it is carried is an afterthought, but this one is worse than an average messenger bag because it is ALL on your shoulder. And I say this as someone with multiple joint and back issues at age 34 including arthritis, in part from lugging around ungodly amounts of weight.

Where do you guys get your news? This particular bag has been around for over 3 years. Or at least, that's how long I've been lusting after it.

Advertorial?

Rebecca Britt's picture

Nope I reached out to them, not the other way around.

Devorah Goldstein's picture

Well if there's one thing that sells me on a camera bag every time: pretty interior lining. Yep.

It's not big enough for my gear.

Brad Barton's picture

Never heard of Jill-e bags? There are bunches of bags aimed at women. There are even more products in general aimed straight at women. And it seems every time I turn around, there's a conference Or workshop aimed at women photographers - no boys allowed at these retreats.

You know what there isn't any of? Products and workshops aimed directly at men. Because if there were, the company would be run out of town on a rail.

How about we have products aimed at photographers and forget gender altogether?

Paulo Macedo's picture

All is lost....LOL this is great for thieves!! "Hey, I bet she has her entire home inside that purse and some 5000USD worth of camera gear!". It's like lottery!!

Paulo Macedo's picture

Mom: "Paulo, get the car key from my purse!"
Me: "Mom, I found an aligator, two guinea pigs, a 5D Mark III but i can't find the car key.."

Spy Black's picture

The funny part is that it's for real...

Brent Schmidt's picture

Why have a vertical grip if you don't utilize it? Oh, because she's a model.

Rebecca Britt's picture

Hahaha yeah she is a model. I wouldn't expect her to know how to use a vertical grip.

Guess you've never heard of Jill-e Bags? They've been around for years.

http://www.jill-e.com/camera-bags

Carlin Felder's picture

Nice write up! The Pompidoo team are sweethearts who make these bags for the lady who isn't into a black backpack or sling bag. Not every woman is a nature photographer slogging through the marshes or swinging from the side of a mountain to get a shot of someone rock climbing. I did a write up of them on my bag site as well... glad that Pompidoo is getting attention. There is a market for fashionable camera bags as well as utilitarian bags - which seem to be the preference for most of the fstoppers who commented.
http://www.digitalcamerabaghq.com/spotlight-on-pompidoo-bags/